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Chilli-head

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What are you harvesting today?

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default Re: What are you harvesting today?

Post by Ploshkin on Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:08 am

I think the birds have been particularly hungry this year with the dry weather. I guess there's a lack of worms and slugs and squishy things for them. The blackbird raids on my fruit were excessive this year and I even had jays on the blackcurrants. I have only ever seen jays in the garden in the most severe winter weather.

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Post by frankbeswick on Sun Jul 22, 2018 8:35 am

Thanks for the information, Ploshkin. I am planning to develop a fruit section on my second plot, so you have reminded me of the urgency of a fruit cage.

Jays in the garden, wow! They are woodland birds. I have never seen one on my allotment.
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Post by freebird on Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:57 am

Birds methinks, Frankbeswick. I moved my gooseberry bushes into a fruit cage in autumn last year. This summer I picked more gooseberries in total (and only about 15!) than in any of the preceding 10 years.
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Post by Chilli-head on Sun Jul 22, 2018 10:55 am

I am not a huge gooseberry fan - memories of acidic green slime crumble at school - but planted a red variety this year. I didn't net it as it had only 3 berries - but the birds have had them. Netting next year !
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Post by frankbeswick on Sun Jul 22, 2018 11:10 am

Mine were a red variety.
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Post by FloBear on Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:43 pm

My old gooseberry bush has produced about 2.5kg of fruit this year - more than I've harvested from it in the 30 years it's been there. My much newer red gooseberry bush in the fruit cage has produced a small bwolful so far. Lulu the parrot likes the red ones. Luckily I like the taste of gooseberries, even though they look fairly unattractive when cooked.
And guess what I spotted lurking under the huge foliage canopy. The last time I saw them they were about an inch long!


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Post by Ploshkin on Sun Jul 22, 2018 12:58 pm

Ooh, Flobear, they look impressive. What variety are they?
Reading about others' soft fruit yields I think that, despite the challenging growing conditions here, it seems to suit soft fruit.
Apart from last year when I had virtually nothing of anything my single 20 year old blackcurrant bush has always produced between 12 and 20 lbs. One nearly as old gooseberry bush averages 7 lbs and I usually pick a couple of big ice cream tubs of redcurrants and leave the rest for the birds. The bushes have never been fed or had any attention apart from cutting out a bit of wood each year (when I remember).
I'm hoping to put up a fruit cage for next year but I will put in some cuttings somewhere for the birds.
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Post by FloBear on Sun Jul 22, 2018 2:44 pm

The squashes came from the seed swap and on the pack it said something like 'unknown provenance' . Seems to be a good year for the curcurbit family as my mini cucumbers are romping away too.
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Post by frankbeswick on Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:17 pm

Yes, I have had some good marrows and the butternut squash is coming on nicely.
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Post by Dandelion on Sun Jul 22, 2018 9:12 pm

Talking of gooseberries, I don't seem to have had that many this year. Either it's been the result of the dryness of the season, or the birds have had them. (To be honest, I've only just become manoeuvreable enough to look under the gooseberry bush to see)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by freebird on Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:06 am

Ah, FloBear. I thought I was looking at marrows. The squash seeds were from me, originally from my mum's gardener. Knowing him a little better now, I suspect the seeds came from a shop-bought squash and possibly not really suitable for growing in this country. I had fair success last year, though getting the skins cured late on in the season was the hard part. If yours are under foliage, I suggest you clear it so the fruits get direct sunlight.
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Post by FloBear on Mon Jul 23, 2018 6:34 pm

Thanks for that information, freebird.
There are two plants and I can see other squashes forming - is it better to limit the production so they can get on and ripen?
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Post by Chilli-head on Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:14 pm

Those look like fairly promising butternuts you have there Flobear. I have never thinned out butternuts, they have ripened OK - maybe like pumpkins they would be bigger if fewer, but I don't need them to be huge.
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Post by freebird on Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:45 pm

I didn't thin mine last year, but did cut off side shoots just past a fruit, to stop the plants taking over the garden. I had 12 fruits of varying sizes from three plants.
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Post by Ploshkin on Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:32 pm

