August 2021

31st August - Hard to believe this is the last day of meteorological Summer, and e are being told it has been overall one degree warmer than usual. Hmmm, not in this part of the British Isles for sure. We have had so little sunshine that lots of crops have really suffered from the low light levels, and rain has been sporadic, meaning lots of watering needed.

Despite all this, some crops have done better than I thought they might after their dodgy beginning, and I will certainly have enough to have plenty of variety in vegetables in weeks and perhaps months to come

My new small freezer is making storing vegetables a little easier than the constant bottling of other years, although I am still making fruit jellies etc. Not everything is better frozen!

So let's see what has been in the harvest baskets this week:

First up are Cucumbers of all sorts. After a very anxious few weeks, the plants are in full production, and I pick at least three each day at the moment. On my return from a four day break, I had fifteen waiting for me!!

Now I like Fridge Pickle as much as anyone, and jars of Pickled Cucumbers for the Winter are delicious, but there are so many fruits, even after sharing them far and wide, that I have had to search for other ways to use them. I have unearthed all sorts of preserve recipes that might give a great taste of Cucumber in the colder months, so will be trying these out in the coming weeks: watch this space! Anything promising, I shall share the recipes for sure

 

Blackberries are now in their main production time, and the new freezer has enabled me to store away some portions of Blackberry & Apple, which I really enjoy with plain yoghourt. It also makes great crumble filling. I already have a couple of jars of Bramble Jelly, and aim to make a few more half size jars as gifts while the harvest is in full flow.

Some crops are pretty much all ready at the same time, like Onions. These are now all dry enough to store right through the Winter into the New Year, in nice thick paper bags in the garage. The biggest surprise has been the Red Winters. This is the first time I have grown these and what a love;y surprise they turned out to be! They are a beautiful pink, as you can see from the photo above. They really are this colour, it is not a reflection from the box! Several should have been harvested a little sooner as some have split their flesh: these will be used first as they won't keep that well.

The brown ones are Shakespeare, efinitely another one to repeat, and the large white ones were grown from seed: Ailsa Craig. These were nowhere near as good as Globo, and I have some seed of this variety for next year. I migth try them outside this time. The flatter ones are Japanese Yellow Shensyu, which I grew a few of from seed, in small clumps. I'll try the separated out next year to get larger bulbs

 

Carrots are much smaller than usual, mainly due to lack of water I suspect, but at least there are some!

Tomatoes of course were hit hard by Late Blight, but the majority of the fruit picked to ripen at home has done so, and there are several packs of Chunky Tomao Sauce with Garlic and Herbs in the new freezer, with more to follow as the last picking ripens.

I always forget to photograph the Beetroot, but here are two I pulled up this week, just for strightforward beetroot slices with salad

Other harvest this week have included Runner Beans, Lettuce, Rocket, Aubergines, Cabbage, Spring Onions, Pears and Courgettes

Out On The Plots This Week:

I have worked really hard this week, as there was suddenly so much needing doing all at once, if Winter crops are to have a chance of developing well. Suddenly Autumn is fast approaching!

A delivery of extremely well rotted manure was very welcome, as in some beds the soil need a big boost of organic matter and micro-nutrients after a hard growing season. I shall try to use it wisely. There will be plenty of compost as well, as two of the big pallet bins' contents are ready for use now. A lot of will be used for an end of season mulch before empty beds are covered, and some as a mulch for Brassicas already growing, plus of course the Onion beds will need a top up before being planted up

The Swede and Romanescu plants are all in now, and mkaing use of the old netting from the big Brassica cage, the Cavolo Nero and Scarlet Kale have a safe place to live too. A week ago these beds were knee high in weeds and the Pea support was still there. Each plant had agood helping of Chicken Manure pellets and was well puddled in, and as the dry spell continues, bith beds have a good soaking every few days to help the plant establish a good root system

Over on #145, the last of the hideously weedy beds has now been sorted, and is ready for an application of manure, prior to planting out the cauliflowers and Khol Rabi. I have a new tool ... a twist tiller... which I am hoping helps to incorporate the manure into the soil a bit. Managed to bag a £5 bargain, so hope it works!!

The Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and various Cabbages are all thriving,  but strangely there seem to be no actual Turnips forming under the leaves. They were sown weeks ago, so if they don't hurry up they will find themselves hoiked out, as the bed will be needed in a few weeks for Autumn Onion sets! Te other crops there... Japanese Greens and Pak Choi (plus Sparkler Radishes now all eaten)  are fine. Very odd

There are plenty of flowers around though, including a beautiful white Cosmos, which is doing  agood job hiding the bare bean poles where the Borlotti Beans have mostly been picked now

This is the time in the year I start to take stock of what has worked and what hasn't really done what was needed. The Strawberry tables, whilst being effective in stopping birds, and rodents from eating the berries, really don't earn their keep in the volume of fruit they produce, and so I am thinking to perhaps not grow strawberries ouside but utilise one table in the polytunnel for an early crop and use the others as staging for pot grown crops, so they are up off the ground and so warmer. This might help with really "warm-blooded" ones like Okra and Chillies. Something to consider there

Also, I acquired two more large water butts this week, and so really no longer need the bath as a water store. Usually I scrub it out around now, but I am thinking to perhaps fill it with soil and grow something in it (NOT carrots!!) maybe a T-trained grape vine, or a dwarf bush Cherry.... have to see, but whatever I plant there, that whole area needs a re-vamp this Autumn and into the Winter, as it is getting overgrown by Honeysuckle, Alchemilla and Penstemons, interspersed by Stinging Nettles, which definitely need to go!

In The Polytunnels This Week:

I came home to fifteen Cucumbers to harvest from those West Indian plants, that are rapidly making a bid for world dominance they are so massive, and since then have cut around three more each day. Luckily I have been able to give a ot away, but almost every plotholder has plenty of their own: A bumper year for them here!

The Tomatoes have all finally succumbed to Late Blight, and I have almost finished removing the plants. They are massive and it takes ages, but is essential of course. No more Tomatoes from the tunnel this year. 

There are plenty of Chillies coming along though, and the Sweet Peppers should start to ripen soon. I shall be haresting Khol Rabi in the next few days too. They look luscious, despite the chewed leaves... a Small White butterfly managed to sneak in and lay some eggs on the plants as they are right by the door, and the resulting caterpillars had a bit of a feast before I spotted them and consigned them to the shed roof for the birds. The swollen stem bases are completely unaffected though

Now that the Onions are all out, some space for Winter Crops is now available, so with another weed-over, seed sowing can happen, and the Spring Onions can be planted out too. 

 

At Home This Week:

Apart from re-sorting my plot plan so I could finalise where to best use that gorgeous manure, and a bit more rifling through the seed boxes to make sure I have everything needed for the next few months, I've not done much at home.

Oh, yes, I almost forgot!! I have pre-ordered my seed Potatoes (forJanuary delivery)  and Autumn planting Onion sets (for mid September delivery) I have enough Shallots, Garlic and Elephant Garlic from this year's crop to re-plant. Here are some of the Garlic heads, and the Jermor Shallots, which will all go in the ground late September, early October. By then their beds will be prepped and planting should be a nice quick, satisfying job!

This Week I need to:

1. Cut the grass at home, and at the plot

2. Pot on Spring Cabbage & Lettuce and Pak Choi seedlings

3. Plant out the Spring Onions (in modules) and some Khol Rabi (in 9cm pots) in the polytunnel

4. Sow overwintering crops in the polytunnel: Perpetual Spinach, Winter Radishes etc

5.Plant out the remaining Khol Rabi and overwintering Cauliflowers (in 9cm pots) out on #145

6. Carry on digging up Potatoes as this bed is where the Garlic will be planted

7. Continue pruning the Apple trees, both on the plot and at home: this is a long job!

8. Continue to preserve the Cucumber harvest in some way, not only pickled, and the remaining Tomatoes as they ripen indoors

