Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hotting up

 The super long day length and warm days at the moment is bringing everything on in leaps and bounds.  I overwintered some Swiss Chard, and let it grow up to flower for the bees...
 These plants are about 8 or 9 feet tall and about to flower!  Always well worth leaving some of your veggies to go to flower for the bees. I have seen they particularly like Parsnips, Leeks and Broccoli.
 Meanwhile I'm trying to grow Oca for the first time this year.  A small tuber like a Jerusalem Artichoke.  I am growing some tubers in a black plastic dustbin. Nice and warm soil in there, I just keep it well fed and watered.
 Meanwhile my Aeron Vale Purple Star runner beans are running!  Some have been cut off by the snails and slugs, but most plants are vigorous and healthy. This is a purple Runner Bean bred specially by Gwilym at Aeron Vale Allotments.  I am looking forward to seeing these, my heavy, wet London clay should suit them well.
 Despite being chewed to smithereens by the sawfly, there are still some decent Invicta Gooseberries ripening on the bushes.  I leave them to ripen properly and they are the sweetest, gourmet treat ever. Pick them early and you might as well strip walpaper with them!
 I am particularly excited to see how these cucumbers develop.  Two varieties from Seeds of Italy, they are both 'melon cucumbers' one from Arbruzzo and the other from Manduria.  So far, the red spider mites appear to have been kept at bay with my natural predators. 
 Broad beans are just perfect and ready to eat at the moment.  I never have problems with Aquadulce Claudia, a great variety.
I planted my outdoor tomatoes today.  Varieties this year include, Indigo Rose, Harlequin, Chocolate Cherry, Sungold, Golden Jubilee and Pantano.  The latter, Pantano is a Roman Beefsteak variety from Seeds of Italy.   Full steam ahead!


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Brave lady, growing outdoor tomatoes! I was looking for a tomato which I thought was called Black Russian but I may have gotten the name wrong as none of the places I tried for seed had ever heard of it?!

At 7:02 AM, Blogger Mark Willis said...

Crikey! I never knew Swiss Chard flower-stalks could get to 8 or 9 feet tall.

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Peggy, yes I have grown Black Russian (do a word search on my blog) I think it is the same as Black Krim, and Noir du Crimee.. being from the Crimea - formerly part of Russia..

At 3:18 PM, Anonymous Catherine said...

The gooseberries look lovely. I'm growing them for the first time and trying to work out how long we should leave them on the bush. Do you pick each berry as it gets large and freeze them until you have enough to cook with or do you just take off small numbers as and when?

At 10:54 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Catherine - to see if they are ripe I gently squeeze the fruit between thumb and forefinger. If they are hard then they will be acid and OK for cooking with lots of sugar. The softer they are, the sweeter they are.


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