Monthly Archives: June 2020

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 11 … Veggie McVeg Patch…

If you’re going to grow fruit and veg… make sure you have plenty of time on your hands …

I’m so pleased, I’ve managed to sell some of the surplus plants and make a first donation to the charity of a whole £10… but I still have 17 tomato plants to sell… any takers … please?

While we’re on the subject of tomatoes, I’ve selected the ones I’m keeping (eight in all) and have potted them out in grow bags. The grow bags were actually for potatoes… but never got used. You will also spot that I’ve sunk a pot next to them – apparently this helps get water straight to the lower roots, as they need a lot to drink especially when there are thirsty tomatoes growing.

Tomato plants, grow bags, home grown, vegetables
I’ve sunk a pot next to them to water the lower roots.

These four are going to live outside in a fairly sheltered but sunny spot. A mix of both Alicante and Gardeners Delight variety – I thought I’d play safe with my first attempt at growing tomatoes.

Tomato plants, grow bags, home grown, vegetables
The tomato plants I’m keeping and transplanted into grow bags.

I’ve made a fairly basic support frame, with bamboo canes I harvested from the garden. Have done the same for four more plants that are staying in the greenhouse. So if it gets breezy, they won’t get battered and broken.

Tomato plants, grow bags, home grown, vegetables
These are being grown outside, so need some sort of support.

In order to attach them to the frame, found some really soft green cord in the shed, that I loosely tied round the stems as a support and in just a week am going to have to re-tie as the plants have grown so much!

Tomato plants, grow bags, home grown, vegetables
Found some lovely soft green cord to loosely support the tomato plants without damaging them.

So with the tomato plants potted on and surplus selling, I had a mini harvest last weekend… first courgette was picked – another milestone…

courgette, vegetables, harvest, home grown
Had to record picking the first courgette plant!

… plus some baby carrots – I know they look the colour of parsnips, but they’re ‘rainbow’ variety …

baby carrots, home grown, vegetables
Don’t worry about the colour, these are apparently ‘Rainbow carrots’.

… and baby beetroot… I just had to dig down and see how big they were 🙂

baby beetroot, vegetables, home grown
Just had to find out how big they were.

With kind creation from the household chef, we enjoyed a courgette, carrot, beetroot, bacon and feta salad, all sitting on a bed of salad leaves – yes I’m still picking those regularly 🙂

courgette, beetroot, carrot, feta, lettuce, salad, home grown, vegetables,
The household chef is a dab hand at coming up with wonderful food!

… it was hugely tasty and these two photographs are a further donation from the chef 🙂

courgette, beetroot, carrot, feta, lettuce, salad, home grown, vegetables,
The household chef is a dab hand at coming up with wonderful food!

Next week – someone’s had a munch at the lettuce!

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 10 … Veggie McVeg Patch…

Just when you think things are safe… the squirrel is back!

The very day after last weeks blog was published, this site greets me! Yes both little hazelnut trees had been dug out of their pots and left on the concrete! Now I love all wildlife, but the pesky squirrel has overstepped the mark… just because he thought there was a nut underneath 🙁 – ok, he was only trying to find a meal and probably thought I put food out for him as I do for the birds.

Fortunately, the roots seemed to be intact and I’ve put them back in their pots. So far they seem ok and are currently sharing the security of the lettuce house 🙂

hazelnut plant, potted, home grown,
That pesky squirrel is still after his nuts!!

Talking of lettuce, I’ve had a steady crop of salad leaves to harvest almost every other day from this little lot and they’re currently still going.

salad leaves, vegetables, home grown
I’ve save countless bags of bought salad!

So as I mentioned last time, I’ve sown some more, which started showing within four or five days! These will be allowed to grow into proper lettuces and will very soon need thinning out, as they’ll need room to develop.

Lettuce, seedlings, vegetables, home grown
These started showing within four or five days of sowing!

I had to take the wire mesh off the carrots, as their tops were growing through it and I don’t think need the protection now. However having sown more carrots just beyond them, you can see the wire covering in place – it works well.

Carrots, foliage, vegetables, home grown
I’m so hopeful for carrots soon.

Beyond that are the beetroot that look almost as big as rhubarb! I’ve also just discovered you can eat the leaves… something new to try 🙂

beetroot, vegetables, home grown
I’m finding these need a lot of water when its really hot, or they start to wilt.

As with the carrots, I’ve been watching to see if there is any sign of something edible at the base of all that leaf… and there we have it, little beetroot are growing. I may try digging up one or two (to eat of course) and give the others more space to fill out, because I probably didn’t thin them enough in the early seedling days.

Beetroot, vegetables, home grown
Ok, a bit wonky, but definite beetroot forming 🙂

Take my hat of to these little guys – while this was captured on a wild flower, they’ve been doing what bees do in the garden, because all the flowers on my plants have been turning into vegetables…

bees, pollenation, wildlife
Our garden is full of hard working bees.

… and more joy, I’ve discovered little dwarf beans forming…

dwarf beans, vegetables, home grown
More excitement when I saw the beans forming.

… and courgettes growing 🙂

Courgette, vegetable, home grown
First fruit forming.

Last week I mentioned having a surplus of plants and an anticipated surplus of vegetables. I’ve decided to sell anything (locally) I don’t have room to grow, or, more than we can eat and give the money raised to a local charity – anyone want a tomato plant or nut tree?

