About my garden

Tuesday 31 October 2017

Adventures in a Poly Tunnel - October 2017

There is still plenty going on in the tunnel even at the end of October. The weather has been mostly mild with a few dips in temperature but no frost yet, as I write this. 
Things look much the same as they did last month and I still don't have room to move. 

This is the view from the front door. Lots of Tagetes still flowering. I'm about to bring in the second bench which will go next to the first one on the left. This is for seedlings and small pots. 
This is what I have so far including: Larkspur, delphinium, sweet william, beetroot, Spinach to name but a few. I need to do some more pricking out of Ammi, Orlaya and a few other things. 

In spite of me not having pruned the plants properly for weeks, we are getting bucketfuls of tomatoes. I have made vats of soup for the freezer and we are eating tomato salads and sandwiches often. 
I am thrilled to report that there is NO BLIGHT. My regime has been to:
1 Plant in bottomless pots (or bags when I ran out) filled with grow bag compost
2 Not to grow potatoes
3 Spray with aspirin solution several times during the year as advocated by James Wong. This apparently turns on the natural defences. 
4 Feed with molasses. 

I did a reasonable job of keeping them in check early in the year but have lost the plot recently. I am also watering much less now. 
All is not completely rosy as the plants are covered in Whitefly. In an effort not to Instagram my life and pretend that all is fantastic here are the fruits when they are picked:

This is just the sooty residue from the whitefly. It cleans off easily and the fruits are fine.
When they are washed:

Tomato Brandywine and Sweet Dumpling squash measuring up to an old pound coin. My husband produced this coin and said his brother had just given it to him. I say he should give it back and demand a new one. 

Mini peppers. 

Magic beans. These are fully grown beans from Runner beans and Czechoslovakian beans. They can be dried but I mostly cook and freeze them so they can be quickly added to soups and dishes. Sadly they turn a dirty grey colour when cooked. 

 Spinach and kale growing well. 

Chillies still growing with lettuce and mustard leaves. 

Harvesting inside and out:
Mini peppers
Salad leaves
Borlotti type beans
One Squash 

Temperatures in October
Nighttime low     0 ∘C
Daytime high     35∘C

I'm sad for anyone who doesn't have a poly tunnel to play in. x

Monday 30 October 2017

In a mini Munchkin vase on Monday

The inspiration for this came from visiting our local hospital. They had a full size pumpkin on the desk with Autumn coloured Chrysanthemums in it. I stole the idea and scaled it down a little. 

You'd think this would be quick to do but it really wasn't. A certain amount of fiddly poking of stems was involved. 
There is a tiny foil candle container inside the Munchkin. I'll probably find all the flowers dead in the morning due to lack of water as it hardly holds any. 
There are flowers and leaves of Tagetes, one of the Gem varieties, and Euphorbia foliage. 

I've been growing these Tagetes in my poly tunnel as they are supposed to repel whitefly. In fact all this season's plants have self sown themselves from last years seeds. 
 And the whitefly? I've never seen so many. As soon as the tomato plants are out, I'll be going in with garlic smoke bombs to try and get rid of as many as I can. 

For plenty of creative and inspiring vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden  - In a vase on Monday. 

Monday 23 October 2017

Favourite flower In a Vase on Monday

It's time again to scout around outside and fill a vase to share with other enthusiasts. For creative and colourful vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the garden for In a Vase on Monday. 

Is it possible to have a favourite flower? It is like asking which is your favourite child. One week you'd say one child flower but then the next week something else is in bloom and that is your favourite.
If I had one, it would be this:

 Orange Calendula. The petals are shimmery and luminous and so vivid. 

I had them popping up all over my last garden and I've introduced them here, They are starting to seed around. They are in this vase with Corydalis ochroleuca (I think) which is a little plant with cream flowers. I bought one from Hestercombe and it is now seeding around as well as flowering for most of the year. 

My vases are getting smaller but I'm still finding colourful things to fill them.
Would you dare to choose a favourite flower?

Monday 16 October 2017

Still Hanging On In a Vase on Monday

There is no denying it is now Autumn. There is plenty of green around but some of the trees are gracefully changing hue. As I drive around I see butter yellow, oranges and reds, beautiful but sad too, as we head away from summer. 
We've had mild days and not so much rain so I've been able to get on with a few more jobs. I'm trying to keep on top of things this autumn and winter though it's tempting to curl up with the seed catalogues and a cup of tea and just plan in my head for next year. It's better to start the changes now as I know many of you are doing. 

Making a late appearance is Dahlia 'Summer Flame'. Almost completely swamped by larger plants (my fault) this plant has hardly bloomed. Then I managed to decapitate this flower while trying to cut it. Sigh. 

I promise to look after you next year.

I could have chosen autumn hued things but I'm hanging on to summer here and you'll notice so is Rocky. 
My daughter no longer lives here but we still have a room full of her stuff. I wondered if I'd be able to find something appropriate in this treasure cave and sure 'nuff there was Rocky from 'Chicken Run'. This is my husbands favourite film, it's so clever and is extra funny now we have hens to observe at close quarters. None of them have yet tunnelled out with a spoon.

Back to the vase - I wanted to cut these pink roses, which I'm reliably informed are 'Queen Elizabeth', thanks Noelle. Storms are heading our way so they might not be standing after that. 
They are a very bright pink which is difficult to pair with anything so I chose Dahlia 'Karma Naomi' who is very dark and won't fight with the them. (Not all pinks are the same - discuss).
Also Artemesia 'Powis Castle' as grey is always calming. 
Feverfew still going strong after months of flowering.  I'm so glad I added the daisies as they really lift the arrangement. 
Finally Gaura 'Rose bicolour'. That's a disappointing name. This has also been flowering for months and is a beautiful, graceful airy plant. 

