Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Rich Pickings!

The strawberries are coming thick and fast now! I went out yesterday and it looked as if there would be just a couple of bowls full, yet when I took the netting off and explored under the foliage there were pounds and pounds. I always think it is a bit of a shame to have to make jam (though I do like it) these are fresh and sweet and divine. I have to report that 24 hours after this photo was taken... there are none left!



This leek flower is colouring up nicely. There are a couple of dozen of my Winter leeks which I left to go to flower as a prezzie for bees on my plot. Just under the leeks my Summer pumpkins and squashes will be rambling in a couple of weeks, so I will be welcoming bees onto my patch with open arms!

Sue sent me these lovely old heritage variety Kent Blue Peas which have just started to come into flower. Although the flowers start with this beautiful pink and purple colour, when they ripen and get a bit older they turn to this lovely blue. It is wonderful!

Just a joy to go out into the garden at the moment!

Crimson flowered broad beans are perfect at the moment. The bees love these broad bean flowers, and particularly so these lovely crimson flowers.

A couple of the plants have started to set pods. This older variety has much shorter, smaller pods with an upright growing habit. Each of the pods contain between 3 and 5 small green beans.

The Three Sisters = squashes, corn and beans. Early sweetcorn Swift was started out in modules in the greenhouse. They are growing nicely here, so I have planted a second crop of sweetcorn at the end of this patch, direct into the ground. These should make for a later crop. The climbing beans are a home grown variety which I think is a cross between a climbing flat bean Eden (smooth beans) and a traditional runner bean. The seeds produced were the shape and colour of a runner bean, but the small size of a French bean. Lets see what this crossbreed produces!

Tomatillos are outside and hardened off nicely. Quite a lot of flowers on this plant. I look forward to some hot, green Mexican salsa!

I have had a few germination problems with these Salford Black Beans. Twelve were planted in modules and only 3 came up. One was nibbled then there were two (these two). Another dozen were planted direct in the soil and one came up and was nibbled. Last week I have started another final 8 in modules in the greenhouse. Fingers Crossed. These two plants are really sturdy and healthy.

I have given these Salford Black beans a wonderful richly prepared bed, so they have the best of everything. Seeds were kindly donated by Celia at Purple Podded Peas for my Buddy Morris Memorial Vegetable Patch. Black coloured veggies of all sorts.

27 Comments:

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Paul and Melanie said...

Those strawberries look fab! Think we're still a year off getting a decent harvest from ours but seeing yours has made me really want next year to come! :)

 
At 8:02 PM, Blogger Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

I notice the water bottles< what's their function? I have to ask since I'm a newbie "wanting to be farmer". The strawberries look delicious too..I slice mine up, put sugar over them, let them sit a bit until they give up a little "juice" then I put four servings each into a pint size plastic container and line them up in the freezer.
We like them with sour cream or heavy cream. You can even defrost them in a hurry :o)

 
At 8:58 PM, Blogger Growth Spurts said...

The blue peas are so pretty...

 
At 9:02 PM, Blogger LindaG said...

What an amazing garden and wonderful pictures, Matron. Congratulations!
If I might ask, what are the jugs in the garden for? Do they cover tender plants?

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger Matron said...

The water bottles are protective cloches for the pumpkins and squashes. When they are first planted out they can be a bit vulnerable to colder nights so I give them a bit of extra protection until the weather heats up a bit more.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger randi said...

Wow! Everything looks wonderful,(as usaul)..I always look forward to your blog posts. You turned me on to the crimson flowering favas and I grow them every year.

 
At 9:30 PM, Blogger LindaG said...

Thanks for the information, Matron!

 
At 10:18 PM, Blogger Doc said...

Very nice garden this year Matron. I like the water bottles as cloches, very good use.

 
At 12:56 AM, Blogger Mac said...

Your veggies are all nice and healthy. What color pea pods are from those pretty purple blue flowers?

 
At 3:19 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Your strawberries look really tempting, Matron! How far apart do you plant your fava beans? I think I may have overcrowded mine because the crimson ones are have the height as the Windsor (though you did mention that this could be because of the variety).

Also do your pods take while to set? The first few rows of flowers don't seem to be doing much of anything.

 
At 3:40 AM, Blogger Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Hi Matron, all looking good there!

 
At 3:58 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Strawberries look good! They are late here because of the cold spring. Can't wait to pick up some flats of them. Nice flowers too, even though Matron doesn't do flowers :)

By the way, the soil in my area is predominantly sandy loam. The soil in the veggie patch was brought in by our truck though. The south side of the house was graded with rocky soil long before my time. A shovel basically bounced off of it. It was a big task to dig it all out!

 
At 6:21 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Mac - don't know what colour the pods will be. I'm waiting to see
Thomas - when Americans call them fava beans I can't help thinking of Hannibal Lechter!! but to answer your question, probably about 8-12" apart. There can be problems setting, that's down to the weather and the presence of bees.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger Sue@Green Lane Allotments said...

Don't broad bean flowers smell lovely on a warm sunny day too. We are growing the crimson flowered variety which are attracting lots of curiosity

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger melsanford said...

Looking good! I keep buying strawberries cos mine are still green and I can't wait! That leek flower is beautiful :-) Love 'n' hugs, Mel xx

 
At 12:11 PM, Blogger My Little Bit of Green said...

wow those strawberries look so yummy! Very jealous. We've got a fairly substantial strawberry patch at the allotment but because this is our first year and the soil is so shoddy we're not getting very much off them- except more runners which will at least be good for next year!

I've adopted the "two sisters" method because of bean related dithering- I will be watching to see how yours get on!

H x

 
At 3:00 PM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

We only had our first strawbs a couple of days ago. Gorgeous though! We had our first Kent Blues yesterday - a small portion each but they are very heavy croppers.

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger Allison at Novice Life said...

Everything looks wonderful! I haven't ever heard of Salford Black beans -- very cool!

 
At 6:58 PM, Blogger Caro (UrbanVegPatch) said...

It's lovely to see how your garden is flourishing and the tip about keeping pumpkins under cloches is a good one. Can I ask: how far apart are your sweet corn? I want to plant some between courgettes and yours look quite close together although photographs on the web can be deceptive!

 
At 7:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful pics !

 
At 10:33 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Caro - sweet corn should be planted in blocks rather than lines. Mine are a foot apart, then a 2ft gap for a pumpkin then another row 1ft apart.

 
At 12:29 AM, Blogger Maureen said...

Fab photo's and I love those crimson flowered beans. What are they called ? or is that the name that you mentioned ? All your plants look so lush.

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Oh goddness - what bounty there is to be found at your place!! I'm coming over, lol. Beautiful - thank you for sharing xxxx

 
At 3:41 PM, Blogger Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

I love the colour of the pea flowers. Sure envy the glorious growths in your garden - good dose of work, I bet!

 
At 5:52 PM, Blogger Caro (UrbanVegPatch) said...

Hi Matron! Thanks for the advice on planting distances. I think I can fit some corn around the courgettes. I've only put 4 courgettes in a 1m x 1.5 m raised bed so there's still lots of space crying out to be used! I'm going to try a 3-sisters grouping with some beans at one end and maybe some nasturtiums around the outside... Caro x

 
At 12:55 PM, Blogger Daphne said...

I can just dream about pounds of strawberries. I had to buy mine from the farmers market this year. So sad. I can't wait until I can pick my own.

 
At 3:35 PM, Blogger Gardeningbren said...

I loved your idea about using water bottles as cloches. We have trouble growing hot peppers and eggplant here..too cool in my garden anyway. This might be just the ticket to give them that extra warmth..Thanks!

 

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