Sunday, July 29, 2012

Vegetable garden update.

It's been a week or two since I last posted photos of how the vegetable garden is doing, so here they are. 

In short, everything is growing nicely, with the exception that we've noticed some browning on our potato plant leaves. If it's blight, it'd be a bit of a disaster. Fingers crossed that it's not!

Most of the work on the allotment has been carried out by Clare, who has been keeping on top of the weeding, and doing essential work such as thinning out the carrots.

Our carrot bed / jungle has gotten to the point where it needs to be thinned out, so last week we did just that, and picked a decent amount. 

We ate about half of them, and Clare has frozen the others (to be used as soup mix).

Our parsnips are getting bigger and bigger, but don't need to be thinned out - but I'm really curious to see exactly how well they've grown for us! 

I'll just have to be patient...

Our celery has been a resounding success. We've harvested a good deal of it, and Clare transplanted the younger plants into the spaces the older ones used to occupy. 

Some of the celery has grown so well that it went to seed. This hasn't stopped us using it, however. 

Clare has frozen out portions of it, mixed with the carrots we thinned out, for use as soup mix. 
Our onions are close to being harvested, but I'm inclined to give them another while longer to let them get a little bit bigger. Then we'll have to decide on where to hang them to dry!

Not really much to be said about our lettuce bed - they're all coming along nicely. Towards the front is our "little gem" variety, then chard and "butterhead" varieties.

At the back, our garlic really hasn't grown that much, but it's still alive, which is something. 

We've harvested most of our first crop of lettuces from the "square" bed, and Clare has replaced these with younger ones. Between the lettuce, spring onions are growing well.

The potato bed is also doing well, but there's still no sign of the potatoes flowering. 

Our beetroot was thinned out a while back, they've a lot of growing to do yet.

In front of them, the couple of corn plants are growing well. 

At the front of the bed, the swedes are doing just fine. 
Our peas have really come into their own, and are cropping heavily. Most of the peas are then consumed by my son Thomas, who delights in popping open the pods to devour the sweet peas inside. Next year, I'll definitely have them climbing up chicken wire, as the garden twine is sagging slightly under the weight of the plants. 

The slow progress of the bean plants continue! They really seem to be proverbial late bloomers, and are now in danger of being overtaken by the peas we planted alongside them (when we thought that the beans weren't going to grow!).

Our courgette plants are growing well, and have started to flower and produce fruit! I was delighted by this positive development, as it shows that they've taken to the soil. The flowers are lovely too, and add a dash of colour the the predominance of the green and brown in the allotment. 

The yellow courgette flower.

In the absence of purple sprouting broccoli, which we haven't yet been able to get a hold of, we've planted some chard in the bed instead.  

To the rear of the bed, the white sprouting broccoli is coming along well, but we'll need to keep a close eye on it to prevent it from bolting. 

To the right, you can see our leeks are growing well. (no photo of the bed though).
Our brassicas have grown huge in the last couple of weeks! 

As I'm missing a photo of our leek bed, it can be seen to the left of the photo. They're now substantially thicker than they were when we planted the out.

Finally, as always, a picture of how the allotment currently looks. Gone is the vast triangle of brown! 

At the homestead:
Most of this years crop of strawberries has now been eaten, either by Thomas or by slugs. The strawberry plants are now sending out runners, which I'll have to plant into soil. Next year, hopefully most of these will become established plants, increasing our crop. With Isabelle being able to eat them, we'll need the extra fruit!

Our blackcurrants have finally turned black, and while they're still a little hard, they're just about ready to eat. 
The berries themselves have grown far larger than I expected them to.

Our four chili plants have produced abundant amounts of fruit, which are eventually turning from green to red. When they do, I pick them off, to encourage more to grow. 

I then put them in a container and leave them in the hot press to air dry. After a couple of months, when they're totally dried out, I blend them into chili flakes. I've repeated this process for a few years now. 

That's it for this update. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

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