My Apple Trees

For my birthday last year I got two apple treesĀ (I think you might be able to see it here), a Katy (obviously!) and a Bramley. This year the Bramley has had an infestation of aphids – and they’re proper making my skin crawl. I’ve dosed the tree with soap and water and will see what it’sĀ like tomorrow.

My Katy tree however appears to be unscathed! Possibly Katys aren’t very tasty. I don’t know. But while messing around with my camera I found some cool pictures showing a nice development of the tree:

IMG_6107 IMG_6104IMG_6448IMG_6449IMG_6450IMG_6621I’m gonna have some Katy apples! I’m very excited – even though I’m not entirely sure how tasty they will be. Katy apples are best known for making cider. Hmmm.

But we’ll see!

Until next time.

Katy x

A Mysterious Order…

Hello gardening and blogging friends!

I received a mysterious parcel the other day. It was a cardboard box and this is what it looked like:

Live plants?! Whatever could be in here...?
Live plants?! Whatever could be in here…?

How mysterious!

I quickly tore into the box to reveal:

POTATOES!
POTATOES!

These are my extra earlies, from DT Brown. They are called Casablanca and there’s about thirty of them in here! I got a big box, lined it with lots of shredded paper (utilising my shredder, which is my favourite gadget at the moment, shredding all my documents from uni), and put them in that, and put the box in the shower room, where it’s cool but dry and light (as no one uses the shower in there, and it’s basically now turned into a potato chitting factory and is the place where my riding hat languishes, unused and unloved).

Now a few weeks later, they’re chitting away, so I shall have to think about getting some soil and getting ’em planted out.

Top tip! Ideal soil for potatoes to be grown in containers or potato sacks – mole hills! Mr Mole has kindly done a lot of the work for you: mole hills are good loamy soil. Just make sure a well-intentioned dog-walker hasn’t used said mole hill as a clever hiding place for a doggy bag! We have lots of hills on our fields that the dog walkers *shouldn’t* get to, so I might get the quad and trailer out, and go get a load of soil. That’ll possibly be next weekend’s job.

Happy gardening!

Katy x

The Not-the-Raised-Bed Diaries

As my vegetables grow bigger and take over more of the garden, I realise they are bloating the limits of the Raised Bed Diaries, and so I have carefully decided to create a sister series – the Non-Raised Bed Diaries!

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This is alongside the wooden garage (my beds are to the right of this picture). Here I have five runner bean plants (two in pots which are a bit small, and three more in a grow bag, one of which is the monster climbing up the garage); I have three courgette plants in a grow bag and two more in smaller pots; then three tomato plants in the end grow bag. Dotted amongst all of these are a few more of Mum’s sweet peas, just poking their noses up. The courgettes and runner beans are definitely better in the grow bags than in the pots, though I’ve had courgettes off the potted ones, and there are flowers on the beans.

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This is to the rear of my beds, and is behind and to the right of the picture above. Edging our lawn are trees and quite a bit of bare soil. This spot was where I kept my leftover top soil from finishing my beds and was where the muck heap was left.It got quite overgrown with weeds, and so I spent a day digging it up and digging in the remainder of the manure and covering it with the topsoil. This has now turned into my ‘brassica’ garden! My six broccolis have moved in here, and I think were glad for some space. I do have plans to move out my cauliflowers into this new space, but as you can see, my squashes have taken up residence, and if you look closely you might be able to spy some sweetcorn! I think my caulis are a way off yet, but they are starting to jostle a bit for space in my bed.

IMG_1644 IMG_1642These are my potatoes! Originally I planted out our mystery chitted potatoes into three tubs and a potato compost bag. Then it rained and rained, and we realised there weren’t holes in the tubs, and then two lots of potatoes carried on growing, and the other two sank without a trace! So I drowned my potatoes. But these two look grand. Well, I say grand… The ones in the top picture look good, but the ones in the bottom picture look very sorry for themselves! There wasn’t enough soil in the bag and they fell over due to their own weight. While Dad was digging up the space under the pond to make it a bit deeper, he kindly donated some soil and I have them propped up again! They have flowered but there weren’t many flowers… I’m waiting to have time/for the foliage to yellow and die down a bit before digging around for some tatties!

 

The Raised Bed Diaries #11 – Fruits of My Labours

After an extended absence, obviously much will have changed on my plots! Last week I uploaded pictures of the two raised beds themselves, and how they have been growing over time. But I don’t just have the two beds, and things are flourishing elsewhere.

Courgettes

IMG_1479It’s not the best picture in the world, but this is one of my courgettes. This photo was about two weeks ago, so they are steadily growing and darkening in colour. The flowers are lovely and yellow once they open up.

IMG_1586Here i one about a week later. Most are coming quite dark and look great!

IMG_1585Now these two are in a pot. The other courgettes are (as you can tell) in grow bags, and the general size of the plant is twice as big as this one. Unfortunately I lost one of these courgettes today! It was beginning to rot, leading me to believe I’ve been overwatering them.

The Grow Bags

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These are three of my five runner beans. The other two are in pots. (You can see the potted courgettes to the left and the monster grow bag courgettes to the right.) The runner bean on the left is a monster and is growing a couple of inches a day: he’s already well over two metres high. The one in the middle isn’t doing quite so well, but he’s giving it a go, bless him. They have lovely red flowers and I’m dead excited about them flowering.

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These are my monster courgettes! They have huge leaves and they do have big yellow flowers but I took these pictures late on after coming back from work so they had closed up. I am very excited about having a glut of courgettes! I like them grilled or stir fried with a bit of garlic, oil and salt. Yum!

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I have a lot of tomato plants. These are outside, and aren’t as impressive as the six in the tomato greenhouse, but they are do very well nonetheless. They have flowers on them, so fingers crossed! I’ve cut the lower leaves off as my RHS book instructs, but they are starting to look alarmingly bushy around the top.

Strawberries

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This is my strawberry plant – or rather, these are my three strawberry plants. One is rife with fruit, one has a couple on it, and one has nothing whatsoever on it. You can see the big strawberry to the fore of the planter…

IMG_1589Here he is a couple of days later! Luscious and red! I ate him today and he was absolutely divine – so much sweeter than the watery stuff you get in punnets from the supermarket. I think next year I would like to properly plant out a row of strawberry plants and see how I go with that.

And finally…

Behind my beds is a bit of open space, though crowded with trees. My big plan was to dig this all up (it was formerly where I kept my muck heap and spare topsoil from doing the beds), dig in the manure, and then cover with top soil, ready for my broccolis, squashes and cauliflowers. I am a bit of a weakling, and so had to spread this over two or three mornings, but… I did it!

IMG_1508Here are my six broccolis, with the main heads snipped off to encourage the side-shoots, and my two squashes. The squash on the right was almost a goner… when I transferred him from his little tub into a slightly bigger pot, I thought I snapped his stalk, and he didn’t look great for a while – I had to bury him quite deep and prop him up with a lot of soil. But look at him now! I also have a third one that I sowed, thinking that I’d killed one. They have some flowers coming on them, so they should be flowering soon.