Self Sufficiency Update – August

As July headed into August we’ve had a lot of sunny days and warm humid evenings.  It really has been a good summer this yr in Grimsby and plenty of going’s on in the garden.

August’s Update

Raised Beds

It’s been really nice to be able to harvest the crops.  The mange touts were cleared away and the runner beans have been enjoyed in the kitchen.  I pulled the onions up and realised quite quickly I probably did it too early as the tops hadn’t died down properly.  I have left the garlic in longer though because the bulbs are so small!  I can’t believe I have this issue every year so I’m going to keep them in the ground as long as I can.  I also thought that all the garlic was bolting, turns out it they are actually garlic scapes and are something of a delicacy – just a shame I threw them away!

I’ve harvested one savoy cabbage which we thoroughly enjoyed last Sunday with out roast dinner and I’ve also managed to have a couple of meals from the beetroot and potatoes from the beds.

It’s been a constant battle these last three weeks getting rid of all the white butterfly eggs.  It’s not unusual to see between 30-45 sets a days at the moment.  I feel pretty awful killing all these little insects and I do try and disperse of the eggs more than squish them, but this then means I’m having to remove caterpillars later on in the week!  Next yr I shall have a bed for tall brassicas and fat brassicas, that way I’ll be able to adequately protect the plants better.

This year instead of harvesting everything at once I am holding back and only taking what we need when we need it, in the hopes the produce lasts longer outside, in the ground than in the house.

Any space in the beds has been replaced by sowing salad crops.  Spring onions, carrots, radishes and lettuce are all now starting to germinate in their respective beds.

Grow House

Packed to the rafters, quite literally still, with tomato plants.  Also the aubergine plant has flowered twice now so hoping for good things there although it might be cutting it slightly late if we get any frosts early.  As I write this the tomatoes are only now just turning colour, it’s taken ages!  The chilli plants are also doing well.

I’ve sown the next batch of seeds for autumn/winter planting which consist of cabbages, coriander (because I’m having real trouble getting enough to dry), and swede.

Patio

Strangely the other blueberry plant I have in the same pot as the patriot that fruited so well is really struggling this year.  I don’t know the other plants variety but the fruit is not only small but is only now just ripening so suspect it might not be suitable for a garden this far north.  Especially as both the plants are only two yrs old.

Fence

The boss and I had an argument discussion over the best course of action with regard to setting up the fruit tree espalier support system.  I have been on and on about getting this done for months.  I researched it all, bought the stakes, bought the galvanized wire and bought the fencing wire strainers.  All was going well until the boss quite rightly pointed out we couldn’t use the wire strainers because we wouldn’t be able to tighten them from next doors garden.

So then I thought well what if we used the strainers this side of the fence, through the stakes, horizontal to the fence.  Nope, the boss wasn’t having that.  The boss had other ideas using the stakes but this time using thick hook and eye screws set into the stakes.  Well of course I knew this wouldn’t work.  After much huffing and puffing the wire isn’t all the tight and one of the hook eyes is now bent!  Of course it’s my fault for ‘choosing such soft wood for the stakes’.

For the time being then the support system stays as is (because I haven’t worked out a better solution yet but I will!), and I need to start training the first set of apple and plum stems against the wall.

Other areas

The raspberry canes are starting to shoot which I’m really pleased about.  Some are doing much better than others, particularly the spare canes in the pots which just gives me more evidence that the ground in which the rest of the canes are growing is just not suitable enough.

Front Garden

Since my last post a new raised bed is now in place and ready to go in the front garden.  One left to do but that will take a bit longer because I need to clear away yet another shrub!

The cherry tree is doing well and while the hazelnut filberts appear to have one or two rather strange looking (yet very pretty) caterpillars on them they are still growing well.  The rhubarb I planted this yr is just starting to die down so hoping to get a good crop next yr.

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12 responses to “Self Sufficiency Update – August

  1. Your garden is looking ever so tidy and very productive. It’ll be interesting to see how you get on with your Winter garden – I have some cabbages and cauliflowers just through in the greenhouse for home and school but I’ve never tried to grow over winter before so not quite sure how I’ll get on :)

    • I don’t know about tidy but it’s certainly productive and sounds like you’re gardens have as well.
      Yup winter is going to be a real challenge for me too. It all depends on what weather we have in the next few months. If in doubt grow spinach beat! I grew this a few yrs ago and it kept me going from Aug until end of Nov if I remember rightly – amazing stuff and doesn’t take up much space.
      I don’t think I’ve got my cabbage plants times quite right for late harvests this yr but it’s all a learning experience :-)
      Let me know how you get on at home/school.

    • That sounds really good. May I ask what it’s espaliered against? Wall etc? I’m curious to know just to see how other people have constructed theirs. How many years did it take to fruit? I’m guessing about four or five? Worth the wait though I reckon :-)

      • We have two wooden stakes either side withe 3 wires going between them. Ours was £50 and was about 6 foot tall with two long tiers in either direction (therefore 6 foot wide). we trained in to of the top branches to make a shorter third tier. We got 6 apples that made it to maturity last year (the year we bought it). This year 19 have made it to maturity, although we are finding a few holes from wasps nibbling them.

      • That sounds really good. I’m starting from a two year old, untrained tree so I think it’ll definitely be a while before we get any fruit! The stakes and wires are what I was/am hoping to get sorted. I shall have another go at this!

    • Yeah, I was worried that it was all growing and no harvesting at one stage but it’s turned on it’s head now which is very nice. I think the variety will take some working on for next yr. It’s rather a fine art to get things growing at the right time of year. Winter is going to be a real challenge!

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