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Post by Ploshkin 23rd June 2021, 9:24 pm

Ive just about finished my broad beans now and have had loads. Still picking strawberries and had my first French beans last night. Courgettes are starting to take over - I cut 6 off one plant yesterday.

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Post by freebird 23rd June 2021, 10:53 pm

I have had a few broad beans from a planter in the greenhouse, but most I am leaving for seed, as the batch they came from was old and gave poor germination. My others on the allotment are in flower.

Strawberries have been great. The greenhouse ones are dwindling, but the outdoor ones are ripening now, so it's been a seamless transition.

Had a few more tomatoes from my overwintered cuttings, but now also have my first ripe fruit on one of this season's plants. And although they are not ready yet, the blueberry crop looks as if it's going to be quite generous this year.
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Post by FloBear 27th June 2021, 11:42 am

Not harvesting anything but have had to move my little quantity of plants to a site at the other end of the previous owner's potato plot. The GH, which I ordered in April and was told 20 weeks lead time, was delivered earlyish in June! The space where it will go had a couple each of tomato, chard, beetroot, 6 purple sprouting, quite a bit of parsley, coriander and salad leaves and a raspberry plant. I moved what I could and am hoping they won't have noticed. The salad, coriander and most of the parsley has been left for the chickens to find. GH base is to be laid at the end of the week.
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Post by Ploshkin 27th June 2021, 12:11 pm

That's a bit of a pain Flobear but I suppose you can't really complain about something coming earlier than expected - bit inconvenient though.

My polytunel legumes seem to be doing particularly well this year. I've now stripped the rest of the pods from the broad bean plants. I only sowed 5 seeds but have had broad beans coming out of my ears for weeks now. One very short row of peas is producing loads of pods and the mangetout are flourishing too with some to pick every day. I only put in 12 Mr Fearn's but think I should have done half that number - they are now in flower and I think I will be buried under beans. I've finished the potatoes but this year it's not been a great crop and those I've had have had something tunneling in them. There were a small number of large tubers and loads of very tiny ones. The last ones I dug had gone soft. I suspect the cold, frosty nights every day of April affected them.
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Post by Chilli-head 30th June 2021, 12:56 pm

We had some sugar snap peas last night, really totally tender, very nice. Variety was Delikett.  germination is fairly patchy though, so not many.

We had new potatoes and broad beans on Monday; the broad beans are one of the few things to have done unusually well this year.  Lots of other things couldn't even be bothered to germinate. Sad
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Post by Ploshkin 30th June 2021, 4:00 pm

I had good germination early on but when i did a second batch ( same seed) a few weeks later, to do some plants for my neighbour who was waiting for her polytunnel, virtually nothing germinated.
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Post by freebird 1st July 2021, 12:22 pm

First two French beans -Mr Fearns from the seed swap. Taken the idea from Dandelion and growing some of the plants in the greenhouse, so I can save some seed without worrying it will rot in the wet.
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Post by Ploshkin 1st July 2021, 3:23 pm

I've had French beans from some bought, dwarf plants. My Mr Fearns are very jungle like now- I only put 10 in. They are covered in flowers so hoping for a goodly crop. My strawberries have been amazing this year, I'm still picking a take away containerful every few days.
Today I picked elderflowers which are steeping ready for cordial.
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Post by Dandelion 2nd July 2021, 4:45 pm

freebird wrote:First two French beans -Mr Fearns from the seed swap. Taken the idea from Dandelion and growing some of the plants in the greenhouse, so I can save some seed without worrying it will rot in the wet.
Thank you for the reminder - I need to do the same! Or at least start some seeds off in pots, and put them in when the broad beans come out. The broad beans have enormous pods, but I don't think (from feeling them) that they have many beans in. I have watered them (washing up water mainly), but I wonder if it's the weird swings in hot to cold weather we've had.

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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 Dandelion 3rd July 2021, 12:11 pm

I've just picked a healthy pile of broad beans, shelled them, and it is as I suspected - few or no beans in the pods. I've looked it up, and most things I've looked at blame the weather - too wet and the beans don't form in the pods, too hot and the pollinating insects don't like it, so again no beans in the pods. I think we've had spells of wet and then hot weather, so that must be it.

