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This is the latest Dahlia in my collection, the large lilac flowered Sir Alf Ramsey.
Whilst quite a small plant this year it’s producing 3 or 4 large blooms and will be a real stunner in the Dahlia border next year.
For the first time in ages I watched GW last night and actually saw a couple of jobs that I could be getting on with over the weekend. So this morning the summer fruiting raspberries have been organised by removing last years canes that bore this years fruit and tieing in this years new growth which will bear next years fruit. There was about four new stems per plant once I removed the weaker growth and about 25 stems in all which should give a decent crop of fruit next year. They’ll be joined by half a dozen autumn fruiting plants that I’ll move over once they finished cropping.
And I realised that I should be removing some of the stems from my celeriac which are starting to bulb up. It’s the first year I’ve grown them after being given some seedlings from a friend on our Hort Soc committee. They’ve done really well and now by removing the stems this will hopefully encourage the bulb-end to swell further.
Whatever jobs you decide to get on with this weekend I hope you have a good one!
Unless you want to spray your brassicas for the dreaded cabbage white butterfly’s caterpillars some sort of netting is essential at this time of year. A couple of years ago I made 4 enviromesh tunnels that you can see here which do the job nicely. But the purple sprouting broccoli have outgrown this tunnel and I needed to rig up a new net.
Using 4 long stakes I attached the mesh with a staple gun and then wrapped it arround the stakes leaving one end secured with wire so I can access. The extra material on top was wired together as a roof over the plants. This just needs to in place for a couple of months until the cabbage white season is over and then I can carefully remove it and replace with a cheap net to keep the pigeons off over winter.
Under the net the second batch of calabrese is coming along nicely.
And a cabbage walking stick plant.
My local Hort Soc runs a competition to grow the tallest walking stick plant (also with prizes for the shortest etc). The following year there are prizes for the best implement made from the plant, either walking stick or other – I think last year someone fashioned the stick with a shoe iron attachment on one end. Anyway my plant is doing OK at the moment approaching 4 ft high and hopefully by November’s AGM it’ll be over the 6 ft mark.
And finally to add a bit of colour to this post, here’s the latest Dahlia in bloom, Bristol Stripe.
Harvesting – Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Spring Onions, Beetroot, Potatoes, Onions, Shallots, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Mangetout, Broad Beans, Runner Beans, and French Beans.
Approaching high summer and the garden and plot are reaching their respective heights of floral beauty and productive potential. My favourite flower, the Dahlia, is now coming into full bloom and, in my opnion, you’d be hard pressed to beat this particular bloom for summer colour. The variety is ‘Shooting Star’, a lovely cream coloured semi cactus variety.
By stopping the plants a month ago I’ve had to wait longer for the first blooms but I’ve got much bushier and stronger plants which means more energy going into producing more buds and flowers. Dahlias are relatively easy to grow if you follow a few basic principles – they are hungry and thirsty plants – so a good feeding and watering regime is essential. My Dahlia bed sits on the remains of my winter chicken manure delivery, once the plants are established I mulch with whatever compost I have left over and lawn clippings to help moisture retention. Another essential task is staking; Dahlia’s can grow to large plants around 4-6 feet high with heavy blooms so early staking is a must – it can look a bit unsightly with canes and string everywhere but the plants will soon fill out and hide this. If you want larger blooms, perhaps for your local flower show, then you’ll need to disbud, a topic I covered in one of last year’s posts.
‘My Love’ is a smaller white flowered semi-catcus variety.
‘Kennemerland’ is the largest Dahlia I have, growing to 6 feet, with large yellow flowers.
On the plot there’s lots of jobs to do. The strawberries have finished now so the foliage has been cut back and any runners pegged in the soil to help the new plants establish. At last the leeks are in, pretty tiny plants at this stage but there’s plenty of time for them to bulk up before winter. More beetroot, rocket, lettuce, radish and spring onions have been sown. Along with some winter veg, kale, brussel sprouts, cabbages and cauliflowers. There’s always something to do on the veg plot!
