Friday, 27 July 2012

Pulling Onions - harvest time

Something took me out into the garden today... As I've observed I have been pretty lax recently in focusing on it as I should for various reasons.  It's actually quite depressing when you realised you've let it slide; I hope this is a kick up the backside that I need to get back into it.

Anyway, MASSIVELY overgrown grass not-with-standing, the garden has done OK without me; the potatoes are pretty ruined (as most people's are) and I seriously doubt I will be getting any yield from them at all, but as has been observed all along, the Onions and Shallots have gone great guns.

So, in a sudden fit of energy, I pulled my fork out of the (cobweb-locked) shed and decided to pull up the Karmen Red Onions.

The bed with the onions ready for pulling

These onions have died off, without any green stem left; I am reliably informed this means they are ready for pulling.

I have inserted the fork underneath the root system and lifted carefully. This was very easy and there was very little resistance.

My make-shift collection device with all the Red onions dug out.

On first inspection there is only one onion damaged; it appears to have been eaten by some insect or slug.

The empty bed, ready for something else (probably the peppers that are in pots currently.

Stuttgarter Giant Onions; these are still quite green so I am only going to dig a couple up, and will keep an eye and pull them when the green dies down more.

They're not very "Giant" are they!

Red Sun Shallots, again probably not QUITE ready in the main. I dug the one top right in the picture.

There is a clump of shallots, I'm quite pleased by this as one shallot has turned into 5 - an obvious and rewarding return on planting the damn things.

My harvest; these are now out in the sun drying though I am sorely tempted to make something with them this weekend.

So there you are, another harvest from the garden; not epic but it proves the point. With bigger beds and an organised planting schedule it would be quite easy to provide all your onion needs from quite a small area.

It is important to remember, however, that onions should be planted in a strict rotation policy as diseases and parasites will build up from one year to the next in soil.  There may be some good tricks (digging in well rotted compost) to renew the soil but everything I have seen says to definitely move your onions around your plot and don't return for at least 4 years.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

I have chillis fruiting!

Just a very brief update today, as I have not been well so have not been doing much around the garden.

I noticed today that two lovely looking chillis are growing on the plant which I used the cotton wool buds on.

There are three other flowers which have opened too, and another few still to bloom. And a couple of old flower heads that still have time to develop into fruit.

I'm quite excited by this.

There are no more tomatoes to report on, but I have seen that my second lot of lettuce has already started to sprout.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Artificial Insemination (of chillis)

I have been told many times that I will need to artificially inseminate my chilli plants with a little cotton wool bud so I decided, having looked at the flowers for a long time, to get round to it finally. These are the only four flowers that I have so far, though I have loads and LOADS of buds just waiting to turn into flowers.

The flowers are in there somewhere, honest.

The aim is to rub the cotton bud inside each flower and spread the love between the flowers

Don't be shy getting the tip right in there.

Hopefully now I'll have some nice chillis developing. I will continue to do this as more flowers show themselves.

Here's to really hot food, with my own chillis.

I know I said I'd not put pictures on here just for the sake of it, but the following photo of an apple on the tree is gorgeous (if I say so my self) and shows just how well they are doing, on this first year planted tree.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Planting my second batch of Lettuce

Last night I finally got round to doing something that I have wanted to do for a week or so now; I have planted out a second batch of Lettuce.

The lettuce that is currently growing is just so tasty I am sure I will run out of the two planters that I have currently got.

I have used one of the planters I got from freecycle, filled it partially with the tonne of soil I bought for the potatoes (more on those later) and then topped off with potting compost.

I then made seven little holes with the best manual dibber in the business - my index finger.

Into each of these holes I dropped 1 or 2 seeds from the pack.

Seeds safely covered with compost, I have also put these little plastic covers to stop any birds from stealing the seedlings; lesson learned from my carrot experience.

Fingers crossed I have another really good harvest from this second planting. You can see the other lettuce in the background of the last picture above.

Around the rest of the garden, I have a taken a few pictures of various parts of the garden for progress reports.

Stuttgarter Giant Onions with seed pods on the upright ones; still not harvested ANY of my onions, starting to think I should pull one at least and see what it is like; maybe this weekend?

Karmen Red Onions again with seed pods

Red Sun shallots. These also have seed pods; I wasn't expecting them to do this but then, this is all an adventure of learning.

Casablanca Garlic growing well still. I have tasted this and it tastes of Garlic. Which is good.

The parsnips are growing quite well now...

