Life on The Weald - #Plot247 - and in the garden and kitchen - July 2022
|Marmande tomatoes - 2 July|
|Marmande tomatoes - 2 July |
|2 July - Garlic harvest|
|Remainder of the garlic harvest - 3 July|
|Evening Primrose - 4 July|
|Houttuynia - 4 July|
I then recalled that I had bought a very cheap selection of summer flowering plants from Lidl two or three years ago and this was one of them. Houttuynia likes moist shady conditions which is why it is doing so well. It produces adventitious roots and can regrow rhizomes from any part of the foliage and is considered an invasive plant. I think we are stuck with it but am thankful it is in a brick built raised bed so won't take over the garden. I have also learned that one of its common names is "Fish Mint" and that it is widely used in SE Asia as a vegetable, a herb and in chutneys. I have tasted the leaves and have to say that I didn't find it an entirely pleasant experience but I might think about how it might be used in Vietnamese, Chinese or Korean recipes in combination with other herbs and spices.
|Catterpillar of the Cinnabar moth|
I mentioned last month that we were not short of ragwort (stinking willie) on the plot and this is the main source of food for the cinnabar caterpillar and they do little damage to other plants. I have also seen them feeding on groundsel.
I soaked the ground in my first Hugel bed and with some difficulty, I did manage to sow another half double row of Teepee purple French beans. I had previously planted out the Tepee beans that I had sown at home and also directly sown some more seeds the previous week. I also sowed two half rows of green French beans in the raised bed where the mangetout and sugar snap peas had been earlier.
I picked several young courgettes, around 8-10 inches in length plus a couple of larger ones which were about to become marrows! I began lifting the second row of 1st early red Duke of York potatoes. There was no haulm as the plants had completely died back and weeds had taken over. If I hadn’t left the string marking the rows, it would have been difficult to locate them.
The tromboncinos had put on some growth and were beginniong to trail along the ground, so I constructed a tripod with wooden stakes for them to climb up, (if they ever learn to climb!) and then thoroughly watered everything.
The following day, 13 July, because the ground was so dry, I went to the plot at 7am to water everything again. Despite the dry weather, the French beans I had sown a week earlier were beginning to germinate, and they desperately needed water.
|13 July -purple French bean germinated|
I also transplanted a chilli, Hot banana, from a pot that they had outgrown to a raised bed.
|13 July - Hot banana|
By the time I returned home, around 9am, it was already 24C. Later that day the tempreature reached 30C. I was feeling fairly rough so took another LFT test, which this time proved positive. I soon developed all of the symptoms associated with the new Omicron strain of the Coronavirus. So now both Sylvi and I were isolating at home for several days and unable to visit the plot or even leave the house.
There continued to be no rain and daytime temperatures remained in the mid to high twenties with a peak of 34-37C on 19 July.
It was not until 22 July that I tested negative and felt able to venture out. Whilst we had been indisposed, Sylvi's son, Luke, had been watering the plot in the evenings and picking courgettes. Apart from a brief shower on 13 July there had been no rain for weeks.
The squashes had suffered in the drought. The fruits were tiny and a lot of the foliage had turned brown.
|22 July - butternut squash|
|22 July - purple French beans (Tepee)|
I had been offered a tumble compostor by the plot run by a local nursery school. The only problem was transporting it as it was much larger than I had anticpated.
|23 July - transporting the compostor|
|moving the beast!|
|successfully in its temporary location|
Whilst on the plot, I harvested some courgettes and climbing French beans for the weekend.
|23 July - harvest|
At home the Ornage habanero was beginning to set fruit and there was one large, very healthy looking specimen.
|23 July - Orange habanero|
|23 July - Beefsteak, Marmande, tomatoes|
On the plot, the Jalapeño pepper was also ripening. This is a fairly mild pepper, around 4,000-8,000 on the Scoville scale (or so it says on the label!)
|Tomatoes ripening indoors|
|giant beefsteak Marmande tomato|
|giant beefsteak Marmande tomato|
|28 July - Hedgehog in the distance|
I approached very slowly and the hog froze as I got near.