Got a Garden?

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by RustyStuff, May 31, 2015.

  1. gmk999

    gmk999 ____ as a Rotax

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    Done!!.. I do winter rye late in October and turn it in the spring, also a lot of lime just before the freeze., I get a white fungus on my squash and cukes late in the summer. they tell me that lime is the cure but three seasons now and can’t shake it. We will see in a month or so. Wait... did you hear that??.. sounds like lettuce is popping up already. LOL:clap
    #41
  2. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I make lots of compost because I can't bear to take all the grass clippings and stuff to the tip. It does tend to come out a bit acid if I don't sweeten the pile with a hand full of lime.
    Some plants like raspberries prefer the lower pH, some, like brassicas really want it alkali.
    A soil test kit is cheap enough and will give you some idea if you have enough lime. It will vary all ove your plot.
    What sort of lime do you use? Here, as its very intensive agriculture, there is dolomitic limestone - grey crushed rock powder - everywhere, even in the smallholder suppliers. Where I used to live, you could only get hydrated lime, which is a horrid white powder which is not as effective or for so long.

    As for the mildew - Well, they all do that, Sir!
    Our courgettes and cuccs usually have spots of it too, doesn't seem to hurt productivity at all. Last year we had to give away over half our production or toss it on the compost.
    The squash/cucc family are big feeders, they need a lot of compost to keep the system going and healthy.

    Dirty fingers rule.
    #42
  3. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

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    The first pickling cuke's of the summer! I counted 35 small ones, and another 30 or so flowers. :eek1 Going to make Bread and Butter pickles out of them.

    [​IMG]

    This may be one of the most productive garden's I've ever had. I guess I will have to buy in a dump truck of compost and manure next year if I want to built a big in ground. Our native desert soil sucks.
    #43
  4. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Desert huh?
    Fenland here is a couple of metres below sea level, which is about 15 miles away on a good day.
    There is always a bit of moisture, but the top few inches can get dry. We have been using mulch on lots of out beds this year, and the ground is always cool and damp if the mulching is thick enough - minimum 2-3".
    If you haven't seen it yet, this is what prompted me to be a bit more adventurous.
    http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/how-to-grow-an-organic-garden.html
    Lots of vids and blogs from others endorsing the idea if not always the philosophy stuff behind it.

    Our local handyman drops off a truck load of chippings whenever it's convenient ie we are between his home and the job. If we had a trailer (and a hitch) we could go collect from lots of places too.

    This is UK we get rain in winter, and Fenland is made of drained bog. We have made our paths out of the chips too. Otherwise it takes longer to get the mud off your feet than picking the produce. Smells nice too - this current lot is pine, before that eucalytus - so very clear sinuses.
    #44
  5. ibbob

    ibbob Been here awhile

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    The rain has been hard on everything round here. Over a foot and only 4 dry days in June. Weeds barely grew but I've still got some catching up to do
    #45
  6. RustyStuff

    RustyStuff Long timer Supporter

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    I've been chipping up brush and tree's lately, I'll have to try this with the chips.

    Made 2 quarts of pickles yesterday. I'm getting about 3 pickleing cukes a day and 2 slicers off each plant.
    #46
  7. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    What happened to all the gardeners?
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  8. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Been busy!

    After 7 weeks of heat and humidity, the weather broke yesterday and it is down to 13C. 7 weeks with only 3mm of rain - so lots of watering. In the last 24 hrs, we have had 40mm when I came down this morning, but it is still raining, so expecting more.

    Maris peer new potatoes all out. Good crop and nice creamy eating. We are have also been hen sitting until tomorrow, so lots of eggs.
    Made a fritata entirely from the eggs and our veg. Really nice.

    About half way through the Hurst Greenshaft pea crop. A great pea, but we have had a few pea moth so makes shelling them a bore. The Alderman will be coming later so may miss the blighters.

    We have harvested all the broad beans, and the runners are looking good, covered in flower although only half way up the pole. As of yesterday we had 1, 1\2" long pod.
    Red Rum (after a famous English race horse) this year after two disappointing years with Scarlet Emperor. Probably poor quality seed. Before we moved, a guy in the old village bread runner beans and his seed was always excellent.
    I'm not a fan of French pole beans. The smaller bush varieties seem more versatile, and can be put in anywhere there is space. I only really like the fillet podded ones, they make a nice salad too, as well as lightly cooked with lemon and chopped garlic.
    Apparently many people are having difficulties getting the beans to germinate and grow. Certainly our experience with the bush type.
    We visited a wholesale nursery local to us. They sell off the over stocks, and the guy was saying the same. He had bush beans, but only in the larger podded purple variety - not my favourite, look a bit grey on the plate. We have direct sown some fillet type at the rear of one of the raised beds. Fingers crossed.

