Before I start today I wanted to remind anyone that is interested, that my usual monthly blog post of
‘What To Do In The Kitchen Garden In August’ can be found here.
There is loads of information in this post e.g. weather conditions expected, what to sow / plant / harvest in August, jobs to do and pests / diseases that you may encounter this month.
I hope it helps someone out there.
This week in my kitchen garden:
This week I took the decision to pull up my strawberry bed. I transplanted these strawberries from my allotment back in January and they have failed miserably. I planted them in a raised bed (brought back from my allotment) and filled it with all the compost from my black darlek bins at my allotment before I handed the keys back.
The strawberry plants seemed to be doing well and produced lots of lush green foliage. I gave them a dose of potash in spring and have been watering them well, but there has been no sign of flowers or strawberries at all (though I did cover them with a net just in case to stop the birds):
I have two theories as to why they haven’t done very well. The first is to do with my compost…..if it was especially high in nitrogen then this would produce lush growth rather than fruit, so this may have happened and the second theory is to do with the variety.
At my allotment I had standard starwberries that produced fruit in June and I also had early varieties and a late variety. The early and late varieties were great for a few extra berries when I wasn’t expecting them, but never produced anything like my standard summer strawberries did….and I think I brought my late variety of strawberries home by mistake (as I was rushing to bring as much home as possible before I needed to hand my keys in).
So I think the fact that my compost was too rich in nitrogen together with the fact they are a late variety, has caused the lack of fruit…….but this won’t do in my small kitchen garden!
So yesterday I pulled all the strawberry plants up and decided to rethink this area. I will plant some more strawberries in a different place next year (though I’m not sure where yet).
Amazingly I did actually find three little strawberries which confirmed my theory of the plants being a late variety:
In the mean time I will be sowing some seeds here next week, so I sprinkled some blood, fish and bone over the area.
I also removed the netting in front of the raised bed which had my mangetout growing up it and I cut back the old mangetout. I left the roots of the mangetout in the ground, as the root nodules will add nitrogen to the soil ready for my next crop (whatever this will be, as I have to revamp this whole area). I also found a few mangetout ready to eat, that I missed:
The strawberry bed and mangetout was at the front of my kitchen garden as this was an extra bit that I decided to use as an after thought. In the remaining front area I have sweetcorn and tomato plants growing well, but after the harvest is complete, I will be digging this area over and incorporating it into my crop rotation plan….somehow. At the moment though, the weed suppressant is killing the grass underneath:
This week in my kitchen garden I finally got around to removing the mini cloches (half pop bottles) that were protecting the lettuces I planted before I went on holiday. The plants were quite tiny when I first transplanted them into the ground, but I must admit I did leave them in the bottles for too long as I kept forgetting about them….but I’m sure they will be fine.
I covered them with a net to stop the birds from eating them and I have been on slug watch ever since as there seems to be loads in this garden:
Another job I did this week was to dig up my onions and garlic.
I planted my onions quite close together to pack in as many as possible….. I knew because of this my onions would be smaller than the onions I used to grow at my allotment where space wasn’t a problem, but I have got to say I have been pleasently surprised at the size of them. Some are small, but a lot are a decent size:
I have left them drying in my mini greenhouse:
Unfortunately my garlic wasn’t as good though as it was very, very small. I’m sure this is due to me planting them too late as I just wasn’t organised this year. I have decided to try planting my garlic in pots in my greenhouse this coming autumn, ready for planting out in spring……maybe I will have better success this way.
I have left the garlic to dry in my mini greenhouse too and I will still use it for cooking dispite it’s size.
“There are no gardening mistakes….just experiments”
Janet Kilburn Phillips
Another job this week was to tie my outdoor cucumbers up as they are finally growing, after all of the dull weather we have been having. I was really pleased to see a cucumber growing….if the sun starts to shine maybe I’ll have more:
I have also continued to tie up my tomatoes as they grow and I am pleased to say my outdoor tomatoes are beginning to turn red…..I am so excited! These are a variety called ‘Outdoor girl’, which do ripen early……this way I get a good crop before the dreaded ‘tomato blight‘ hits.
The flowers in my garden are looking nice now and I have been deadheading them as soon as the flowers fade. The sweetpeas in particular need the seed heads removing every day, so they keep producing new flowers, though I do always seem to miss one or two:
Though I have no where near as many flowers as I used to have at my allotment, I do have a few to pick and the sweetpeas especially smell beautiful as I walk in and out of my front door:
I have been harvesting some other vegetables this week too.
I have continued to pick salads, spring onions and curly kale this week, but I have also picked french beans, kohl rabi and my first runner beans. My beetroot was also ready too, and I am cooking it whilst writing my blog today. I will then be pickling it as we love to eat it this way:
I have found that because I have less of everything in my kitchen garden than I did at my allotment, I really appriciate what I do have and look forward to harvesting things far more than before:
My perpetual spinach will soon be ready for a few leaves to be picked and I can’t wait for my cabbages to be ready….and they are not far off:
The final thing I have picked this week is ‘lavender’. I have one plant in a pot and it has produced a small bunch for me:
I am going to use it to make some ‘lavender cakes’ which are just delightful at this time of year (and easy to make). Below are some lavender cakes I made a couple of years ago. The recipe is here.
People do tend to turn their noses up when you tell them the cakes have lavender in, but in actual fact their is just a hint of lavender in the taste, which makes them nice (though I don’t eat the lavender on the top that I use as decoration).
I must say, I do miss the lavender I grew at my allotment as it really smelt good at this time of year when I brushed past it and it looked so very beautiful edging my paths. It was also good at encouraging all those wonderful beneficial insects to my plot…..maybe I could fit more somewhere next year in my garden?
So over all the kitchen garden is producing well. I will be making some changes in the autumn when I look back and see what has and hasn’t worked, but for now I am just enjoying what I have.
Thank you for reading my blog today.
I will be back next Friday as usual. Have a good week!