Tag Archive | Growing strawberries

The Harvest Begins And I’m Still Planting

We have had some beautiful weather this week (up until today) and it’s been a pleasure to work at my allotment.

I am still harvesting my strawberries and they taste delicious:

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I have also harvested the last broadbeans in my polytunnel:

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My outdoor broadbeans are just about ready to pick now too.

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My daughter came with me this week to pick the strawberries (and eat them).  I also caught her picking and eating my mangetout when she thought I wasn’t looking, which made me laugh.  It’s a good job she did though, as I hadn’t realised they were ready:

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I finally finished planting my last set of peas and mangetout this week.  I have tried really hard to successionally grow my peas and mangetout, so they aren’t all ready to eat at the same time.  So far it seems to be working.

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A little bit later I found my daughter under one of my D-I-Y fruit cages (made out of canes and bottles).  She really makes me laugh as she thought I wouldn’t notice that she was pinching my gooseberrys.  I used to love eating raw gooseberrys when I was her age, but now I can only eat them when they are cooked and sweetened.

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I have been planting some more lettuces this week, in the hope that we don’t run out.  I try and sow seeds every three or four weeks and plant them out when they are ready.

I am struggling with space now at my allotment, so I planted some next to the peas I planted this week and some in between my courgettes and patty pans.  Hopefully I will harvest them before they run out of room.  The ‘posh’ word for this is ‘intercropping‘.

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I have also planted some more cauliflowers under environmesh.  After planting I did my usual ‘cauliflower stomp’ to firm the soil around them, to stop them from ‘blowing’:

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I had some small kohl rabi’s to plant, but as I was short of space, I have planted them in between my cucmbers in my polytunnel:

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As usual I have hoed all around my plot.  I find if I hoe everywhere once a week on a dry day, it keeps the weeds down a treat.

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This week I checked out the flowers in my wildflower area and they are starting to attract lots of bees and insects.  Already there is the sound of ‘buzzing’ when you stop and listen.  It isn’t yet in full flower and there are still lots of smaller plants still to put on growth:

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The flowers all around my plot are starting to open now that we have had a bit of sun:

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It makes me feel glad to be alive!

Thank you for reading my blog today.  I will be back on Monday at approximately 4pm.

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Mouldy Banana’s And Beneficial Insects

To begin with, I thought I’d show you my first broad beans of the season.  These are an over-wintering variety that I sowed in pots at the beginning of November.  As the weather was dreadful, I didn’t plant them out until February and to be honest I nearly put them in the compost bin as they were so ‘leggy’ by then.  However, I had room in my polytunnel so I put them in there, tying each one to a cane to try and stand them up.  I didn’t think they would come to anything and I have been proved wrong, so I am very pleased.

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The above broad beans went straight down to my father-in-law, as he absolutely loves them.  He has been very poorly recently and has only just come out of hospital again, so this put a smile on his face.

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My strawberries are finally growing well, even though they are slightly later than usual, due to the cold spring we have had.  I always lay straw around my strawberries, as this stops the strawberries from rotting when they lay on wet ground and it also helps to stop annual weeds from germinating around them.

Another job I do is to put a net over them, or the greedy birds will eat all of them.

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A long time ago, I was told I wasted space at my allotment by growing too many flowers. Yes I agree, if I didn’t grow so many flowers I would have more space for vegetable plants. However, I strongly believe I would also have fewer vegetables to harvest, as there would be less insects around to pollinate my crops.

You only needed to stand and watch my wild flower patch last year, to see the buzz of activity there. It was absolutely amazing to watch and took my breath away every time I stopped and stared.

As an organic gardener, I try really hard to encourage beneficial insects into my plot , as they keep the ‘bad bugs’ at bay. As an example, if you watch blackflies, within a few days you will see the ladybirds having a feast on them. I don’t use pesticides as these will not only kill the ‘bad’ insects, but it will also kill the ‘good’ ones too.

I try to let nature do the work for me.

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I try really hard to attract bees onto my plot from early spring until late autumn, by planting a continuous range of flowers. As an example, I stood amongst my poached egg plants for less than ten seconds a couple of days ago and managed to easily take photos of four separate bees:

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 After the success of last years wildflower patch, I decided to have another go.  Last month I sowed the seeds and they have started to come up now, together with seeds that self sowed themself from last year.

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The plants that are growing from last years seeds are far more advanced than the seeds I sowed last month and I have even got a flower on one of them:

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 If this years display is half as good as last years, I will be happy.  Below are a few photo’s of last years patch:

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Two Mouldy Banana’s:

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I hate waste.  However, there is always something that you find lurking at the back of the fridge or the bottom of the fruit bowl that you have to think hard about how you can use it.  So what on earth could you do with two mouldy, black bananas’ that only look fit for the compost bin?….

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…..I made a lovely banana cake:

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Banana cake

2 very ripe bananas’s mashed

170g caster sugar

170g self-rising flour

170g soft margarine

3 eggs

Half a teaspoon of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Plus extra margarine and flour for lining the tin

A little icing sugar for dusting.

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Preheat your oven to gas 3 / 325F / 170C

Line a medium loaf tin by greasing the tin with margarine and dusting with flour

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Put all the ingredients into a bowl

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Mix until they are all combined and pour into your loaf tin.

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Bake for approximately 1 hour. 

(Test the cake is cooked by inserting a skewer into the cake and if it comes out clean then it is cooked).

Dust with icing sugar when cool.

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Enjoy!

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday at approximately 4pm.