Friday, 21 June 2013

First Day of Summer

According to the weather forecast it was supposed to hiss down today, but it didn't. So I've been out in the garden for most of the afternoon.

Picked some of the first of the beetroot today. I wash it, screw the tops off rather than cutting them (which is supposed to stop them bleeding.) Put them in a microwave safe dish. Add a cup of boiling water. Cover with a plate or glass lid and then microwave them on high for about 10 minutes.The skins peel off quicker while they're still warm. They're pretty hot when they first come out so better to leave them cool for a few minutes to save burning your fingers. I usually slice them and put them in vinegar but they are quite nice served hot.

We've had the first of our broad beans too. I sowed the seed in trays and then planted the plants out once they'd established decent roots. One year, I planted a good crop out in the poly tunnel. The roots weren't that big and the bean was still attached. When I came to look next morning, the pesky mice had bitten through every one of them, polished off the bean attached to the roots and left the stalks on the top of the ground. so I leave them a bit longer now before planting them out. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Bought some Brussels Sprout plants this year instead of growing them from seed. Don't usually have much luck with sprouts but these seem to be surviving OK. I planted them next to my sweet peas in the hope of confusing the white butterflies. Once they've laid their eggs, the yellow and black caterpillars demolish them at a rate of knots. Whether it will work remains to be seen. The other alternative is to pick the caterpillars off when they start wriggling about (ugh)  I hate using sprays through and try to avoid them as much as possible.

I sowed some 'Little Gem' lettuce in March. They seem to be doing OK

Beetroot in the Poly Tunnel
Little Gem
Marrow - 'Table Dainty'

I left a couple of marrows I grew last year in the poly tunnel to disintegrate. They produced a load of little seedlings. I thinned the sturdiest out and planted them in a different place. I've put an old clothes airer over them in the hope that they'll grow up it and the marrows will be suspended  from the bars. Another little experiment which might or might not work - (will let you know later) Anyway it was nice not having to buy any more seeds
Onions are starting to bulb out.
Alicante and Shirley tomatoes

I grew all my tomatoes from seed this year. I've got about thirty plants so with a bit of luck we should be knee deep in tomatoes in a month's time. They are starting to truss up so will need feeding with a tomato feeder as soon as the fruit form. Some one gave me the tip of planting French marigolds between the plants to stop the whitefly. It does seem to work and I usually do that every year now.


We've got Comfrey growing everywhere here. According to the great Monty, it's supposed to be a brilliant tomato feed. You cut it to ground level and put it into a plastic bucket or container. Ram it down as much as it will go and then pour water over the top. Put a lid on it and leave it for a month. It goes brown, yukky and very stinky. I think you feed it on the tomatoes in the proportion of 1 part Comfrey mixture to 20 parts water. Supposed to be fantastic stuff.
Runner Beans in flower in the poly. these are called 'Streamline'.

So that's what I've been doing with my day. Hope you've had a good one too.

Hey and have you checked out Jacqueline's new site 'Happy Food' - it's really good
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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Busking up Pride Hill

It was a brilliant day yesterday. I went into Shrewsbury, like a lot of other folks, just enjoying the sunshine.

A Farmer's Market is held on the first Saturday in the month, though this was the first I'd heard of it until somebody said.

As you turn the corner from Wyle Cop, all the buskers were out up Pride Hill. One I really liked was a hippie type playing one of those yodell-y long horn things. I should have asked him what it was. Anyway, I plucked up courage and asked him if I could photograph him for my blog. He said I could and he put on a performance just for me and that wonderful smile at the end. He made my day and I think maybe I made his too, with my weird accent and raucous laugh - it was good.