    Until yesterday the tomatoes were doing very well. When it stops, I'll go out and look. Up here we can be prone to blight - last three years we had to cull all the haulms on the potatoes, and eventually the tomoatoes succumbed by September.
    The Gardeners Ecstasy were good, a couple starting to ripen, the Ukraine Purple and Amish Paste had fruit. The large Marmande type have been slow.
    We can only grow aubgergine in a green house here - we have three plants and lots of flower that looks pollinated. Outside peppers are iffy, we try, we'll see. The green house ones look fine.

    Garlic out and drying in the green house, the banana shallots are looking good, but the round ones stopped and keeled over. I dug them out yesterday. The bulbs all look healthy, but only a few are swollen enough for use - without the now withered leaves they won't grow any more, so onto the compost.

    Roots are looking OK, two new rows of carrot, Autumn Harvest and Amsterdam Forcing, a bit of a trial. Beetroot came up and we have been eating our way through it. Parsnip seeds are still trying to germinate in the greenhouse, but swede is off. We missed the time for celeriac, we like it in winter, a more refreshing flavour, in soups, roast or boiled or just raw, finely grated and served up like a carrot salad - a remoulade in French.

    Courgette, pumpkns and cucumbers all off and taking over down at the bottom. This year we are trying a melon, unless the weather picks up, it will go the way of most efforts with the fruit in this country, failure.

    We planted a new plum tree over the winter. Seems to have settled in. There are even TWO plums on it. The supposedly Bramley Seedling, while still alive isn't thriving. The late frost we had over much of Europe took the blossom and potential fruit off many different fruit trees. We have no apples at all. Some wine areas are devastated.

    Composting continues. The ride on died, that gave us most of the greens - the alternative push mower was a bit of a slog. Saw an ex-demonstrator on ebay, from a proper Hondagarden place. The offered us half what we paid for it, a 1999, and 1\3 off the new price for an essentially new, full warranty Honda 1211.

    Hope everyone else is coping with any setbacks and enjoying plenty of success.
    #48
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  9. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Well it rained for about 24 hours, until tea time yesterday. The rain gauge, which had been dry and dusty over the last 7 weeks, filled and over flowed. So at least two inches.
    Managed to pick about a kilo of peas (shelled) during a less rainy spell. Still plenty out there.

    The weather reports are hinting at a long slow improvement in temperatures. The delicate, to us, stuff like tomatoes won't like it. Not at all.
    #49
  10. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Sweet! Across the pond, I'm hoping to grow squash for a fall crop. I'll post pictures if I can find them...

    We are trying a hugelculture. Anyone done one of those?
    #50
  11. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    No, not tried that. We've always been organic, but only the last couple of years moved towards a sort of permaculture - once we got the 20 years of pernicious weeds and neglect sorted.
    I live in the English Fens, which was for thousands of years a huge river delta, very deep aluvial soils with a generous overlay of peat.

    I've just come in from lifting some new potatoes. The soil looks in great condition from the compost from several years ago - lots of woodchips in with the grass clippings has made the beds really light and free draining, but very water retentive.
    Wood chips have become scarce as the tree guys can get paid to take them to a biomass generator. I have also turned about a ton of "nearly" compost today. Looking promising.
    I'm thinking perhaps the woodchips and Hugelkultur have something in common.
    What plans do you have for planting your Hk bed...

    I was pleased with the yield from one plant, 3lb 14oz - tonights tea, so we'll see what the heritage variety Arran Pilot taste like.
    #51
  12. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    We had a few tiny potatoes, might have been "new potatoes". Will try again with those another time. A good majority of our current stuff is volunteers from the compost.

    Attached Files:

    #52
  13. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Not much gets out of our compost heap alive. I was checking it this morning and it is still 60C after the turn at the week end.
    It seems I spend a lot of time pulling self set potatoes out of the beds. The tiny tomatoes, I suppose come from seed the birds steal.
    The Arran Pilot were nice. But we both preferred the Maris Peer. Smooth and creamy. MOre down to texture than flavour.
    I'm not sure if there is any genetic difference between 1st earlies 2nd earlies and main crop.Usually we have a second early, for if we aretardy eating up the new potatoes, they can stay in the grpimd and become bigger - and lose the "scrapability" but I have kept them through the winter and still been eating them (with pleasure) in the spring.

