Monthly Archives: June 2010

First Cauliflower and Broccoli

We’re off to France very soon and are taking as much veg as possible with us in the cool box. I’ve cut the first cauliflower and broccoli today which I am really pleased with. Pretty much the same size as the supermarket but I bet they taste better!

There’s loads to follow so I’m hoping the rest will develop over the next two weeks and I’ve told our friends who are looking after the garden to take what is ready. There’s never a good time to go on holiday when you have a garden (although I say anytime is a good time for a holiday!). I’m sure there will be loads of veg coming to harvest just when we are away but it means I’ll be back to man the defenses against the cabbage white invasion later in the season. I’ve just cut the main head off the first broccoli so it should now sprout more heads to follow on. It’s the first time I’ve grown them so it’s all new but I am very happy with the results so far!

Elsewhere in the garden the rambling rose is in flower.

And the first cornflower.

The Red Orach are between 4-5 foot tall now but the Sweet Peas are catching up fast.

And the Dianthus dotted around the flower bed are in full bloom.

One thing I think I’ll miss in the next 2 weeks is my first Dahlia flower as there are quite a few buds on the ones I started in containers in the greenhouse back in March.

Fingers crossed we’ll all see some good weather over the next two weeks, it’ll be “cracking the flags” as I would say.

I’m also starting a footnote on posts to keep a record of what I’m harvesting.

Harvesting: Spring Cabbage, Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Courgette, Squash, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Strawberries.

Are you the Farmer?

Today we were at the River Bourne Community Farm Open Day in Salisbury. The girls loved all the different animals and activities.

Here’s the piglets enjoying the sun.

And the baby ducks with their own little pool.

The Shire Horse looked great parading around the field.

There was also a Falconry display with a Saker, Harris Hawk, Pergrine Falcon and African Sea Eagle. The Peregrine was particularly impressive swooping low over the crowd back to the handler.

The Sea Eagle in action.

There was also facepainting.

And tractors to sit on.

A great day out.

Pre-Holiday Rush!

This time next week we’ll be in France so today is all about getting the jobs done so when we get back in early July the garden won’t have run away with itself too much!

The Sweet Peas are going mad after the rain we’ve had and I’m cutting most of them to induce more flowers. They look pretty on the windowsill and give off a lovely scent.

First job was weeding the new bed that I built earlier in the year. From front to back there are cabbages, early white and late purple sprouting broccoli, celery, sweetcorn, squash, beetroot, brussel sprouts and pumpkins. It’s all looking pretty good so fingers crossed we’ll have a bumper harvest from this bed. It’s the first time I’ve grown corn, celery or pumpkins.

I’m really pleased with the corn.

The other tender veg are coming on as well. Here’s the first courgette. This one’s from 3-year old seed and appears to be a bombproof variety – the packet just says Zucchini – and it’s been a reliable cropper.

I’ve also got some yellow courgettes showing, these are F1 Orelia, again pretty reliable although I had more trouble germinating these. The other variety I’m growing is Black Beauty from the BBC DigIn free seeds.

And the first squash has appeared, this is old seed again, it just says mixed scalloped squash on the packet. But it hasn’t failed me in 3 years. I normally pick them quite small and roast them in the oven with courgettes etc but I leave the odd one to grow on, one of which won 1st prize in the Any Other Veg category in our summer show so you can see how big they get!

We have two mature cherry trees in the garden and I noticed some fruit, I think this is the first time in the 3 years we’ve been here that they’ve survived the woodpigeon onslaught. So we may be picking cherries in a few weeks.

And we’ve been picking strawberries for a week or so now, not that I can get anywhere near them, the girls are wolfing them down. It’s great to see them loving the home grown fruit and veg as it’s the main reason I started the plot just before Chloe was born.

We’re having a barby later so I picked a selection of salad. There’s lettuce (Winter Density, Salad Bowl and Red Deer’s Tongue), Wild Rocket and Radish. This afternoon I’ll mow the lawn, then it’s a couple of bottles of Black Sheep and Come on England!!

Tomorrow we’re off to the River Bourne Community Farm Open Day in Laverstock, Salisbury. Should be a fun day with loads to do for the girls, and nice for me to have a day off from the jobs too!

Heads Up

The brassicas are coming on well. Here’s a couple of photos of the developing heads on my calabrese and cauliflowers. The girls are going to love eating these in a few weeks.

Elsewhere on the plot the parsnips are coming on well.

And I’ve thinned some of the shallots to three bulbs in the hope of getting some nice specimens for the Summer Show.

My Left Foot

Well I survived the latest leg of our Pennine Way walk with just a small blister on my left foot. 3 days and 42 miles of hard walking from High Force in County Durham to Knarsdale in Northumberland. This is one of my favourite photos from the trip of Cauldron Snout waterfall. We had superb weather as well, if anything it was too hot! I will be updating the Pennine Way page soon.

And the garden has survived my absence. The Peonies are now starting to bloom, these ones are a lovely light pink.

And the sweet peas are coming thick and fast now.

As I’m recovering I haven’t done any work in the garden just gave it a good watering. I’ll post some progress pictures next time.