................................................................................................................................
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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Post by freebird 3rd July 2021, 7:52 pm

Dandelion wrote:I've just picked a healthy pile of broad beans, shelled them, and it is as I suspected - few or no beans in the pods. I've looked it up, and most things I've looked at blame the weather - too wet and the beans don't form in the pods, too hot and the pollinating insects don't like it, so again no beans in the pods. I think we've had spells of wet and then hot weather, so that must be it.

I grew a few in the greenhouse this year because I wanted to save seed. We had no pollinating insects around when the plants were flowering, due I think to the really cold spring nights. However, I had read that beans can be self-fertile, and although it is better with insect pollination, it isn't essential. What I gleaned from the article is that the flowers seem to need some disturbance to release their pollen. So as the flowers opened, I gently pulled them apart a few times (as if a bee was entering). It seemed to work as the flowers set a fair amount of pods. I harvested just a few, but the rest are still on the plants in the greenhouse, to ripen fully for seed.

This is part of the article:

Broad beans have two methods of pollination, important to know if you grow them in a greenhouse / polytunnel or under cloches. Their primary method is self-pollination, in other words they do not need insects to produce a crop. However, they can also be pollinated by insect activity and will produce the best crop when pollinated using both methods.

And also this:

POLLINATION OF BROAD BEANS
Most broad beans are partially self-fertile but you will have a much better crop if insects pollinate them as well. This varies depending on the variety. We explain below how they can pollinate themselves and some problem areas.
As a broad bean flower develops, the stigma inside the flower becomes taut and it is also bent over. Insect activity in the flower will cause the stigma to spring open onto the pollen allowing fertilisation to occur. In some cases, where there is no insect activity, the stigma will ripen and spring open as a result of wind movement. Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn't which explains why poor pollination can occur.

Some bees have become lazy in recent years and instead of entering the flower from the front to get at the nectar, they drill a small hole at the base of the flower and get the nectar from there. This type of bee activity is not so efficient as far as pollination is concerned.

Another problem with broad bean pollination is that different varieties will easily pollinate each other if insects are allowed to go between the varieties. This will often result in pods which are not true to type.
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Post by Dandelion 4th July 2021, 2:12 pm

Thank you for that, Freebird - very interesting. I also wonder if the variety might be an issue; for years I have grown The Sutton, and overwintered them, but I've found it a lot of effort for very little returns (they always seemed to get chocolate spot on them.) So I tried Superaguadulce, which were sold as being good for an early crop, but I sowed them in the spring. The good news is there's no chocolate spot, the bad news is that there are no beans! crylaugh That's not quite true - I have picked enough to try a BBC Good Food recipe tonight, which is pork chops with broad bean and minted Jersey smash. But there aren't enough beans for a second meal.

................................................................................................................................
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 Chilli-head 4th July 2021, 9:02 pm

I always grow Aquadulce Claudia, super Aquadulce or whatever it's called in Italian or Spanish, same thing. But always in Autumn, late October / November. They don't appreciate the soggy clay of the allotment, but do well in the sheltered, well drained garden veg plot. Not a bad crop this year.
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Post by Ploshkin 4th July 2021, 9:23 pm

My broad beans cropped really well. I always put them near a door of the polytunnel to attract the pollinators. The
flowers have a lovely perfume.
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Post by Ploshkin 10th July 2021, 5:59 pm

I've just picked 1lb of Mr Fearns.
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Post by Chilli-head 10th July 2021, 8:53 pm

We have just got back from a short break in Dorset, an returned to find ripe tomatoes Very Happy For an improvised barbecue this evening I dug new potatoes, and picked cucumbers (8 off), Hungarian wax chillies, spring onions, lettuce and of course tomatoes. And a bit of oregano to flavour some chicken souvlaki.

