Trying to garden by the moon, incorporating some square foot gardening techniques...whilst Home Educating three children. Must be mad ;o)


Tuesday, September 23, 2003

My garden is a total *mess* at the moment. Huge weeds, overgrown tomato plants that have fallen over and debris from the children cluttering up everywhere. And am I motivated to do anything about it at all? Nope.
On a good note the tomatoes are ripening, so if I get to them before the snails and slugs do I'm getting a nice daily haul. I have to grow more plum tomatoes next year, they're so delicious! I keep thinking that the tomaotes aren't ripe, then I feel them and realise they are. I guess I'm just used to the over-red commercial tomatoes, mine are much lighter in colour when ripe. They certainly taste much better than the shop-bought ones :o)
There are still a few cucumbers growing on the plants, even though the plants themselves look like they're pretty much finished. I'll let the fruits get as big as they can and then uproot them and chuck them in the compost bin. In fact I really have to get out and do some weeding this week too *sigh* Whilst we were away at camp last week someone came and weeded the spot down the side of our house where I'm growing the redcurrant bushes and sunflowers *L* I've no idea who did it, but I guess they'd had enough of the weeds ;o) Suits me fine, maybe next time we go away someone could come and weed the back garden too!

Sunday, August 17, 2003

This is todays cucumber haul *gulp* Even though I picked loads 3 days ago! What was that you said Trog, gazpacho? I've never had it, it might take some persuading to get the kids to eat what seems to be a cold soup? Is it nice?
I shall certainly be taking some cucumbers to the Home Ed meeting tomorrow though to put towards our usual buffet lunch. Oh, and yes!! The crystal lemon cucumbers do go yellow, as you can see.

Luckily the African Land Snails seem to be partial to them too!
Here's one of the baby snails enjoying some

And the adult snails too.

I'm continuing to get a lot of cherry tomatoes from the hanging baskets, and now that I've taken a lot of limbs off the Zuckertraube plants they're starting to turn colour at last too.

That was an easy enough job, thinning the limbs of the Zuckertraube. I have to admit though I just don't know where to start with this lot, but I'll certainly be spacing them all further apart next year! They're even encroaching on my poor crystal lemon cucumbers.

After having a rummage around in them though I found some that were ripening, even though they were getting barely any sunlight due to their bushiness. Maybe I won't need to get any limbs off, but I'll need to keep a close eye on them or they'll ripen and fall before I see them. Then I'll get even more self-seeded tomato plants next year, and I prefer to know what variety they are to be honest.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

I really used to hate Summer, it was my least favourite season as I don't tolerate heat very well and sneezed the whole time too. Since I became interested in gardening though I find I don't mind it as much, and my hayfever symptoms have become less and less! Although I still hate the heat and the brightness in Summer I do love to see the garden coming to life. Eating fruit and veg in season just feels right somehow, and there's also the benefit that when I grow them myself I know what's gone in to them. No yucky chemicals in this garden! I really must try and gear our diet towards eating in season as much as possible in future, and cut down on the airmiles that the fruit and veg rack up all too easily too.
OK, what's happening in the garden? Cucumbers, that's what! I picked three today, and there are loads more not far off being ready. Hmmm, I could do with some recipes that involve cucumbers I think! Anyone know any?

I also have rather a lot of the Lemon Crystal cucumbers fruiting at the moment. They're ball cucumbers, and I'm having problems knowing whether they're ripe or not as I've not grown them before. Are they supposed to be yellow when they're ripe, as the name implies? If so they're not ready yet, I will have to go and Google on them and see what I can come up with.

The Tomato Tumblers in hanging baskets continue to produce lots of really sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes, whilst the other varieties have fruit but it's not ripening yet. I'm wondering if it's because the other plants are so bushy, the fruits are well hidden and probably aren't getting much sun on them. The Tumblers aren't bushy at all, mostly because I kept nipping out the limbs - the others got so bushy so fast I just didn't know where to start after doing it a couple of times!