9. Finish taking out the blighted Tomato plants and dispose of them in the Council green waste

It is really what you would expect for the end of the Summer, and hopefully most of it will get done! I shall be back again next Monday, probably with some new Cucumber recipes too

 

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com

16th August - It seems things are either not growing at all, or reaching new heights! Just look at the height of the Fennel plants, taller than the roof of the shelter at the plots, and the enormous Lilies. Usually these are both around head height, but this Summer they have surpassed themselves. Overall on our site though we are all agreeing this is turning into an extremely challenging year, growing-wise, with the arrival of Late Blight just adding to the list of crops that are not really thriving, or in fact dying right in front of us. 

We always say every year is different, but this one is another one of those more different from most

Probably best to focus of what is growing well, other than Fennel and Lilies, so to start off Harvest Monday, there are Cucumbers. A friedn gave me three West Indian Cucumber plants, which have steadfastly refused to grow any actual Cucumbers, and then this week I have picked six! They have quite a thick skin, more like outdoor Cues, but it is not too thck to eat, so I have made these into a batch of Pickled Cucumbers. (Preserves October 2017) The Divas, four altogether this week (one went to a neighbour) are sliced with some Onions, as Fridge PIckle  (Recipes July 2017)

Then, amazingly early, there is Sweetcorn. In fact I shoud have just said amazingly as they didn't look to be doing too well, but I noticed one cob had been nibbled a bit, probably by a rat, so I though I'd better pick the others before the went the same way. Not too shabby a crop considering, and it is now cut off the cobs and safely in the freezer

Two harvest here: Blackberries, which are just ticking along nicely, although once the main crop begins I shall have a lot more, and then a new one:

Japanese Wineberries. My daughter gave me a plant several years ago, and it has take ages to grow large enough to produce enough berries to actually harvest, rather than just pick the odd one on the way past. They are a sweet-sour fruit, slightly sticky to touch, but absolutely beautiful to look at with theor dense clusters of fruit all at different stages of ripening, from bright ornage to red, surounded by a ruff of golden hairs, on beight red stems! I ate these ones raw, and they were pretty good!

This is my whole harvest of Tomatillos this year! true, they are nice big ones, so I suppose they qualify as "Giant" as it said on the seed packet, but the plants really didn't thrive where I planted them. Next year I shall try to make space for them alongside Tomatoes as then they would have regular water and feed. Good fried up with Onion, in spicy scrambled egg thoug

Climbing beans overall seem successful this year. It has helped of course not having a resident Rabbit feasting on the plants, but overall the conditions seem to have suited them better than some other crops

As I live by myself, and was not seeing family frequently, I grew far fewer plants this year, but even then, I have plenty of Runner Beans frozen away, as well as enough to eat day to day, with plenty of flowers still forming

Courgettes are a bit hit and miss, but then I do only have a couple of plants and they are not in an ideal spot. Still, there are enough!!

Tomatoes are at the end of their harvest outside, due to Late Blight. I have enough to make a batch of sauce, and some to eat in salads. 

The plants in the polytunnel are not doing well, and although some so far have not succumbed to Blight, it is inevevitable they will, sadly, so this is not  ayear when I have a glut of Tomatoes

I have lots of large green Tomatoes too, now set out in stacking tray in the kitchen, hoping they are not infected and will ripen. Some might, but most will be used green I think. You just have to make the best of what you have

Other harvests this week have included Onion Green (excellent in Cheese Scones), Peppermint, Onions, Rocket and Lettuce leaves

Out On The Plot This Week:

A new butterfly on the block: Painted Ladies have arrived after their long journey North, looking is very good condtion, as you can see from this one resting in the sunshine on the path

Late Blight has struck with a vengeance this year:  a long period of warm damp weather has suited it well, and even the blight resistant varieties of Tomatoes outside have succumbed eventually.  I have picked as many of the green fruits that seem unaffected as possible, as even if they don't ripen I can still use them. You can't always tell if they are infected though, so just have to wait and see

The only Potatoes with foliage still growing are the Setantas, which seem so far to be OK. Their leaves are beginning to yellow now anyway, as they will soon be ready to harvest. I am leaving the other Potatoes in the ground for now, to ensure any spores on the surface have died off, so that the tubers are not infected as they are dug up... hopefully!

