End of 2014 Round Up

Summer has been very off and on, more off than on. This week has been lovely though – warm and dry, if not a bit overcast.

The tomatoes got a case of early blight, but I seem to have caught it in time – removed the affected leaves, staked the tomatoes a bit better. Cross fingers that does the trick, some of the flowers are turning to baby tomatoes, and I’m so hopeful that I’ll actually get to taste some before summers’ end. The lovage & basil around them are quite happy, and the marigolds have just blossomed.

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I do have too many tomato seedlings – still have three in the window sill – I might pot them out, but unless our summer runs atypically long, they don’t likely have a chance.

A nasty case of convulvulus has taken hold in the back of the garden, seemingly through the neighbour’s fence. I wouldn’t mind except that it’s trying to smother the grape vine there & I don’t want to lose that. So some serious weeding is required over the next couple of days.

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The birds have pretty much done all the cherries, which is a shame. I netted the strawberries, but they’ve managed to get many of them as well. Fortunately there’s a strawberry farm about an hour away! I think I’ll plant more in pots next year, but one day I’ll get an actual greenhouse! The blackberries are looking lovely though – another few weeks away.

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The corn – the four stalks of it – is growing taller, but ages away from actually becoming corn. Too late planting or lack of hot summer weather I’m not sure.The beans are also slow – I planted them too late, I’m sure. They’re just starting to flower now, a long way from beaning!

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The potatoes are looking great, just on the cusp of flowering – I’m heaping up more soil, hopefully I’ll see some potatoes in January.

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And today I found mint! It must be from the previous owners. Right near where I planted the lime tree, so that’s lucky – just need a gin tree now 🙂

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I planted out the watermelon seedlings (in front), and the rockmelon seedlings (against the trellis) – they’re so far from turning into melons that it’s ridiculous to plant them, but equally, I can’t bear to just throw them away. One of the rockmelons started flowering in its seed pot!

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The peach, which was affected by leaf curl, is looking better after some copper was applied – the peaches still look small, but they’re growing – so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens with them this year. The apples are doing wonderfully, and the fig is growing well – although still only a couple of figs on it. The Yen Ben lemon is flowering and there are small lemons growing, so hopefully come lemon season there will be plenty to juice! The Bearss lime (not pictured) isn’t flowering yet, but the leafs had been stripped for ages and now the tree has quite a few leaves again, which is fantastic.

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The flowers are all doing well – the roses seem to be winding down, but the hydrangea is a lush pinky purple, and there are hebes, gazanias & wildflowers dotting the garden. I planted the seedlings of silver & mixed dwarf cinenaria & anchusa at the side of the house – I’m debating putting down bark mulch around them. I’d love to put cocoa husks, but I’m nervous the cats will nibble at them.

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So lessons learned so far:

1. Get seeds in well in advance! At least now I know which are the best windowsills for growing seed

2. Tomato plants are huge, don’t plant them too close to one another!

3. Spray the peach with copper before the curl sets in

4. I sort of want to say don’t be too ambitious – concentrate on growing a few things right & then adding over the years, but…actually who cares? I bought so many different seeds, was unsuccessful so many times, but I also have so much more info, and so many successes. So I guess being ambitious isn’t too bad – provided step 1 is followed, haha.

I’ll sow more coriander & some poppies again this week, and lettuce. I’ll have to think about what can be harvested in a few months and see about getting those in place too. More kale, probably, and the brussel sprouts.

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And that’s 2014 – in a couple of days it’ll be a new year – hopefully January brings another warm month of summer, and things will really get cracking. .

Edit: Ok, not quite the end of 2014 – I picked up a pumpkin & squash plants, an artichoke, and some flowers to put in the bed right next to the entranceway. Planted those all today. I hope the pumpkin is ok – it was very long & flowering, which I thought boded well, but also a bit fragile & I think it was a bit bent in the shop. So hopefully it likes its new home & heals up!

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