Leafyleith's Blog

May 15, 2011

And we’re back!

So, where was I? It’s been a while, we’ve got a bit of catching up to do.

Last summer saw a few successes and a few failings. Successfully managed to grow some lovely carrots, pak choi and courgettes in the new raised bed. Failed miserably on the beetroot, sweetcorn and sunflower front. Not sure what happened there, because they were fine the previous year.

And we got a new little Daisy here at Leafyleith. She was the best seedling of all last summer.

This is the main reason why it’s been quiet on the posting front. But the Gaffer and I have been quite busy getting the garden back into shape and ready for year 3 of Leafyleith.

So far, the following seeds have been sown:

  • Beetroot – just in
  • Runner beans – been in for a few weeks, so far no show
  • Dwarf beans – just in
  • French onions – through
  • Parsnips – through
  • Carrots – through
  • Basil – no show, so have re-sown
  • Salad leaves – sporadic, so have re-sown
  • Courgette – just in
  • Fennel – just in
  • Sunflowers – just in (am starting them off in pots in the growhouse, because of last year’s failing)

For some reason I was a bit surprised that the fennel seeds look just like the ones you cook with. Not sure why this surprised me, but it did. Does this mean I could have just sown the ones I have in the kitchen?

September 13, 2010

Dwarf bean glut

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 11:11 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

A few weeks ago if you’d asked me what I thought of dwarf beans, I’d have been quite derogatory.

I wasn’t impressed by the spindly, little plants. They didn’t look like they were making much effort and I thought I’d wasted my time on them.

Boy, was I wrong. I am truly amazed by the abundance of produce from six plants. They are tiny – less than 30cm tall – but I’ve had so many beans off them I am having to give them away.

I’ve grown a variety called Purple Queen. It has lovely lilac flowers that produce a dark purple bean which turns green when cooked. And the more you pick, the more they come up with the goods. They are still going strong.

My favourite recipe has been a variation on Salad Nicoise using smoked mackerel instead of tuna. It’s delicious.

Anyway, I’m not sure I’ll grow dwarf beans again next year. I prefer the visual impact of the taller varieties in the garden, so I’ll probably opt for a purple variety of runner bean. But if you’ve got a lack of space or fancy growing some veg in pots, then dwarf beans should be top of your list.

July 22, 2009

How Not To Garden

You know that programme ‘What Not To Wear’? Well, tonight you’ve tuned in to an episode of ‘How Not To Garden’.

After 40 days and 40 nights of rain – slight exaggeration, but there’s no chance of a drought here in Edinburgh – the plants have gone berserk.

All the books say courgettes are easy peasy and they’re not lying. However, courgettes are the main item on the ‘How Not To Garden’ agenda.

I’ve been growing some in a tub and unfortunately mine are growing under battery conditions.

courgette-flowers

Please don’t report me to the Courgette Protection League. I really didn’t know what I was doing. Next year, I must remember only two plants to a tub.

The flowers are absolutely amazing. I’d planned to make some tempura fritter thingies with them, but it’s been raining so much I haven’t got around to it. You’re supposed to pick the flowers on a sunny day, so they are open and ready to stuff.

I also read that you should pick the male flowers to eat. You can tell the difference because the female flowers have a courgette attached and the males are on a stalk.  I seem to have a self-sufficient female colony because the males are only now appearing. My ladies seem to have courgettes already developing… how did that happen?!

Just so you can see that I’m not all bad, here’s how a courgette should be treated. They like space to spread out,  so the fruits can form properly.

courgettes-in-garden

The thing is, I’m not that bothered about the battery ones because I think they’ll be tastier if they’re small and M&S charge a small fortune for those baby ones. Although, I ate one of mine the other day and it was incredibly bitter, so maybe I’m in for a big disappointment.

Other disappointments of late:

  • rocket and pak choi bolting because I didn’t pick them in time (been eating out a lot lately)
  • butternut squash and beetroot also living in battery conditions and
  • sugar snap pea plants being eaten alive by god knows what

Actually, now that I come to think of it, the rest of my gardening antics have actually been quite successful.

Shed & Lawn Man and myself enjoyed a lovely sugar-snap and mangetout pesto pasta dish the other night. I’ve only got about 15 plants on the go, but they have been quite productive so far.

mangetout-pods-july09

And the runner-beans are also coming on a treat as well. Look at the flowers on these, so I’ll be harvesting soon if the sun decides to make a reappearance.  So I’ll leave you on that happy note.

runner-bean-flowers

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