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June-4th Week

Mr Middleton says: A seed is one of the wonders of the world.

June-4th WEEK

1. Routine Work.- Hoe and weed regularly to reduce unnecessary competition with your crops. Control insect pests. Watch for any diseases such as tomato mildew, onion mildew, etc. Give crops such as runner beans a mulch of leaves or grass mowings to protect them in dry weather.

2. Leeks and Celery.- Water leeks in dry weather, and feed with liquid manure. Exhibitors often bore a seperate hole beside each plant into which to put the liquid food. Treat celery the same.

3. Attack Celery Pests.- As a preventive of leaf blight or rust on celery, spray with Bordeaux mixture about once a fortnight. Signs of attack are brown patches on the leaves, with tiny black spots on them.

4. Broad Beans and Runners.- When in flower, runner beans can be syringed with water occasionally. This helps the pods to set, as sometimes the flowers drop off. If broad beans have been attacked badly with black fly, spray persistently with soft soap. It is essential to hit the insect to kill, so the spray must be carefully applied.

5. Wage War on Caterpillars.– If cabbage caterpillars hatch out and begin to eat the leaves, hand-pick them off if possible. Sweet corn should be given a dressing of general fertilizer or watered with liquid manure.

6. Sow for Salad Successions.– Keep up succession of salads by making regular sowings. Lettuce must be sown outside, and thinned instead of being planted out. Radish should be sown thinly so that each seedling has a chance to swell. Mustard and cress can also be obtained from sowings made outside.

7. Look to Potatoes, Onions, Leeks.- Earth-up potatoes as they require it. Draw the soil well up to a steep-pointed ridge. This has a tendency to turn away from the tubers the spores of blight which may drop from the foliage. Feed onions weekly now. They should be growing rapidly. Autumn-sown onions will soon begin to swell and should be available for use in August. Earliest leeks will need blanching now. Make a late sowing of parsley for winter use.

8. Protect Cucumbers.- Cucumbers growing in frames and glasshouses should be well shaded from the sun, otherwise their leaves will be scorched. Whitewash applied to the glass is excellent. There is a special proprietary powder available for the work known as Summer Cloud, which has the advantage of being easily removed.

9. Take Care of Fruit.– Spray for aphis where necessary. Keep up a preliminary thinning of fruits.

Now we have had this rain the weeds are really going to make a comeback so it is vital to keep on top of them now. Mr Middleton makes regular reference to using the hoe and it is probably one of the most used items l possess, particularly on the paths. I tend to weed by hand in the beds pulling the whole weed out, roots and all. The ground is perfect for mulching now it is damp. No point doing it when it is dry as it would stay dry. I applied a thick layer of grass cuttings around the runner beans. The birds have a field day rooting around and scratching it in search of grubs and things but l don’t mind. With this damp and, sometimes, warm weather it is a perfect breeding ground for mildew and fungal diseases so stay alert for blight on those spuds! I had a sneak look the other evening to see how the spuds are coming along and i am happy to report l will be harvesting the first of them any day now. Can’t wait!

We have had our son stay with us for the past week and it has rained every day, not all day every day, but enough to put the damper on things a bit. Such a shame as only a few weeks ago we were sat outside in the hot sunshine having lunch dressed in t shirts and shorts, barbecues in the evening and complaining the ground was baked rocked hard! What a difference now. We have even had to light the fire sometimes in the evenings as it was so chilly. But boy, has the garden loved this rain! It didn’t stop us from having some nice walks and came across this lovely meadow by the river full of Californian Poppy’s.

We also visited La Roche Jagu again to look at their gardens. They have created several ‘rooms’ displaying flowers and herbal plants mostly.

Box borders

A sad Gourd

They use a lot of willow and hazel fencing amongst their borders which gives great definition and structure to everything. One of the ‘rooms’ is devoted to vegetables, my favourite of course, and l came across these little gourds in amongst the broad beans, just for fun l think. This chap looks like he has had enough of the rain too!

Roche Jagu Potager

Rhubarb, Carrots and Broad Beans

Another advantage to all this wet weather is that a lot of the vegetables have suddenly become ready to harvest. I even managed to harvest a decent crop of broad beans to go with our salmon the other evening! The first of the carrots were delicious too and Mrs Hunt made a beautiful Rhubarb Crumble. What are you harvesting right now?

 

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2011 in June, June - In Your Garden

 

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June-3rd Week

Mr Middleton says: True gardeners never enjoy the fruits of their labours unless they can share them with others.