Across the site everyone is disposing of their infected plants, either in the Council's green waste (which wil be composted at a high temperature) or burning them, trying to make sure no small bit of plant of fruits remain, including those teeny tiny potatoes, in an effort to reduce the chances of re-infection next year

The frame for the climbing beans, that blew down for a third time, is resting at an angle on the Strawberry tables, but the beans themselves are fine, with the Blacksmiths starting now to change to a mottled purpley colour. They are looking very promising

Over on #146, the three sticks of Borlotti beans are looking good, and I aim to grow a larger quantity of these next year, as they are really versatile and taste good too

The Lazy Housewife Beans seem not to be doing quite so well, but I'll be able to judge this better at harvest time

I managed to clear away the old Broad Bean plants at last, and have planted out the four Cavolo Nero plants and two large Romanescus, covering them temporarily with a little mesh tunnel. Once the rest of the bed is planted up, I can put up the large structure to keep them safe from butterflies and pigeons. Troube is, I planted some Sweetpeas on the weldmesh support for the Peas, and whilst the Peas are done and cleared away, the Sweetpeas are brilliant and I am loathe to pull them out

A Small White Butterfly managed to sneak into the polytunnel and lay eggs on some of the potted  Cabbage plants there: as you can see these Janaury King have holes in their leaves. I did find the little culprits and removed them before they did even more damage

The Savoys right next door to them are absolutely fine!

Round headed Summer Cabbages over on # 145 are ready to harvest... have to check out the Carrots as together these will make great coleslaw: I already have Onions to go with them

I thinned the Turnips also growing in that bed: they seem to be slow to bulk up, although the Sparkler Radishes right next to them look ready to eat

And growing Pak Choi under fine netting has kept the Flea Beetles away, although they do have some slight slug damage to the leaves. Japanese Greens, which I have grown as an experiment, are looking very promising, so I shall sow a larger quantity this week. There is space there for Mooli too under that netting

The last of the Leeks are all now planted. The earlier Oarsman are looking healthy, so hopefully the others will manage to grow alright in that bed. It is a bit remote from the others, being out on the far edge of the Forest Garden, so I need to make sure I remember to water them, especially as the bed, despite getting plenty of light, is in the root run of two large fruit trees!

I also must ensure I protect them from Leek Moth with a fine netting cover. I didn't do this lats year, trusting to luck, which was a mistake, as several Leeks were ruined by the mining of the grubs through the plant stems. Add this to the jobs list!!

In The Polytunnels This Week:

Everything is growing at top speed, and the West Indian Cucumber plants are going for world domination I reckon! At least they are actually producing some Cucumbers at last in the huge jungle of stems, leaves and mainly male flowers!

Onions are gradually tipping over and only three are left growing now. The others are out on the drying rack. They are not as poor as I thought they might be, although far from the huge ones I am usually harvesting now. Overall, I do have a whole rack of Onions and Shallots... I'll take a phot next week to show you... so I guess that isn't too bad a crop

Tomatoes continue to be disappointing, and blight of course isn't helping. Some seem to still be surviving though, but it is a getting a bit late to hope that some of the larger varieties could set and ripen fruit now. Smaller ones like Sungold are fruiting, but again, no-where near what I usually harvest. I am cutting out infected leaves on a daily basis, but I think it is a losing battle

I planted out some Lettuces before I went away, and they seem to have taken, and taking out the Onions leaves a space for new crops.... just need to decide which ones

