Monday, July 14, 2008

A Mixed Bag

Well its been a busy few weeks, what with Wychurst work weekends, shows for the Henley Rowing Museum and Royal Gunpowder Mills, and film work for Hardy pictures current production - apart from the rain, spent a great couple of days messing with the longships and killing Saxons.
In the garden and on the plots its been a bit of a mixed bag. The french beans in the garden have been a little disappointing, whilst those on the Bracknell plot have so far yielded about 9 lbs, about 1.5lbs the weekend before last, and the remainder last weekend. With a fair wind I should be able to gather another 5 lbs or so before they're spent. I'm going to experiment with a second crop and see what I get.
The runner beans in the garden are starting to produce a few tentative beans but the one's on the Sunningdale plot are still being rather reluctant - although I've put a ban on picking the Painted Lady until I have enough seed pods for next year.
I've also got tow other problems on this plot - all my garlic went down with rust, so I've had to pull these. I recon they were only a couple of weeks from harvesting away so its no great loss. On the up side I've a good harvest of shallots and winter onions, and my main onion crop are coming along nicely. Weighed against this though is the fact that I've lost about 50% of my first and second earlies to blight, although it's not got into the tubers. It's just I'm only getting 3-4 golf ball sized tubers per plant plus a handful of marbles. The Maris bard in the garden are more than making up for it though.

My first picture this time is the harvest from 4 of the potato bins. I should have photographed the Mayan Gold when I pulled them two weeks ago but just didn't think of it. Anyway from top to bottom we have, Vales Emerald, Maris Bard, Anya, Estima - although the Estima were actually some leftovers from Sainsbury's planted last November in the greenhouse but which didn't actually start growing till March. Whilst the yield of the Vales Emerald is comparable to that of the Maris Bard, they don't cook well, being prone to splitting, and are a little bland. The Mayan Gold were much better, and I'm considering these for next year - we'll see what happens to prices.

My second picture is a promised update on the milk carton front. Normally I'd be well into the lettuce crop by now but after the mice ate the first two batches of sowings I'm late this year - having said that I picked the first of the Little Gem (upper rear row) and Buttercrunch (lower rear row) on Sunday. You can also see the parsnips are progressing, sown 4 per 4 litre container, and the carrots are now starting to come along - although the ones in the cartons are about the only ones that have survived the slugs - they're had all three sowing I've made in the waste bins, and both sowings made in open ground.

Things are also progressing in the greenhouse as you can see from the next two pictures. We've picked 4 cucumbers so far, 3 in the last week, but with the eratic weather we've been having I don't think we'll be getting anymore for a week or two. Perhaps we'll have a tomato or two at that time as well as there are several set and growing.

The asparagus is also coming along nicely, although when the sun's actually out I'm going through my water supply quite rapidly keeping them fed and watered - weeding the pots is also somewhat tedious. Still £4 for two packets of seeds to produce 70 year old crowns is better than £16 for 5 crowns, and I still have half a packet of each seed left - I might just think about sowing that next year and selling the crowns off at £1 each.

I'll end this update with more pictures of my lilies. The picture of the pink ones was taken about 10 days ago as they are now past their best, whilst the yellow ones are just coming into flower now, so I'll have these to enjoy for another 10 days or so before they go over. Having been ruthless earlier in the year I also seem to be completely free of Lily Beetle.