Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Staking out the sweetcorn

After a couple of weeks of thinking about it, I finally got round to staking out the sweetcorn, some of which was starting to look a little wobbly.

None of the plants have fallen over, but a couple are leaning quite dramatically.

You can see in the background of this picture that some of the weeds had been overgrowing slightly too. I have inserted the stake ready for attaching too.

The sweetcorn plant is now much more stable, and is no longer impacting the smaller plant next to it

I am using little plastic hoops bought from Wilkinsons for a couple of pence each. These are also what I have used when staking my tomato plants.

All the plants are now staked, and I have pulled back the overgrowing seeds. There is still some work to be done clearing the little weeds around the base of the plants, but none of these are too big right now

The sweetcorn forest.

So, a practical post. If any of you are growing sweetcorn I'd be really happy to see pictures, and maybe post them on here, including any other hints you may have.


Picking Blackberries

I have been admiring the developing bloom of blackberries that have been spreading around the edges of my garden and yesterday, with the sun finally shining in this summer, I decided to go round and harvest as many as I could reach.

A cluster of berries waiting to be harvested

Loadsa berries!

And again

I don't have a photograph, but I had to get my ladders out to reach these fruits as they were all about 8 feet above the ground, and over a swampy area of the garden (which has become a small pond in the recent wet weather).

After about twenty minutes of gathering I had collected quite a satisfactory pile of amazingly fresh fruit

All these fruit were collected from near the car port.

I also went to the bushes by the entrance to the drive, and round near the pond, and ended up with a nearly full pot.

Blackberry bushes have natural defences though :)

So, these berries have been added to the pile still frozen from last year and I will be making another blackberry crumble in the near future.

Any other ideas for blackberry based foodstuffs please do suggest away.

One of my blogs wouldn't be complete without a picture of some tomatoes, and there are LOADS on this plant, one of my most fruitful external plants. How many tomatoes can you spot? (click the picture to see it big, as per usual)

Anyway, enjoy

Sunday, 19 August 2012

A post about Tomatoes

I'm sure there are those amongst my regular readers who will be exceptionally excited about the fact that this blog is focused entirely on tomatoes.

It is going to be a short update, however.

First of all, I was hoping someone could help me out with what this is. All of my tomato plants have this strange bobbles all over them. They are hard to touch and cover the main truss and stems.

So any advice / should I be concerned?

Secondly, I am very pleased to present this picture which shows two of the tomato plants that I gave away a few months ago, coming on very nicely, and with about 30 fruit developing well.

Thanks, Matt, for sending me the picture and allowing me to post it.

It's great to see that someone else is having a good amount of success with the plants :)

Anyway, that's it for now folks.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Digging Onions and Eating A Tomato (plus other things)

This blog post could have been split into a couple of different updates, I reckon, but I've had a busy week and haven't been able to find the time to do a post every time I've wanted to.

However, that just means that you get to enjoy this post all the more, as it has been marinating in my mind all week.

So, the first update that I could have written involves further harvesting of onions. I also went to harvest the garlic but it isn't ready yet.

This is the garlic. It is not ready for harvesting, as you can see because there is still green growth above every bulb.

The onions, however, are obviously ready as you can see from the fact the growth above ground is dead.

The onions, and one batch of shallots that I pulled, are now drying on the mat in the Living Room. I have been eating my own onions regularly this week and they taste outstanding.

The parsnips are looking pretty good - I'm not sure when I'll know they are ready though.

Some of the cabbage is looking almost cabbage shaped too - this will be tasty when I get round to it, maybe some time this week will be time for my first home-grown-cabbage-meal.

The sweetcorn is still looking good too - I may have to stake out some of it as it's getting quite tall now.

So, that was the first blog post that I could have done. It was good, wasn't it.

And here comes the second (exceptionally geeky and excited) blog post. This one is called "Eating A Tomato"

So the tomato that was starting to turn red in my last blog post was knocked off accidentally about 20 minutes after I took the photograph but I put it on the windowsill for a day and it finished ripening off nicely after a day or so.

So the next day I took my prize and joy into the office and ate it.

Oh yeah!

Me looking proud with my first tomato.

Me about to bite down into my first tomato.

