Not a bad year down at the allotment. Had more time to spare to enjoy growing my own fruit and vegetables. It’s the first year that I have had a greenhouse full of delicious produce. The cherry tomatoes are to die for and I have had so many cucumbers that there was no one left to give them away to. The beetroot in the picture above are mini and the result of thinning the beetroot patch out. I grew three varieties of beans this year including broad beans, a green string bean and a purple string beans (i love to freeze them) The string beans cropped really well for dwarf bush varieties. We were surprised to see the purple variety of bean loose its colour in the blanching process before freezing them. The apples have been the winner this year, approx 40 apples in total. We have already made some apple sauce with some of them and are continuing to enjoy them in our packed lunches through the week.
When it starts to warm up, usually over 75°F lettuce plants like to bolt aka go to flower. Once it bolts the lettuce is typically more bitter and tough and not so great to eat, often times people will pull it out and use the space to replant. If you let the lettuce do its thing you have a chance to collect seeds for your next growing season. It will bloom flowers that pollinators love and then just like a dandelion it will close up and reopen with the little white fuzzies. As soon as they do this it is time to collect! You will be amazed at how many seeds each flower head contains. I just snipped off every little flower head with the fuzzies and brought them in side to seperate. You’ll want to make sure you spread them out and let then dry before long term storage. Store them in a cool dry place or in the freezer for a more extended “shelf life”.
My Russet Potatoes started from potatoes left too long in the pantry. I mounded dirt over the plant as it grew until I reached the top of the pot. Now I will wait,until the plant starts to die, the leaves and flowers will turn brown, that’s when it will be time to dig. Sometimes this can happen because of pests or disease, so its important to note the maturation of potatoes is 6-8 month, knowing this also helps dertimine when it is time dig. Another good time to dig is after your first freeze.
I had something plaguing my California Wonder Red Bell Pepper Plants, I wasnt sure if it was a fungus or a pest (I was leaning more toward pest after I found a small beetle of some sort residing under a leaf). Luckily there is this great organic product called Neem Oil. Neem Oil will treat for bugs and for fungus. It should be applied about once a week to once every two weeks however it is an oil so don’t apply it when the plant is getting direct sun, or it will get sun scorched. Applying in the evening is best. My bell peppers are doing much better since their treatment last week , their leaves have really gotten much larger and I’m not seeing any damage to the new growth. I also use Diatemacious earth but find it not as effective because when the elements (water or wind) wash it off the plant it needs to be reapplied, also Diatemacious Earth will kill the bees and other pollinators and we don’t want to do that.
Cilantro is a great easy to care for herb to add to your garden. Like all herbs they thrive when they are picked regularly and they grow fast. Cilantro wants to bolt after temperatures reach 75°+ (fahrenheit), never fear, because after going to flower they then become Coriander seed which is a common kitchen spice. Collect and store them for cooking or you can let the plant reseed itself, it will continue to come back as long as the conditions are right!
Male blooms vs. female blooms on the Armenian Cucumber plants. You can see the female bloom has a cucumber like bulb at its base, this will be the part that turns into the fruit. Like all squash and melon plants they require pollinators to transfer the pollen from the stamen of male flower to the pistil of the female flower. In it’s adolescent phase the cucumber plant often produce a bunch of male flowers with little to no female flowers, this is completely normal so focus on it’s leaves and watching to make sure they are a healthy green color with no signs of pests or fungus. Eventually the plant will balance out with male and female blooms.
My Sweet Million Tomato clones are thriving! So exciting to start with 2 plants and end up with 10! See my earlier post about how to collect suckers from your tomato plants to more than double your crop, no need to buy seeds or starts when you can do it for free yourself!
Some now and thens of a couple of my crops, now pictures take July 7th. Then pictures: Russet Potatoes- June 7th Brussle Sprout- May 27th Bouquet Dill- May 03rd
The potatoes I started with Russets left too long from the grocery store and they seem to be doing really well.
I am battling Cabbage White Butterfly larave aka caterpillars on my Brussle sprout, I’ve been able to keep them from completely destroying my crop but the damage is constant and I hope I can at least keep them at bay long enough to get a harvest.
My dill has quite an ecosystem happening on it and I’ve decided not to fight it and let nature do its thing, its been pretty interesting watching the cycle of carnivorous bugs visit to feast on the aphids and caterpillars. My good bugs have included spiders, lady bugs and lacewings!
Successfully rooted daughter plants from my Strawberries, I now have 8 new plants for a total of 12 all together, my “mother plants are still producing fruit! It is rewarding to more than double your crop with out being a victim of the dollar.