Our garden: July 2014

I feel like all I’ve been talking about on here lately is gardening and plants! But this is the first year I’ve had a whole garden to look after and I’m loving it. It’s also taking up quite a bit of my time. I have a quick whizz round every day but there’s always something to do; watering, dead heading, hunting down caterpillars, pinching out suckers, identifying creepy crawlies… Soon there will be a better balance of craft and gardening posts. But for now…back to ‘the plot’!

The most exciting thing happening this week is that we have beans! A week ago we had flowers.

Purple and cream Prince bean flowers

Now we have these beauties. And some of the larger ones are nearly ready to pick, I’m amazed at how quickly they’ve grown.

Green dwarf French beans

The red lettuce seeds from my friend Kat have grown into these colourful leaves. Not long now and we’ll be enjoying freshly picked salad leaves.

Red lettuce leaves

The plum tomatoes from Linda are getting big! She told me she researches the best tomatoes in terms of flavour so I’m really looking forward to tasting them.

Green tomatoes

We harvested our first curly kale this week and it was delicious. I blanched it and chopped it into pasta.

Handfuls of curly kale

Our chilli plant from last year keeps on giving. I’m not sure what type of chilli they are but don’t be deceived by their size, they are hot.

Red chillies

I’ve had no luck with spinach this year. When we had our little patch of garden at the flat we were picking it for weeks. Not here, the leaves get eaten whatever their size. I assumed it was slugs but Scott caught a house sparrow having a cheeky nibble and I’ve since seen them doing it too. Now it all makes sense! As you can see they are very organised when it comes to decimating spinach. They start at the left and gradually work across the row. I admire their neatness. I’m going to leave it in as a distraction from the two rows of curly kale in the other bed.

Spinach with bird damage

After that I built a small (and rather shoddy) cage around the kale nero to deter sparrows and pigeons. Now the netting is up it’s growing without interference.

Dark green cavolo nero kale

The chamomile in the front garden is covered with flowers. I nearly didn’t buy any this year because it always goes brown and scraggly at the bottom. Does anyone know what causes this? I’m glad I planted some in the end though, it looks so nice.

Chamomile flowers

I put some chamomile in a vase with cornflowers. I like the bright yellow and blue together.

Chamomile and bright blue cornflowers

And I’m not sure what this plant is. Does anyone have any ideas?

White Cosmos flower

These beautiful flowers popped up a few weeks ago (as a result of me letting a few weeds run to flower for the bees) and I think it’s called Viper’s Bugloss – correct me if I’m wrong. The bees love it and this photo doesn’t really do the flowers justice but they are bright purple with flecks of pink and blue.

Purple weed flowers

I’ve been putting quite a few garden photos on Instagram lately. Come follow me!

30 Comments

  1. Isn’t it marvellous when you see the benefits of your hard work in a harvest of fresh fruit and vegetables? I hope you’re enjoying them 🙂

  2. you have done such a great job!!! look at everything that has grown! you should be very happy and proud. much reason to talk about it! 😉

    • Thanks Claudia! I am very happy, I’ve wanted a proper garden for a long time 🙂

    • Ooh. Peas are on my list for next year. Growing all this food to eat is a great feeling. Most of our meals this week have had something from the garden in them.

    • Yes! As soon as we had a few days of sun everything seemed to spring to life.

  3. I also feel as if all I ever blog about is garden-related! You have achieved such a lot in a year. That curly kale looks good – one of my favourite vegetables.

    • Mine too – and homemade is so much nicer than kale bought from the supermarket. Yum!

  4. Feel the chilli burrrrrrrn! Oh I do love a good hot chilli – my husbands one of those nutters who likes the demonic hot ones. On the other hand you can usually find me swigging from the milk bottle post chillis!

    We have beans galore here too – they look like loads of little green fingers hanging here. I planted some dwarf ones in front of the runner beans and forgot they were there but whilst culling back the courgettes I spied a whole row of beans that I forgot I had! Such a nice thing to pick and cook straight from the garden.

    Odd how the birds have been hankering my lettuce and your kale this year!

    Thanks for joining in again – lovely to see how fruitful your garden is – and how pretty the chamomile and cornflowers look together x

    • We are building up our chilli tolerance slowly. Although I regularly get a bit cocky and put a little too much in what I’m cooking. Apart from the kale, the beans have been one of my favourite things from the garden so far. That is…until the tomatoes are ready to pick!

  5. Wow your harvest is looking fab! This the first year I have had a proper garden, so am loving seeing the seasons develop through the plants, and also harvesting veggies for the first time! I’ve followed you on Instagram too 🙂

  6. Those tomatoes are looking really good. I’ve never had much success growing plum tomates. I saw the sparrows eating the non-fruiting gooseberry bush today. I guess they have got bored with the vast amounts of bird seed I keep putting out for them!

    • Haha! Sparrows are quite naughty when you sit and watch them for a while 🙂 This is the first time I’ve grown plum tomatoes so fingers crossed!

  7. Sounds as though your hard work and energy is paying off! I have one of the mystery flowers in my garden, too – bought it in a city farm a couple of weeks ago – but I’m afraid I don’t know what it’s called, either. I do love it, though. I hope it spreads in time for next year!

    • It’s starting to feel that way Nell. The few months waiting for things to spring to life felt slow 🙂

  8. I only have less than 10 potted plants (mix of flowers, veg and herbs) on my terrace and yet when I am attending to them I get lost in time before I know it I am spending too much time in there too. #hdygg

    • It’s very easy to get carried away. There’s always something to do!

  9. Is your unknown plant a cosmos? I’ve grown some lovely Cosmos bipinnatus ‘Purity’ and they look pretty similar to your one…

    Feel as if my blog is a constant garden-fest right now too!

    Oh, and also, finally reporting back on my perennial sweet peas — not a single tiny smell to them at all. Not sure what kind I planted though, so that might not be true for all of them.

    • Yes I think it could be, thank you! Not surprisingly, my Google searches for ‘white flowers’ weren’t very fruitful haha! I will probably buy a perennial sweet pea and some annuals so I have a mix of colour and scent. Your sweet peas in Instagram are lovely by the way.

  10. So well done, what harvest! I wanted to know what the chamomile was, we have it too. Wish I could help you on the brown thing – will ask my Dad as he is font of all gardening wisdom, the genes seemed to bypass me!

    • If your Dad has any ideas I’d love to hear them. I know you can get a chamomile lawn variety, looks really nice when it flowers.

  11. your veggie garden is so exciting! there is so much going on right now. I had a similar creature eating problem with my cucumber. I finally got smart and caged the babies this year until they got big. third time’s the charm, I guess.

    I believe the mystery flower is cosmos. they come in wildflower seed mixes in the states. pink is the more common color, but I have white and a burgundy in my seed mix this year.

    • Thank you for your help with my mystery flower Doris. I wish I’d caged mine sooner. At least I know for next year.

  12. Ah Gemma, beautiful, what a great harvest already. Your chillis are the same as mine, super hot and tiny. The chamomile in the jar with cornflowers are just a delightful colour and so cheerful.

    • Thanks Emma! I learned ours were super hot after chucking a load in my cooking because they were small, oops, haha! The chamomile and cornflowers are my favourite flowers this year 🙂

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