Sunday, 24 July 2011

You win some, you lose some

A trip to Ireland, then Milton Keynes (this girl knows how to travel!) and bad weather intertwined with bouts of illness equals very little time spent in the garden over the past few weeks.

Came back from Ireland to find that something had eaten all the leaves off my carrots despite the use of netting and some slug pellets! Still over the past few weeks my pea pods have appeared, the sweetcorn is flowering and I've been able to eat my own broccoli, rhubarb and some teeny weeny beetroot (well, I had to thin them out so one or two small ones have made their way into my salad for tea).  The broccoli wasn't huge, but enough for me in a meal, and there's still some florets coming on the plants.

Looking forward to eating some of these straight from the pod
Weeny beet; grated on a salad they're...
Really delighted to see the peas coming on though; considering I got nothing at all from planting dwarf beans seeds.............I wonder if mice got to them?  Haven't seen any holes in the soil though.

Managed to strim a third of the field before the bad weather came in a couple of weeks ago (it is July isn't it?!! sure it's not October?) and now I keep looking at the rest of it growing and waiting for a chance to get out with the brushcutter again. I was hoping the weather would be kinder this month so I could keep on top of the strimming. Ah well sometimes you just feel like you're losing the battle.....but I will win the war!

at least it's not brambles and thistles this year

still got access to the shed........just about!
The Plympton Pippin apple tree that had the frost damage seems to be none-the-worse so far. I've wrapped up the damaged area using a piece of that fibrous material you use to line hanging baskets with.  It's good for retaining water, which will help the scar to heal.  One of the Sunset apple trees got attacked by Blackfly and several of the leaves were curling in and wilting as a result and it generally looked tired and poorly!  There was only one thing for it.....the bug spray I'm afraid!  I try not to use chemicals on the garden but every now and then I don't feel I have a choice.  If anyone knows of any other non-chemical way of getting rid of Blackfly from an apple tree I'd really be interested to hear about it.

A couple of weeks ago I bought some herbs from People and Gardens who are based where I work;  Basil, Lemon Basil, Purple Basil, Sage, Thyme and Oregano.  I've planted them in the bed with the cauliflowers in, as most of the caulis died off and left me with some space to fill. I haven't had much success with herbs in pots for some reason so I'm hoping they'll do well in the bed.  So far everything seems to be surviving. I also bought a pumpkin plant and a courgette plant and planted in the same bed.  The pumpkin has already started to spread along the bed but it shouldn't interfere with the herbs and both are flowering nicely.  Once the fruits start to show I'll mulch around them to keep the moisture in the ground.

Today was a goo day for getting out in the garden so it was time to attack the weeds that have grown up along the path into the garden and the Alpine bank I'm trying to create as you enter.  An accidental dislodging of a stone on the bank revealed an ants nest.  Talk about frantic! Operation 'Rescue The Eggs' kicked in instantly and I was so fascinated to watch them that I just had to record a little of the highly coordinated recovery plan!

Oh and I almost forgot to mention - I was surprised and delighted to discover recently that my two surviving cauliflowers have grown hearts! Brilliant - I thought I'd failed on that one.  Fingers crossed they grow a bit bigger. I read somewhere that it's a good idea to bend the leaves over the hearts to keep them white, so I've done that today and I'll be keeping a close eye on them - the Cabbage White butterflies are hanging around - time to get more fleece I reckon.


Anonymous said...

Try planting Marigolds (particulary African) or some wild garlic around the apple trees to fend off Blackfly. The poweful scent emitted by the marigolds has been known to repel the little blighters (I know its worked on roses). This technique of 'companion planting' as it's known, may work and, if it don't, it will still look and smell nice and be totally organic. Might be worth a shot. Anon AKA 'Bigger Little Bro':)

Sensory Dragon said...

Thanks for the handy tip BLB! brilliant idea; Marigolds would look great around the base of the trees. I've only got French Marigold seeds - too late to do anything with them this year - but I might pop down to the garden centre and see if they've got any in flower at the moment.