June-3rd WEEK

1. Careful with the Watering-Can!- Where watering is necessary it should be done with care. Do not water until you must, and then give a thorough soaking.

2. Finish Asparagus.- The cutting of asparagus should now be finished. To go on any longer only exhausts the plants. Run strings around the beds fastened to canes or stakes to provide some support for the stems which grow up.

3. Wage War on Pests.- Keep a watch for any pests on the various crops and deal with them as soon as seen. Do not regard them as an act of God which must be suffered in silence. Watch for caterpillars on cabbage and other brassicas.

4. Celery, Beans and Cauliflower.- Celery which is growing well should be fed with liquid manure and soot water. Dust old soot over the foliage to keep away the celery fly. Remove side shoots growing from the base of the plants. Broad beans should be pinched , as recommended earlier, to discourage black-fly attacks. Some of the earliest will begin to head up. Cover the heads by breaking a leaf and bending it over them.

5. Celeriac and Tomatoes.- Feed celeriac with liquid manure. They require a rich soil and much feeding. Tomatoes planted in the greenhouse now should give fruits well into winter.

6. Sow Final Carrots : Plant Leeks and Broccoli.- Make another sowing of short-horn carrots. This will probably be the last in the north, as sowings after June are rarely successful. Plant leeks as required. Plant broccoli, such as May Queen and Leamington.

7. Top-Dress Cucumbers.- The larger cucumbers growing inside should be top-dressed. Make a rich mixture of loam, leaf-mould, sand and fertilizer, and put on a thickness of an inch or two. Firm well with the palms of the hands.

9. Thin Out Fruit Trees.- Apples shed a proportion of their fruits naturally, and this is termed the June drop. Begin to thin apple fruit after it. If left unthinned they yield a large crop of small fruits.

Green Haze

‘True gardeners never enjoy the fruits of their labours unless they can share them with others.’ How very true. Mr Middleton was a man from my own heart. Sharing can be so satisfying whether it is with friends or your own family. I suppose by providing food for the table that you have grown can be seen as sharing. I sometimes give an odd lettuce to the lady who works in our local boulangerie. She always seems very grateful but for all l know her husband has them coming out of his ears too! That’s the problem. Anyone who is growing their own also have the same gluts and are also trying to part with their excess produce.Oh, the trials and tribulations us gardeners go through!

First courgettes

It will be the same with my courgettes soon, after all, there are only so many ways of cooking a courgette!   Mr Middleton goes on to tell us to be careful with the watering can. Well, hopefully you don’t have to worry about that either this week. We have had some really good showers that has soaked the ground and with the warm temperatures everything is taking off.

The Good and the Bad

Of course, the weather plays a part in everything we do in the garden and the above picture typifies this. Just a week or two ago we were all complaining about the hot, dry weather and the spinach that has gone to seed before it produced any good leaves is a result of that. Behind the spinach is a row of mange tout that l swear is growing before my very eyes. I know what sort of weather l would rather have for for my garden.

Come on, you Carrots!

The carrot bed is coming along well too with the recent rain. I know l am going to have to protect them from the dreaded carrot fly soon. Every year presents the same dilemma. How do l protect them? I hate seeing sheets of white fleece 3 ft high in the veg plot but the alternatives have never been that good for me ie. the ‘happy bedfellows’ of the garden. I have tried growing onions, garlic, shallots and leeks near them in the hope that the scent from the onions will deter the fly but with little success. As an organic gardener l will not use a chemical spray so l suppose the fleece it is. Maybe if l dye it green that might help? Does anybody know of any other organic deterrent?

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2011 in June, June - In Your Garden

 

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May – 2nd Week

Mr Middleton says: Little and often is the golden rule with fertilizers: a little less rather than a little more.

1. Plant Out Celery and Celeriac.- Celery is normally planted in trenches in single or double rows. Set the plants out 9 in. apart. Water with liquid manure. Dust with old soot often, to keep the celery fly away. Celeriac, which is grown for its turnip-like root, requires a rich soil and much feeding to get really good roots. It is a fine vegetable for soup, and is excellent boiled.

2. Thin Out Seedlings.- Many rows of seedlings will need thinning out from time to time. This can be done at one stage, though normal practice is to do it twice. \the first time the rows are reduced and specimens left about twice as thick as is necessary. This leaves plenty to cover failures. The alternate plants are removed at the final thinning. With carrots the disturbance of the roots of the row loosens the soil and permits the carrot fly to lay its eggs near the roots of the plants, and the pungent smell attracts the pest. Where the fly has proved a nuisance in the past it is better to sow the seeds sparingly and to leave the rows unthinned.

