On The Plot

Top raised bed Wm


 The raised beds look so much better this year. Positively productive.

Amazing what a bit of good weather can do.


 Bottom raised bed Wm


 Brassicas growing happily in their cage.

Not a single caterpillar to be found.


 Broccoli Wm


 Calabrese ‘Belstar’

It won’t be long until we are harvesting these.


 Lettuces etc Wm


 Colour in the salad bed.

I’ll try sowing more in the gaps when the temperature drops a bit.


 Potato flower Wm


 Potato Sarpo ‘Axona’

As it turned out, I could probably have got away without resorting to blight resistant potatoes..


 Tomato 003 Wm


 Tomato ‘Suncherry’

..but a late decision to grow some tomatoes outside has paid off.


 Cucumber 002 Wm


 Cucumber ‘Zeina’

The best year yet for cucumbers in the greenhouse.

Only Mike eats them. He can’t keep up.


Jumble of peas Wm


 Mangetout ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’

We’ve had a glut of mange tout. They are almost over now, but I wish I could find a way to keep them properly supported. However I have grown them, peas sticks included, the result is just a mess. And it’s difficult to pick. Anyone found a better solution?


Bolted spinach Wm


Spinach ‘Fiorano’

Who knew spinach could be over a metre high?

I think they may have bolted!


2017-12-01T17:26:35+00:00July 18th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. elaine July 18, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    It’s amazing what a lot of sunshine can do isn’t it – I can’t believe you have outdoor tomatoes ripening already. I think you’re right about the spinach bolting – I would cut it right back – it should carry on producing leaves right till next spring.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 7:30 pm - Reply

      Great tip, thanks Elaine. Will do.
      We are eating (or Mike is) tomatoes from the greenhouse too. Big improvement on last year!

  2. rachel July 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm - Reply

    The best I can offer for the peas is something I did on the allotment – not pretty, but effective: Stake out (I used bamboo canes) a length of ordinary chicken wire. The peas loved it, and I could pick from either side.

    Spinach bolts if you blink.

    Your cages and raised beds are beautiful!

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

      Fantastic idea Rachel! It has to be prettier than the current shambles..

      • Em July 19, 2013 at 11:42 am - Reply

        We used a chicken wire fence a few years ago too and it was fantastic. None this year but our runner beans are just amazing. What a change from last year’s disaster!

        • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 12:49 pm - Reply

          Isn’t it just. So glad we put in the irrigation system though, its saving me hours.

  3. Jill Chandler July 18, 2013 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    Does spinach freeze? Must be a way to use what you chop down, I know! Spinach soup freeze it, delicious.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      It does freeze, leaves straight from the plant too. Just need to find some space in our tiny freezer!

  4. Denise July 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    V. impressive! Especially the broccoli! You’re right – a bit of sunshine makes all the difference.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      I don’t think I’ve ever had as good a veggie growing year.. and after such a slow start too. Everything really does catch up doesn’t it.

  5. haggiz July 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    Fantastic, mine is more lost the plot than on the plot… something to aim for next year! Julie x

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 7:47 pm - Reply

      That’s the great thing about gardening, every year it starts over again.

  6. Denise July 18, 2013 at 5:05 pm - Reply

    This time next year! I too LOVE cucumbers – I ADORE them and nothing tastes like home grown! (Do you have my address lol!) Dxx

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      Mike even has cucumber in his gin. What’s wrong with lemon?

  7. frayed at the edge July 18, 2013 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    It all looks delicious (apart from the tomatoes!) perhaps you could make cucumber relish …… and of course raita if you are having a curry.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 9:38 pm - Reply

      Another tomato hater? They are all Mike’s too.. Love growing, don’t enjoy eating.

  8. countrysidetales July 18, 2013 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    It looks glorious, and soooo professional. Our mange tout always look like drunks rambling through a park too. You could freeze the spinach chopped up then put it in fish pies etc where it doesn’t need to look pretty.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 9:47 pm - Reply

      I will be freezing some spinach for sure.
      I reckon the nematodes worked this time too. Maybe now there are few slugs about, but back in the wet spring there were plenty, except in the veg beds. Go in heavy in March, and then again in May, with the large size pack!

