We have pulled off another bumper crop of produce today, including beans and mostly marrow or what l am tending to call mourgettes these days – basically l have had unusual overnight growth spurts on courgettes that have gone from not ready in so far as courgettes go but it’s almost like they have missed a day and waved a pixie dust wand over themselves at night, so that by the next morning, they are no longer courgettes and they are most assuredly NOT marrows??
Oh well still food for the stomach eh?
I thought for today’s episode l would have a small update but also display other parts to the garden that are not often photographed … again it’s a bit top heavy image wise, but with the gorgeous weather, l have been able to look at things that l haven’t been able to get to properly with the camera as well as check up on areas that l haven’t been visiting as often like the compost heap and the experimental areas.
Our rhubarb plant is doing really well, we pulled off a crop about 8 weeks ago and then left it to its own devices, and it’s not disappointed us. The leaves are looking big and lush … now did you know that the leaves can create for you a natural insecticide?
Well they can, it’s a case of pulling off the leaves from the fruit you have harvested – you can eat stalks and stems, but most assuredly not the leaves, but you don’t have to waste them.
1] Boil leaves in 1:3 ratio of water for 30-45 minutes, take off boil, allow to cool.
2] Strain leaves out of liquid using a strainer.
3] Pour the liquid into a spray bottle adding a little liquid detergent along the way [natural is better].
4] That’s it – done.
5] Ensure you use that mix in the course of one day, the longer you leave it the less effective it becomes.
Right so why do rhubarb leaves kill the insects? Well the same way they kill us, by stopping our heart. The spray when used on your plants basically suffocates the insects and they die. This is in many ways a D.O.T process – which can be interpreted as either Death over Time or Damage over Time for the gamers out there! With regards to using this on plants that produce food for the table – l would well advise against spraying food crops with it directly as the oxalic acids even in this form are still potent, but you can spray it on the leaves of crops which is where your biggest problems lay. If you have problems with the fruit or vegetables then that is another issue all by itself and by this l mean if the insects are not attacking the leaves but the fruit or vegetables.
If you wish to play it even safer, then only use the pesticide for ornamentals and plants you have no intention to eat.
Potato plants are remarkably hardy and persistent and will grow in some unusual places, like between our compost heap and the compost bins!
Whilst we have boxed our plants growth both this year and last year, we also have planted some in a bed at the back of the garden beside the greenhouse. In this small experimental strip we have a raspberry plant, potato plants, ornamental iris and onion. We wanted to see if we could grow onions with our ornamental plants on the other side of the garden, we are also considering garlic this way as well.
I decided to have a quick check on the compost heap not having personally attended to it since Suze tackled it a few months back. I miss it and l know that whilst l have added to it since then, l haven’t seen any of the life that l normally see during the summer months. Grass clippings have been added recently and although l give it a bit of a poke around, that’s really it. Currently we have a huge nest of woodlice and yay some slow worms.
Both of these worms were in excellent health and of great size, roughly 6 – 10″ long.
We have only a few ornamental grasses here, but they have also been thriving this year.
We rescued a buddleia clipping about a year ago, and planted it out on the ornamental garden side last summer, and although small it is mighty! I adore the beautiful colour. Butterflies and bees love it also!
In 2017 l planted out Marshmallow in the vegetable side of the garden but whilst it performed, it didn’t grow that well, however when the season ended l transferred it to the ornamental side where it shines and has done for two seasons now. It can grow to a height of 9 feet before it can no longer support its own weight and starts to stoop.
How l really wish l could remember the name of this monster, it smells like a mixture of orange citrus fruit and durian fruit. It leaks a stickly dew and just grows and grows and grows. The sticky dew however captures greenfly and although the plants isn’t carnivorous the greenfly never seem to learn their lessons. The bees adore the plant itself. This photo was taken prior to Suze cutting it back this morning, she stank!! Ha ha, she had to come in and change, l keep telling her she needs to cut it back naked, then take a shower and l will help scrub her back … nope never happens!
The roses always do relatively well in our garden despite the fact we hardly ever do anything to them.
We have have a varied selection of fruit trees in the garden here; we have a peach tree that doesn’t produce anything anymore although the first year we were here 2016 that summer it had three fruit. It has died because the salt spray from the sea killed it. We have one pear tree that sadly has blight and rust and because we live in rented accomodation, our landlady would rather keep it for aesthetic reasons than allow us to take it down to stump. I had an aborist examine it, and we can’t save it, so it is best to get set to stump, alas not going to happen. So it has never produced a healthy edible crop. We do have an apple, once again this has blight but it also suffers from dwarfism issues and again we cannot stump it.
We do have two plum trees that are currently ‘enjoying’ an over crop situation, time will tell if we can yield a harvestable crop though. Finally we have our apricot tree which had a great season in 2016 and nothing for 2017 or 18, but this year we have around 100-130 fruits to it, and we have now just begun the harvest.
We have a good crop of runner beans coming off this year and some of them are mahoosive!
The hydrangeas are enjoying a great season! We cut ours back to almost the ground when not just deadheading to ensure that we have a better growth the following season. Such a beautifully vibrant and happy flower – don’t you think?
The aubergines [eggplants] have been a bit late to the party this year, but with the sun now, the plants are starting to look like they may produce a small crop this year. Admittedly not one of my most favourite of vegetables, but it can be thrown in with a stir fry.
The peppers are now starting to take this growing lark seriously although they still seem to be much smaller than last year. I think the answer lies for next year planting the seeds in January and allowing for a longer seedling start. At least we now have confirmed colouration on one with a definite for the other.
Some however are more enthusiastic with regards growth and struggle to hide it!
Whilst l was outside Madam la Scrappy did make a brief appearance, yawned and basically said it was way to hot and went back indoors!
The huge battle for supremacy is current being waged by the courgettes, marrows and mourgettes! “Everyone is at it, so to speak!’
The tomatillo buds have arrived, from this point on these will grow and due to the presence of not just one additional plant but two, the fruit should grow within. If we have this right all three plants should now start to flourish as bushes.
Well that’s it folks, l will leave you with two images now of the flowers from the beans [red] and the courgettes [yellow], in the sunlight they look stunning!
Runner Bean Flower
Thanks for reading everyone, till the next time …
It’s bye for now from me and a Tootlepip from Doodlepip
Ps – You know if you are looking for another completely natural all rounder pesticide – then use salt, mix salt and warm water together, put into a spray bottle and spray away fruit, veg and plants and herbs alike – bugs don’t like salt at all!