Peas, Tayberries & More

Our grandson helped pick some peas the other day. I think it was one for the basket and two got podded and eaten on the spot. Nothing beats a pea straight from a freshly picked pod.

We’re still not growing cucumbers fast enough for him, though. Left to him, he’ll eat half a dozen small ones one after another. Looking at what’s developing on the plants, we might outpace his appetite for them. Of course, no meal is complete without dessert and fresh picked strawberries and tayberries make a wonderful finish.

I truly believe the best thing we can do for the health of our children is to give them fresh, unprocessed food. I think all schools would do well to grow fruit and vegetables. Gardening and growing produces a huge amount of educational opportunities at all levels.

Biology and chemistry are obvious but maths is integral to growing. For example, ‘How many cabbages will fit in an area of X?’ I’m not an academic and I don’t have any experience of teaching children but those who do can come up with a lot more.

Of course, we’re all different and not all children will enjoy growing but many will. If they enjoy a topic then that has to be half the educational battle won. My grandson is home educated so his parents can allow him more freedom in his learning than a school which is necessarily constrained by formal curriculums and the pace of the class. He’s fascinated by ancient Greece and its mythology. Don’t ask him about Greek gods if you haven’t an hour to spare!

When and if he gets interested in growing as well as eating the produce, we can teach him. Even if he doesn’t develop the growing bug, he’ll always know where his food comes from. Sadly, very sadly, too many children (and adults) don’t have a clue.

Cactus Flower

Cactus Flower

One day only – but what a day!

A cactus in the porch has produced a flower. They’re always spectacular but sadly so short lived. By the second day they’re well past their best and basically gone on the third.

In some ways cacti and succulents are the easiest house plants to grow, they put up with neglect and soldier on. Worse than neglect and not watering is over-watering. Usually they get a drench once a month in summer and every six weeks for the rest of the year.

In the spring and summer I feed them as I water with 2.5ml of S-Chelate 12-Star per litre which they really love. Since I started using 12-Star on the houseplants they all look healthier and they seem to flower more often.

Gooseberry Sawfly

It’s not all rosy in the garden, the gooseberry sawflies have been having a field day on my jostaberries. I’ve sprayed them a couple of times which was effective for while but then another wave hit. The bushes may have lost 70% of their leaves but happily the berries are looking good.

The sawfly even hit the redcurrants so from what looked like a bumper crop to hardly enough for a pot of jam. Oh well, them’s the breaks.

Tayberries

Tayberries

The tayberries just keep on coming.

The tayberries have been in for years and not produced much but this year they’ve excelled. Only problem is they only keep after picking for a matter of hours. Popped in the fridge overnight and some will be going furry by the morning. So some straight to a jelly, others to the freezer for jamming later.

Calabrese

Nice crop from the brassica tunnel. Decent heads which are great fresh and nearly as good frozen. The leaves were converted to eggs by the chickens. One of my favourite brassicas; faster than cauliflower and just as tasty.

Greenhouse Crops

The tomatoes are really starting now, we’ve had a few Sungold and Black Opal so far but there are masses on the plants that are not far off. Loads of cucumbers swelling, peppers galore that aren’t far off either. We had a large aubergine the other day which was a nice surprise. I hadn’t spotted it tucked under a cucumber leaf!

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary

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