Thursday, 13 September 2012

Tomato time!

I was a little lazy, or restrictive if you will, with my tomatoes this year. I was hoping for a little less work, a little less must-harvest-all-the-veg anxiety, and a slightly more attractive greenhouse. But as is usually the case (I am learning) with gardening, things didn't really turn out that way...

This year's toms (2 of each) were:

Delicious Super Sweet cherry tomatoes. Will definitely grow again
next year, but next time 4 instead of 2 plants.

Somewhat unattractive Maskotka large cherry tomato plant. The tomatoes
are very tasty, particularly for their size, but I didn't know that they were
bush tomatoes - I could have grown them in front of other, taller plants.

I haven't actually tasted these yet, but I am very surprised that they turned out
identical to the fruits from which I saved the seeds - my favourite shop bought
plum tomatoes - I'm getting used to seeds being a bit of a lottery. Could have
had another plant or two, space-wise.
Work-wise I guess I saved a bit of work in the spring, sowing, repotting, mollycoddling, moving plants in and out, etc. But after that, I have still had to water and fertilize the entire greenhouse so it wouldn't really have made that much difference. Perhaps pinching out the side shoots etc, but how long does that take? So. Verdict? Six plants is too few. Perhaps 8-10 is about right... I guess I'll find out next year.

Harvest-wise, I am actually harvesting almost all the tomatoes before they split, rot, drop this year. If I do have more plants next year, it will be to store them. Here are some foodie photos of a few tomato harvests:

Super Sweet - and they really are!

Maskotka - whopper cherries.

Fabulously juicy, red red fruits. You can see the difference in size
between the Maskotka - bottom right hand corner, and the Super
Sweet - just above it to the left.
So that just leaves the pretty.

I was really hoping for a pretty, neat and tidy greenhouse this year, with lots of flowers and no dirty tools, pots, fertilizers.

I imagined myself sitting there with friends, sipping on a glass of chilled champagne, admiring the tidy greenhouse, the pretty flowers, the flourishing, healthy plants...

Haaaaaa ha ha ha haaaaaa...

Well I guess I did get a lot of flowers (I sowed marigolds around the edge of the border as I was told they were good bug-preventers), and they GREW like crazy. But I wouldn't say it was pretty this year.

My tool shed is just that bit too far from the greenhouse, and I'm just a bit too lazy.

Perhaps I should just accept the fact that (without a lot of effort and discipline) a working greenhouse can't look like they do in the magazines...?

Happy harvesting!

Monday, 10 September 2012

I don't know how all you bloggers do it... do you keep blogging when you get the garden blues?

Personally I haven't even wanted to read all my favourite blogs over the summer, as they just remind me how much I have to do, how many things went wrong with the flowerbeds/kitchen garden this year, what didn't grow, what I didn't harvest and left to rot on the plant/to get eaten by birds/slugs/etc, how to get rid of all the pests/diseases, etc, etc.

Obviously there has been a lot of lovely, but the hurdles just get so overwhelming in a garden of this size.

Anyway, I've managed to fight the absence anxiety and found a few photos from my mother's visit a few weeks ago (she lives in Gibraltar and came to stay for a week). Having a completely new opinion and taste with me around the garden centres was brilliant, you do tend to get stuck in a style rut. For example, I can't leave a garden centre without buying a herb or two, despite the fact I have more than I can possible consume/take care of :D And my mum just went round picking out shrubs with dark foliage - which I would NEVER have done. Any don't they look fabulous?! (well they will next year)

Coral Flower 'Palace Purple' (Heuchera micrantha)

Bugbane 'Brunette' (Cimicifuga racemosa)

Ninebark 'Diablo' (Physocarpus opulifolius) - between the mallow and the tall aster.
We've only had a garden for four years and my mum has never seen it before (apart from photos), and she has really green fingers, so it was a real pleasure to talk plants and gardening for the first time ever.

Here are some lovely random photos I took while she was here:

Union Jack up of course...

Went for a walk in Särö Västerskog and had lunch at Blomstermåla.
I absolutely love Scots pines and there are plenty around Särö.

Day out at Tjolöholm Slott.

Once you get over the fact that you will never EVER get your garden to look
like this one, some of the plantings were very inspiring.

Effective block colours...

Amazing dahlia walk, the yellow ones were the size of two hands..

And the visit wouldn't be complete without a crayfish party!! :D
I will try and blog more often now I'm on top of things again, but if you have any tips on how you manage to keep blogging despite the weather, slugs, bugs, fungi, non-germinators, etc, etc. they would be much appreciated.

Thanks for coming back to my blog!