Posts Tagged ‘strawberries’

Using a strawberry planter for Tumbling Tom tomatoes

As of last week I have been feasting off the strawberries in containers in our front garden – although sadly, the ****ing snails are feasting off them too. I make a point of doing a “snail check” every morning and evening, and any that I find get unceremoniously chucked into the shrubbery on the other side of our front path. I don’t use slug pellets (don’t want to cause harm to local bird/cat life), so the snail checks are the price I pay. But the strawberries are worth it. Amidst the strawberries is this fine terracotta strawberry planter, which I’ve planted with… Tumbling Tom tomatoes. My neighbour from three doors down gave me the planter – he doesn’t have time to garden right now so I’ve promised him some of the fruits of my labour. (In case you’re wondering, the two tomato plants growing out of the top of the planter are Gardener’s Delight.) All my tomatoes are doing OK a week after being potted up. None of them have flowered yet though – don’t think we’ll be eating any home grown tomatoes till August.

tomatoesandstrawberries2016

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - June 20, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Categories: container type, crops   Tags: , ,

2013: the year that summer was one month late

The saucepan on the right contains the first of our redcurrants (about three quarters of a pound of them), picked at the beginning of this month (July). Not too late in the year you might think, but the raspberries that grow in the raised bed alongside the currants are only just now producing fruit. In normal years, those raspberries would have been over by the middle of June. My tomatoes are only just now starting to flower. Ditto my runner beans, which are really struggling to get going. On the plus side, we have a nice healthy crop of strawberries! (Of course, it helps when you have at least 30 plants. If you like strawberries, and want to eat more than a couple a day at the height of the season, you might as well have a whole corner of the garden dedicated to them. Or at least a corner of your patio.) redcurrants
Anyway, back to the redcurrants. They are superb. I never expected this much fruit from just a couple of bushes. Since that first saucepan-full, I’ve picked three more lots and there will be at least one more to go. The first batch was stewed with enough sugar to give a sweet-but-tart flavour. Stewed redcurrants make a great accompaniment to roast pork or poultry. The rest are being frozen in batches.
Another success story this year has been our rhubarb patch (in the corner of another raised bed), which has finally got going. I’ve managed to get four or five batches of stewed rhubarb from it. In the process, I discovered a tasty way to eat it – with vanilla yoghurt. Rachel’s Organic Vanilla is nice, if expensive. Or you can buy supermarket’s own natural yoghurt, and add sugar/natural vanilla to taste. For a more substantial dish – a proper meal as opposed to a dessert – add raw porridge oats to the yoghurt, stir in and leave for half an hour before adding the fruit.
Sadly, it’s not all been good news. The mouse melon seeds I planted at the same time as my tomatoes grew into healthy looking seedlings, which I hardened off outdoors before potting up and placing against our extension wall. A couple of them have died and the others are not growing at all. I don’t know what went wrong there. Not enough sun, I suspect. I still have some seeds left so will try again next year.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - July 8, 2013 at 7:35 am

Categories: crops   Tags: , , , , ,

The first salad of the year: 23rd May(!)

For lunch yesterday I had the following:

A couple of slices of Yorkshire ham
A chunk of Stilton
A dollop of mayonnaise
Some chilli chutney
A pear
Some mixed salad leaves.

It was extremely tasty – the salad leaves were from the garden and were beautifully crisp alongside the ham and cheese. What’s strange is that this was the first batch of salad leaves I’ve actually picked this year. Normally by late May I’d have been chomping on rocket, chives, pea shoots etc. for about a month or so. But the weather has been so cold that – like everything else – the salad side of things is very much delayed.

Also picked the first batch of rhubarb today. There should be enough for several crumbles this year, as our rhubarb patch is finally getting established. As for the strawberries, they are coming along but still no ripe fruit. Maybe the first week in June?

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - May 24, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Categories: crops   Tags: , ,

Trays of tomatoes… and strawberry corner

Today was spent potting up tomato seedlings (see below), and also moving some sluggish strawberry plants from the back garden to the front, where they will in theory get several hours of sun a day rather than just half an hour or so. The display of strawberry plants in the corner actually looks quite attractive in its own right, I think. Of course, the roofless greenhouse to their left (not seen in pic) is definitely NOT a thing of loveliness, but it does act as a convenient shelf for more long trays of strawberry plants. Who knows, I might actually end up picking a dozen strawberries a day at the height of the season, rather than six or so as I did last year. To pot up the strawberries into their respective containers, I used neat home-made compost – which should mean that they’ll be happy! I wish I could be self-sufficient in compost, because that’s easily my biggest expense as a container gardener. Back in March, I syphoned off a good amount of nearly-rotted compost from our Dalek into the hole next to it; six weeks later under its layer of old carpet/bathmat, it’s now ready to use but I need more! strawberrycorner
On to the tomatoes. It takes a looong time to pot up this many seedlings. The ones on the left in the yoghurt pots are Brandywine; the ones on the right are Gardener’s Delight. Large yoghurt pots make excellent pots for seedlings – just create some holes in the bottom first (I use one end of a skewer, held in a gas flame, to melt the holes – the plastic is less likely to crack that way.)
potteduptomatoes

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - May 5, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Categories: compost, container type, crops   Tags: , , , ,

A strawberry a day

Well OK, more like three or four strawberries at the moment, from three strawberry plants in the back garden (pictured) and three big containers in the front, each containing 3 – 4 plants. They are delicious. I wish I’d remembered (if I ever knew in the first place) what variety they are. Most of them came from a charity shop and I don’t think they were labelled in any way. The strawberries would be even more delicious if I waited till they were fully ripe before I picked them, but (a) I’m impatient and (b) the snails would get to them. I don’t use slug pellets but I have developed quite a good overarm throw, which usually ensures that the offending molluscs land in the alleyway between our back fence and the courtyard of the block of flats that backs onto us. If only there weren’t so many of the bloody things. The snails are why I have to put our runner beans in the front garden – there are so many snails in the back that the beans would have no chance of survival there. Even more robust plants, like spring onions and chives, end up covered with trails of slime.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - June 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

Categories: crops, slugs & snails   Tags: , ,

Can you grow globe artichokes in containers?


As you can see from the picture, the answer to the question is “yes”, but perhaps a more pertinent question is “Is it actually worth growing globe artichokes in containers?” Given that after three years of gradually potting up this particular specimen (it now lives in a pot that’s 14 inches across), it’s managed to produce ONE artichoke, then I’d have to say the answer is “no”. It does look nice though. And we will be eating the artichoke with due ceremony when it grows to full size. On a more prolific note, we do have some nice strawberries coming along – we should end up harvesting enough to fill a half pound punnet… just not all at once LOL.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by EmpressFelicity - May 17, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Categories: crops   Tags: ,

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