Our garden: June 2014 (3)

It’s almost July. Crikey. Most of my photos this week are from our vegetable garden. We finally nuked the fungus gnats *happy dance* and have been gifted lots of plants over the last couple of weeks. Firstly, lots of tomatoes and flowers from Scott’s grandparents (they’d already given us some lovely runner beans too). The next day Scott went to see a friend and his wife generously gave us 2 boxes of plants and a box of terracotta pots! You can imagine how excited I was; I spent the last few hours of that day doing this:

Potting plants

Look at all these pots! Our whole collection is made up of brand new, some from Scott’s Mum, others we’ve scavenged and now all of these from Linda. They’re beautiful. All different shapes and sizes that are weathered with wobbly edges.

Terracotta gardening pots

So what’s been happening? Well, the sweet peas are starting to flower. I think they are mixed colours so I have no idea what each flower will look like. I’m growing these to cut and put in the house.

Purple sweet peas

Do you remember the teeny tiny orange flower buds I mentioned in my last post? They’re called Scarlet Pimpernel (thanks for identifying Rosie!).

Orange Scarlet Pimpernel flower

The cornflowers seeds I sowed are looking beautiful. I like coming home and walking up the garden path with these growing everywhere. They are much taller than I thought they’d be – easily over a metre.

Bright blue cornflowers

And these cornflowers were part of the wild seed mix I scattered. The bees love them.

Pink and white wild flowers

The tomato plant from Linda has started to set fruit. I can’t wait to pick some homegrown tomatoes.

Small green tomato

The kale nero is growing beautifully. It’s not something I would have thought to grow but I’m really glad we were given this. Since this photo its taken a bit of a battering from slugs but it’s not defeated yet (hope I haven’t just tempted fate).

Dark green kale

And this is the curly leaf kale I’ve grown from seed. Most of it will be used in slow cooker dinners/soups. Nero is definitely the slug cuisine of choice because they’ve barely touched the curly variety.

blog_curly_kale

As the flowers on the Hebe Sapphire fade they create this ombre effect.

Ombre effect Hebe Sapphire

I’ve been experimenting with watering, especially for the more water hungry plants like tomatoes, beans and courgettes. I’m using drinks bottles with the top cut off wedged in the soil. The idea being that more water reaches the roots rather than sitting on the surface of the soil and/or evaporating. I should have a better idea of how much water plants need, too. I’ve managed to hide most of the bottles behind leaves etc but you don’t really notice them if they aren’t hidden.

Water bottle in the ground

I did my daily nose round the garden one evening and saw garlic cloves growing on the garlic stalk above the ground. It was only happening on a few of them. Having not grown garlic before I had no idea what this meant (anyone else experienced this?). Anyway, I decided to sacrifice one and dig it up so I could see what was happening.

Bulbs growing on garlic stalk

When I dug down deep enough to lever it out I got a whoosh of garlic. It wasn’t quite ready to be pulled up but look… I’ve grown garlic! I was convinced that after months of rain they would have gone rotten. When I cut the bulb in half I could see a distinct set of cloves. They needed more time to develop but they were on their way. I read you can use it straight out the ground so I made my favourite garlicy treat…

Small garlic bulb

Garlic bread! With parsley from the garden too. My stomach is a bottomless pit for this stuff!

Rustic garlic bread

After digging up the garlic and making garlic bread I now see the vegetables we’re growing as meals rather than plants. This change in thinking happens to me every year after the first harvest of something (usually salad leaves). This year I look at the kale and think of it in beef and ale stew with dumplings. And the courgettes as ratatouille or sliced into ribbons with olive oil, salt and lemon. You’d never guess I love my food would you? 😉

Does anyone have any favourite recipes for their garden produce? Especially kale.

24 Comments

  1. Ah, a like-minded foodie! I love your recipe ideas. I have sown some cornflowers seeds on our allotment and can’t wait to see them flowering like yours.

