30 July 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - Delicious Food and Forgot to do my Rain Dance

Good evening,

Well the rain didn't materialise - not enough to fill an egg cup, the water butts are nearly empty and it doesn't look like we're going to get any soon which is fine for the holidaymakers on the beach but not for my vegetables although the outdoor squash, gherkins and courgettes are doing very well

Monday - sunny and a starting temperature of 15C 59F, rising to 19C 66F and breezy all day. I was working most of the day but had time to check the trusses on the outside tomatoes and trimmed and secured the plants bamboo canes. I picked the peas that were ready

tidied up the stems and secured them to the netting, picked more raspberries and fed the fish a few times. I intended to sow the swede and turnips but ran out of time. Another job I need to do is tidy up the area behind the pottering shed where the tumbler composter is

Tuesday - 16C 60F and sunny to start then clouded over. The next crop of peas have broken through

I planted out the fennel seedlings and picked veg that was ready - beetroot, spring onions, fennel and swiss chard
I had the fennel for dinner with the peas and carrots. Did some deadheading but still haven't sown the swede or turnip seeds. Fed the tomatoes, cues, chillies and peppers and potted up the next batch of cucumber plants. I put most of them in the greenhouse and a couple outside to see how they go. There was a courgette amongst them so I'm going to grow it in the greenhouse to see if it is more productive than those outside.

Wednesday - 16C 60F and dull, sunny in the afternoon and reached 18C 64F. Still windy. Rain was forecast today but it didn't appear so I had to water the veg beds and pots this evening. Picked more raspberries and also the first cherry tomatoes - soooo tasty.

Thursday - started sunny at 15C 59F and only reached 20C 68F in the afternoon. Very windy. We had a silly little shower for about10 minutes that needn't have bothered, to be honest, for all the good it did. I took down all the finished pea and sweet peas plants and tidied the ones that are left; filled the bird baths with water, turned the compost tumblers and fed the fish a few times (always hungry). In the greenhouse the cucumbers and tomatoes are heading for a reunion across the roof. I've put in canes support them

I pulled up more onions to dry and also a carrot for dinner - back to normal!
The pea seedlings have doubled in size in two days

Errmmm...still haven't got round to sowing the swede and turnips.

Friday - 16C 60F, dull and breezy, breezy, breezy. First thing fed the fish then opened the greenhouse - I swear the cucumbers are doubling in size every day. The runner beans are forming
I tidied up the tomatoes in the greenhouse, taking off the lower leaves. I planted out the pea seedlings and sowed more. I did the butterfly count today. The garden has been full of them most days this week and I thought 'I bet when I go out to count them they will all disappear like the birds did' but they didn't. Have to say it was really, really tough sitting there in the sunshine counting butterflies for an hour but someone has to do it!! It was great to just sit, and watch the garden. Need to watch Gardeners' World, prune the blackcurrant bush and sow the swede and turnips.

Saturday - 16C 60F cloudy then sunny then cloudy then sunny...you get my drift. Did reach 80F 27C in the greenhouse mid afternoon. The garden was full of sparrows and blackbirds flitting around early morning. I watched Gardeners' World yesterday evening and jobs to do are water courgettes regularly (tick) - the leaves get a white powdery coating if too dry - deadhead flowers and cut back herbs (sort of tick, needs more attention next week). I sowed more spring onions and kaleidoscope beetroot. The beetroot aren't doing too well this year, I think it may be lack of rain and my lack of watering - oops!

I pulled up more onions for drying

and picked more peas. And (drumroll)...finally...sowed swede 'best of all' and turnip 'snowball'...yay! I have also sowed some in pots just in case they don't take. I went online to submit my survey results for the butterfly count and found out that I should have only counted for 15 minutes not an hour! So, yet again, I had to sit out in the garden relaxing and got it right this time...tough life (saw great whites and red admirals). I emptied the two troughs containing the chantenay carrots which haven't done too well
but the few that did were very tasty with my dinner which I roasted with fennel
and potatoes from the garden - very healthy apart from the addition of the steak and kidney pie!
Sunday - chillier start at 13C 55F. The forecast was for unbroken sunshine but, like the rain, that didn't materialise, more of a cloudy with sunny spells day. I was working all day but fed the fish early and watered the greenhouse then prepared a salad lunch from the garden to take with me...so fresh and tasty.  Back home this evening I fed the fish that were already waiting expectantly, anyone would think they hadn't eaten for days - I think it's great they are becoming more trusting. I watched Countryfile and rain is forecast for most of tomorrow and into Tuesday. I wait with baited breath. Not going to say 'heard it all before' but...
Anyway, that's all for this week and I'll leave you with a pic of my dinner - pasta cooked in home grown, home made tomato, garlic, fennel and basil sauce. Dee...lish...us!!!
Have a great week in your gardens and catch up next Sunday.
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