Sunday, 2 August 2015

Here I am, computer restored and ready for show and tell

Firstly BIG APOLOGIES for those who have commented, I have been truly absent and will now reply. Thank you for taking time to comment.

I have had a great big blogging hiatus, partly because our allotment took all my free time in the spring and then my computer stopped running the picture editing programme I am using. Hmph! It is now fixed thanks to Elf Husband and I can blog again. I have lots of things to show you all and since everything is slightly wonky in this end what you get and when will be a bit random. The picture above is from the one and only truly warm week we had in the beginning of July. I had to take my bird's nest hat from Tanzania in use while gardening.

In the allotment news I used much of the spring building up the allotment and getting rid of the rubbish. I gave a lick of wood preservative for the shed, so it also matched the greenhouse attached to it.

We built lids for our coldframe, which was there when we took over the allotment, but obviously not much use without the lids. I now have a whole new appreciation for the coldframe and am
SO grateful that I have one. I use it beyond the normal season to grow constant flow of salad seedlings, extra peas and root veggies.

All the pictures are at least one month old, so what you see here is far bigger now. The picture above is from June. The herb bed looked like this a month ago:

You see how the French tarragon has taken off and is for the world domination. It came from a friend's garden via our old garden and is according to my friend in better shape than the mother plant. In the other end is my mint collection and in the left bottom corner my new chives, which I grew from seed. The greens in front of the blue box is oregano, also raised from seed and in the back thyme is flowering.

The concrete path marks the separation of my neighbour's and our allotment. I have planted scented plants along the path, here it is chamomile. In the picture is part of our strawberry plot and a couple of ferny whisks of asparagus. The black currant bushes on this side of the tunnel were heavy with berries and Elf Son and I harvested about 6 litres of berries this week. They are still young bushes, so I assume that in coming years I will get more.

on the other side of the tunnel lavender takes over:

The tunnel looked like this a month ago. We had a slow start in the spring and especially cucurbits suffered and died as I moved them into the tunnel far too early.  We are normally past night frosts after second week in May, but had some really chilly biting nights this June. We are getting both tomatoes and cucumbers, but slightly later than anticipated. I am not sure that our peppers and chillies make it this year, but so much depends on the autumn. A warm, mild autumn can prolong growing season here immensely.

I like making my work as easy as is possible ans thus make use of companion planting. I always plant my cabbages and kales with nasturtiums. When I have had kales without their pretty flower companion they don't seem to thrive as well. It also keeps weeds down.

This is how kale bed looked in June:

...and this is a shot of the abundance now:

I had a great "Monty Don" moment when I used twigs to support the pea plants in the spring. They looked nice and kept pigeons from pecking the pea shoots.

Great, I thought, I've done it and it was easy. After a few weeks my peas started to look a bit sad with holes in them. I thought that flea beetles had had their fill and took it easy. Certainly the mini critters could not touch that size of plants I assumed as they were well under way. Unfortunately the peas did not seem to grow, actually they were shrinking! Look:

The day came when I realised what was going on; sparrows, unlike the pigeons, don't think twigs as any hindrance. They rejoiced my arrangement of feeding platforms to the delicious pea shoot buffet.

I don't like netting any of my plants if I can avoid it. I happily share our strawberries with the birds as long as they leave some for us. (Although the slugs annoy me carving the strawberries into inedible baubles. I hope that the birds take some of them too!) I did end up with a huge pea cage as otherwise there would not have been a single pea to eat. This again is from May, the cage is now choc-a-block with peas. The tepee supports runner beans.

I will come back with new pictures soon. I think I stopped taking pictures as I could not do anything with them.

I will also write what I have been doing since the garden went into its  mid-summer hiatus, you know when everything has been planted and there is very little to harvest. We have now entered the harvest season, so writing will be in between the bottling and freezing and eating, hmmm, eating all the lovely vegetables.

In addition to the edibles, I made a cutting garden in the shed end of the allotment and am now enjoying fresh flowers in the house and binding and giving bouquets to my friends. Bliss! You can see the beginnings in the shed picture. An early morning picture from July:

The wilderness against the wall is perennial sweet peas. They are in full bloom now, I promise to show!

If you have pictures and stories of your garden, leave a link in comments. I love to see other people's gardens both in real life and on the net.

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