I love seeing how the plot develops over the year. First, in spring, we plan hard and spend hours selecting seeds and nurturing our plant babies. Then, when it warms up we harden them off with all manner of precautioms to make sure they survive nature’s attempts to freeze, eat or fry them into sudden death. This time of year we get to review the literal fruits (or veg) of our labours. I delight in watching the flowers swell into buds and then develop into juicy eatables. With the added sun and warmth things tend to grow at an immense pace which means I tend to do a lot of poking around to see what’s new each visit.
Some of the highlights this week have been the flowers. Back in April I had tonnes of baby marigolds, cosmos and several bags of bulbs. Not all have survived but the ones that have are putting on a good display.
Bright and zingy African marigolds live in amongst the dwarf beans and peas.
One of the cosmos adding bold pops of colour in the carrot and brassica beds.
The first of the dahlias has made an appearance. 2 more plants to follow shortly which will add interest to my flower posies.
My gladioli have fared well by the rose bush and is a first for me. Their delicate pink fringes on the petals are a joy to behold and one of the first things I see as I walk up the path. Other summer staples are below. The scent of the sweet peas is a great welcome home and I love the strength of the sunflowers. The pollen does make a mess though!
I also have some new developments in the veg department. After overwintering several Aubergine ‘Black beauty’ plants and nursing them through 2 green fly attacks I was very disappointed when they continually flowered but didn’t pollinate. I duly researched ‘how to pollinate aubergines’ online and decided to follow the advice to prune the leaves to make the plant more open. I also persevered with the paintbrush, each visit dabbing every flower twice over. I am pleased to report I have had great success! At last count I had 3 ‘Black Beauty” and 2 swelling buds on my ‘Rosa Bianca’. I can almost taste them grilled with a little olive oil on. Small jars have been saved for Aubergine based preserves just in case I get a hithero unplanned glut!
Also pleasing to see is my first winter squash setting fruit. I did label all my plants but with wooden labels which have unfortunately begun to biodegrade before I can make notes of where each plant was placed.
There are green blobby things around the floor which are the pollen strands from my first sweetcorn. The man has assigned himself the title of chief pollinator and has been doing his best to make this a successful crop. I too hope he succeeds as we only got a few cobs last year and I want a shelf full of corn rather than a small bag full.
As I’m no dig and intercrop rather than grow in traditional lines, I really don’t have to do too much on visits apart from watering and harvesting. I really would recommend it. I see people who rotivate and practice monoculture toiling away in the sun and battling with weeds each week. I have none of these problems and the crops seem to be just as productive. I haven’t quite got my beetroot to the size of my neighbours but he has a few more years of manuring then I do so there’s hope for me yet!