    The cucumbers have kicked in, we are getting one a day, which is about right for us in summer. Trying a melon for the first time, supposed to be "difficult" in our climate.

    My partner tied in the raspberries for the first time. Autumn fruiting usually just have a wire corral and are allowed to flop about in that. But some where on the internet... We shall see.

    Now the broad beans are out, there seems to be lots of space, so we have been casting about for veggies to fill the void.
    We occasionally visit a commercial nursery. They specialise in providing plug plant for farmers and market gardeners. The overstocks get sold off to Mr and Mrs Joe Public like us. We have found that the lettuce thrives best, all perky in a day or two. We can buy 6 plugs, about a weeks supply for about 1\2 the price of a bought mixed bag. We get 6 different ones each week, to ring the changes and have a range of leaves on the plate when guests arrive.

    Another addition is the swede, or Swedish turnip, went in along with celeriac and celery - all need lot of water. Hose at the ready. Both of the first two are winter to spring cropping, with the celery should be ready in November.
    #53
  14. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    I'm not sure I've ever had a compost pile that's "hot".

    But here's a melon!..
    IMG_20170910_130052.jpg


    ... And an avocado tree in front of said melon ...
    IMG_20170910_130219.jpg
    #54
  15. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Looks like your melon will get to edible size, very nice looking and healthy - ours just took too long to get growing. There are about half a dozen fruits on the vine, but the largest is about the size of a lemon. We are going to put a sheet of glass in front, hopefully to keep it growing to err... fruition.
    The neighbours whose chickens we look after, brought back some seeds from the states. We were a bit dubious. One was a blue or purple sweet corn which was a failure, almost no growth, barely 2 ft tall and the cobs had about 20 kernels between them - we made the rookie mistake of planting them next to our regular sweetcorn, and they may have cross pollinated slightly - the normal stuff has the odd blue kernel.
    The other seeds were for lemon cucumber. again we had little expectation of cropping and little hope of success. Reality has proved us wrong, again. Huge vegetation and even a few fruits. We wonder if it requires a pollinator not common here? Anyway the plant has filled a (big) space and looks very healthy - and bonus is the round cucs are extremely nice. Will do again next year - and will try a different location. Our regular cucs, probably suspecting the rivalry, have produced their socks off - our neighbours now run when they see us coming with bags...
    I cropped the Kuri pumpkins yesterday and they are hardening off in the greenhouse. Other cucurbit news, the courgettes continue to produce.

    Tomatoes have been excellent after the slow start to summer. Best variety has been Ukraine Purple, delicious and very early compared to all the others. Gardeners Ecstasy is our new favourite cherry, displacing and out producing Sweet Millions. Flavour is almost indistinguishable between the two.
    The large ribbed Marmande type (grown from seeds first collected several years ago in southern France) has made lots of crop but the slow start is leaving lots still on the vine, yet to ripen. We have blight warnings fairly often, fingers crossed no evidence yet! My view is that being in the ground and our new permaculture regime is helping.

    Runner beans still cropping heavily, as are the French bush beans.

    Winter kale and January King cabbage are all in and just starting to make big leaves. Hopefully the cabbage butterflies will be gone as I haven't seen any for a day or two (which also signals the start of autumn and colder, wetter days and nights) so the netting can come off.

    We have already started making lists of seeds to get for next year. We do over winter garlic and broadbans, they will be the first sowings for 2018. If you don't count the leeks and brassicas that seemingly have been around for ages.

    The warmish wetish weather this summer has resulted in lots of grass clippings. I have dried lots to use as mulch over winter and into next year, but the compost I have made from the rest seems good. Main problem is it getting too hot. My new thermometer showing internal temps of 70C. Oops. Time to turn - at least the seeds and pathogens will be really dead!
    #55
  16. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    Nick, you mentioned beans?
    IMG_20170910_130140.jpg
    I let them get overgrown, they're a cover crop and for nitrogen fixing. I don't know the variety, but I literally had one as long as my arm the other day.

