Sunday, 1 June 2014

Squash corner

I've been away for most of the week and everything has turned really lush in my absence. Jim's been a stalwart digger and we've now planted out the last of the squash family: 10 butternuts, 1 hokkaido, 2 more pumpkins and courgettes and 4 cucumbers. I've decided to keep half of the cucumbers in the conservatory, but see how the plants do outside. Apparently they only grow between 18C and 32C.

Squash corner: butternuts, hokkaido and cucumbers
This week was quite exciting because we had our first home-grown courgette (Nimba really is an early variety!) and our first cucumbers. Unfortunately a few of the pumpkins and courgettes have rotted on the plant so I plan to put bricks under the remaining fruit this afternoon.

Bedfordshire Prize cucumber
Bedfordshire Prize cucumber
The tendrils of the cucumber had gripped onto the bamboo cane so much that I just left it on.  This cucumber variety is a ridge one, with small knobbly fruit, and it does need to have its male flowers for pollination.

The red cabbage has just shot up
The cabbages are doing really well without much attention. Friends have brought me a sauerkraut crockpot from Germany and I'm looking forward to pickling all kinds of cabbage in it and maybe also some cucumbers.

Pretty broadbean flowers, very popular with the bumblebees
Every so often, you get given some amazing gifts for your garden and this week I was given a quince tree! Since I grew up with three of them in my gran's garden and there is a family tradition of processing the fruit, I really wanted one, even though Scotland is probably a bit marginal in its growing range. The tree is still tiny, but I've put it in a very sheltered spot behind the compost bins so I have high hopes.

A gift of quince
As regards the fruit, the apples are doing well. I discovered two further apple trees in the 'chicken forest'; they look like they are about 10 years old but only had one set of blossom. Apparently they were grown from pips and this is the first year they've fruited. Let's hope the fruit is edible as it will be a cross between the original tree and whatever other tree pollinated it (hopefully not a crap apple).

The Victoria plum has one fruit on it so we'll get a little taster this year. The summer raspberries (Leo and Glen Magna) are looking terrible, yellow and brown leaves, wind scorch etc., but the autumn varieties (Fall Gold, All Gold and Autumn Bliss) are looking superb. Maybe we should only grow autumn varieties here.

The blueberries have doubled in size and the strawberries look like we'll get some fruit this year. We found quite a few small strawberries in one of the veg beds so I've put them in with the Symphonies and yesterday I got given some more early-fruiting strawbs so the bed is filling up. We also have some Albions, a perpetual variety, in another spot.

Strawberry circle
Strawberry circle
Being away means that I have some serious weeding to catch up on. Here we go!


  1. hensandbeansdancing5 June 2014 at 10:35

    A Quince Tree, what a wonderful gift! wow, impossible to find here and when you do ... super expensive. I am still tring to locate one as I love Quince jelly and also trying to get a Kaki Tree, just wonderfully yummy. Your plot looks organised and inviting!

  2. fettlersonland5 June 2014 at 10:54

    Yes, I love quince jelly and compote, too. I would have bought a quince tree from Scots Plant Direct in the autumn otherwise. They do a bareroot quince for a tenner, but of course at the moment they only have potted fruit trees: Could be worth checking if they deliver to France. I'm humming and hawing over whether to try a kiwi or even a fig, but it's a a bit marginal and I should probably stick with apples, pears, plums and cherries. You must have figs?