30.6.09

It's a jungle out there!


The UK basks in what we like to call a heatwave. Yesterday morning, 7.00 am, before it became unbearable. A fat ginger cat, a vegetable garden going mad and cricket whites...yes, whites. Well, almost. After my washing disaster, a lovely lady from America sent me some Rit colour remover, to see if it would remove the stains. And it pretty much did! We don't get Rit over here, so I am going to have to be very careful not to have any more absent minded moments. They have been deemed wearable, and suprise was expressed that something, for once, did exactly what it said on the box. Thank you so much to the kind hearted soul, who has been responsible for re-juvenating Andy's second kit.




While I wilt in the heat, our little backyard garden has gone crazy with the humidity. Each night it drinks between 20-30 large cans of water. We long ago gave up trying to make neat beds and lines; now we cram as much in as possible, feed it with heaps of homemade compost and let it all get on with it. The peas have done splendidly again, planted in just one small square
of earth, with my scatter-gun method (chuck 'em on, cover 'em up, feed 'em and let them grow)


BEFORE



AFTER


Inbetween the patches there are tomatos in a bag, more salad and strawberries in pots, broad beans, butternut squash and the edge of the Potato Army just seen on the right...





...they have romped away. They are a mini-habitat all on their own, with foot-soldiers of frogs living deep in the dark cool under the leaves. When we water, there are happy rustlings and squelches as they anticipate another dusky evening of hunting snails and slugs.


Dark patches in the wall are damp or bee holes, and the shadowy machine
seen against the window inside, is my neglected Adana press.


The batch of spuds nearest to you are commonly known as 'volunteers'. They sprang up of their own accord, from the ones we didn't find last year. Most of them grew in situ, a few we have transplanted from other beds. You aren't supposed to repeat them in the same place, but Mother Nature makes her own rules, and they are the healthiest plants of all.
It's been a good year for volunteers - maybe a few too many. This untidy bed is a huggle muggle of potatoes, properly planted tomatos, woody leeks which have outstayed their welcome, butternut squash, (more) a new bed of peas and various seedlings which have self sprouted from our own compost.






This sunny patch is one of our most productive - it is bravely (and successfully) supporting six different close planted veg; yellow tomatos, cucumbers, acorn squash, potatoes, the peas and mixed salad, again just scattered in a square and left to grow as it will, for 'cut & come again'. Which we do, often.





There are chilli peppers, sweet peppers, more cucumbers, more courgettes, even more tomatos. There are tubs of flowers and herbs, succulents and sweetcorn. Some waiting to be potted on or planted out, when there is space. We bung them in plastic pots, nice old earthenware pots, buckets and broken crocks. We are not, by any stretch of the imagination, a show-garden.





The spinach has become a monster, though it can't compete with Andy's strawberries, growing behind them. For the last few years he has been building up his squadrons; the runners creep everywhere like weeds, and we leave them be. They are now so numerous and vigorous, they crowd the real weeds out.




They grow along the sides of the beds, up the fences, in the cracks between the flagstones, in pots and in old barbeque stoves. Every night when he comes home from work, he goes straight out to inspect the garden in his shirtsleeves, tie and stockinged feet. He cossets his strawbs with the tenderness of a doting mother.






They are not shop-perfect; they are often mishapen, and sometimes a bit slugged or pecked. But they are ours.




We are on the waiting list for an allotment.


31 comments:

Julia Guthrie said...

wow...now that is what I call a veg patch! LOL
I am amazed at the monsters my tomato plants have become...I just wish theyd hurry up & grow some Toms tho now! hehe:)

janet said...

All I can say is ...what time is dinner!!! You have a garden to be proud of Gretel and tell you partner his berries look delish!

Cathy said...

I am coveting your garden! Everything looks so lush. It would seem that you are having a taste of our typical weather here in the states. For the last few days, it has been in the 70s and today light rain, I have been wishing it would stay this way. A good friend of mine in Rotherham told me she would like to have my AC as she's been sleeping on the floor of her sitting room the last few days. Stay cool and I'll be thinking of you eating those beautiful strawberries.

Jessie said...

I am totally in awe.xx

Riveted said...

Your veg patch is outstanding! Love the before and after pics of the Sweet Pea plot. They did make me a bit green with envy (and even forlorn), for my lovely Sweet Peas were invaded (and nearly conquered) by a rogue bunny. I have taken to leaving the bunny chunks of apple, far from the garden gate...hoping to make peace with the little furry devil...I mean bunny...I mean devil bunny!

the casbah kitten/inside the casbah said...

What a wonderful garden! I'd love to sit and enjoy a cup of tea there. My garden is struggling...but as it's the first year, with no compost, planted in hard clay...well, next year will be better. I'm envious........

