Leafyleith's Blog

October 3, 2011

Post-summer update

I didn’t plan to have no updates all summer, but it’s happened. I’ve been busy though. So, just a quick summary of what’s been going on.

The summer was pretty crap, weather-wise. Not a lot of sustained sunshine – probably about four weeks of solid sun… (including 20+ temperatures during the last week of September).  Anyway, it seemed to take ages to get anything to grow and some plants have been better than others.

The carrots, courgettes and parsnips have done well. I’ve also grown fennel, but it bolted and I think I sowed it too early (beginning of May), so next year I’ll hold off for a few weeks. Rocket and salad leaves were good.

I was exasperated by the beetroot. I tried three times to grow it and it failed to germinate. It eventually made an appearance after I soaked the seed and sowed it in June. Must remember this next year.

Another fail were the runner beans which kept getting eaten alive by slugs or snails, so eventually I gave up…

So that’s a quick run down of the last five months! Better luck next year, I think.

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?

August 8, 2010

Harvesting courgettes

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 5:50 pm
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At long last things are happening at Leafyleith. My two courgette plants are producing an abundance of fruit.

You can see below that I’ve left some of these a bit too long and they’ve become marrow like. They should really be picked with the courgettes are still quite small and the packet suggested picking when they’re 5cm wide.

The plants are quite large and sprawling. I made the mistake of planting too many plants in a tub last year, so I’ve allowed plenty of space in the raised bed and they’ve made the most of it.

I went for a round variety of courgette – Eight Ball – and this week I picked a few and made this easy courgette soup recipe that I found online. I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter – no chives or oregano in mine and I substituted creme fraiche for the cream.  But the general idea was there and very tasty it was too.

It won’t be long before I’m making this soup again, judging by the number of courgettes in the pipeline…

July 20, 2010

Slow gardening

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 12:01 am
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Is it just me or does everything seem a bit slow this year?

Had a look back at last year and by now the hydrangea and flame-flower were in full bloom. The hydrangea has flowers coming but they are still green and the flame-flower is a fraction of last year’s size, so am putting this down to the harsh winter.

Not sure what’s going on elsewhere.

We had great weather during May and June, but all the seeds that I’ve sown seem really slow. The sunflowers and sweet peas have been rubbish, whereas last year I had great success with them.

On the veg front all I’ve harvested is rocket, lettuce and pak choi.

The courgettes are on their way – lots of flowers, but the recent
torrential rain and lack of sun is hindering their development.

I had great plans for the new raised bed too. But my original sowing of beetroot failed to show, the bean plants are more Tom Thumb than dwarf and the spring onions look like blades of grass.

Anyway, fingers crossed that the sun comes back out in Scotland, although I heard on the radio that if it rains on St Swithin’s Day, that it will rain for 40 days. Wonderful.

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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