Self Sufficiency Update – July

Blimey it’s gone from the quiet life to full buzz in my garden within the last month.

You have to have eyes in the back of your head just to keep every thing in check.  Not that I’m complaining, in fact I love it!  The back garden has finally become the self-sufficiency/Kitchen garden haven I had been dreaming of for so many yrs.

I’ve included a few photo’s in this post but for more on how the plants are growing month on month, please visit my photo album, over here.

July’s Update

Raised Beds


Since flowering the mange tout have gone into pod over-drive.  In fact I’ve got a glut of them now.  It’s great to wander about in the garden and just pick a pod off to nibble on if I fancy.  I can’t remember (and wished I’d noted somewhere) how many plants I’d put into the ground.  I think it was 12 (but not totally sure).  I’m weighing the peas as they come into be eaten though.  So far we’ve had about 250g (not inc the ones I’ve snaffled) and plenty more to go.

Every time I think the onions are ready to be pulled they keep growing!  The bolting has stopped (thank goodness).  The tops are just beginning to flop so not long now.

The garlic is slightly more worrying – the tops are already beginning to die back and yet I can’t see one bulb above the soil level, and even when I try to push the soil away from the base of the plants still nothing so I’m fearing the worst on these.


About five beetroot’s are ready to be eaten.  The potatoes look like triffids they are that big.  It’s the first time I’ve grown them in these beds so quite excited to see how they turn out.  As they are only flowering I don’t think I’ll be pulling them out until next month.

The cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli both ‘look’ very healthy.  The fleece is so far managing to now keep the creepies away although I do have to keep a very close eye on them since the last invasion.  I think my plant to spacing ratio is a little off with these and the’re all fighting for what little space is left.  Must be more careful next yr.

Grow House


More triffids appear to be residing in my grow house in the form of tomato plants.  They have all now reached the roof of the house and show no signs of stopping.  I’ve never seen such tall tomato plants before and can only think this is the perfect home for them, and they like the seaweed liquid fertilizer.  I am a little concerned that greenfly has started to invade the house but I’m spraying and rubbing out as many as I can (when I see them).

I potted up the last of my chillies plants a week ago and they are now residing in their along with an aubergine which was too healthy not to pot on so that’s in there too.  It’s no longer a ‘walk-in’ grow house!


Chillies are all doing well in their little grow house.  Both the blueberry plants and the blackcurrant plant have fruited well.  I’ve eaten one handful of blueberries and I reckon there’s another two at least – if I can keep the blackbird off long enough who seems to think it’s his personal snack bar.  I had no idea what to do with the blackcurrants.  There wasn’t enough to make jam or juice from them (it’s only a yr old), so my Twitter pals came to my aid and suggested muffins.

I won’t be winning any muffin competitions any time soon, especially when I misread the basic instructions and added a table spoon rather than a teaspoon of salt in the recipe but they taste great and I’ve used up the berries.


Both the plum and apple trees are shooting more growth now.  The espalier materials have been bought and I’m hoping to get these ready and constructed this week.

Other areas


I fear the raspberry canes are on a road to no-where.  All ten canes are showing signs of yellowing leaves turning to brown and finally falling off.  One cane is now completely leafless and show no further growth.  I did some research on this and it’s either a soil disease or root root.  Neither of which are going to help the poor canes.

I’m a little confused by the potential issues on the canes though.  For one thing if it was a disease how the hell could it travel so far and wide?  I have four canes in one area, four in another, and two in a pot and all 10 are effected?  I’m wondering now if it isn’t the stock itself.

I dug the most effected cane up to look at it’s roots and growth is definitely and issues.  Clearly the soil isn’t suitable which is my fault.  It’s heavily compacted clay soil which needed much greater lime and manure adding.  I didn’t prepare it well enough so lesson learn there.  I dug another cane up and this had far more roots on it but again it’s not stopping the yellowing leaves.

One cane has actually fruited so at least if nothing else I’ve received four raspberries for my troubles (bah!).

Front Garden


Greenfly attacked the hazelnut filberts so I thought the horticultural soap solution would work, it did but perhaps too well as all the leaves I sprayed appear to be dying!  I’m not too worried as I haven’t done untold damage but more lessons learnt.

I take back my June’s rhubarb comment – there is stalks to be had this year because it’s growing so well but apparently I can only take three in the first yr.  Not sure if 3 will be good for anything but I’ll find out!

The cherry tree has recovered it’s growth from the dead top  it had earlier in the yr (frost and the fact it was planted brought that about), and is shooting well now.


So that’s what’s going on in my plot, what’s happening over in yours?  


19 responses to “Self Sufficiency Update – July

  1. Your garden looks wonderful! all that effort is sooo worth it isn’t it?
    I must update on my own gardens blog (bit neglected). Our soil is a major issue this year; bought a very bad batch of top soil, but as you said lessons learned.

    • Thank you very much, it certainly looks a lot different to what it did this time last yr. A lot of hard work and pure love and yes it’s very much worth it 🙂
      Ahh the top soil issue, yes bad news there – sorry to hear that. Have you tested it? Has it got to be removed altogether or can you add to it to make it more usable?

  2. Sophie try putting some honey round your raspberry’s roots before you replant them in possible a fruit and veg compost into the hole that you want them to grow in

  3. oooh I’m sooooo happy to see your lush and productive garden!! I’ll live vicariously through you until I’ve got mine up and running!

    • That’s great to hear, thank you 🙂
      I’m trying to plan the garden so it’s not completely empty come autumn once all the crops have finished. I’m working on it!

  4. I visited “home” last week, remembering those country roads where we used to pick wild blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, grapes. The elderberries were blooming too. I’m sad to think the farmers spray too much on the crops these days for the wild roadside berries to be edible. Seeing your cultivated berries made me wish for my old haunts.

    • That’s a very interesting point. Yes picking and eating wild blackberries is/was a favourite of mine too however never really thought about the pesticide issue but certainly farmers around here will be spraying lots. Although these wild fruits do turn up in the strangest of places so perhaps we just have to look harder for the edible berries 🙂

    • It certainly is, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to keep up but actually the plants are really doing all the hard work at the moment – I’m just the quiet guardian keeping a check on the pests 😉

  5. Sophie, you have an amazing way with the plants I can see why they grow so well for you. We’re experiencing a heat wave so all my energy is going into keeping my babies alive, and snatching an occasional tomatoe of course.

    • Thanks Lissa, I try my best – it doesn’t always work but you just got to keep having a go. This very hot and humid weather certainly isn’t helping the plants at the moment. Twice a day watering doesn’t seem to be out of the question this week!

  6. The best lessons learnt are from our mistakes. We had the worst greenfly invasion ever this year but the fruit’s been amazing. Your garden’s looking fabulous.

    • That’s very kind of you, I’m working hard on the garden and it seems to be responding which is always nice. I know what you mean about greenfly although I think the weather changed here before it got out of control which is just as well because I haven’t seen one ladybird this yr, at all! Thanks for stopping by the blog 🙂

  7. Pingback: The Forget-me-Not’s 1st Anniversary and the 100th Post | The Forget-me-Not Cultivation Blog·

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