The long summer's done wonders for the garden though. I've been trying to grow food this year, and I'm really pleased with what I achieved on my first try! We've had a couple of crops going...
This tomato plant came from my housemates grandma, fully grown. It's provided us with a steady crop of baby tomatoes all summer long, and is still growing new ones even though we're in October! I've not bought a tomato since May, which is great because I love tomatoes, and these taste so much better than the ones from the supermarket. Now for the things we tried growing on our own...
I grew these from seed in a pot on the windowsill, then moved them outside when they were big enough to start crowding each other. One thing I did learn is that pepper seedlings don't like being moved. Some of them hated it so much that they actually started to wither, but eventually I coaxed them round.
This is about the size they grew to once outside and with their own pots. Really they want to be greenhouse plants, because they come from warmer climates, but we were lucky and had a good long summer, with lots of sun to help them along.
Because of the warm weather thing I knew I was going to get a late crop of smaller peppers, but by mid-August I was wondering if they were going to do anything at all! Then little white flowers and tiny pepper nubs began suddenly appearing!
The finished result. They are quite small - I can fit three in one hand, but they're great for chucking in salads to add a bit of zing. They seem to have a stronger flavour, which may just be the smaller size packing the taste in more densely.
The carrots were supposed to be easier to grow than the peppers, but I did make a few Learner Errors that nearly scuppered them! The main one was space. Our back garden in small and much of it was ravelled by the previous owners, so whatever I grew had to be grown in troughs and pots. I didn't expect so many of the carrots seeds to sprout, and so I didn't thin them as ruthlessly as I should have. That said, they grew pretty happily and I didn't have any problems with the infamous carrot fly I'd heard so much about!
If you don't leave enough space between root veg it restricts their growth, so what I ended up with was a lot of small, sweet carrots. The one below is an average specimen. They were great in salads and stir-fries though. I'll definitely given these another try next year, but invest in an extra tub so they can spread out a bit more!
Katie also rescued a tomato plant, which has grown huge in the sun at the back of the garden as has been trying to bury itself under it's own tomatoes! There are so many it regularly pulls itself off the wall and we have to tie it back on with string!
Personally I think a lot of our success is down to the Buddleia tree we have in the back garden. On a sunny day you can go outside and see at least 50 butterflies fluttering round it, after the pollen along with the bumblebees. I've seen Peacock butterflies, Painted Ladies, and Cabbage Whites, and as long as you're quiet they'll happily ignore you if you stand on a chair with your head up amongst them.
|Check out that curly proboscis!|