I now know where the Swede, Romanescu, Cauliflower, Scarlet Kale and Khol Rabi, which are almost readay to plant out, will be going. That just leaves Spring Cabbage to consider... thinking perhaps I can plant these with the late Cauliflower (Amsterdam) and Romanascu in a bed I won't need until perhaps the middle of April. Perhaps ahead of Maincrop Potatoes, if I plant carefully so that some sections of the bed are cleared ahead of then, and stagger the Potato planting? I'll keep thinking round that one

At Home This Week:

Actually I haven't been home for the whole week: I was away in Portsmouth with my brother, and went for a long walk round Farlington Marshes, where I haven't been for years. At low tide you can access Oyster Island, which used to have a house on it for the Oysterman and his family, but all that is left now is part of a ruined wall. The island itself has gradually reduced in size over the years, due to the action of the tides, ... I guess one day it will disappear, but it is a way off that yet! The walk to it used to be easy underfoot, but it is very uneven and slippy, taking twice as long to traverse the 75m now. How things change!

There is a good view across from around the point, over to Hayling Island: the other way faces the eastern edge of Portsea Island, although really these days Portsea is far less of an island that it used to be, joined to the mainland by huge road bridges and generally know just known overall as Portsmouth. The water you can see in the low tide photo is Portsea Creek, which separates the island from the mainland running under the road bridges

I thought you might like to see Oyster Island! Sadly though, the mud surrounding it, and running out either side of the creek for miles, is now almost devoid of life. It used to form a thriving marine environment, supporting masses of different creatures, such as Shore Crabs, Winkles, Cockles, Ragworms, Lugworms and so on, including of course native Oysters but now you'd be lucky to see even one Crab, and there are hardly enough Cockles to even notice. The clean up of the water in the harbour in recent years, coupled with previous indescriminate dredging, has resulted in both a reduction of food for everything, and destruction of habitats, from micro-organisms up. A heavy price paid indeed, and really sad to see. Not quite the trip my brother and I had anticipated for sure. You have to hope that, left alone, some species will gradually establish themselves again, as nature re-balances

 

The Marshes themselves form one of the area's oldest nature reserves, and is important as a feeding ground for migratory birds in the Winter, where they flock to the saline lagoons in huge numbers. It is well managed to ensure these small lakes and ponds remain part of the 380 acre landscape, and grazing cattle help keep areas of short turf too.  I was hoping to hear Nightjars, but it was a little way of dusk when we were leaving, although I did see a Barn Owl quartering for its supper, and plenty of small waterfowl and geese

My brother found a Scarab Beetle (Aphodius fossor) which is a species that feeds on cattle dung... another species supported by those grazers

 

This trip left little time for doing much at home this week, but last week was my final seed-sort for this season, to get out packets of seed that will need sowing either right now or very soon. Some are second or third sowings, others, like Mooli, Chinese Winter Radish Perpetual Spinach, Mizuna, Mustard Greens and Japanese Senshyu Onions, are firsts

I also spent time poring over the plot plans, trying to make sure there is space for all of these, as well as the seedlings and small plants already growing on. I think it all all be OK .... but a couple of issues to think around still

I shall be away again for a long weekend, so the main jobs are to ensure things will survive in my absence and not be swamped with weeds on my return!! Thanks to Jane, who will again be watering the polytunnels for me!

Jobs outstanding for when I come back

- thinning apples

- adding another support to one of the Pear trees which is leaning now, after the recent gales

- weeding the Winter Brassica beds

- preparing beds for Swede, Khol Rabi, Cauliflower , Romanescu and Scarlet Kale

- organising a mesh cover for the Leek bed and water them

- tying in the new growth of the thornless Blackberry

- direct sowing: Mooli, Winter Radish etc and more Japanese Greens and Pak Choi

- potting on Spring Cabbage and Winter Lettuce as soon as they have developed

As you can see, the list is never ending, but the plus side is that I can hopefully continue to eat well from the plot through the Autumn and Winter into next Spring!!

