thesticks

In a previous article I lamented the fact that my parsnips had failed. I spoke to soon or was too impatient. A couple of weeks later they appeared. Not all of them but more than half, so there will be enough for Christmas dinner. After a slow start the kale also shot up and not all of it has been eaten by caterpillars. I've used Grazers sprays to fend of caterpillars and slugs but they have only been partially effective. Not sure whether it is the product or my faulty application of it.

Butterfly netting obviously works best to stop the butterflies getting in, although it doesn't stop them trying, but seems to act as a ladder for snails which have managed to eat brassica leaves pressed up against it. 

In mid July I harvested my onions and a week later my garlic and put it to dry in an open fronted out building next to the wood pile. The Webmaster come chef has been using the onions but there are still plenty drying. They seem to be progressing nicely, as do the garlics, and they should be dry enough to string up or store in nets by next week. I'm very please with both and so have ordered more for next season. You can never have too many onions or too much garlic.

onionsgarlic drying

Same can't be said for broad beans. I now get groans when I bring in yet another pan full - and there are more to go. But they are delicious and go with most meals we prepare so I'm setting myself a challenge to get broad beans all year round (OK, maybe with exception of November-February)! The french and runner beans will soon be ready to start harvesting.

I planted climbing nasturtiums among the runner beans. My plan was to use them to keep the insects off the beans and maybe to use the leaves for salad. I hadn't quite realised how large or extensive they would become, but they look nice and don't seem to be crowding out the beans, instead extending out across the garden paths and grass around the beds.

My beetroot which I thought was doomed has recovered and the celeriac and kohlrabi look good. I've never grown either of the latter two before so it is quite exciting, especially the kohlrabi, they look really nice in the garden with their purple globes and stalks. A bit like something from a sci-fi film.

 kohlrabi

With all the rain I haven't had to spend much time watering this year as during last year's long hot dry spell, but the weeds are keeping me busy. Nettles and docks spring up everywhere. I think the seeds are in the horse manure I add to the soil, but there appears to be a never ending supply. My fingers are permanently tingling now from pulling out nettles. I can't do it with gloves. In the dry weather I hoe them but it doesn't work in the wet!

We have been following through on our expansion plans, preparing a new bed in the garden and clearing out an old, overgrown riding arena which used to be part of a riding school. It was very overgrown with brambles, nettles, docks and clogged with fallen trees. After attempting for over a year to clear it by hand with loppers, secotuers, a brush cutter strimmer, hooks and rakes we were getting nowhere,  it was like painting the Forth Bridge. We couldn't clear it all and maintain what we had already cleared. Eventually we treated ourselves to a scythe cutter to speed things up. We achieved more in a day than in the last six months. Unfortunately the weather turned and there has been too much rain to continue, so the weeds are busy growing back, but in the next dry spell it won't take long to catch up and progress. Our plan is to clear enough space for a few more beds and a small polytunnel ready for next season. Money permitting! 

overgrown arenascything1

 scything2scything3