  2. There’s so much happening out there! I’ve been harvesting lots of strawberries, and am just waiting on my raspberries and peas now. I have that Scarlet Pimpernel just starting to flower, though my Sweet Peas have yet to do so – any day now perhaps! #HDYGG

  3. Well done, looks like an amazing achievement! Garlic must be so satisfying to grow and I know I meant to, I read it was simply a case of sticking some cloves in? I am really behind this year, but the herbs are doing well, so mojitos, potato salad and mint tea for us!

    • Yep, just put them in the ground… you just have to make sure you plant them the right way up! Mmm mojitos!

  4. how awesome!!! your garden is looking great! and lucky you receiving all those garden goodies. love presents like that!

  5. I do love growing garlic-so satisfying and tasty. I’m hoping to get an allotment and grow it again as our garden doesn’t have enough space. I did try them in containers but they never really took as well as they do in the ground. I hope you get done lovely recipes for the kale 🙂

    • It’s a shame they didn’t take as well in containers. I put one in a pot but the roots started growing out the bottom so I transferred it to the ground.

  6. Oh wow! Your garden is looking wonderful. I have never tried growing garlic, but you are right, once you see things as food rather than plants they do take on a whole different meaning. My favourite thing to do with courgettes is to slice into batons and dip in milk and seasoned flour and fry them until golden. Lovely as a side dish.

    • Thank you Phillipa. That sounds delicious, I’ll post a photo if we get something off our courgette plant 🙂

  7. Ooo garlic bread! Cheese on toast is so last season. And I recognise that plate!

    God work on the Scarlett Pimpernel id Rosie, I have some growing on my lawn here, I’ve been mowing around it lately. I must take a photo of the cornflowers growing in grandads garden, they are growing round the rim of a huge compost heap, beautiful and a bit stinky all at once.

    I don’t have any kale recipes but will keep my peepers open for some – courgettes galore here if you know any good recipes for those!

    Thanks for joining in again – good to see that garlic grew! Was is strong? x

    • I know it’s technically a cake plate but it’s perfect for garlic bread 🙂 It was very strong. I’m expecting it to be even stronger in a couple of months time when it’s ready to dig up. Yum!

  8. you are totally making me drool that garlic looks amazing we too are growing it for the first time this year although sadly we wont eat it as we are moving house boo hoo

    • Oh no. Perhaps you could dig one up a little early to try, like I did!

  9. We had homemade garlic bread tonight but sadly not with homegrown garlic. I grate courgettes, press out the excess water and then lightly fry in olive oil. I’m going to have to wait a bit though for them as I’ve only just spotted tiny flower buds on them today. Everything is so much further behind up here in Yorkshire!

    • That sounds good – a bit like a courgette rosti. I can’t see any buds on our courgette so we’ve got a long way to go yet 🙂

  10. Ahhhhh so they are cornflowers!! I have seen a few of them on my walks to school in a morning with my son. They are absolutely beautiful to look at. I’ve never seen them before either! Lovely photos x

  11. Aww congrats for winning the battle against gnats! Can I ask you something? I have potted plants too. I just want to know if you only water them or do you put those plants, veggies vitamins? Cuz I only water mine and i don’t know if that is enough. #hdygg

    • Thank you! If it’s fresh compost I just use water for a few weeks. After that I use a feed aswell during the growing season just to give everything a boost. Tomato feed works really well on my herbs.

  12. Well I wasn’t feeling too well this morning, no appetite and sicky feeling. But reading this, I just got the hunger feeling YAY! Feeling better now. I just need some of that Garlic Bread! Love the Cornflowers, our first one has just bloomed!

    • I’m glad its made you feel better! Garlic always fires up my appetite 🙂 Now the first has bloomed you’ll have lots in no time.

  13. Lovely photo’s again this week – I really love the cornflowers, just beautiful. We;ve not had too much luck with our wildflower seeding this year, but we’re going to so another batch in the Autumn, and hope for the best!

    I think you can eat young garlic (Riverford call it Green Garlic) like you would a spring onion – I have used it raw, finely sliced in salads, and also in Thai Green Curry – yum yum yum! Must admit, your garlic bread is making my tummy rumble 🙂 I must get some in the ground this winter 🙂

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