Category Archives: Growing your own

Leggy runner beans and Japanese mince

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASomeday soon I’m going to have to start paying for fruit and vegetables again, but right now my dad seems to have an infinite supply of very long runner beans and I am happy to be a beneficiary.

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Don’t mind being a gooseberry crumble

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve come into some gooseberries. You rarely see these hairy little fruits in the shops and if you do they come in piddly plastic tubs so it’s worth either having a bush yourself or making friends with someone who does. They’ve a short season which is coming to its end so when I heard my husband’s colleague had some going spare, I declared an interest and was rewarded with a carrier bag full of them. Continue reading

Green fingers 2: Cruise Control

The tomato plants are sprouting up. The cat is obviously not a fan. No tomatoes yet though, although there are a lot of flowers. In all my years growing tomatoes (oh so many years) I have left them to do their own thing. However, I have recently learnt that tomato plants require a bit of help on the pollination front, they’re “perfect” flowers so have both stamen and stigma (male and female bits) and you need the pollen from one to fall on the other. Bees should do this for you but just in case you can give them a hand. The easiest way to do this is to shake the flowers (there are YouTube videos aplenty). So every night now I go out and give them a bit of a wiggle. I’m sure the upstairs neighbours think I’m mad, sitting in front of my plants, wobbling them and having a quiet word with any caterpillars who dare to come close but fingers crossed it’ll all be worth it.

Green fingers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese are the beginnings of what will hopefully be a bumper tomato crop. We’ve had previous success out on our balcony over the years but last summer was a low point, we barely got enought for a salad. These lot have been hardened up out on the windowsill and planted out now the frost has passed (?). There’s a couple of varieties to increase their chances, Tumbling Toms which go quite bushy, and another,  Alicante, which will need stakes. Continue reading