And the veg is coming thick and fast now. I mentioned in an earlier post that I’m growing a golden variety of beetroot this year, Burpee’s Golden. And I forgot that I’m still growing the standard red variety up at my shared plot in the next village – they’re pretty good as well.
Back home there’s loads of broad beans and mangetout, it’s my first year growing mangetout and they’ll be a firm favourite on the plot from now on.
Hope you’re all having a good weekend!
Harvesting – Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Spring Onions, Tomatoes, Courgettes, Onions, Shallots, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Potatoes, Broad Beans, Mangetout, Beetroot.
At last it’s been raining steadily for most of the day which is much needed for the veg plot. And I decided to harvest a few veg for Sunday dinner.
This is the first cabbage of the year and the best one I’ve ever grown.
And the first broccoli head – although it’s a bit smaller than I would normally harvest as we’re going away soon and there’s plenty more to cut – with a few more broad beans as well.
The cornflower patch is now in full bloom.
I stopped my first Dahlia, a month earlier than last year, as they are growing quite quickly now. There’s another that I’ll stop before we go away and the rest will have to wait until we get back.
Hope you’ve had some rain too – funny we wouldn’t be so grateful for it in any normal British summer!!
Jack has returned with a vengeance in South Wiltshire this week. He first hit on Sunday and then lingered on and off for the next five days. Reducing the Dahlia bed from this:
In less than a week. My favourite plant, a summer powerhouse of growth and flowers, reduced to something resembling wilted spinach in double-quick time. Summer is officially over!
I had to keep the mourning period brief as I was setting off to Derby in a few hours and the tubers had to be lifted to guarantee their survival through the winter. I took a knife to the thick stems, some of which I could barely wrap my hand round.
And cut the foliage down to ground level. The stems are amazing, more like drain pipes with water trickling back out when cut. An important point to remember Dahlias need lots of water through the summer months.
Using a fork I lifted each tuber remembering to label and note the bloom colour for next year.
After an hour the job was done.
The tubers have really grown in size since planting. The prize has to go to Kennemerland, the largest tuber by some distance. I took off what soil I could before putting them in the garage to dry out. I’ll deal with them properly next week. They need to be dry and frost free to get through the winter successfully.
The last job was to dig up the celery, which was in a more sheltered spot so unaffected by frosts so far. I’ll clean them up and freeze most of this for winter use in stocks and soups. I’ll keep a few stalks wrapped in tin foil in the bottom of the fridge as this keeps them fresh for ages.
It’s been a great first year for growing Dahlias. They are easy to grow, I’ve had no real problems this year. If you want great flowers in your garden or for cutting all the way through to October then I would recommend giving them a go. If you want to have a dabble in the local show then you can go further by stopping and disbudding. And who knows I might try a higher standard next year.
Have a great weekend!
Does exactly what it says on the tin, enjoy!
We’ve said goodbye to strawberries, raspberries, broad beans, cauliflower & calabrese but what’s next from the plot? In full production are the potatoes, courgettes, squash, runner and french beans, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and rocket but there are one or two delights left this summer before we get into the true winter veg.
The first are the cabbages, not a classic summer veg in my book, but will go nicely with a Sunday roast. These are the first I’ve grown successfully and I’m really pleased with how they’ve turned out. I daren’t lift the mesh tunnel as I’d never get it back over them!
Then there’s the sweetcorn, my first, and from the near fever-pitch sense of anticipation from other bloggers’ posts it’s going to be fantastic. I can’t wait!
On the flower front there’s the promise of the Dahlia patch reaching full bloom and yet more sweet peas (keep on cutting them!).
And the wonderful gladioli, the Dame Edna Everage of flowers according to one of Edith’s recent posts and why not? Being a bit over the top sometimes is a good thing!
So a nod to what’s already been and gone and a look forward to the delights still to come. That’s what it’s all about!
Don’t forget my free Land’s End Gift Voucher and Seed giveaway that I launched on Sunday. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post, just click here.
The Dahlia’s are getting quite big now, really filling out, and I am just about keeping up with the disbudding on the main plants. It’s strangely satisfying and hopefully I’ll be rewarded with bigger and better blooms shortly. I’ve got 16 plants from tubers, about 2/3rds have now shown their first flowers, and eight plants grown from seed. See my previous posts here and here for more Dahlia photos.
