HARVEST

The weather was rather uncertain today so I got busy harvesting as much and as quickly as I could. Difficult to choose where to start as everything is doing so well. I must have done something right at the start of the year to get this kind of harvest – in just a few hours in the morning. Not only in the greenhouse in the back garden – the aubergines are amazing, the very first time for me.

They made a delicious aubergine parmiggiana. The allotment is producing huge amounts of beetroot, courgettes and other goodies – the fig tree there is only a few years old but has some tasty figs.

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For the first time I have so many tomatoes I have been making tomato soup every few days.

THERE’S MORE

During my daily visit I managed to pick some more tomatoes, some cucumbers and put more lids and suchlike under the growing pumpkins and squashes. Needless to say I had to keep up with the weeds – if everything grew as well as the weeds….

I’m delighted with the cucumbers, they are very tasty and it looks the plant will keep on producing. The long shiny peppers will turn red eventually, they are the long sweet variety. Another first for me in the greenhouse. I must be doing something right….

TOMATOES

I am very happy with my tomatoes this year, I have two greenhouses and they are full of tomatoes and aubergines. So far I have only tiny aubergines but the tomatoes are doing great.

So far I made some tomato sauce and soup and will be making more.

HARVEST TIME

It is rather busy now, everything seems to be ready almost at the same time. I wasn’t sure how well will my tomatoes or courgettes would do but I didn’t have to worry. All is doing very well and I started making jams, chutneys, soups… you name it and I make it.

first courgettes
and this is the result – tasty chutney

Not only courgettes but beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes and all the soft fruit – the allotment is giving and continues to give.

Happy days!

MAY ACTIVITIES

It is all go on the allotment now. Fortunately the weather has been good so far, so I was able to plant and build. I was also able to harvest some of my produce – lettuce, that has been going for some time and now some young broad beans. Never mind waiting for the pods to mature and then shell them – we like to pick the young pods and chop them whole and add to a salad. Delicious!

Last year was not good at all, the pigeons had a great time eating all my young plants, so this time I planted a lot in one of my net cages. I put them in the ground in October, they grew well and continued to do well in the spring. As they started flowering I was wondering if I will get any beans, seeing that they were under cover. I didn’t have to worry, they are producing lovely pods and I don’t have to share them with pigeons.

It seems I have to cover quite a lot – lettuce for example. I did have a poly tunnel some years ago but the plastic started breaking. The structure was sound so with a bit of help from Mike we covered it in green netting and it works a treat. I even managed to build raised beds in there.

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Strawberries were the next thing to cover – I have got a number of raised beds, just to make it easier to put the net over them. It pays off, I harvested my first two sweet strawberries yesterday.

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Every year I try to grow something new. This year it is water melon. I have got three plants, all inside a greenhouse and one of them is showing signs of wanting to start climbing. Keep fingers crossed! I’d be happy with just one melon.

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It is not just vegetables that are doing well – my beautiful rose and clematis are a delight.

I did a count of my tomato plants – I think this year will be a bumper year, I have 80! It may seem a lot but they are all different varieties – Costoluto Fiorentino, Long Tom, Super Marmande, Ailsa Craig, Czech Bush, just to name a few! I didn’t have this many last year and I still use the last few I bottled. They freeze well, cooked of course. A win-win situation.

MAY…

…is here and it is rather chilly. All the same, work on the allotment is going on – building raised beds inside one of my net cages. I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, got a nice lot of timber from the friendly builders next door and it took a few trips with my wheelbarrow to take it to the allotment.

The tomato plants were outside already so this wasn’t too much of a shock for them as they got planted here. I used some old flower pots, cut off the bottom and embedded them in the compost, that way the tomato plants will have more depth for their roots. In the empty spaces will be lettuce Webs wonderful.

The same goes for my sunflowers – they stood in one of the net cages for a week or so ; they’ll be fine planted here as they have a bit of protection from the greenhouse.

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Last but not least – I covered four of my strawberry beds, they are flowering very well and some small strawberries are already there. I just don’t want to share them with the birds.

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The mason bees are doing what they are supposed to do, it is wonderful to see that.

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THE END OF APRIL

I had a great day on the allotment today. The weather is good – so far –  and I managed to finish sowing my carrots, beetroot and parsnips. The rest of my leeks are also in the ground – last year I managed to grow just 3 leeks, all the others failed. I am more than making up this year.

Another first is my celeriac. I have only tried once in the past and failed. This year I think is the year where I’m determined to succeed.

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The tomatoes and aubergines are doing very well in the greenhouses….

…and strawberries and my fruit trees are in flower.

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Plenty to keep the mason bees happy.

DALEFOOT COMPOST

I needed to re-pot some of my tomato seedlings.  They were in pots with my new Dalefoot compost, the one called “double strength”. I was very pleasantly surprised how well the roots were formed.

 

These two tomato plants are now very happy in the greenhouse and many more will soon be ready to be moved. I’m delighted with the product and will be getting some more again.

A NEW WAY OF GROWING

Last week we went to visit our eldest son in the Lakes. As usual I did a bit of gardening there, weeding and cutting down old dry viburnum tree and, as the highlight of my stay, visited a nearby farm. I did read about them and heard about their produce but seeing it for myself was something else.

The farm is Dalefoot, they are in Heltondale and produce a large range of compost.

 

This particular compost is very good for growing tomatoes so I transplanted my seedlings into that. It says that it needs much less watering and I don’t have to feed it anymore. It is a winner on all fronts.

JUST WAITING…

….for the spring to start. The new greenhouse is ready, everything in place so now I shall just close the door and try to be patient.

Perhaps I might get a new thermometer just to be perfect….

The grow rings are in place and this time the motto is – more is less. Last year the old greenhouse resembled a jungle as I tried to cram in as many tomato plants as I could. They grew ever so well – perhaps too well, they got leggy and in the end I didn’t have any more fruit anyway. Well, we learn by mistakes….