Sunday, 19 August 2012

Clearing and re-planting

Runner beans
Over the weekend I've got up most of the King Edward potatoes and disposed of the plants in the bin - not wanting to add blighted material to the compost heap. I did the same with the pea plants, which had developed black spots on the leaves and remaining pods, and then died off.

That left a fair bit of space in bed one, where there are just a few French beans growing, so I dug round them and planted more French beans there and in half of the potato overflow bed. The other half has been planted with lamb's lettuce. In bed two, where the Epicure potatoes were, I've planted two rows of kale and one of rocket.

I also did a bit of scything and shearing, partly just to keep the place tidy, but mostly to feed the ravenous compost heap. I noticed some earth sticking out halfway up the heap, which I thought odd, and on investigating found that it was full of ants, so they've evidently taken up residence in the compost. I don't know if this is a good thing or not - possibly they'll stir it and keep it aerated, but possibly they'll drive away the red composting worms who do most of the work.

The runner beans are doing well, and I picked just over 6 oz for supper.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

First courgettes

First courgettes of the season
The two largest courgettes looked about ready, so I harvested them. That's 10 oz, right there. I'm going to slice them and dip them in gram-flour batter, and have them as a fried side dish to a curry. The curry includes some of the new potatoes, 1 oz of French beans from the garden, and a couple of cloves of home-grown garlic to give it a bit more oomph.

If I'd known in advance what the summer would be like, I'd have tried growing my own rice as well.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

First French and runner beans

French and runner beans
The first of the French and runner beans were just ready for my visitors this weekend, and will be eaten with Sunday lunch.

2 oz of French, 7 oz of runner beans.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Potato harvest

'Epicure' potato harvest
Today I dug up all the 'Epicure' potatoes (with Steve's help) - the first early variety whose leaves were severely blighted.

The potatoes are mostly sound, but have spots of rot on the surface and probably won't keep. I'll have to cook and freeze them.

The total weight of the crop was 14lbs 12oz.

The maincrop 'King Edwards' are less affected by blight and also haven't reached a good size yet, so I'll take a risk and leave them in the ground for a while.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Re-dug brassica bed

Brassica bed with protective chicken wire
Bed eleven had become overgrown with weeds because of the chicken wire cage I put up to keep pigeons off, and the cabbages and cauliflowers inside had bolted.

This morning I took up the cage, weeded and forked the bed, and expanded it by digging turf away around the edges. I hope this will make it easier to keep under control - previously the edge of the cage was on the grass, and it grew up inside the wire.

I planted the last of the cabbage Advantage F1, which took up two and a half rows, and filled the rest of the bed with cauliflower All Year Round.

Blighted potatoes

Epicure (L) and King Edward (R)
I dug up one of each variety of the potatoes - shown left. There were a reasonable number of spuds, but they were quite small. Unfortunately there are unmistakable signs of Potato Blight on both. One of the King Edwards was squashy and disgusting, but the rest were unblemished. All the Epicure had the beginnings of rot on the surface, but were OK in the middle. Once I knew what to look for, I went over all the plants and snipped off blighted leaves and stalks, hoping to reduce the number of spores drifting down onto the soil. I hope this will slow the effects of the disease on the crop.

I think I'll harvest them as needed now - the potatoes won't be full-size, but I won't run the risk of the whole lot being ruined. I hope.