This one is Kennemerand, a real striking yellow flower.
Next is Shooting Star, a more subtle cream colour.
This one isn’t a named variety but has a pretty orangey ball shaped flower.
And here’s the pink version.
This one is Kenora grown in a container.
And finally a lovely Dahlia flower grown from the seeds that Maureen gave me. She has some fantastic Dahlia photos on her blog.
On the veg front things are going well with courgettes and squash in abundance, I’m giving some away as we have loads. The beans are getting into their stride now and I’m managing to pick a good handful of runners and french beans every other day now.
In the greenhouse I’m growing quite a few peppers this year. Fingers crossed I may be able to have green, red, yellow and orange peppers all at the same time if it comes off.
As it’s the first time I’ve tried to grow Aubergines I’m pleased that the fruits are forming nicely, they should fatten up in the next few weeks.
This is my favourite chilli variety, Cayenne, will eventually turn a deep red colour and is quite hot and perfect for cooking from fresh or for drying.
Hope you are having a great weekend. Please look out for a free giveaway/competition I’m running which will be coming up in the next day or so, I have loads of seeds to give away and all you will have to do is leave a comment. So look out for my next post.
Harvesting: Lettuce, Rocket, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Chillies, Courgette, Squash, Potatoes, Broad, French & Runner beans, Chard and Carrots.
At this time of year there is one family of plants that starts producing serious amounts of veg on the plot. Cucurbits include cucumbers, squash and courgette which are all in full production now.
I finally cut my first cucumber of the season today. It’s been a bit of a disaster after the first plants (Carmen) sucumbed to a greenhouse move when it was still too cold, if I’d have waited another week or two we would have been picking them a good 6 weeks ago. Last year two plants produced over 40 cucumbers from the end of May to the end of October, Carmen is a great all female flower variety that I will definitely grow again. But it wasn’t to be and my back up is not all-female, I think it’s called burpless tasty green or something like that but it’s nowhere near as productive. Still there’s one in the fridge now so can’t complain.
I’m leaving this squash to grow on but cut the rest when they are fairly small. One or two rot off but most make it to the oven.
The variety is Mixed Scallop, a packet of seed I’ve had for three years now, some plants produce yellow fruits and others are a light green colour.
The courgettes are flying along, this one is Black Beauty.
And this one is F1 Orelia.
The girls love picking courgettes!
The Sweet Peas, Cornflowers & Red Orach are still going strong.
Whilst I’ve been trying to grow more exotic flowers this year the old stalwart the pot marigold is still one of my favourites. These two pictures do it some justice, great colour.
Off to the village music festival tomorrow, fingers crossed that the weather will hold out. Hope you are having a great weekend!
The Dahlia plot is now bursting with energy, new growth from every point shoots skywards with the promise of glorious blooms. I now face the question of disbudding, do I remove some of the flowers to promote the ones that are left to even greater levels or, do I let nature take its course and have more smaller blooms. So I’ve started removing the adjacent flower buds just leaving the central bud on each stem as soon as they are large enough to handle. I also remove the side shoots from the next pair of leaves down the stem. This should channel more energy to the central bud giving a bigger bloom with a longer stem and also promote more growth further down the plant which will mean a bushier plant in the long run. Having never grown Dahlias before I’m adopting my usual approach of taking everything very seriously until I get fed up with it at which point nature will take over and do her thing.
I’m hoping to be able to cut a few flowers for the house and enter some in my local Horticultural Societies Summer Show later in August. The plants in containers are now well away and in full bloom and the tubers planted directly in the ground are just about to start which is exciting as I have no idea what the form and colour of the bloom will be (I’ve not got round to checking the varieties on the internet). When I lift the tubers I can label the height and colour of each one so I can have more of a co-ordinated display next year.
This is the smallest flower so far (one of the container tubers).
This one is Kelvin Floodlight which is by the front door. I love the colour.
From just growing veg in previous years I’m enjoying raising some flowers this time round, you can’t beat the extra colour in the garden to lift your mood.