As usual I'm joining in with In a vase on Monday hosted by Cathy at Rambling in the Garden. For creative and colourful vases do visit and see what you can come up with yourself to share with other plant enthusiasts. 

Monday 9 October 2017

Orange Allouise In a Vase on Monday.

Sunday here was a beautiful day left over from summer. I was able to spend several happy hours outside weeding some places which have been neglected and moving plants around. 
We have been here for two years now and have learnt how the different areas work. Some are in full sun, which is easy but there are several places which get a good bit of shade so have to be treated differently. 
Did I leave the garden for a year as you are supposed to do, to learn all about it? Don't be daft, of course I didn't, does anyone do that? I was planting in the first few weeks and made plenty of mistakes but, look on the bright side, most things are happy and growing well. Some are growing too well and that is why they have to move. 
Late summer is a great time to move things but I feel it's like one of those puzzles where you move around the little squares to make a picture. You just move that one down there and another one over there but then this one is wrong so you move it up a bit. That is me and my plants. I am always left with a large clump of something mouldering in a bucket or wheelbarrow or left on the grass till it goes yellow underneath and I'm in trouble. Today it's a large clump of Iris sibirica. I'm not sure where it's going but I didn't leave it on the grass. 
I still have lots to cut to put in a vase. This is Chrysanthemum 'Orange Allouise'

I'd meant to wander round the garden and look for things to go with Allouise in her vase. There was no time so she went in on her own but, as is often the way, I think she looks better flying solo and we can see all the curvy petals. 
The vase is rather an odd one. Silver on the inside and raised black, raised, velvety pattern on the outside. 

I bought rooted Chrysanthemum cuttings this spring and they have made tall strong plants but this is the first one to flower. Does anyone know what sort of conditions they need? I must have something wrong. 

I've also made a posy. I did go round with the roses choosing what to add in. This is 'Aphrodite' and she has beautifully shaped buds but the rain is really spoiling the blooms so I've brought some inside. 
 I found red basil flowers (which are purple), pinapple sage flowers (bright red), Abelia, Pittosporum, convulvulus cneorum. 

The Abelia flowers have gone over really but I like the pinky brachts, or whatever they are called, and often put them in vases. 

For all sorts of amazing and adorable vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden and see what she has In a Vase on Monday. 

Sunday 8 October 2017

Adventures in a polytunnel - September 2017

Again the month has whizzed by. September is one of the busiest months in the garden so perhaps that is why it seemed to fly. 
Looking back it seems as though the picking season has been very short. There were only a few weeks where we had more beans and courgettes than we could manage and then we were quickly back to the steady drip of harvests. Perhaps it's always like this.
It has certainly been wet and we have only had a few days with no rain at all. It means that I can happily transplant things and not have to remember to water them again so that is a bonus if you are busy and forgetful. Not in the tunnel of course, watering continues year round but cooler temperatures mean it is not so much of a task. 

Here is the perpetual spinach. Currently being fed to humans and hens. It's is producing lots of new leaves. 

Long red chilli peppers. Some have already turned and I made some excellent chilli sauce using a James Wong recipe. Easy peasy and very good. I'll post the recipe but ask if you'd like it sooner. 

From left: Chrysanth cuttings. chilli plant, lettuces, red peppers, salad leaves. 
Pots of succulents have been moved in for the winter as they don't like to be too wet. 
Turmeric grown from a tuber I bought in the wholefood shop. This is a tuber I've uncovered. I'm not sure when to harvest but it looks like the one I planted so perhaps I'll try one. 

The tomatoes are doing beautifully now in spite of the whitefly. They don't affect production but some of the fruit are covered in black and have to be washed well before use. It means snacking in the tunnel is not so easy. 
I'll try and fumigate after I have removed these plants. There are garlic bombs available which are organic. 
I've just made some tomato soup with my own onion, garlic, tomatoes and basil. No recipe, I just needed oil and stock. It tasted twice as good. Seed saving for the Heritage Seed Library is going well. I have some dried and some more fermenting. 

A tiny 'Sweet Dumpling' squash growing well. It will be more white when ripe. 

Small kale plants grown in modules and planted out. One bean left. The others all had bad red spider mite which was so bad is was affecting the beans. I took them out. Next year I must try harder to control it. Regular spraying with water should help. 

 I grew these outside but I'm very proud of my first onion harvest. I started them in modules and planted them out. Almost all are a decent size and will last us a few months. 

Daytime high temp - 39.9∘C
Nighttime low - 3.7∘C

Harvesting (inside and out):
Courgettes and the occasional small marrow
Spring onions
Rocket and salad leaves
Climbing french beans - few
Borlotti type beans
Kale - curly, Cavolo Nero and Red Russian
Few red  peppers

Monday 2 October 2017

Autumnal colours In a Vase on Monday

Don't mondays come round quickly?
I chose oranges this week as I wanted to pick Dahlia Bishop of Oxford. He is looking very good just now despite being swamped by other things. He'll be getting more space next year. 

Showing off with him are Rudbekia Green Eyes, Dahlia Labyrinth, Chrysanthemum, Mahonia leaves and Cotoneaster. 

It's a very cheerful vase to have in the room giving a bright splash of colour. 

I've remembered my prop this week (not required but fun). Munchkin pumpkins which are very cute. I'm very pleased that they germinated, grew, made it to adult hood and produced fruit. I trained them up inadequate supports so they grew half upright and half sprawled. The fruits are light so training them upwards is a good use of space. Again, they'll be better next year. 

I've got some pink roses I wanted to pick too but no time. Perhaps tomorrow. 

For colourful and creative vases visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden - In a Vase on Monday.