It’s been a while since I’ve done a veg patch update. I haven’t done much work in the garden but there’s been a lot of changes and loads of growth at the end of the summer.
Vegetable Garden Bed 1
A lot of the summer salads have gone to seed and been pulled out. The parsley here is barley clinging on and could really do with pulling. I’ve succession planted some mustard and rocket for some fresh leaves in the last few weeks of summer.
This is my first year growing radicchio. I just planted the one row as I had no idea if we would like it or even how to cook it. I tried frying the leaves in bacon but it was for too bitter. I’ll wait for it to heart up and then try it again.
This bed could do with some more compost during autumn. I’ll plant some winter lettuces to give some fresh leaves over the winter. I think I’ll move one of my mini polytunnels to this bed and cover it with plastic to keep some of the heat in and help the lettuce along a bit.
Vegetable Garden Bed 2
I’ve pulled most of the beetroot from this bed. It made a lovely big bowl of beetroot salad. There’s the last few radishes of the season which are getting a little on the woody side now. Lots of them are running to seed before really producing anything so I think I may not bother sowing radishes so late next year. Although it may be because it’s been so hot in these last few weeks.
There’s a few carrots left to harvest. They’re still quite small so I’m leaving them for now. I also left the smaller beetroot, I’ll probably pull them in the next couple of weeks.
Vegetable Garden Bed Legumes
The peas have finished. My Little Dude developed a taste for them and ate the lot. I’ll definitely be planting more next year, I probably need to put in more beds for them too. We had 6 healthy bean plants and it wasn’t enough to sustain his appetite for them.
The broad beans are just about done, there’s just a couple more pods left to grow to a decent size and then I’ll be pulling them.
The runner beans have been enjoying the little heat wave we’ve had at the end of summer as well as the heavy rain that followed it. I’m still picking some quite satisfactory harvests and expect to do so for a another few weeks yet.
The French beans seem to be suffering more slug damage than their neighbours. The beans that are growing are typically eaten by the slugs before I get to them. I’ll be sure to add a jam jar of beer to this bed next year. Hopefully that will help keep some of the blighters at bay.
Vegetable Garden Bed 3 & 4
Beds 3 and 4 have given up their potato harvest. It wasn’t as bountiful as I was hoping for. I got a few kilos of first and second earlies and maybe another 2 kilos of main crop. The main crop in particular seems to have suffered from potato blight. I had quite a few rotten tumblers and the rest were very small, more like new potatoes. I reckon I got as many potatoes as I could have bought with the money I spent on seed potatoes. They taste better fresh so I’m calling it a very marginal win.
There’s a little spinach clinging onto life at the back of bed 4. It’s been heavily attacked by slugs. I’ve even resorted to using slug pellets just to give the spinach a chance at getting established. It seems to be doing better now although there’s some sort of fungal infection going on too.
Vegetable Garden Bed 5 & 6
The brassicas are doing really well under cover. They were suffering quite badly from slug damage earlier in the year. I had a really good clean up and took off loads of the lower leaves and pulled all the weaker plants. They seem to be doing much better now so I’ve got into the habit of clearing the lower and weaker leaves regularly.
My leeks are doing nicely too. All the onions have been harvested. There wasn’t anything like as much as I wanted. I had a few issues with overwatering onion seeds earlier in the year and it’s really put a dent in the harvest.
I filled the space with a couple of rows of radishes interplanted with parsnips and turnips. It’s worked perfectly, all of the radishes have either been harvested or gone to seed just as the parsnips and turnips are needing the extra space.
Vegetable Garden Bed 7 & 8
I should rename these beds slug city. I’m assuming it’s the overhanging ivy and the fence being so close that has created the perfect habit for the slimy little beggars. I’ll be clearing the ivy and possibly removing the fence over the winter when the garden dies back a little.
In the meantime I have a surprising squash harvest slowly developing. I thought all of my squash plants had succumbed to the slugs but it seems that two have just about survived. I’m not expecting them to be able to produce much of a harvest before the end of the season but a heat wave at the beginning of September seems to be giving them a chance.
I had planted two rows of beetroot in these beds but they fell victim to the slug invasion. There is some weak looking swiss chard that I’m hoping will grow strong enough to keep going through the winter. The only thing that’s actually performed well here is the parsnips. They seem to be coming along very nicely and I’m hopeful of home grown parsnips for Christmas dinner.
More failures than success in the fruit patch this year.