3. Onions and Their Enemies.- The same sort of thing applies to onions which, when sown out of doors and thinned, attract the onion fly where fly is prevalent. It is better to leave them unthinned and take a crop of smaller onions.


4. Plant Cucumbers.-
Cucumbers can now be planted in frames.

5. Sow Swedes and Turnips.- swede and turnips should be sown now in the north if they are to achieve full development.

6. Sow and Plant.- Sow maincrop beet and haricot beans. Plant out late cauliflowers and New Zealand spinach. Apply mulches to any fruit trees that need it. Protect beans outside if weather is unseasonable.

Unfortunately, a lot of this weeks advice is not relevant to me as l am not planting up winter veg due to our house being for sale and l foresee a move back to Blighty before the year is out. However, l will heed his advice regarding the thinning of seedlings and will not be thinning my carrots just yet. I like to grow them on until they are of edible size and then have a few meals of baby carrots. I will be putting a frame over them with a fleece to keep the carrot fly at bay.

Like every gardener/cook, l love onions and garlic but my garden here won’t allow me to grow them. They suffer first with rust, and worst of all, onion white rot. There is no cure for this disease and can stay in the soil for up to 8 years. So rather than live in hope l use the space to grow other crops.

Roger, my friend & assistant!

I sowed spinach and Swiss Chard a couple of weeks ago and both are doing well. I like to make curries and use the leaves to do a mean Spinach and Potato Curry or, later on, a Green Curry that is one of the best l have ever tasted. I will share the recipe nearer the time.

I have planted out my cucumber plants in the open and training them up a willow wigwam. They seem to be doing okay at the moment. Fingers crossed there will not be a late frost!

 

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Easter Sowing, Planting and Cooking!

APRIL- 3rd WEEK

This is a very active period in the garden. Many sowings are made outside of the hardier things, while the less hardy are raised inside and hardened off for planting when frost is past.

1. Pot Sweet Corn.- Do not let sweet corn, sown in small pots, get root bound, but transfer to 5-in. pots.A greatly increased interest has been shown in this delicacy since our American allies came over. Unfortunately its successful culture is limited to the south and midlands, though it has been grown quite well in protected gardens further north.

2. Prepare Tomatoes for Outdoors.- Tomatoes being raised for outdoor growing should be pricked out and potted on if ready. Try to time them so as to be a foot high and ready for planting out at the end of May or early in June. Adequate stakes or ties must be provided for each plant. As they go, remove all side shoots, which arise in the axils of the leaves. Use a rabbit’s tail to fertilize the flowers, particularly early in the year.

Sow vegetable marrows now in the greenhouse. Push the seeds singly into small pots. They must not be planted out of doors till May, when the danger of sharp frost is over.

3. Make up Celery Trenches.-  Celery trenches should be made up now to allow time for settling down before planting. A thick layer of manure should be placed in the bottom and soil placed over it.The trench should be 10-in. deep, and the surplus soil rounded off at the sides to provide a growing place for lettuce, or beans etc. and for blanching the celery later. The trenches should be 12-15-in. wide for a single row, but at least 18-in. for a double row.

Most of the winter greens should be sown now, such as pre-Christmas broccoli, kales, etc.

4. Spray Apples and Pears.- Apples and |Pears should be given their second anti-scab spray.

5. Planting Work.- Plant out broad beans if they have been delayed. Plant out cauliflowers for succession, and make successional sowings of turnips and beet. Continue potato planting. Turn over the land as greens are used. Hoe between outside crops.

So, l hope you all have your Rabbit’s tail to hand and will be busy fertilizing those tomato flowers with it! I will be planting the last of my potatoes today it being traditional to plant potatoes on Good Friday. Why? I have no idea. Just tradition l guess. Instead of the celery trench l will be digging two trenches for my runner beans and put in the stakes at the same time. We get some vicious winds here, being close to the coast, so they need to be pretty rigid.

Yesterday, Mrs Hunt and l spent a few hours in the kitchen and did some baking. I had a go at making Hot Cross Buns.

Salter scales and pastry cutters

I used my old Salter scales that l bought for a couple of euros on a car boot sale from a fellow ex-pat. She threw in the pastry cutters as well which has a complete set inside the tin. Not sure of the date but could be 40’s or 50’s?

I got the recipe for Hot Cross Buns from the ever reliable Delia Smith.

