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Sunday, 1 May 2011

April update

I know, I've got behind a bit with blogging, we've just been so busy!  One helpXer left to find her luck in Madagascar and the next one, Alex from Canada has arrived.  Alex has been busy helping us with the ongoing repairs to the terraces after the winter landslides, preparing beds for planting and watering the young plants everywhere.  Here just a quick pictorial record on how things are looking:, in no particular order:

Ronny, the rennette apple tree looks like giving us more than 1 apple for the first time

The corn is growing on one of the upper terraces:

On a separate plot a small experimental bed of special Greek corn, which is supposed to be particularly drought resistant.  I was given the seeds by Gaia's Hope from Greece.

The kale is holding its own above the encroaching weeds.

One of the repaired terraces, although narrower than before, now supports multi-coloured Swiss chard.

The new cold frame is stuffed full of lettuce including the delicious Mike's red lettuce and oakleaf lettuce as well as some raddishes and mooli.

The top of one of the new supporting tyre walls is now sprouting courgettes.

The old cold frame that had ended up on the edge of a cliff face after the landslides is now secure again and has some broccoli growing in it amongst other things.

Two tipis that will support Buenos Aires beans supplied to me by a dear gardening friend in France.  The are apparently prolific climbing beans producing flat, tender green beans.

My first try at scorzanera is showing this year inside a deep bottomless bucket.

Al the almond tree is promising his first yield this year, whilst Capone is still a little shy.

Stud the kiwi is brimming with flower buds, but unfortunately his harem is not following suit (he's called Stud because he's the male amongst the females.  Unfortunately he doesn't bear fruit, he's only there to pollinate the females,,,)

...and finally the sugar snap peas will soon be ready!  Hmmmmm!

On the minus side, we have a vastly reduced broad bean harvest this year with many of the plants buried under the landslides.  On the wild food front, it's elderflower time!  Making a new batch of elderflower champagne every few days and eating elderflower fritters.  The joys of spring!


Mr. H. said...

It looks like you have been very busy in the gardens. All your plants are looking really good and I love how you used the tires as pots for your courgetts. Do you grow strawberries, I have never heard you make mention of them before?

Heiko said...

Mr.H, we do indeed grow strawberries. We've had the first ones (about 3 in total) already. The main crop will be ripe in a week or two and then through until November.

Mr. H. said...

Sounds like you grow everbearing ones like we do...enjoy those berries.:)

becky3086 said...

Everything looks like it is growing great!

Anonymous said...

Good to see that everything is coming along well after the awful winter. I like the way you name all of your trees - do you also talk to them and play them music? I was watching the breakfast news recently and they think that music helps them to grow faster (something to do with the vibrations)! I was thinking of you last weekend because the gorse is flowering like crazy and I was reminded of your recipe for gorse wine.

Vegetable Garden Cook said...

Impressive! We have many similar plants. I understand you are supposed to thin clusters on your apple tree to just one fruit. I failed to do that on my trees last year, the fruit was tiny and didn't end up quite right.

GaiasHope said...

Welll Heiko...
I just realize that this year we will test this traditional grek corn in 4 different mediterranean areas.
Italy, France, North Greece and South Greece

It will be funny

Heiko said...

Cath, I do speak to my plants, but as we don't have electricity I can't play them music. Recently saw a documentary which showed that water crystals reacted to music, and as water is essential to plants it makes sense that there is an influence. We've got some gorse flower wine on the go too.

VGC, I tend to let the wind take care of excess fruit. I'd hate to thin to one fruit and then loose that to wind. If it still looks crowded later in the season, I'll thin out.

Heiko said...

Gaia, we'll have to compare notes. I'll keep you posted!

Angela said...

What an abundance!!! here our spring is extremely slow this year! And as for the music, I`m sure your plants will love your singing and guitar playing as well. Rosaria just spoke about her friend´s dog Walrus who only likes people who can play the guitar (even when they don`t have it along). Maybe your plants are the same way? Thanks for your grin!
Cheers from Angela

Stephen said...

Hi there Heiko,

Been looking at the elderflower ourselves and saddened that we will not be able to join your with the brewing of some elderflower Champagne. However the thought of a few fritters to cheer us up sounds interesting. Are we talking deep fried in a tempura batter similar to courgette flowers or more of a pancake?

Do tell...

Steve & Frances

LindyLouMac in Italy said...

You have certainly been busy in the real world, elderflower champagne is something we used to make every year in the UK, but no elderflowers to be seen around here.

Heiko said...

Angela, maybe I should take my guitar and sing to my plants, such as: "What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would stand up and walk out on me..."

Stephen, I dip them in sweet pancake batter and shallow fry them. While I fry one side I cut off the stalks and then turn them to fry on the other.

LindyLou, that;s strange that you don't get them. We seem to have a particularly abundant year on any altitude all over the place.

Jason said...

You mention your almond tree is having it's first yield. How old is the tree? I planted one last year curious how long I have to wait.

I have started a self sufficiency challenge though you might be interested.

Heiko said...

Jason, Both almond trees are now in their 3rd year since planting. Although Al was planted as a bare-rooted tree and Capone as a potted one, Al seems to have taken better. Make sure you have at least 2 almond trees as they are needed for cross-fertilisation. I'll have a look at your site. Thanks for visiting

WeekendFarmer said...

Nice : ) ! Busy busy busy!

You know mooli or moola is a Bengali word for radish. Is that what you are groing?

Heiko said...

WF, I studied Sanskrit and Tamil, but my Bengali is a little rusty... ;) I didn't know that. What I understand as mooli is basically giant white raddishes.

Anonymous said...

Don't you love Spring, when all the plants are still small and everything seems manageable? Looks like you've made a good recovery from the terrible landslides of winter - complimenti!