Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Strawberry Surprise!

I popped out to the plot late in the afternoon, it was misty and getting wetter by the minute but I wanted to pick some rhubarb to make a Rhubarb and Orange cake which grandson Stephen had made.Stephen has taken to baking like a duck to water!The rhubarb had suffered in the recent downpours and frost and I had to clean the bed and pull lots of dead stalks hopefully it will make a comeback.I took a peek under the fleece and plastic of the strawberry bed and nearly fell over to see nice red fruit underneath.The slugs had chomped on a few but there were 5 nice red ones left for me!                                       

 With that encouragement I took a look around and discovered loads of gooseberries on our one bush, still small but lots of them
 Carrots coming up in the barrel in the cold greenhouse, a bit erratic but still welcome
Red duke of York well up, they need to be earthed up in case of frost but the ground was too wet today.The coldest temp ever for the month of May was recorded over the weekend -2 somewhere inland

Some shallots have put on plenty of growth and some of them just sat there doing nothing!

Last but definitely not least,the booty coming home with me this evening.Rhubarb,asparagus,our first globe artichoke and 2 of the autumn sown onions which were going to seed.Globe artichoke with lashings of Kerrygold for starters and a lightly poached fresh egg with asparagus soldiers on the side!
PS the strawberries did not make it as far as the photo shoot!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Grafted Plants Arrived

We signed up with Suttons to trial some of their grafted plants , tomatoes,peppers,cucumbers and peppers.They were supposed to arrive mid March but did not arrive until nearly a month later. This Spring has been so unpredictable weatherwise that was not a bad thing as plants will not be going out to their growing positions for another few weeks.I still have not got to grips with the new Blogger to upload my photos correctly so these are actually in the reverse to the way I wanted them...oh well!

This is a close  up of the graft on one of the tomato plants.When potting on tomato plants the soil is brought up to the bottom leaves to encourage new roots to grow to support the plant, with these it is advised to keep the soil below the level of the graft as the grafted plant can send out roots and cancel out the grafted root!

Another grafted tomato plant.I waited for days wondering when our plants were going to arrive until one evening a neighbour came to the door bearing a box marked urgent 'live plants'!I had been out when they came and my neighbour had agreed to hold them for me, she was watching out for my car in the car park but was not aware I had changed my car some weeks previously.The plants had been sitting in the box for nearly a week!

There were 15 plants in total packed into small plastic cases like root trainers.The compost was still slightly moist so I repotted them into pots and placed them on the bedroom window incubator
I am amazed at how quickly they grow!We have 2 tomato varieties,Conchita a cherry tomato that can produce up to 20 fruits per truss!
Elegance tomato, a popular variety great for everyday use
Cucumber Quatro a deliciously crisp and refreshing midi sized cucumber
Britney Pepper a sweet pepper that is quick to ripen from green to red
Aubergine Scorpio large glossy fruits that can be harvested up to 2 months earlier than a normal plant.
Back on the plot, the weather has kept us away but cabbages,onions,potatoes and leeks have gone in.
At home, cauliflower and brussel sprouts have been potted on
The hens still wait on their new home as I wait for a break in the weather to continue construction.