Category: Summer

Chocolate fruit and worm poo

My chocolate vine (Akebia quinata) has produced a lot of large fruit this year. Just this week they have changed from pale green to purple, swelled and burst open.

Today I spent some time playing with my worms and harvesting some worm poo. I got my wormery last autumn and it’s taken a while to get the hang of it so this was my first collection of finished compost. I carefully separated out the worms from the compost so as not to lose any – the worms are happily multiplying, lots of tiny baby worms and eggs.

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The compost looks very rich so I will be mixing it with something else for potting, or perhaps sprinkle it sparingly on my flower beds. There were quite a lot of undigested eggshells but that was the only thing still recognisable. I had crushed the eggshells a little in my hands when putting them in but in future I will make more effort to smash them up. In the early days I think I put in too much food waste, too fast. I also made the mistake of putting in large, tough things such as cabbage stalks.

At the bottom of the wormery is a sump where liquid collects and a tap for draining it, then it can be used as liquid plant food. The main reason I had to sort out the worms today was that the tap had got bunged up and it wasn’t draining properly. Quite a lot of compost had fallen through into the sump and so it was a thick mud that needed clearing out.

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Pond Life

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At last we have a waterlily flower (Nymphaea ‘Pygmaea Helvola’)!

I was also very excited to discover some dragonfly nymphs living in the pond – I accidentally scooped one up when I was clearing some pond weed. Then a few days later I started to notice several exoskeletons that had been left on plants, presumably shed as the dragonflies emerged.

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I’m currently cultivating quite a jungle, my paulownia are huge and the size of the leaves is impressive. They do lose a lot of water though and have been wilting in the hot, dry weather we’ve been having despite constant watering. They definitely need to go into bigger pots this autumn. Yesterday it got a bit windy and one fell over, luckily it wasn’t damaged and I’ve tried to weigh down the pot.

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We’ve harvested the second batch of Charlotte potatoes, we got about 2.5lbs, so not a huge amount more after waiting another couple of weeks. The climbing French beans have been coming a bit faster now, we’re getting enough for dinner once or twice a week. If only I had more space and less shade, then I could provide a lot more food!

First harvest

We’ve been picking strawberries for quite a few weeks and are now starting to get some blueberries and a few climbing French beans. Today we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to dig up some potatoes. We’re growing two bags of Charlotte (2nd earlies) and two bags of Pink Fir Apple (maincrop). It was very exciting rifling through the compost to find the spuds! We got almost 2lbs from one bag of Charlotte (2 seeds), some were still very tiny so we’re going to leave the second bag to grow for a bit longer. Something to remember for next year was that there weren’t any potatoes or roots growing deeper than the seed potatoes so we should perhaps use a thinner layer of compost below the seeds and therefore leaving more room for compost further up the stalks. The upper part of the plants are in quite a state: they got a lot taller than I expected (not enough sun maybe) and then fell over. The was one particular stormy night at the beginning of June where some of the Pink Fir Apple got snapped right off! I’m not really sure what to support them with, and there’s also the problem that the sunniest spot for them is also quite exposed to wind, as far as sunlight goes beggars can’t be choosers in my garden!