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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  1. Molly everything looks really lush. Those broad beans will be delicious. I just don't have enough space to grow them.

    Comfrey is also supposed to be good for planting potatoes. You put comfrey leaves at the bottom of the trench or hole before planting the spud. I used to do that on our previous property and it worked well.

  2. I use Nettles in exactly the same way as you use the Comfrey. Those Onions look ready to eat; mine are tiny still. Just 10 mins cooking time for your Beetroot makes me want to grow them again; I seem to remember I used to boil them for hours.

  3. The first tastes of the year are my favourites. A friend uses Comfrey, the resulting brew is very smelly indeed; her vegetables grow wonderfully well, so it must work. I like your creative idea with the clothes airer - you've got me thinking!

  4. it all looks wonderful. Freshly cooked beets have got to be one of my favourite meals. My Mum used to make a savoury white sauce to go over them.

  5. You are a fantastic gardener Molly. I have never grown brussel sprouts but do love the. I cut them in half and toss with olive oil and salt and roast them in the oven. We had them last night. I cannot imagine being knee deep in tomatoes. All the tomatoes here are in trouble because of the frequent rain. Have a great weekend, Olive

  6. I had to look twice and then confirm in your notes that yes, that is a clothes rack in that picture. Howe ingenious.

  7. Wow, lots going on there Molly, 30 tomato plants, that's alot of tomatoes......I made a batch of green tomato pickles this year and they were/are absolutely delicious. Our tomato crop wasn't that spectacular, so it was nice to get some sort of return from all the work...... I grew beetroot for the first time this year and I cooked them in the oven and they were absolutely yummy...
    Seems like not that long ago there was snow and now the garden is going crazy. Enjoy all your homegrown produce.

    Claire x

  8. Your veggies look good - our allotment is doing well - we are picking lettuce - with lovely crisp leaves - so much better straight from the ground than the supermarket - Take care - give us a bell xx

  9. Oh vegetable patch has only been planted up in the last few weeks, the weather was too cold before...Molly your produce looks spectacular!!

  10. I love freshly cooked beetroot but it takes so long to boil, I'll be microwaving it next time!

  11. We're looking forward to some fresh veg soon according to hubby whose the veggie grower. Can't wait to make some minestrone!

  12. Everything looks so good!! Makes me want to grow my own garden :-)

  13. are soooo ahead of me

  14. A very productive patch you have, (ahem) Molly; it must be great to be eating lots of really fresh veg. I grow very few veg and what I grow the pigeons eat.

  15. Gosh, you look close to self-sufficiency in many things, Molly! I love broad beans and always grew them when I had a veg garden. DH and I prefer our beetroot cold with salad, but without vinegar. It's lovely - very sweet and tasty. As for your 30 tomato plants, you'll be going into business with chutney and pasta sauce when they all ripen. :-)

  16. Thanks so much all for your comments and brilliant tips. Sue, will certainly give the 'Comfrey under potatoes' one a try