Schools out part two

Why is that as soon as the end of term bell goes, one’s immune system crashes through the floor? The summer holidays are mean to be a time for rest and recuperation. It has however been rather busy and time has been snatched her and there. At the half way point of the summer holidays, we have seen erratic weather that still cannot make it’s mind up. There are days of fine sunshine, at times uncomfortable sunshine, followed by days of abject miserable weather where it doesn’t stop raining. I cannot remember a straight forwards summer where it did one or the other.

Pumpkin and butternut squash

Gladys the BNS is increasingly more triffidlike. She is now about five foot tall as she is grow up rather than out. Previously, there had been three fruits, all of which had failed to be pollinated or were over water and withered away. Today I spotted one very small baby. I had in in all honesty given up hope and was starting to wonder about Gladys. Being all very gangly and leafy, my concern is that nothing will actually happen. Gladys has been cooking for what seems a very long time, and with the absence of fruit, her continual viability was looking questionable. I am now going to wait and see. There is still some time before Autumn officially arrives.

With Autumn, one would expect pumpkins at halloween. There are currently three babies that are swelling on Bruno the Ghost Rider pumpkin. There have in fact been lots of babies on Bruno. There has been a challenge however, in making sure all of these are being pollinated. There were at first, lots of girl flowers, with no boy flowers. It took a while for them to appear, and then to appear and open at the same time. When they did, there was something of a mad dash to pollinate with a cotton bud. There was a lot of dibbing dabbing, not knowing which one had been dibbed and dabbed, and which one wasn’t. Some of the dibbing and dabbing may have been successful. Many of the babies have formed buds, and could have been dibbed and dabbed, but then just yellowed and withered away. Bruno the ghost rider will therefore be observed very carefully. Getting one’s hopes is very easy. We’ve gone from kiwi sized, to apple and orange sized to what looks like the size of a small grapefruit-ish. The next three months will be interesting. We could still end up with nothing.

Courgettes, courgettes and more courgettes. These guys can be seriously mis-underestimated. With the warm weather, the courgettes were increasingly more productive. At it’s most productive, there were four courgettes a week. These were not tiddly ones, but quite long and meaty. A beautiful dark green colour, i think we had them with anything bar breakfast. There is however a trick to establishing how ripe they are. With one meal, I remember sitting there and seeing alot of seeds in the courgette. It was a nice moment though, knowing where there courgette had come from and what had gone into producing it. At which point, I smiled knowing that it didn’t have so much as a carbon mile as much as a couple of feet. A sobering thought that, knowing how far some foot travels. A couple of feet doesn’t seem altogether that bad. In the last few days, there have been a few courgettes that have failed to get bigger than a sausage. Most likely due to poor weather. I’m not sure it’s about the pollination, as there are no male flowers on the plant. Being an FI hybrid jobbie, that is probably why.

Cabbage Carnage. Having killed the previous batch in leaving them to cook in the sun, a second batch were sown. At the moment, these seem to be okay. With regular watering, these are pretty much left to their own devices.

Caulis not taking off. All year around caulis were sown in small pots, and have not sprouted at all. Of course, there could be any number of reasons why. I will hopefully try again next month. Was rather hoping to have a go. With the arrival of overwintering onions and mushrooms, I might try and have a another attempt at them. Ma found some freebie coriander, a small packet from a place that is named after a house elf. Then found a whacking great big bag and proceeded to scatter some in a pot with some mustard, just because she could. Had nothing to do with my curly parsley had gone yellow and withered, having had it’s day. Curly parsley had served us well. Along with chives, made some nice salsa verdes and ended up in various dishes.

Tender green beans and scarlet emperor have done their time. Both were pulled up over the weekend as they had more or less stopped producing anything. Both have had a productive term, with lots of beans produced. There a couple of pods actually, long ones that are half dried. These seeds can be saved, at least in the case of the scarlet emperor. It is probably easier to buy them, but I rather like the scarlet emperor. This particular seed has served me well. As the first runner bean I planted, the experience has been rather fruitful. Especially as this year, the crop was sown to the word . That is to say, sown around saint Patricks day, and up a seven foot cane. The only blip was of course the black aphids. These must have been blasted once with the fairy liquid, but i just didn’t keep it up enough. That said, I didn’t see that many black patches.

Mystery chilli plant is still a mystery. Doesn’t seem to have moved in any direction at all. The other chillies on the other hand, are producing fruit. These are somewhat different to previous cayenne crops. These are somewhat smaller and stumpier. Previous crops have been long and thin as would be expected.

The radish experiment has so far produced a little stumpy white radish. It certainly tasted like a radish! Wonderfully potent. As it stands there is a lot leaf. Not too sure as how long it will before there is a discernable radish like crop to be harvested.