I've had my one and only and first ever fig.
There were 5 on my little 2 year old tree in the polytunnel. As I've never seen a ripe fig on a tree I had no idea when I should be picking them. They are green so don't really change colour. They have been really soft for ages and I tried one about 3 weeks ago and it was clearly not ready. The flesh was dry and tasteless. I've tried one at a time but still the same. The final one, which was the biggest, started developing Brown specks on the skin and it came away easily. There was no smell from it and no sticky bits oozing but we've just eaten it and it was incredibly sweet. If anything I would say it was overripe as it was quite squishy but as I said they have been really soft for ages.
Does anyone know about figs? I've watered the pot every day and wonder if this was too much as they grow in hot climates.
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Post by FloBear on Sat Jul 28, 2018 9:13 pm

Afraid I can't help with fig advice as I've never grown them. Perhaps they are like pears and have a period of approx. 10 minutes when they are perfect !!
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Post by freebird on Mon Jul 30, 2018 7:47 am

Picked and ate my first Rose de Berne tomato yesterday. Disappointingly watery.
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Post by Ploshkin on Mon Jul 30, 2018 8:32 am

I've had a couple of Rose de Berne (from the seed swap). I thought they were rather tasty.

I've been taken hostage by French beans. I had 10 plants from a garden centre to get an early crop in the polytunnel and they did start producing early but they won't stop. I picked 2 lbs of beans on Saturday, I picked another pound yesterday.
For dinner yesterday, with home reared lamb, we had potatoes from the garden, French beans, courgettes and carrots from the polytunnel followed by melon and strawberries from the polytunnel.
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Post by Dandelion on Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:48 am

That's interesting that Rose de Berne is behaving differently for different people - maybe differences in soil? The seeds came from me: I bought loads of varieties one year, then cut them down tothe ones which I had really enjoyed. I'm not sure I gave Rose de B a fair chance, as I grew it in a pot which was smaller than I would normally use, because I was pushed for space and pots.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:33 am

Is it down to watering I wonder. I'm assuming that Freebird's were grown in her autopots which would give them a continuous supply of water. Mine have been watered pretty regularly but with the excessively hot conditions probably haven't had as much water.

I have come across 2 schools of thought on tomatoes. Usually they are referred to as very thirsty plants needing a fair amount of water and they mustn't dry out. I have also read that they should be kept quite dry. That one suits me better as I'm not good at remembering to water.
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Post by freebird on Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:58 am

It's possible that it is a variety that benefits from less watering, but I see no reason to suppose that all varieties need exactly the same conditions. If I don't use the autopots, I may as well forget greenhouse veg, as I can never guarantee regular watering. If Rose de Berne doesn't work for me, I'll find a variety that does. Brandy Boy, which I grew last year, had an excellent flavour - didn't grow it this year as it was a very gnarled, segmented tomato which made it difficult to use for anything much except cooking.
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Post by Ploshkin on Mon Jul 30, 2018 2:08 pm

It's funny isn't it, I didn't get on with autopots for tomatoes at all but found them brilliant for cucumbers which I had never had much success with. I wouldn't grow my cucumbers any other way now. Actually, I have just put some little gem lettuce plants in my spare autopot. I've been struggling with lettuce this year.
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Post by frankbeswick on Mon Jul 30, 2018 10:16 pm

I cleared my onion beds, which were ready for picking, and I picked some cherry tomatoes. But the rest of the morning was spent weeding.
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Post by freebird on Tue Jul 31, 2018 12:17 pm

Currently eating Rose de Berne #2 in my egg mayo sandwich. Much tastier.
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Post by frankbeswick on Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:45 pm

Rather similar to yesterday, but this time I dug up some nice potatoes. The cherry tomatoes have opened well and I am still picking them. My neighbour at the allotment is a judge at flower shows, so I sought his advice about when to pick the butternut squash, for this is the first time that I have grown it, and he says three days.

That's the point about horticulture, it is so vast that you have to be learning all the time. That is what annoyed me about David Cameron, who once listed gardening with unskilled jobs!
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Post by Dandelion on Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:51 pm

frankbeswick wrote:

That's the point about horticulture, it is so vast that you have to be learning all the time. That is what annoyed me about David Cameron, who once listed gardening with unskilled jobs!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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