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com

2nd August - This year is turning out to be really challenging for growers, with unseasonal and changeable weather leading to plants responding in unexpected ways. Usually there are no Blackberries to pick until mid August, and new growth for next year is tied in during mid Sepetmber, but this year I have already had some berries to harvest, and the lengthy tying in has aready started

One the other hand indoor Tomatoes are slow to set fruit, being overtaken by the outdoor plants, whilst Onions are smaller than usual and one of the climbing bean frames being blown over last week in a storm. 

Every year has always been different from the one before, but this year is different in a very unusual way

Nonetheless, there are crops to harvest thnak goodness, so here are this week's offering for Harvest Monday:

Here are those rather unseasonal Blackberries, which were put with the last of the Loganberries to make a fruit compote. Loganberries have been a very modest harvest this year, as a lot of their fruiting growth was damaged and died back. Plenty of fresh smooth stems growing now so hopefully next year it will be more prolific

 

 

This is the last of the First Early Potatoes. The others have been furtled out a few at a time, as they were needed, leaving just these few in the ground

Most of the Second Early Potatoes are ready to harvest, with their top growth dying back now, so I shall try to dig these all together this coming week, leaving just the Maincrops in the ground to contiue growing on

Some growers have had Late Blight on both their Potato and Tomato foliage, so I am glad I chose blight resistant varieties for the maincrop Potatoes and the outdoor Tomatoes. These should survive any infection with little damage

Tomatoes are slow but steady at the moment, with ripe fruit outside from Lizzano, and Mountain Magic, plus the new, cherry-sized cultivar, Mountain Merit. Under cover Sungold, and Tiger Red are producing regualr ripe fruit, with two yesterday from Black Russian. These are supposed to be beefsteak, but the two I picked yesterday are quite small. Tasty though, so I shall go for that right now

An unusual crop is Radish Pods. These are crisp and spicy, and make an extremely good pickle. This year I remembered to leave a few plants in to flower, and it paid off with plenty of good pods to pick off the stems and pickle in brine

Beans are doing fairly well so far, and there have been a couple of handsful of Runner Beans, Helda Beans and Dwarf French Beans to gather, and there are several bags alreday in the freezer.

I learned the lesson of not waiting until the end of the harvesting to freeze some down to use in the Winter: often those last Beans can be a bit on the tough side, or something unexpected means there is no late harvest!

Had some help from Indigo,age 10, with one day's harvest, to dry off all the blanched beans and pack them in small quantities in bags for the freezer, which I was grateful for, especially with the Runner Beans, as their slightly rough/velvety skins cling to the tea towel and make packing them in bags a bit of a challenge! Thanks Indigo!

 

Emerald Isle Aubergines are a success again this year though, especially now that I hand pollinate the plants each time before I water them. Time very well spent, as you can see!

Other harvests this week include Courgettes, Cucumbers, Peppermint and Chamomile flowers (picked by Kitty)

Out On The Plots This Week:


The only casualty of the recent storm was the frame for the Drying Beans. A couple of the ploles snapped ... quite old and brittle ... and the whole thing skewed sidways. Fortunately there was not much damage to plants, and I managed to prop the structure up again fairly securely. Hope it stays there

There is a heavy crop of Blacksmith beans to come. I was given the seeds by another plotholder, and was unsure what to expect. The pods though are clearly full of beans, which will stay on the plants until almost dry. Their flowers were small, pale mauve and insignificant, so the amount of pods has come as a surprise!

