About my garden

Monday 25 August 2014

Ants have vacated.

Rose 'Rhapsody in Blue'

Forgive me if I've posted this photo before but it's so lovely it deserves to be in every post. It started in flowering in June and is still going in bursts now in August.
So my workout for the weekend was to empty a compost bin.
I decided it was time to empty the black bin I mentioned back in July and I'm happy to say there was not an ant in sight. So I did the right thing just to wait until they moved on.
I dug out a bucket to see what it was like:

It is quite well rotted and very few worms are present, so that is a good sign. They have moved on too - hopefully to the bin next to this one! 
I had a go at riddling some of it but it was quite wet so I collected it up in five sacks and stacked them just inside the greenhouse door where there is a little bit of space.
It will dry out a little there and I may have a go at riddling the rest of it or, as crops come out of the vegetable garden, I may just layer it on the surface and allow the worms and weather to work it into the beds. 
I have one of the wooden bins to empty too but I'll save that for another day. 

Friday 22 August 2014

Highs and lows of August

For some reason I always take my eye of the ball in August. I think the garden has peaked for the year and I relax a little and sometimes even become somewhat disappointed with it. Depending on the year, I'm pleased or start planning to do better next year.
The manic sowing and raising of spring and the planting and tending of early summer is all over and you are, hopefully, reaping the rewards of your hard work. Generally I am very pleased this year. The weather has been amazing with just enough rain to keep things alive, although it was touch and go on occasion.
I'm harvesting daily and giving produce away to grateful friends. My own family do make the odd comment about "beans again" but I love the glut and enjoy the season of plenty.  
This is a plant combination which I am pleased with. Rudbekia 'Goldsturm' with grasses and crocosmia behind. Usually these flowers are eaten by slugs but they look great so far. More of the slugs later!
This is a gorgeous dianthus which I dug up and put in a pot as it looked very sad. I has now produced one flower and has a sweet perfume. 
I think the slug damage was reduced during the hot spell but they are by no means eliminated. I planted my dahlia tubers in pots in March or April and then planted them out in the borders. I have just dug them up and put them back in the pots as they are eaten to shreds. 

Valiantly flowering in spite of having no leaves.

Another flower on a half dead plant.

What a sorry set of pictures. I should have paid closer attention. I have used the organic, friendly slug pellets but I don't find them extremely effective and I have run out anyway. I don't use the older kind as they are harmful to wildlife but they are efficient at being harmful to slugs. I haven't had any of those for years but someone who could produce a friendly, reasonably priced, effective slug killer could make a fortune. 
I know these dahlias will survive but I don't think I'll have many flowers this year.

I'm interested in the difference in these courgette plants:
This is two plants.

This is one plant.
I planted them at the same time into two beds the same size.  I had plenty of plants so I planted two into each bed. Then a week or so later I dug one up and gave it to friend. The one on it's own is easily twice as big as it has more room
I know this but every year I cram things in. I hope I'll learn this time. 
I know they look rather mildewed. I have cut some leaves off and tried the milk spray mentioned here at Veg Plotting. It rained soon after so probably wasn't very effective initially. The plants are still productive and, to be honest, a bit of slowing down wouldn't be a problem!
To end with- a couple of resounding successes:
Rudbekia Irish Spring

Rudbekia Rustic Dwarfs

So cheerful and great as cut flowers. They last for ages.These are annuals whereas the ones mentioned above are perennial. 

Friday 8 August 2014

Red spider mite on Chilli plants

I love chillis and grow them every year. I usually keep them in my conservatory as they like the heat and I can keep an eye on them. 
Almost every year they get greenfly and red spider mite. 
I noticed quite early this year:

I get this white speckling on the stems. (The leaves in the background are geranium not chilli.)

 Then speckling on the underside of the leaves. These are actually the mites and if you have very good eyes or a magnifying glass you can see them.The leaves start to mottle and eventually yellow and fall off. Before that happens you start to see tiny webs on the plants. 

One of the solutions is to mist the plants everyday with water as the mites don't like humid conditions. I confess to forgetting mostly, though. Probably if I did this from the start, the problem wouldn't build up.There are also biological controls which are very effective.
So a few weeks ago when I realised there was a problem I ejected them outside. A cheaper option
The photos above were taken today but the problem is not at all bad and certainly not any worse than it was - almost certainly better. Also it has not spread to any more inside plants. The leaves are mostly green and little chillis are forming. I am misting the plants and we have had some rain.
Numex Twilight

Hungarian Hot Wax

Small purple chilli from saved seed
This one is so pretty. The leaves and flowers are purple as well as the fruit. I can't remember the name. 
I started this post yesterday and was priding myself with how well they were all doing then:
This is what I found when I went out this morning. I think it is mostly leaves that have been eaten. I'll need to go and move them now but slugs and snails will find them anywhere. Maybe an island in the middle of my pond...