Mary; How does the Garden Grow?! 10th July 2014

Hi all,

We hope you enjoyed last weeks first entry of our new garden blog and that it gave you a good overview of what the garden has to offer and also, just a taster for the many topics that can and will be covered over the coming weeks and months.

The weather has been somewhat hit and miss over the past number of days, but Wednesday, the 9th of July when this ‘not so green fingered, but eager to learn’ blog composer headed for the garden on what was a spectacularly nice evening to see just what our gardener, Mary, was up to this week.

Seems the rain and sunshine combined has really brought out the growth in the garden; there’s a lot happening!  But, we thought this week we’d look at the vegetable area and other goods producing plants.  As we mentioned last week, the vegetable beds are closest to the house and in these I was shown the chives; in fact, two examples!  The first was fresh a light green, the other, somewhat more ‘woody’ and had flowers on top that were starting to die off.  I was instructed by Mary that the fresher chive plant had been cut back recently to promote fresh growth and to stop the spread of seeds and the latter had yet to be done.  Of course, a taste was required; delicious!

 

Chive seeds.

Chive seeds.

 

Mary instructing where the chive plant will be cut back to.

Mary instructing where the chive plant will be cut back to.

 

Fresh regrowth after being cut back.

Fresh regrowth after being cut back.

The same bed also contains cabbages which are really starting to fill out now; some more so than others!  On closer inspection its evident that something has been taking a nibble of the young leafs!  A number of small, but ragged holes in the leafs are the tell tale sign of caterpillars which cleverly are an almost identical shade of green as the cabbage itself (probably no wonder with so much our our cabbage in them! They do say you become what you eat?!) and needless to say, very small.  Turning over the leaf reveals them.  In the garden no pesticides or other such treatments or chemicals are used on the plants, thus, removing these critters is an arduous process and taking care of them, well, not for the squeamish!

Caterpillar on the leaf of the cabbage plant.

Caterpillar on the leaf of the cabbage plant.

 

The result of caterpillar activity.

The result of caterpillar activity.

 

Starting to fill out and less prone to hosting hunger caterpillars too.

Starting to fill out and less prone to hosting hunger caterpillars too.

 

Another variety of cabbage known as Kale, or, commonly as 'Ragged Jack'.

Another variety of cabbage known as Kale, or, commonly as ‘Ragged Jack’.

 

Beetroot is also a bed fellow to the cabbage and chives; growing in abundance and ready for plucking.  I was instructed that this beetroot is simply delicious when boiled, salted and sliced; I’ve yet to try this as my only preconception, or, knowledge of beetroot up to this point was that which you purchased, in a jar, chopped and with a tangy taste.  Never had I seen on ‘in the raw’ or literally pulled from the ground!

Beet root plants.

Beet root plants.

 

Plucked from the ground! Couldn't get any fresher than that!

Plucked from the ground! Couldn’t get any fresher than that!

 

 
Speaking of being plucked from the ground, another two that were at the same time pulled were carrots and a bulb of (very strong it must be said!) garlic!  The garlic, planted in December is well rooted, pulling by hand wont work as it only serves to pull the stem and leafs from the bulb; a little digging is required!

 

Freshly pulled carrots.

Freshly pulled carrots.

 

Garlic bulb playing hard to get!

Garlic bulb playing hard to get!

 

If carrots, beetroot and garlic weren’t enough for me it seems I was in for a treat and not only would my dinner, but also my salad sandwiches be sorted as there was a head of, unusual looking, ‘Marvel of Four Seasons’ lettuce that could be pulled.  These lettuce plants were accompanied by another unusual variety of lettuce called Garnet Oak Leaf, named after its leafs which resemble the leafs of an oak tree.  The garnet is prone to wilting quite quick after being pulled, so, a head of Marvel of Four Seasons was pulled.

 

Marvel of Four Season lettuce.

Marvel of Four Season lettuce.

 

Garnet Oak Leaf lettuce.

Garnet Oak Leaf lettuce.

 

Up she comes!

Up she comes!

 

 

 

Another task, which is taking place further up the garden is that of picking the gooseberries!  Mary has been working away at this for the past number of days!  The fruit is quite plentiful and it takes patience and time to pick them.  Once picked its a simple case of ‘top and tail’ them and have a taste.  They’re very sweet!   These gooseberries will be stored and used for making jam or perhaps even gooseberry pie; watch this space.   The bright red Morello cherries were hard to miss further up from the gooseberry plants.  They are a little sour, but, could have been more so if I had not been instructed to go for the darker red/scarlet colored cherries as opposed to the bright red ones on offer!!

Gooseberries ready to be picked.

Gooseberries ready to be picked.

 

Mary showing how to 'top and tail' the berries by removing the little stubs.

Mary showing how to ‘top and tail’ the berries by removing the little stubs.

 

Picked berries ready to go!

Picked berries ready to go!

 

Cherries; these are the one you dont want to eat.

Cherries; these are the ones you don’t want to eat.

Well, we hope you’ve enjoyed this weeks blog entry and, like me, learned a thing or two!  Theres so much to discover and learn about in the garden and with Mary’s expert advice we’ll cover all, if not most of these!  But, in the meantime if any of you have any questions, queries, or perhaps particular topics you’d like to see covered then please dont hesitate to get in touch!

Until next time!

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