Our vegetable garden: July 2013

I realised the other day how few craft related posts I’m doing at the moment because I’m spending so much time in the garden.

Dry, yellowed grass

At the moment our garden is beyond parched. We haven’t had rain in 2 weeks so the soil is very hard and the grass has turned to straw. Surprisingly, most of our plants seem to be fairing well despite my slap dash watering.

Chilli plants

It’s my first year growing chillies. We have 4 chilli plants – I can’t tell you exactly varieties they are because I sowed the seeds and then muddled up the pots before I got a chance to label them (smart!). So I’ve labelled them according to what I think they are. Three of the four plants seem to be doing well and have produced chillies. They’ve had a small amount of flower drop but generally they seem happy.

Green chillies growing on chilli plant

Anaheim Chilli

Chilli plant - jalapeno

Habanero Chocolate Chilli

The third plant seems to be having real problems setting fruit. The flower stems go yellow, start to dry up and drop off. Not one of the flowers has started to grow into a chilli. They are planted outdoors in the ground rather than pots. I’ve tried pollinating the flowers by hand with a paintbrush. One flower looked like it was starting show the first signs of a chilli and then also went yellow and dropped off. Does anyone know what would be causing this? I don’t think I’m overwatering so I’m really not sure what else it could be. The top of this plant is very green and healthy so it seems odd that it’s having such problems producing chillies.

Dried and yellowing chilli flower stem

Yellowing chilli flower stem

Flowers

Everything has come into flower which means we have had flowers in the house again. Flowers aren’t something I buy very often so I look forward to this time of year when I can just go and get some from the garden.

Garden posie of lavender, rosemary and pink flowers

Garden posie

I found some flowers growing elsewhere in the garden that looked like white bluebells so I picked a load and put them in a pot on the table. The only trouble was the whole living room started to smell of onions so they had to go.

Red geranium flower buds

We were given a tray of geraniums again this year and they are all flowering and looking beautiful.

White hydrangea buds

Last year I planted my hydrangea in the flower bed my neighbour gave me but it’s never really been happy there. I think it’s a combination of too much sun and sandy, nutrient poor soil. It now sits in a large pot of compost in the shade which has helped it sprung back to life. It’s covered with flowers with lots of new growth.

Flowering lavender plant

Chives

This is the first year I’m seed saving. I got a great book for Christmas called Seedswap: The Gardener’s Guide to Saving and Swapping Seeds. It inspired me to get started on a seed bank for home.

Dried chive flower heads

Chive seeds

I harvested some wild garlic seeds a month ago and I’m also saving chive seeds. I bought the chive plants at a farmer’s market so I’m not sure if they were grown from true or hybrid (F1) seeds. If they are hybrids, the seeds may not grown next year but at least it gives me a chance to perfect my seed saving technique (no mould etc) on seeds that aren’t that important. I have so many of them – each head produces dozens of seeds.

Grasshopper on sage plant

Grasshopper on sage

And today I found a grasshopper on the sage. They seem to like this spot in the garden and use to live in the bergamot bush that use to be planted where sage now grows.

There are more flowers than vegetables in our vegetable garden compared to June. Now the chillies are growing, I have moved my focus away from the strawberries and lettuce for a change. And that’s my roundup of July!

13 Comments

  1. Wow your chilli plants are amazing! How fabulous to grow your own vegetables, I must do it. I bet the flowers you picked looked great on the table, they’re beautiful. Until the onion smell obviously! I love the idea of your seed bank and that photo of a grasshopper on your sage is awesome. Thank you for linking up with #howdoesyourgardengrow

    • It took me a while to figure out the onion smell was the flowers especially as it was a day we hadn’t eaten any onions 😀 Definitely give home grown vegetables a go, it’s great fun!

  2. Lovely photos, I particularly love that grasshopper. Whatever is happening to your chillies sounds very like what is happening to one of my squash plants so if you figure out what it is I’d love to know. It is actually producing quite a lot of flowers, but no fruit.

    • If I figure it out I’ll let you know. It’s really odd that it’s just the one plant! Shame I’m not growing that one for the flowers…

  3. Wow, really beautiful images.
    I love the garden posie, it is really lovely.
    Great idea to create a seed bank, my OH is a gardener and brings me seed heads home, I love it. Great picture of the grasshopper.

  4. Such a beautiful time of year for flowers, isn’t it and at least we are getting some rain. Would like to grow chillies.

  5. Lovely photos, and thanks for the seed-swap book recommendation, too – will be looking into that ;-). I love being able to grab flowers from my garden now, too, and my sweet peas have been keeping the house beautifully-scented for a few weeks now. And a brilliant grasshopper pic!

    • I’ve never smelt a sweet pea but the flowers look so pretty! Good luck with the seed saving if you decide to give it a go!

  6. You’ve got some serious gardening skills! DIY pollinating? I’ve heard of that, but wouldn’t know where to start! The chillis look great, the ones we have planted from seeds this year have so far yielded nothing. I love your pictures:-) I wonder if we should get some seed swapping going on this How Does Your Garden Grow link up? I’ve got some Marigolds, Nigella and Poppy seeds in abundance, but I’m sure everyone has got plenty of those!

    • Haha, I just wiggle a paintbrush in the flower head. Not very technical but seems to work 🙂 I think a How Does Your Garden Grow seed swap is an amazing idea. I don’t have any of the flowers you mentioned in my garden, would love some marigolds!

  7. I saved loads of seed from my aquilegias. It’s the first time I’ve grown them and I fell in love with them. I can’t wait to grow more from my collected seed next year 🙂

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