Benign Neglect

October 6, 2017

As I have mentioned, I’ve been some what lacking in gardening mojo recently, but some mornings just invite you to get out there and do what needs to be done.

October morning

(as you can probably guess, the other half is in charge of keeping the grass in check which is why it actually is in check).

Today’s job was clearing out those bits of the veg bed that were clearly done, including the pumpkin patch that had utterly failed to produce any pumpkins.

pumpkin patch

Or had it?

hidden pumpkin

It takes special levels of neglect to produce a vegetable bed you can hide a full-size pumpkin in. I just hope that actually weeding around it doesn’t cause it to give up the ghost altogether, at least before Halloween

pumpkin revealed

It’s not the only thing apparently thriving from neglect. As the rest of the flowers are winding down for autumn, this pink geranium doesn’t appear to have got the memo and is still going strong. This despite no gardening input whatsoever except for not being strimmed. I’d love to move it to a more salubrious part of the garden than its current spot between the compost heap and the septic tank, but I’m worried that that will undo whatever it is that keeps it going so strong…

October geraniums

Maybe I’ll just quit while I’m ahead…


Shooting Blanks

August 17, 2017

I managed an hour or two in the garden today, and not a moment too soon as the sole surviving pumpkin plant appears to be mounting a bid for freedom.

pumpkin plant

It doesn’t appear to be mounting much of an effort to grow pumpkins though – the few little fruits it has produced have tended to rot off before they amount to much. This may be sheer loneliness – I planted out four squash and four pumpkin plants this spring, and it is the sole survivor of the rampant slug army that is inhabits the garden. Despite many dozens of them meeting their doom in the beer traps, there seems to be no end to them; perhaps I should stop buying them rounds …


Perhaps I should also stop providing neat little slug starter homes…

Despite the slugs, and some rampant neglect of my own, the plot has proved surprisingly fertile ground for the plants that did survive. None of my French beans made it past the hopeful seedling stage, and the curly kale just evaporated without trace but the red winter kale is looking pretty good, if somewhat slug-chewed, the beetroot has already provided several meals and is wonderfully sweet* and the peas have just gone beserk. They have resisted all attempts to be propped up so picking them involves wading into the patch and pulling out the pods before the tendrils can fasten themselves around your ankles, but for the first time in years we’ve had enough peas to cook and eat, rather than just be scoffed straight from the pod. I think this may be first-plot syndrome – they always seem to do well on new ground, and then are never quite so good again (she says, grandly, having had all of three veg plots in her entire life).


Tonight’s supper, which was, as tradition demands, delicious

My broad beans are a sad disappointment though. They are producing magnificent pods but there’s just nothing in them or almost nothing. Clearly with that and the pumpkin, there’s a lack of pollination going on. We seem to have a fair few bees about, but perhaps they’ve been distracted (or indeed held captive) by the peas. It might have helped if I’d staked them properly, or kept them a bit better weeded, but it’s definitely been a case of the survival of the fittest in the garden this year.

broad bean pods

Broad beans: all hat and no cattle

* adjusted for being beetroot and not, say, chocolate.

Halloween Horrors

October 29, 2015

One of the joys of going away is wondering just what will have happened to stuff in your absence. I have been growing mini ‘jack be little’ pumpkins in the greenhouse thinking they would be fun, or at the very least delicious, to have around halloween.*

So it turns out, if you slightly damage one just before you go away and leave it in a quite humid greenhouse, you come back to the Miss Havisham of pumpkins … which is quite scary enough as it is, without any additional carving

Halloween pumpkin

Now what to do with the rest of the crop?

mini pumpkins

And a touch more autumn colour from the Japanese maple in the walled garden, just because

Japanese maple

* for those muttering to themselves about how they used to carve neep lanterns when they were kids, rather than any of that rubbishy American pumpkin nonsense, I can recommend this thread in what is increasingly only nominally a cycle forum.