Ohhh...and I have a courgette growing past a couple of inches at last, it'll be ready to pick in a couple of days :o) Moving the plants out of the greenhouse has worked!

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Aren't these petunias a gorgeous shade? I didn't plant them, they self-seeded themselves from last year. I did have petunias in this pot last year but I'm sure they weren't this shade at all.

Saturday, August 02, 2003

I really have to try and update this more often, but I haven't been doing very much in the garden recently.
I've been having a big problem with my courgettes, they've been getting to a couple of inches long and then shrivelling up and dropping off :o( I asked around on some of the Home Education mailing lists (where you can usually find the answer to just about anything!) and it's been suggested that it's because they haven't been pollinated. This makes sense as the pots containing the courgettes were in the wendy-house greenhouse, and I've been forgetting to unzip the door; I doubt that any bees/wasps/whatever have been able to get in there to do the job. I had two choices - fiddle around trying to pollinate them myself with a q-tip, or take them outside to be pollinated by insects. Not knowing whether the courgettes were consenting to me fiddling with their fertilisation ;o) I decided to take them outside and let nature take it's course.
They've been outside for around a week now, and seem to be doing OK.

Of course everyone else is in the throws of a courgette glut right now, whilst mine are still virginal and fruitless *sigh* On Thursday I went round to a friends house in the morning and came away with a marrow (she'd left her courgettes way too long and they'd got enormous!), and then another friend turned up on the doorstep virtually begging me to take some courgettes off her hands as her allotment was overgrown with them. Not one to turn down free, home-grown organic veggies I was happy to oblige! You know who you are courgette woman, and now everyone else will as well ;o)

At long last the tomatoes have started to ripen! Only the Tomato Tumblers in the hanging baskets so far...

but the Budai Torpe plants are smothered in green tomatoes so I hope the sunshine this weekend will ripen them up.

Here's our first tomato picking of the season. Yum!

It's fairly obvious that I've been mean with space whilst planting the tomato plants out, they weren't far enough apart. These ones have become so lush I'm worried that I'm not going to be able to find the tomatoes in amongst the leaves! They're also taking over my poor Crystal Lemon cucumber plants space too. It's too late to move any of them, but I'll know for next year.

Whilst Karen (courgette woman) was round I decided to investigate the compost bin, as I had somehow managed to get a potato plant growing out of the bottom hatch! We opened the cover and found that the bottom compost is really lovely, but the shredded something or other that Karen gave me a while back isn't breaking down very quickly. I got my short fork out and gave it a bit of a turning over in there, but with these purpose-made plastic compost bins it's not very easy to actually get at it. Ah well, hopefully it will have helped a bit. I'll just have to get more compost activator in there...which just happens to mean dangling my six year old daughter over the top of it for her to wee in there ;o) I had asked for volunteers to pee in a potty for me but none of them would, but as soon as I mentioned actually weeing directly in to the compost bin Trinity was there like a shot. Adventurous, our Trin!!

Bearing in mind all the wee that goes in to the compost bin the girls (9, 6 and 3) are reluctant to eat the three potatoes I dug out of the bottom. I explained that there's poo and all sorts in the compost that we usually put on the plants, but they remain unconvinced!

Saturday, July 19, 2003

We planted this row of sunflowers in memory of Dick Reineke, a local Home Educating father who lost his battle against a brain tumour in April this year. Aren't they beautiful :o)

Just testing this out...I hope I've got a comments bit now!

And yet more huge radishes!

I've also been having some problems with the courgettes - they'd start to form and then rot. I've now trained them up stakes and seem to be having less problems with this, although I'm still to get one big enough to eat yet. Very soon though, provided they don't rot again.

One of my tomatoes has started to turn colour, yeay!

And I have a corn cob coming up too!

Friday, July 18, 2003

Mmmm...I love picking vegetables fresh from the garden :o) These carrots and radishes went straight in to a salad.

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