  9. Crafty Gardener July 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm - Reply

    Looks like an amazing, tasty harvest ahead for you and family.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      So far so good, but the unpredictable nature of British weather could change everything yet!

  10. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA July 18, 2013 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Positively yummy! Sun does make big difference. I love your cage to keep the moths and critters out.
    As a previous commenter mentioned chicken wire works well for peas. I have also used those expandable bamboo fences. It’s like an accordion. I am envious of your crop! Here it was So wet for so long, a bit chilly that either mildew or slugs finished off what was left of the stinted seedlings. I do have huge tomato plants now that the sun is out and it is 90+ degrees F. Everywhere I had a vacany my husband planted tomatoes. I think there are 30 plants now. So while you enjoy your peas, broccoli, and put up some for winter, we will have salsa, sauce, tomato gratin, tomato soup and so on.
    Is that cotinus behind your corn in the photo? Lovely how it reflects the light.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 9:59 pm - Reply

      It’s a purple leaved beech. Yet another tree in the wrong place and too big to move. I do like it though, maybe I can come around to loving it where it is!

  11. wherefivevalleysmeet July 18, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    There is something extremely satisfying about eating your own produce – grown, nourished and picked by your own fair hands. It also tastes so much better.
    My father used to grow his peas on twigs with lots of little branches on them. The peas would then use the branches to twist their little tendrils around.
    I do love your raised beds with their wonderful netting cages.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      This evening I went out and dug up the potatoes that we had for dinner. That was a pleasure in itself, on a lovely warm evening, but on top of that they tasted so good!
      Perhaps that’s why I have failed with pea sticks – not enough branches.

  12. Jo July 18, 2013 at 6:56 pm - Reply

    It’s all looking great. I can’t believe your tomatoes are ripening already, mine are still just setting. I’m not surprised you haven’t noticed any caterpillars this year, butterflies seem in short supply, though I’ve seen a few cabbage whites about over the last couple of days so beware.

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      I remember you saying I should hold fire when I thought my outside tomatoes were going to fail.. you were right. They are less productive than the greenhouse plants, but seem to be ripening faster.

  13. Vera July 18, 2013 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Your veggies look top notch. Ours are looking ‘bottom notch’ in comparison! From months of being soaked, we had a couple of weeks of reasonable weather, now we are having an extended heat wave, so it’s a wonder that we have any veg growing at all!

    • Jessica July 18, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      At the end of the day it’s all down to the vagaries of the weather, whatever we do. Last year between the cold, the rain and the slugs we had virtually no produce at all.

  14. woolythymes July 19, 2013 at 7:43 am - Reply

    pretty enough….to eat!!! (or gobble!!) yum! beautiful raised beds

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

      The veggies are growing fairly close to the house, so it’s important to me that the raised beds are pretty!

  15. domesticali July 19, 2013 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Such a testament to your gardening hard work – beautiful and delicious always strikes me as the best combination!

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      A reduced number of slug holes counts for a lot!

  16. Pats. July 19, 2013 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Nothing tastes like home grown, does it. Rosette for effort awarded here I think! If your spinach has flowered it won’t regrow from the base so cut it quick!
    Well we are about to give the combine a twirl today and see how it goes….a very early start to harvest this year….golly it’s going to be a hot one today!


    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 12:42 pm - Reply

      I’ll go out and do it now… thanks.
      Good luck with the harvesting, hot work indeed.

  17. Anny July 19, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    The extremely flakey nature of both my and the Other Half’s gardening commitment, makes this a dangerous post – delicious enough to get us both excited, but not showing all the hard work that went into getting it like that! I better not show him or he’ll pester again…

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 12:47 pm - Reply

      If it hadn’t been for Mike building the raised beds I’d have thrown in the towel last year. There’s a certain level of expectation now..

  18. Anne @GtSlamseysFarm July 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    I’ve just caught up with weeks worth of your beautiful posts – I thought you’d deserted but it was just that the feed had stopped working to my Reader. I’ve given up supporting peas and just let them run riot. Our tomatoes are nowhere near ripe.

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 12:56 pm - Reply

      I’m amazed our tomatoes are ripening so early, especially the outdoor ones.
      The spammed comment problem is spreading and becoming a real pain. I’ve reported it to Askimet but they don’t seem overly active in getting it sorted, unless they are overwhelmed behind the scenes.