The strawberry patch was joyfully abundant in the spring. I was confused when my strawberries disappeared the moment they ripened. Last year I put it down to the birds and invested in netting. This year I reckon it was the rats. They appear to have taken up residence under the shed. I’m normally reluctant to put down poison just on the off chance that the children get hold of it That and I don’t like the idea of killing a living thing, even if they are stealing my strawberries! But this year the children were away for three weeks on holiday so I did put down some poison before leaving. I came home to a couple of corpses so presumably it worked. Unfortunately this wasn’t in time to save my strawberry harvest for this year. I’m hoping to build a sturdy fruit cage for next year.
The netting intended to protect the strawberries from birds unfortunately damaged the lavender flowers. Originally I laid the netting loosely over the strawberries awaiting some hooks to hold it high and tight. The lavender grew through the netting and when I removed it a lot of the flowers came away with the nets. I’ve managed to harvest a couple of disappointingly small bunches. The lavender bushes are also fighting with the strawberries and an invasive ground covering plant that seems impossible to get rid of. I’m debating weather to let the strawberries win.
That same netting went up too late to protect my gooseberries. Despite a promising looking harvest it was gone in the blink of an eye. The bush closer to the shed didn’t produce a single gooseberry. I’m wondering if it is too shady here for the fruit patch.
Likewise my blackcurrant bush gave me no harvest at all.
I bought myself a blueberry bush to replace one I planted here a couple of years ago that never showed any signs of life. I did think long and hard about the position. Being next to the shed it is very shady, too shady certainly. But I don’t have any other space really. At least not at the moment. I think I do need to install some permanent beds along the sides of the children’s play area. I decided to risk wasting the couple of pounds I spent and see how this new blueberry bush gets on.
My mint and lemon balm are both flourishing. I’ve already harvested vast swathes of lemon balm to keep the creepy crawlies out of my bedroom over the summer. Most of it went in the compost because there’s just too much to use. Lemon Balm tea doesn’t seem to agree with me so I’m on the look out for other recipes or use for this herb. I think I need to start cutting them back fairly aggressively throughout the summer rather than just at the end as I originally planned.
There was a little thyme bush which was overrun by the lemon balm and didn’t survive the following winter. I’ve planted another from seed but I don’t think it’s had chance to grow big enough to survive this winter. I’ll replace it yet again next year.
The chives are flourishing as always. It’s been a very hot summer and they flowered very early and started to die back. I cut the whole thing back to just a few inches off the ground. To my delight it has grown back and has given me fresh chives throughout the summer. Next year I’ll try to remember to cut the beautiful flowers as they arrive. They dry out perfectly in a vase without water and last for ages inside the house.
The sage got off to a late start this year. I was worried it wasn’t going to recover from last year’s pruning. But eventually it started flourishing again. I’ve harvested some already and it’s drying ready for the stuffing with Christmas Dinner.
I’ve got oregano and rosemary growing here too. I really need to get the oregano harvested and dried. The rosemary is a new addition this year and doesn’t seem to be doing well enough to give up it’s harvest just yet.
I had the inspired idea to plant my pumpkins so they could grow up the children’s climbing frame. They have done amazingly well and grew right to the top. I really should have got a ladder and secured them better. My one big pumpkin fell down and broke off the vine!
After putting it to one side to deal with later I noticed that it was starting to ripen. I’ve left it in the sun and turn it periodically. It seems to ripening up nicely. I’m apprehensive about it being edible but it will at least make a nice decorating for Halloween.
The play area occupies the sunniest position in my garden. My vegetable patch is relegated to the shady side of the house which is far from ideal. But the play area on the large open is lawn is perfect for the children and that’s more important to me at the moment.
I am however, open to the idea of planting some of the more sun loving plants around their play area. Particularly plants that I think the children will enjoy taking responsibility for or eating. (Oh that gives me an idea, I could put the peas here next year and then Little Dude can have easy access to his favourite summer snack!) So I have planted sunflowers growing up the sides of the children’s garden fort.
They have grown to amazing heights that I really wasn’t expecting at all. I going to have to find a way to pin the twine that supports them much higher next year. I think I’ll also do away with the pots and try to plant them directly in the soil to reduce the effects of dry spells.
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A Little Bit About Me . . .
Thank you so much for stopping by my corner little of the interweb. I’m Bridie, mum to two small humans, full time homemaker and full time craftaholic – which totally explains why I’m always short on time!
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