Strangely, one of my black Russian tomatoes is producing red fruit. I don't think I messed up with the labels ...
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Post by Dandelion 10th July 2021, 10:19 pm

My tomatoes a very disappointing so far. The short spells of ridiculously hot weather have caused them to struggle, at least the ones in the greenhouse have struggled. The ones out in the garden are actually looking much healthier than the indoor ones - if they escape the dreaded blight, I think that's where the best ones will be found. I've also had more blossom end rot, but mainly on Golden Sunrise, so I won't bother with them next year.
However, the weather does seem to have suited strawberries (has anyone else found this?) We are picking them every day, and they are really sweet this year. Tayberries have been almost non-existent, which is unusual.

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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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Post by Chilli-head 10th July 2021, 11:59 pm

I seem to have quite a few large tomatoes this year, I did pick larger fruited varieties as I prefer big, fleshy fruits. Strawberries do seem to be doing well for us too.

My tayberry was hopeless, low yields of bland fruit, so I fed it to the shredder. Maybe it didn't like my soil.
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Post by freebird 11th July 2021, 9:43 pm

Loads of strawberries here, too. Since starting some early in the greenhouse, we been eating them continuously for 6 or 7 weeks now.

Sugar snaps from the raised bed now replacing the early ones from the greenhouse. Had a few cucumbers, and a trickle of tomatoes. Looking forward to a good blueberry crop - loads of berries on 3 plants of different varieties, with the earliest just starting to ripen. Courgettes are taking forever to get going properly. Despite plenty of sunny days, the underlying temperatures are still pretty cool, and I think it's holding them back.
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Post by Ploshkin 13th July 2021, 10:01 am

Strawberries doing well here too. We've been eating them for 5 or 6 weeks. I think it helps having 3 different varieties because when one slows down another gets going. My one courgette plant is producing masses. Tomato crops are looking very promising but not much sign yet of anything thinking about ripening apart from a couple of Sungolds that have fallen off. I'm harvesting carrots, cucumbers are coming at a nice pace though I do pinch a lot off so that I'm not inundated and I'm disappearing under a mountain of Mr Fearns. All of this is in the polytunnel. The only thing I am harvesting from outside is some lettuce though it is frustratingly slow this year. I'm about to harvest my 6 gooseberries - I had 2 cuttings last year which I am growing as cordons and we have started on some raspberries. Mr P is growing the raspberries. His grandfather was a small commercial raspberry grower in Blairgowrie when Mr P was a small boy and he grew Norfolk Giants. He has tried since I've known him to find Norfolk Giant plants and finally succeeded last year. I doubt that they will grow very tall in our soil and climate but he's happy.
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Post by Chilli-head 13th July 2021, 1:06 pm

The broad beans are now all picked and frozen, making way for a fresh sowing of the excellent "Mortons secret mix" lettuce from Real Seeds.

Slowly eating our way through a fridge drawer full of cucumbers ...
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Post by Ploshkin 13th July 2021, 1:35 pm

I have Morton's Secret Mix - I do like it.
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Post by Chilli-head 16th July 2021, 2:31 pm

All my tomatoes are ready now; I've got Red Pear, Lotos, Black Russian, Black Brandywine, and Zlatava. The black Brandywine are rather special. I am pretty happy with these varieties, all my type of tomato. I made a tomato / cucumber / olive / feta salad for lunch, with home grown spring onion Yoda and home grown, dried Greek oregano. The aroma was so like being in Greece ! The slightly resinous smell of proper Oregano. Mmmmm.
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Post by Dandelion 17th July 2021, 12:00 pm

The Tutankhamun peas are romping away. I planted them more sparsely this year, and it is making them easier to pick, although I think they will always grow in a huge mass - there's probably a princess asleep somewhere in the middle! And courgettes are looking good. I've just picked the first few tomatoes from the greenhouse - they look a bit sulky but are red; none of the tomatoes are really flourishing.

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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 17th July 2021, 2:07 pm

My tomato plants are fine and the crops look good and are nice even sized fruits but they aren't showing the slightest hint of colour apart from a very few Sungolds.
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Post by freebird 18th July 2021, 12:35 pm

I've been picking ripe tomatoes for about 4 weeks now, thanks to my overwintered plants initially. However, they're not coming in great quantities - just a couple most days now.

Nice lot of broad beans from the allotment last night, and some peas which we will have with dinner tonight. Also courgettes from the lottie. French beans from the garden, strawberries, raspberries, first gooseberries and first blueberries.
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