Friday, 1 July 2011

Potatoes, Pudding and the Poundshop Cutting Garden

I love this time of year.  Everything is hectic, there aren’t enough hours in the day, despite the longer nights, and the garden just gives back in the way only a garden can.  It seems as though every plant I have is growing in a similar ilk to a GM triffid fed on a diet or raw steak and anabolic steroids and I’m harvesting flowers, vegetables, fruits and weeds on a pleasingly regular basis but slightly less so with regards to the latter.  

The chickens have benefited from the increased tendency for plants to bolt and they’ve happily munched on Spinach, Chard and Rocket that have all switched in to flower production, along with the never-ending mass of Comfrey leaves, which are always a firm favourite.  Together with my tortoise and rabbit, they’ve helped to hoover up all the weeds I pull and I now find myself actively encouraging their growth as the carotenoids in these plants, coupled with the rest of the greens they get, help to produce beautifully deep orange egg yolks.
In the vegetable garden things are going great guns and the raised beds, masses of organic matter and homemade liquid feed have all added to the increased vigour and overall health of my plants – I think.  I’m still amazed at the entire lack of blackfly and aphids though.  Has anyone else encountered this?  I think that the marestail in the liquid feed may have helped with this but the likelihood is that the hard winter had more of a bearing on their decline.   Sadly, this may also be true of Ladybirds as their presence was a massive highlight last year but is lacking right now.  

The potatoes are yet to succumb to blight and my first harvest of ‘Home Guard’ (pictured above) was fantastic.  The good people at Victoriana Nursery Gardens deserve a big thank you here as the seed potatoes they sent out were top notch and I’m really looking forward to harvesting ‘Pink Fir Apple’ and ‘International Kidney’ from them along with ‘Desiree’ and ‘Maris Peer’ which were another Pound Shop buy.  Gooseberries and Blackcurrants have also been a highlight and are waiting to be turned into pudding over the coming weekend.
The pound shop cutting garden has also been a great success and has surpassed my wildest expectations.  Not only have the plants grown, the semi-desicated roots didn’t look too promising, but they’re actually thriving and producing new flowers on a daily basis.   I’ve cut a few bunches now and they really do look great and last well.  The stars of the show right now are the Dahlias, a largely pink affair, they’ve really come to be something that I actually love and that’s not something I ever expected to say.  I just can’t wait for the Gladioli and Sweet Peas to flower now.

In other news please see the competition page for a chance to win a garden bench and £100 worth of gift vouchers and don’t forget to vote for your favourite garden images on the Ryan’s Garden Facebook page.  

Also, check out the Garden Hero blog and find inspiration in Simon's medal winning efforts at BBC Gardener's World Live.


  1. Dahlias, Gladioli, Sweet Peas!- You will be wearing Dame Edna specs soon. Joke!
    Fab postive post!

  2. Our chickens were the beneficiaries of some bolted spinach this morning too! I don't know what I'd do without the girls to help clean up. I miss gooseberries. Americans just don't seem to know what they are, and I almost never see them here. I remember we had quite a few in the garden in England, and strawberry and gooseberry pie was popular in our kitchen. I miss blackcurrants so much too that I finally hunted down a plant, but it's the first year in the ground, and last I saw it had less than a half dozen fruits. Hopefully more next year though. Potatoes though, I've got covered. Yours look great, and I've never met a spud I didn't like!

  3. As for the aphid/blackfly question - I think they're all in our garden, hiding under the leaves of the rhubarb and being farmed by the ants! We've suddenly gone from having lovely clean rhubarb leaves to their being like an asian sweatshop under there!

  4. Here in north west Irelan I also garden organically and have had no pests or diseases this year(touch wood) either. Really proves you don't need all those poisons that also cost a fortune.

  5. Ryan I'm with you on the dahlias. My father used to grow them years ago and I didn't much care for them, but now I LOVE them, can't believe I didn't before. Your flowers and veggies are doing well. I still have chicken envy !!!! Have a good week-end

  6. The Dahlias picture is gorgeous! Such pretty flowers - I like them and i'm not ashamed to say so! (juts chin out and grins) Glad to hear your garden is going from strength to strength.

  7. I haven't seen much in the way of blackfly either but had sort of assumed this is due to having planted out my broad beans and nasturtiums so late.
    There were literally hundreds, possibly thousands of ladybirds on my plot one day last week, but they had gone the next day. I checked elsewhere but didn't see any more than one or two on other plots on site.
    Love the borage!!


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