... unlike the carrot bed which is slowly reverting to wilderness again :( dug with SUCH back breaking effort in the spring, and with zero productivity to show for it; another important lesson.

The potatoes in the background, looking very sorry for themselves, and the cabbage in the foreground, also looking slightly bedraggled and slug-eaten.

Some of the cabbage is doing ok, but a large amount of it has been eaten.

The sweetcorn is still growing, but not shooting up like I expected.

No extra photos of tomatoes for you this week, but I do have TWO small tomatoes growing, and loads more flowers ready to turn into them.

Anyway, I'll be back again soon with another installment.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Flowers on my Chilli Plant

I have been thinking and the last few blog posts have been more suitable for a Photography blog rather than a Gardening blog, and I want this to be a Gardening blog.  So I have created myself a flickr account and will put all my photographs on there, with this blog refocusing on how things are growing.

Please do go across to my flickr and be impressed by my pictures if you want; I've put a link in my toolbox on the right --->

Anyway, back to the business of this blog.

Flowers on my chilli plant

The Chilli plant on the bedroom window sill is the first to flower! There are three flowers open, and a number of other buds looking like they are ready to go for it.

On inspection the three downstairs in the patio window are also looking very close to bursting open too.  This is very exciting as my mate at work has been eating his chillis for several weeks now.

This fellow has been a regular visitor to my garden, and is fearless, allowing me to get very close before even looking up. This was taken with a zoom lens, though, as he was happily pecking away and cleaning himself.

This is why I chase cats out of my garden; they kill birds.

Evidence of another visitor. I have a family of Blackbirds living in the trees who often hop around the patio and grass.

So, that is it for today.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Did some weeding, took some pictures

Today the weather has been much much nicer.

I woke at about 6am needing the toilet and just caught the sun coming up out the front of the house.

The view from out of my bedroom window this morning

I have then taken advantage of the weather to go into the front garden, around the pond, and clear some of the nastier weeds (I don't want to destroy the wilderness feel, but these purple flowered things are a real pain in the arse around the garden; they get EVERYWHERE).

I filled three wheelbarrows with weeds, pulled up by the roots but sadly leaving a lot of matting behind.

This is a picture of the complex root system of this particular weed; it is so multi-coloured and the fine filaments spread everywhere and, without removing all the stones, it is really hard to eradicate.

After spending about 45 minutes clearing, I decided to take the new camera around the garden, and the following pictures are the outcome.

Arty farty shot looking across the pond to the bench.

A brightly coloured leaf that caught my eye.

An old rabbit cage at the front corner of the property; the smell from all the pine needles that have collected in this area is delightful.

The external tomato conglomeration.

Yellowed old growth on one of the external tomato plants

Slightly battered looking, but still thriving; an external Chilli plant.

Chive Flowers

The apple tree, very fruitful...

Detail of one apple.

(click to see this in close up... you'll be pleased you did!) a spiders web with a fly caught in it, on the apple tree.

Seed pods on the Shallots arching over the grass, and some more of the interesting purple flowers.

Shrubbery growing across in front of the long shed.

Looking back a bit further towards the house.

A seed pod, very like a dandelion head, but not a dandelion.

A fern type thing growing out of a crack in a tree in the front garden.

I have no idea what this is, but isn't it pretty.

Another very pretty cloud of flowers on a bush along the front of the front garden, on the road side. The smell from all the flowers as you walk past this section of the garden is incredible.

Another of these really pretty flowers.

A beautiful spread of cornflowers(?) by the front gate - I can't shut the gate now obviously.

What are these? I feel I should know this...

The dead cedar tree in the front garden (taken with my lying totally flat on my back)

The excretions of some insect or other, foamed onto a plant branch.

Seed pods ready to burst and spread their burden.

An insect on a flower, having a nice long drink.

Close up of external tomato plant flowers, with a casing of some sort attached to the leaf in the foreground. Question: should I remove these casings? Are they caterpillars, and when they hatch will they eat all my plants?

This picture is taken with a zoom, standing in the patio doors.

Just before I took this picture, a robin was perched eating the berries. It flew off and didn't return all afternoon :(

The cabbage patch, taken with the zoom again, standing in the patio doors.

I have one other picture to upload from this set (ANOTHER, I hear you cry?! Haven't you put enough on this post) but I have run out of space on this blog! Apparently you only get 1GB of storage on Picassa for free. So while I wait for my upgrade to come through (all of $2.99 a month) I will be unable to put any more pictures on here.