Our garden: July 2012

Tomato Plants

Growing tomato plants in a line

The tomato plants are really strong and healthy. They’ve all got deep green leaves and their stalks are thick and rigid.

Bright yellow tomato flowers

Tomato flowers

I was a bit late planting them out but they’ve got alot of flowers on them so I’m hoping there’s still a chance of more than 3 consecutive days of sunshine to help them on their way. If we don’t have much sunny, dry weather at least I’ll have plenty of green tomatoes to turn into chutney!

Pruning tomato suckers

How to remove tomato suckers

Tomato sucker in V of stem

Last year was my first year growing tomatoes and we got absolutely loads of them – for weeks! But, the plants went berzerk because:

  1. We had a hot, sunny Summer
  2. I didn’t realise how quickly they’d grow
  3. I didn’t start sucker pruning until it was a bit too late (see above!)

I ended up needing a shambles of a cane and string system to support the weight of the plants with all the stalks and fruits, so I promised myself I’d try harder with the suckers this year. It didn’t really bother me that much, but I thought I should at least try to keep them a bit tidier this year.

On the whole I’ve been much better but still missed a few. I remember reading that if you don’t prune the suckers then you won’t get a very good crop etc etc, but I can honestly say it didn’t seem to matter. If you are trying to grow prize winning tomatoes then it might do but as long as they get plenty of sun and are fed regularly you should still get tasty tomatoes.

Strawberries

Green and red strawberries

This photo was taken a couple of weeks ago, we’ve eaten all our strawberries now! 3 of our plants were from Homebase and the other 15 were bought online – out of the two the fruit from the Homebase plants was bigger and sweeter, although the others were delicious too! Many of the strawberries were quite small which I think is due to rain and cooler temperatures.

Geraniums

Bright pink geraniums

This is the second year we’ve been given a big tray of geraniums by family so we fill all the gaps with them and they make the garden look lovely. They’re one of my favourite garden flowers because they’re so bright and cheerful! The plants we have are full of buds so we’ll have these pretty flowers for a few weeks.

Bright red geraniums

Chamomile

Chamomile flowers

I’m going to try and collect some chamomile seeds when the flowers dry up. Has anyone tried this? I’ve been cutting the flowers off and putting them in a jug on the windowsill to make our flat look cheery!

Parsley

Parsley leaves

The parsley plant has gone a bit bonkers. I’ve tried to grow it before and it just went papery and died, but the rain has really helped. I didn’t really like parsley before we started growing it at home because it’s usually tough and tasteless. We’ve been enjoying this chopped into garlic butter and with buttered carrots.

Garden herb posies

Posie of garden herbs

Bergamot, lavender, chives and chamomile

The herbs have been flowering so I’ve been chopping some off to put in the house. The posie in the photo above was made with bergamot flowers, lavender, chive flowers and chamomile. Smelt fantastic too!

Slug and snail infestation

I carried on using the beer traps for a while but in the end there were so many, beer just wasn’t enough. I’d empty the full up traps and find more hiding underneath! So now I’m mostly removing them by hand. I removed 60 last week and put them over the other side of our fence, it’s like match.com for bugs round there at the moment. Seems to be working though!

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