This is the one I’m supporting: COVID 19 Hardship Fund

tomato plants, vegetables, home grown
I now have a healthy surplus of tomato plants.

Next week – plants are selling and more to harvest.

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 9 … Veggie McVeg Patch…

Things I’ve discovered along the way…

A few conclusions so far – someone asked me if I’d thrown any seedlings away when thinning out? Well yes I did (just a few), but I didn’t like doing it 🙁 – so as we are two months on, I’ve sown more carrots and more lettuces, to stagger my crops throughout the coming months. This time, I’ve been more careful when placing the seeds out to minimise the need for thinning and therefore wasted growth – is this right or wrong… I don’t know, but it feels right to me.

Was everything organic? – was another question I’ve had – well no, I can’t claim that because I started off using bags of soil and compost bought last year. Plus I have bought some Tomorite which I will use sparingly – however, I can claim that I’ve not used any pesticides or other fertilisers and plan to keep it that way if possible.

Finally, while we continue to enjoy the salad leaves (regularly harvested) – I’ve noticed there are no bugs or slugs on them (bonus!). I guess because they are in a slightly raised large wooden tray and their added protection of the old cloche over the top, nothing can really get to them!

carrots seeds, vegetables, home grown, planting,
Two months on and more carrots have gone in.

More triffids? no these are the courgettes that were potted out. All I can say is all the courgettes seem to be very happy in the large outdoor pots … and …

courgettes, potted, vegetables, home grown,
More triffids? The courgettes have gone bananas…

… we have flowers – Amazing! Yes, I can confirm, baby courgettes are forming 🙂

courgette, flowers, vegetables, home grown,
Getting the camera under the huge leaves, revealed the first flowers.

More flowers …. yes the dwarf beans have joined in and produced the prettiest shade of lilac flower. So we will have beans to, assuming our lovely wild bees find them.

dwarf bean, flower, home grown,
Thought this was the prettiest colour flower ever.

Talking of bees… I managed to capture this little fella on one of the raspberry plant flowers.

raspberry plant, bee, pollination, home grown, fruit crop
The bees are at work and just managed to catch this fella doing his thing.

… and he’s obviously done his job well, because we have some actual raspberries forming 🙂

raspberry, fruit, home grown,
Our first fruit forming.

An update on the tomato plants – to date I’ve only had one seedling not make it, which so far gives me about forty baby tomato plants all growing – again, what was I thinking …

tomatoes, home grown, vegetables,
They are all growing steadily in the warmth of the greenhouse.

Finally, do you remember in update 7, I mentioned I’d rescued two hazel nut seedlings when weeding the main bed. Well they are very happy in their pots and growing well.

Hazelnut plants, home grown, potted
They’ve definitely survived and are growing.

Next week – what to do with surplus plants and produce.

‘Home Grown’ diary project – update 8 … Veggie McVeg Patch…

Each week I wonder if I will have enough to tell you

Well I shouldn’t worry, for those of you who are following this and get a smidgeon as excited as I do over the progress… there’s always something to tell 🙂

I did mention in the early days, that I would comment on the photography aspect of recording this project with my iPhone, I am after all a photographer! I’ve decided it will be best to devote a particular blog just to that side of things. That way those of you interested in the growing can read those blogs and anyone interested in the photography challenge can just read that.

A quick update on the carrots and beetroot… its easier for you to see from under the protective wire mesh than above it, as you can see from the following two images. However, since these two images, I have removed the mesh. I think the risk from birds is now over and I’ve developed other ways to keep my feline assistant off! However, suffice to say they both are growing well 🙂

Carrots, grow your own, vegetables,
I hope as much is going on underground as I can see above ground!
beetroot, vegetables, grow your own
I hope as much is going on underground as it is above ground!

The rest of the courgette plants have gone out – three more into large pots, two into the garden, but two I’ve potted on, but kept them in the greenhouse. Why, well as you can see the stem has split? I don’t think it was because of the wire splint, because the others are ok. So we will see if they survive as they get bigger, but for the meantime they stay inside for their protection.

courgette, stem, vegetables, split
I really didn’t expect this one to survive.
courgette, vegetables, grow your own
Hope there is enough room in here for two!

Because I had re-arranged the planting of the dwarf beans, had some spare space for two of the courgette plants to out into the main garden … yes I have a total of nine plants … what was I thinking!!!

courgette, vegetables, grow your own,
Found room for these two in the main bed!

The tomato seedlings have gone beyond their two little seedling leaves and sprouted more growth. I can happily report this is continuing at quite a rate … but like the courgettes, I’ve got a lot of seedlings that have survived. More on that next week.

tomato, seedlings, vegetables, grow your own,
… they’re all growing!
tomato, seedlings, vegetables, grow your own,
… they’re all growing!

So all in all, happy how things are progressing and will report more on the raspberry and blueberry plants next week. However, at the same time as building the wigwam of stakes for the beans, also put stakes in two (the biggest) of the raspberry plants pots, so as they grow taller, will place string round to help support their growth.

vegetables, fruit, greenhouse, grow your own, pots
My nursery of pots is increasing significantly.

Next week – more seeds, more triffids, more flowers … more growth!