Can I just say that this tomato was the nicest tomato I've ever eaten. Seriously.

I now have another tomato very close to ripe, and LOADS more across the outside plants.

I spotted this little bee flitting around pollinating my tomato flowers :) so there will be a LOAD more coming soon.

Four more tomatoes growing a-pace on some of the outside plants, taking in a super dooper arty farty way.

Chillis growing very well on the downstairs inside plants, and there are a lot of other flowers on these plants, whereas the plant on the upstairs bedroom windowsill has no more flowers unfortunately.

More flowers on the chilli plants outside, which are just about surviving the onslaught from the massive slug infestation this country is suffering under.

So there you are, two blog posts in one, aren't you lucky, and lots and LOTS of pictures.


Monday, 13 August 2012

First Red Tomato

This is a very short and very excited blog post, as I have JUST noticed, while watering the inside tomatoes, that the first tomato is now starting to turn!

So, here is a picture of it!

And here is another, slightly closer, picture

I'm keeping my eyes on the other tomatoes that are growing, and will probably post similarly excited photographs when they start to ripen.


Sunday, 12 August 2012

A burger with home grown lettuce and onion

Today my blog post is a celebratory one.  It is a blog post which contains the "why" for all the "what" and "how" that fills all the other posts.

Yesterday, I had a BBQ picnic in the back garden with my lovely girlfriend, and the onion and lettuce that we ate were grown from the very soil we were sitting on!

This is why you grow you own food; so you can eat it. This may seem like an obvious statement, but sometimes I have to remind myself.

Anyway, obviously, my camera was handy and so I took a large number of photographs of the inaugural tasting of my home grown onions (and repeat performance of the same of my lettuce) and I present them to you below.

Fresh onions, dried for the last two weeks or so on the mat by the back down, still with dirt on their outer skins

The first cut, a lovely and juicy onion it is too

Skinned and ready for slicing

Sliced and ready for dicing

Diced and ready for eating.... ok ok I'll stop now

Starting to make up the burger; home grown onions on the left, home grown lettuce (picked about five minutes at this point) on the right, and lovely super strong cheddar in the middle. I cannot wait until I am eating my own cheese and using home made barms too!

J making up her burger; Profanosaurus Rex as a plate.

The burger meat nestled perfectly on the lettuce, cheese making the base

Adding the final touch; the onion

Mmmmph mmhph mmmmph tasty!!

So there you have it. Are you hungry now?

Oh, while we were eating this I noticed a dragon fly sat on a brick so took a couple of pictures of it too

Isn't nature wonderful.

I still haven't got round to digging out the potatoes. I'm so bad.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Tomatoes, ants, a spider and a frog

Unfortunately, while the title of this blog may sound like the beginning to one of those not-very-funny jokes, it isn't.

What is IS (to the certain joy of some of my regular readers) is a blog post with multiple pictures of tomatoes.

While I was hanging the washing out today I noticed that I appear to have a large number of tomatoes suddenly appeared on the outside plants; I have no new ones on the inside one though.

So, without any further ado...

An outside tomato!

Another couple of outside tomatoes

And again

A tomato, and a chive flower


Another thing that I noticed while I was putting the washing out was about a million ants crawling and climbing everywhere, a lot of them with wings...

Yes, all those little black dots are ants... THAAAHHHSANDS of em!

While I was avoiding the ants by standing on the grass I noticed this TINY frog hopping around. We seem to have a LOT of frogs in our garden, I saw a massive one the other day when I was pulling weeds around the pond.

I saw this angle, and couldn't resist taking a picture. I like spiders as they eat horrible biting mosquitoes and dirty flies.

I know this picture isn't really that different from the update the other day, but I'm so excited by the progress on the chillis that I have another couple from the Bedroom Window Sill Plant

The largest chillis

Slightly smaller chillis starting to go for it.

And finally, the chilli plants down stairs have a fair crop going on them now too

Lots of little chillis on the downstairs plants.

So there you are, tomato updates and wildlife and chillis.

I will be digging out the tomatoes soon I think, this weekend maybe, so I'll update when I've done that.

My onions and shallots have dried very successfully by the back door just on the floor; which is good. When my cooker gets fixed I'll eat them!