Laura said...

Very impressive indeed and if it were up to me you'd get your allotment straight away! If you want to have a laugh watch out for my next post - I'll show my "veggie-succes".

Frances said...

You are way too modest about your gardening skills! It looks to me as if you all have total understanding of how to get the very most out of your patch.

It boggles the mind to think what you'd accomplish with an allotment.

Continued success to you!
xo

Helen/Dudley said...

I am so impressed and those strawberries look divine!

Rachel said...

And if you get an allotment, maybe you'll need to consider a market stall - you are such a prolific gardener! I can't believe that's the same bare patch you showed us a few months ago! I love the volunteers - sometimes a real surprise, potatoes you planted a couple of years ago and completely forgot. Delightful post.

d. moll, l.ac. said...

Bumptious! Verdant! Delicious! When you get an allotment will you keep farming your yard as well?

Jane Moxey said...

I love your garden -- what a grand idea to not be regimented and enjoy things as they grow! Everything looks so abundant and friendly in your photos! Those strawberries look delicious!

joanna said...

So much goodness; the strawberries look fabulous :) A delightful post!

beadbabe49 said...

What a wonderful garden...both productive and artisticly gorgeous!

French Knots said...

What an abundance of produce, I love the way it is grown in rampant profusion.

tut-tut said...

If you add an allotment's worth, you'll never see the inside of the grocer's again! You have several green thumbs (or is it fingers?).

Jemjoop said...

A feast! The gardens here are huge this year too. Raspberries and blackberries have ridiculously overtaken one of the flower gardens. I don't have the heart to cut them back and deprive the bees & birds from a treat. Next year I'll sort it all out.

Suze said...

It's very easy...your garden is gorgeous, and those strawberries...mmmmmmm.....I can smell those from here!

I'm glad to hear the cricket is white(ish) again. What a lovely lady...

My Bella Bleu said...

Hi Gretel! I think your garden looks amazing... Those peas & strawberries look perfect! How do you find the time to create art and tend your garden?!

Bee said...

Sorry for the delay in visiting this very fine post . . . I've hardly been on the computer because it is just baking hot in my study.

Substitute Andy for my daughter Camille! The first thing she does, when alighting from the car after a sweaty school day, is inspect her "crops." She is intensely proud of her potatoes, which are flourishing much in the same fashion as yours. We are specializing in strawberries and raspberries this year, with a few other bits. I do wish that we would get a good soak of rain, though, as I'm tiring of the constant watering!!

I was inspecting a friend's garden this morning -- all neat raised beds and a proper fruit cage. I wonder if fruit/veg collections invariably reflect/resemble their owner's personalities?

Graceful Moments said...

You never cease to amaze me! What a delightful and productive garden patch. I wanted to walk right into your photo and snag some peas and berries!

Amongst The Oaks said...

We planted potatoes a few years ago and try as we might, we never get all of them, so they just keep growing in the same spot. And they look very healthy. I guess we will forever grow potatoes there.
Your garden looks wonderful.

Sue said...

Loving that peas photo. Before and after peas, that is so great :-)

Pearl said...

Hello my friend,
Oh those strawberries look yummy.
Such an impressive garden!!
Hope everything is well with you.
Take good care.
Hugs,

Kitty said...

Those strawberries are such a prize! I'm amazed at all the good things in your garden - I can only imagine the hard work that goes into it. In the garden at home there's always a pot of herbs. They were joined this year by a courgette plant (2, I think, is all it's going to give us this summer). We have kindly neighbours, though, that pass their surplus veg over the hedge to us :)

And the snails! I've never seen so many this year - sadly, there are absolutely no thrushes to eat them. And apparently it is no use to evict them from the garden, as they have a homing instinct :D

Merisi said...

That is a true miracle garden and you are a miracle worker!

Karen said...

I love veggie patches like this. Jammed pack full of yummy things.
Puts mine to shame this year.
Good luck with the allotment x

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Well done!!
A feast outside your door.
Nothing I like better than a freshly picked cucumber!! With a little salt...lunch!

Caroline B said...

I am impressed! You have utilised every inch of that garden - you'll be having some good meals this summer. We had some French beans off our plants today, & I get enough blueberries to scatter on my cereal every two days..and we had 4 small tomatoes at lunch - not exactly self-sufficient are we, not on your scale!

Sue said...

What an amazing veg patch, and what a great use of limited space. Those strawbs look luscious. We've grown strawbs this year and have got loads of fruit, same as you, some are funny shapes but the taste is superb. Keeping an eye on my garlic crop now.

I love your garden!

The Prudent Homemaker said...

I like your glass jar over your strawberries! The pill bugs always ate mine and I haven't had the heart to try them at this house.