Another Sad Loss – Rest In Peace Mrs N

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to Mrs N, she was slowing down and becoming weak and our vet agreed she possibly had kidney failure. She had just over 2 years of freedom and I know I should be satisfied with that but having a chicken for that long leaves a huge gap in the hen-house, especially so soon after losing Lizzie.

I shall miss her.

Rest in peace you beautiful girl x

Harvesting Mangetout

I have been harvesting the mangetout recently, a few pods at a time at first but now a good picking session is needed to keep up with them. I love the sweet taste of mangetout. The support frame is bearing up too which is a good job really because the plants are quite heavy now.

I have a second batch just starting to flower, hopefully to extend the picking season. What are you currently harvesting?

Our Very First Baby Pears

I’m so excited! Our new William’s Bon Chrétien pear tree has baby pears, aren’t they amazing? You can really see the shape formation already. I adore pears and cannot wait to sample our very own home-grown ones which should be ready to pick by September, ripening a week or so later. It’s self fertile but pollination by another pear will maximise yield, the neighbouring garden to the rear of ours has a mixed orchard on half an acre so hopefully this will help.

Pinching Out Tomato Side Shoots

Tomatoes are one of those vegetables/fruits (whatever) that can be a real pain in the bum to grow. Blight can be a big problem or worry to many tomato growers, like me, who do not have the luxury of a glass greenhouse. But, putting all the hassle aside, the taste of home-grown tomatoes makes the stress of growing them so very worthwhile.

I have been quite successful with growing outdoor bush varieties, especially so last year when local gardeners were cursing the dreaded tomato blight while I was busy admiring my beautiful shiny red fruits. This season however, I have gone all mad in the head and decided to have a bash at growing two different types of cherry tomato, Sungold and Gardener’s Delight. Both of these varieties are uprights, also known as cordon or vine. They would probably do better under cover, in one of those luxurious greenhouses that I just do not own, but they can go outside. Today I bought a plastic tomato grow house ‘thingy’, it looks quite good actually and will hopefully help to keep the rain off my tomato foliage as well as provide them with a little extra heat.

Because I have always grown bush varieties I have never bothered pinching out side shoots. Apparently, bush varieties naturally produce a limited amount of side stems so they kind of know when to stop producing shoots and start producing tomatoes, however, cordon varieties will produce far too much foliage and very few fruits if left unchecked. I have never bothered (until now) to learn why cordon varieties need their side shoots removed, it’s all about helping to divert the plant’s energy into producing the fruit on the main stem rather than putting all that energy into the side shoots. Easy huh? Pinching out side shoots is easy too once you know what to look for – shoots forming in between the main stem and the leaf stems, in the arm pit of the plant. Hopefully the photo will help (although those shoots are a tad large and should have been pinched out earlier, whoops!) just make sure the first flower truss has set above and away you go with your pinchy fingers. Happy tomato growing!

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