    Someone was asking about hugelculture, here's the hill as it sits now...
    IMG_20170910_130201.jpg

    I don't think it's even 4 feet tall, but it's starting to perform a bit better than a flat garden. Next year I'll plan it a bit better, and this fall I'll see if the melon is a problem on the slope. I hope to use the height to help make harvesting easier (less bending), but I'm pretty sure the buried logs have already absorbed enough water to provide a great source for the plants on the hill, once their roots hit that depth.

    I would LOVE to get success with pumpkins!
    #56
  17. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I have seen what we would call French beans like that - I think the variety was spagetti or similar. Just checking on that and found these.

    upload_2017-9-12_17-52-30.jpeg
    Chinese long beans (also called Chinese green beans, yardlong beans, and chopstick beans)
    Sounds good - cooked with chilli and soy sauce.

    I grew some purple teepee which are supposed to be a drawf/bush variety, but the stems are all folded as if they wanted/needed supports to grow up.

    I think I mentioned that we have started on a programme of permaculture. I started up with doubts, but the results this year have been pleasing.
    Our method is to no dig, but to broad fork. Any previous crop is cut off flush and left, to return any nutrients to the soil. Then spread about 2 inches of compost on top of that. The sowing/planting in always fresh compost and is supposed to reduce disease, and the stronger more vigorous plants are better able to deal with disease and pests.
    Obviously it needs a lot of compost, but it is fairly easy to make. Another advantage is that proper compost is sterile. The temps created by the bacterial activity - up to 70C in my case - but aiming for 60 - 65C kills any pathogens and seeds from weeds and dropped fruits will be rendered un-viable.
    The 7 raised beds are not totally weed free, but even leaving one partially uncovered/uncropped, only the sorts of air born weeds appear.
    I currently have 3x 2.5 meter bays, nearly a meter high and in total, 5 meters wide. I'm hoping that will be enough for next year.

    We went out today, and thought maybe if we could give the melons some protection, maybe they would get large enough to eat. A friend offered us an old glass table top, but it was too narrow. The local "everything" shop had some glass reclaimed from old dutchlight glass houses on sale at £1 each. After washing the disgusting smell off, we have fashioned a sort of lean-to against the fence. We shall see.

    We are in for a spell of cool, wet and windy weather, the tail end of Harvey or Irma probably. The cold nights, single figure C, mean that the tomatoes don't even start to think about ripening until noon, then its starting to get cool again.
    On a veg forum, a guy was saying he had 25 kgs of fruit. I think we have had twice that easily. Lots of sauce in the freezer, plus lots eaten in meals, not to mention the snacking.

    I think I will be making a pile of bhuna sauce tomorrow (foul weather predicted). I made a lamb bhuna in the week and it was so easy, and also used up lots of garden produce like the dozens of peppers, onions and all the garlic and chillis. The spices I already have.
    Freeze the sauce on its own in 4 person batches, freeze after the first heating - once thawed, add the meat, fish or vegetables and cook until that is done.
    Really simple to do, and more output for little extra work. For when you fancy a curry but can't be bothered.
    I may make extra to use up the last of the aubergines and "patio" peppers for tomorrows supper.
    #57
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  18. Trust

    Trust but verify

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    #58
  19. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    We are having a few decent days after a week of cold and wet. Surprisingly, out tomatoes are still holding on in there. I have cut off all the leaves, and they look a bit strange - sticks with various shades of green blobs on them.

    We attempted to gather all the cucumbers this morning. Still about a dozen left that will be ready next week. Courgettes still producing. Lots of French beans to pick, but the runners I think we over glutted on them earlier in the year and neither of us is showing great enthusiasm to harvest.
    Raspberries still abundant and the strawberry plants big and bushy again after their mid summer chop.
    The asparagus is still big frothy and green - usually by now it is turning. Promising for next year.

    We are spending lots of time trying to plan for next year, and trying to fill out a couple of beds for the winter. Salad of which there is a surprising variety that will normally survive our winters, even if they need fleece. And the normal winter crops, leeks and a range of brassicas.
    We have our garlic ordered along with broad beans and shallots.

    The melons we bought almost as a joke, earlier in the year but far too late are soldiering on. We have rigged up a coup of sheets of green house glass over them to keep the warmth in. The look surprisingly healthy.
    #59
  20. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    My partner went out and dealt with the French beans. 1 1/2 kgs.
    She sped off to the neighbours with them and some tomatoes and cucs. Fortunately they are having house guests for next few days, so they will be able to use them.

    As we have everyday since July, tonight we will munch on a large bowl of raspberries each, dollop of yoghurt and down they go.
    #60
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