Hot Cross Bun mix

Sure its easier to nip into Tescos and buy 6 for a £1.00 or whatever but apparently nothing quite beats the taste of a home baked bun. Its just the same for home grown veg then.

The end result

Ah, divine! Even if l say so myself! Have a great Easter and Happy Gardening!

 
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Posted by on April 22, 2011 in April, Cooking

 

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Full steam ahead

Mr MIDDLETON says: Little and often is the golden rule with fertilizers; a little less rather than a little more.

MAY- 2nd WEEK

1. Plant out celery and celeriac.- Celery is normally planted out in trenches in single or double rows….celery being a bog plant requires an abundance of water. Dust with old soot often, to keep the celery fly away. Celeriac, which is grown for its turnip-like root, requires a rich soil and much feeding to get really good roots.

2. Thin out seedlings.- Many rows of seedlings will need thinning out from time to time. This can be done at one stage, though normal practice is to do it twice. The first time the rows are reduced and specimens left about twice as thick as is necessary. This leaves plenty to cover failures. The alternate plants are removed at the final thinning. With carrots the disturbance of the row loosens the soil and permits the carrot fly to lay its eggs near the roots of the plants, and the pungent smell attracts the pest. Immediately after thinning, the rows should be watered and naphthalene hoed in along each side of the rows.

3. Onions and Their Enemies.-

4. Plant Cucumbers.-

5.- Sow Swedes and Turnips.-

6.- Sow and Plant.- Sow maincrop beet and haricot beans. Plant out late cauilflowers and New Zealand spinach. Apply mulches to any fuit trees that need it. Protect beans outside if weather is unseasonable.

I have only just transplanted my celeriac so it is too early for me to plant outside just yet. I bought some celery plants from a new shop just opened in town selling only local produce. I’m all in favour of supporting anything like that. The plants have been slow to pick up but are putting on new growth now.

We had a drop of rain last week but with these winds the soil has soon dried out again and l am having to continue to water. Carrots are up but very slow in putting any growth on. Unlike my spuds under cover that are truly romping away.

Spuds under cover

A little pearl

A couple more weeks and we should be eating our first plate of new potatoes, with a big dollop of butter, of course!

Salad & Herbs

The salad plants are the cut and come again variety so there is no need to thin them. Of course, if you did, then the plant can also be used in a salad. I LOVE coriander leaf, especially in curries, so l tend to grow a lot of this!

Bean poles with willow

I have weaved some willow into the bean poles so that the sweet peas have something more to cling onto in their fight to get going. Even these small plants are sending out flowers already.

Me & Bertha

On a sadder note, l am afraid l have lost dear Bertha, probably to the fox. Every day l let them out into the field and it is  lovely to see them scratching about, having a dust bath, chasing off other birds but on Friday night Bertha never returned. She was a heavy girl and, as far as l know, never laid an egg in her life. She was a pet and a cuddly one at that! I will miss her.

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2010 in May, The garden, Uncategorized

 

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March..ing On!

March- 1st Week. Mr Middleton says: Soil is the basis of life. Take care of it.

1. Clear land. Land still occupied by crops should be gradually cleared as they are used. To accelerate the clearing, leeks and celery can be lifted and heeled in together, either in a frame or sheltered corner.


I used the last of my leeks this weekend to make a Chicken and Leek casserole which is not good planning on my part as we  are now ‘leekless’ for some time to come. This year l am planting four different varieties to cover the whole season. The old leek bed is now cleared and l will add some leaf mould to it ready for planting up my squash later in the year.

3. Prepare trenches for Peas and Beans. It is a good idea to take out the trenches for tall peas and runner beans, to throw the soil at the side and leave for some weeks to weather. The trench should be 18-in. deep if manure is available to put in the bottom, 10-12 in. if none is available.

I have dug out my trench and filled it with old chicken bedding that has been rotting down in a corner. This should be great for the beans which are very hungry feeders and it will also retain moisture as they like to have their roots in a moist soil. I will also be growing some of my sweet peas in this trench contrary to all the advice that was given as really there was no room given over to flowers. It was good old veggies and nothing else!  I just hope l can keep my hens away from scratching it all out in search for grubs.

In the greenhouse l have sowed some peas, Kelvedon Marvel, in pots ready to plant out once they have become established. We are having some beautiful sunny weather at the moment but with it is a very strong E to NE wind which is bitterly cold. Winter hasn’t released its grip on us yet. What are you doing in your gardens right now?

Bean bed

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in March, The garden

 

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