  19. Rosie July 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm - Reply

    Your produce is all looking very healthy. We have just started to get some larger tomatoes from the greenhouse this week and the potatoes are looking ok too. Much better than last year:)

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 11:42 pm - Reply

      So much better. Last year the tomatoes were not even close, and I’d lost all the potatoes to blight.

  20. Simone July 19, 2013 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    You have a very productive plot! No mention of pests? Have they all gone or do you think they are waiting in the wings?!!!

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 11:49 pm - Reply

      When I went to pick the last of the redcurrants today I had to evict the blackbird AND a squirrel from the fruit cage. Grrrr!

  21. CherryPie July 19, 2013 at 5:36 pm - Reply

    It is all looking very tasty.

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 11:51 pm - Reply

      I hope it will be. The shopping bills are starting to go down at least.

  22. snowbird July 19, 2013 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Wow….everything has taken off hasn’t it, and it all looks amazing.
    I’m not fond of cucumbers either but I do love growing them. I wish my toms would ripen…then I can bake them with basil and garlic……mmmmm

    My peas are always a mess too and hard to pick, but really lovely this year.xxxx

    • Jessica July 19, 2013 at 11:54 pm - Reply

      Tomatoes and cucumbers are about the only things I hate to eat.. although I love growing them. And cabbage. It must be a school dinner thing!

  23. Wendy July 19, 2013 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    It’s all looking terrific. My spinach has bolted, too and wasn’t doing that well anyway, for some reason. Lovely to see your salad crops doing well, mine are still a little way off being ready to eat. After last year’s wet, this year the problem is dry, baked ground here. I’m not going to complain about the heat, but it wasn’t easy digging up the potatoes this evening!

    • Jessica July 20, 2013 at 12:00 am - Reply

      I’ve cut the spinach back this evening, so hopefully it will regrow. I think it’s been even drier your side of the country. We had rain on the forecast yesterday and I sat and watched the black clouds roll over, but not a drop.

  24. Annie @ knitsofacto July 20, 2013 at 12:20 am - Reply

    If Mike has cucumber to spare perhaps the mice would like some? Or the squirrels. 😉

    • Jessica July 20, 2013 at 9:27 am - Reply

      There is a new squirrel on the block this morning. It has yet to learn how to deal with the nut feeder twirler and is walking around looking very confused.

  25. Bilbowaggins July 20, 2013 at 8:24 am - Reply

    Waves of unladylike (mild) envy emanating from the north west :} Your raised beds and their crops look quite outstanding, well done! Next year, when we get our raised beds constructed, I will need to pick your brain and directly copy the brassica cage, it looks brilliant.

    Another pea support option (if you can get hold of it, try the local scrap merchant) are bits of rebar mesh sheet. Two pieces held together at the top with cable ties makes a very sturdy “A frame” which can be moved around as necessary.

    Sorry have been AWOL from commenting, think my brain melted :}

    (PS: spinach which has bolted can get very bitter, try some before you waste valuable freezer space)

    • Jessica July 20, 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

      Another brilliant idea for pea support, thank you.
      I’d recommend the brassica cage wholeheartedly. You can buy it as a kit, but we bought the individual components separately and then constructed it to the exact dimensions of the raised beds. Next year we can just move it down a bed along with the brassicas. You’ll notice that the bed to move it down to is still a figment of my imagination..

  26. Holidays July 20, 2013 at 11:42 pm - Reply

    We grow cucumbers too and struggle to keep up even though we both like them. I have a fabulous recipe for pickled cucumber and another for cucumber and courgette soup. Both of these are favourites with my cucumber hating grandson who could evict a piece from his salad blindfold! Isn’t it fabulous to see everything so productive? Your raised beds look great.

    • Jessica July 21, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

      Thanks Elizabeth, it’s certainly a much better year than last..
      Luckily it’s salad weather for a little bit longer too!

  27. Sarah July 21, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Your garden looks so productive and the spin anch looks massive. i hope you have a good break.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica July 21, 2013 at 11:01 pm - Reply

      I’ve cut the spinach back, hoping it will regrow! The bed looks a bit tidier now.. Thanks Sarah.

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