raspberryfool: (Gardening)
[personal profile] raspberryfool
Summer has come at last and I'm beginning to feel as though all my hard(ish) gardening work is paying off. I've begun harvesting Golden Sweet mangetout pods since late May. Golden Sweet is a very beautiful variety of manegetout pea. Its tall plants produce bi-colour purple flowers the turn slowly blue as they mature. These are followed by pale yellow pods, which gradually fill with tender, sweet green peas making it a dual-purpose variety. Everyone I've shown them to loves them and it's not difficult to see why.

My other mangetout pea variety produces huge, green, flat pods which are also sweet and tender. The pods are usually an inch wide and 5 to 6 inches long. They're the tallest pea plants I've ever seen; some are now at least 7 feet tall.... and still gowing! It's a very rare Victorian heritage variety called... Bijou! both varieties came from the Real Seeds Collection. They also—like Golden Sweet—have magenta splodges in the leaf axils and on the vines, meaning both varieties are capable of producing anthocyanin. I'm planning to try crossing these varieties to see whether I can make a yellow-podded version of Bijou—now that would be really special!

Mangetout peas in my garden

Golden Sweet

Golden Sweet

Meanwhile in the WendyHaus, my tomato plants are mostly growing well, and a few have already formed marble-sized fruits. I say "most" because a few days ago I noticed something had damaged the stems. There were brown grooves running down the stem of a Jen's Tangerine plants which at first I assumed was caused by something breaking off the leaves and splitting them. Then I looked closer and saw that one plant was entirely dead at the bottom and when I squeezed it the stem was entirely hollow. Further investigation revealed piles of fine soil at the bases of the plants which were caused by... ants! The little mini-bastards had colonised the soil and had presumably been hollowing out my plants to farm aphids.

I rescued and re-potted two plants and uprooted three more, then dug out the ants' nest and removed them and their eggs to another part of the garden. Those eggs remaining in the WendyHaus were squashed. I'm usually tolerant of ants because they do have a function in the garden, but I'd rather they didn't kill my plants and fill the Wendyhaus with flying males. Luckily, I still have a few spare Jen's Tangerine plants indoors and a few days after cutting the stems of the hollowed-out ones and placing them in water, they've grown new roots. when I'm sure the ground is ant-free I'll replant them in the ground and be a little more vigilant in future!

I've invested in a 22-Gallon water butt, which I've set up to capture run-off from my flat roof. Since I installed it we've only been blessed with a short, sharp night-time shower.
Water butt