The large, white flowered Spagna Blanco have not had that good a set, but there are still plenty of flowers so I hope for more nice fat pods before the end of the season

The Spring-planted Onions had all tipped over, so my helpers in the week, Kitty and Indigo, carefully pulled them up and laid them out neatly to dry off. Unfortunately there has been a lot of rains since then, so I shall be taking them under cover to put on the drying rack in the next day or two. I am sure they will be fine

The bed where there were First Early Potatoes is now ready for planting the rest of the Leeks, and that hedgerow alongside has been pruned back to expose the path. This will not only make it easier to get to the plants and will give them more light as well. There is a large Rosa rugosa there, and a Viburnum bodnantense "Dawn" too, and they had both grown right out over the bed, so a tidy up was long overdue

The hedgerow tidy up need to continue now along the whole boundary, removing fruited stems of Loganberry and Tayberry and tying in their new growth, as well as tying in the Blackberry's new growths onto the higher set of wires. This year's fruiting growth is on the lower set, so will be able to be cut out at the end of the season. The new canes will be move down then, to reduce wind resistance during the Winter months

There are masses of insects around now, with lots feeding on the pollen of the Fennel Flowers, including swarms of Marmalade Hoverflies, and lots of Butterflies on the Buddleia flowers, which have good supply of nectar for them.

Red Admirals, Peacocks and Commas (named for the small white mark on their underwings) are plentiful at the moment, but sadly hardly any Small Tortoiseshells. 

This week, Gatekeepers have hatched out, but unusually this year they are quite a pale yellowy-brown, not their usual rich orange colouring. Speckled woods fly along the hedgerows, settling on "their" leaves in a sunny spot... these are territorial butterflies... and the fairly uncommon little Small Coppers sit in the sun to defend their territories, hoping to attract a mate. 

  • Gatekeeper

  • Speckled Wood

  • Small Copper

Small Heath butterflies have also made a bit of a come-back. Having not seen any for years until last Summer, this year they are fairly numerous. They are half the size of Peacocks, rarely fly higher than a metre, and always sit with their wings closed. Easy to identify

  • Small Heath

  • Comma

  • Peacock

All the butterflies that are being seen more often have caterpillars that feed on grasses, so I wonder if having a wild meadow area behind the plots, largely made up of grasses, is the reason for their resurgence. This stays mainly undisturbed all year, so hopefully it will continue to support the utterfly population

Peacocks, Red Admirals and Commas all have larvae that feed on Common Stinging Nettles, another plant very common on our site. All good!

In The Polytunnels This Week:

At last there are fruits on the purple Aubergines as well, growing slowly, but at least there are some now!

The West Indian Cucumber though remain resolute. Not a sign of any Cucumbers yet despite this mass of growth and hundreds of male flowers!!

Fortunately, the Divas at the other end of the tunnels provides a steady supply

Chillies and Sweet Peppers are growing well now, although the plants are still quite small. To be honest, I don't really need hundreds of Chllies, so this doesn't really matter. I am sure there will be enough for my needs!

The small Brassica plants potted on into 9cm pots are now growing on, and are looking more sturdy. They will not be large enough to transplant into their final positions out on the plots for some time, which will give me time to make sure their beds are ready

 

 

At Home This Week:

Thing have been pretty quiet after the flurry of activity last week, but I have sown some more Spring Onions in modules, and some Pak Choi,Lettuce, and Spring Cabbage in pots. The Basil sown a few weeks ago is now ready to pot on in small clumps, so is next on the list. Anyhting else has been held up by regular rain, which looks as though it might be continuing for most of this coming week: at least it saves too much watering outside

So far the Salvia cuttings' leaves are fresh and green,which is a good sign that water is being taken up

Jobs

- potting on Basil into small clumps and moving to polytunnel

- potting on Bowles Mauve cuttings now they are rooted

- continue with clearing beds on the plots, for crops to follow on when ready

- continue with hedgerow pruning

- transplant Red Chinese Cabbage and Pak Choi in the polytunnel, and Florence Fennel outside

- thin Turnips out on the plot

- sow Mooli and Winter Radishes outside

- cut Lavender, as soon as it is dry

- gather tea herbs for drying

It is just a case of plodding on really, getting as much done as possible and not getting stressed over things that have to wait!

Hope you are all well, and "see" you next Monday

 

info@alittlebitofsunshine.co.uk

 Comments and suggestions are most welcome, and I shall reply as soon as I can

And if you'd like to know more about Harvest Monday, look at

www.ourhappyacres.com