A U G U S T 🌻

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A U G U S T 🌻

Hello August!

The month of summer sunshine, fields of sunflowers and corn, well, that’s what it should be like but today here in South Devon seems to have different ideas with temperatures of 18Β°C. We’re kicking today off on the 1st with the celebration of Lughnasadh, the Gaelic/Pagan festival of the first harvest & Lammas – blessing of the first fruit harvest festival (Christian) ~ same-same but different. I think I’ll pick some french beans for dinner to mark the occasion. Followed by the Summer bank holiday on the 7th for Scotland and August bank holiday for Ireland. On the 20th is the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final, held in Sydney, Australia this time round. Then in Notting Hill on the 26th is the Notting Hill Carnival, which runs to the 28th. August closes off for England, Wales & Northern Ireland with the summer Bank holiday on the 28th.

August will also see Saturn get to its closest position to us! πŸͺπŸŒ This means we will be able to see this ringed planet with a telescope or even binoculars in the night sky. Something that won’t be possible again until 2026. This will happen towards the end of the month, with the best view on the 27th. We will even be able to see Saturn’s rings, this is called ‘open’ and means that the rings are reflecting sunlight and it looks like the planet & rings are “tilted” having the rings form an oval that reflects the sun. When its ‘closed’, it means that we see (or rather not really) the rings edge-on and therefore harder to see. I’m really hoping I’ll remember to look out for this as it sounds so spectacular! It is expected to be most visible from midnight to about 01:00am, It’ll be high and bright in the week and on either side of the 27th.

August has 2 full moons this year with the first falling on the 1st – this one is called Grain Moon or the Lynx Moon. The second full moon of this month is on the 31st and is called Wine Moon or Song Moon. When two full moons appear in one month, the second one is called a ‘Blue Moon’ 🌚

In the Garden & greenhouse things are slowly ticking on. The squash & bean tunnel is doing its thing. The Uchiki Kuri seem to be dying off, but I do have at least 3 fruits ripening so not all lost. The beans are all doing alright, par some that are just completely eaten. And there’s a self seeded Cosmos that just seem to crank out foliage and no flower buds πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ Then in the narrow tunnel bed the sweet peas don’t seem to want to give up and are still producing handfuls of flowers. In the same bed the Cavolo Nero is being eaten to almost nothing but holes and stems πŸ›πŸ›πŸ›

In the Greenhouse the cucumbers are producing more than I can keep up with and i’ve finally had my first Crystal Apple cucumbers. Tasty, but not sure I find them worth the effort. Cucumber variety Emilie (my middle name & in correct spelling) on the other hand is from now on a staple. I will definitely be growing this again. I’ve also come to the conclusion that even though the idea seemed ok, I am not happy with the trellis and new beds, so that is something I’ll be doing differently next year, you live & learn!

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Mystery aubergine

This year was the first time growing aubergine since 2021 (I think) and I set out earlier this year to grow 3 different varieties. Chinese String, Pinstripe and Bride. My first sowing never got to anything or were ridiculously leggy. My second sowing faired better but not much and out of 6 seedlings only 2 plants remained. By then I had lost all labelling so it became a mystery guessing which had made it.

Well, it turns out that both plants are the Pinstripe variety and both are bearing fruits! When I did my ‘first-of-the-month’ rounds this morning I spotted this little bumblebee busying herself with getting right up in there to pollinate the aubergine. Thank you little miss!

I will actually look forward to create Aubergine Parmigiana with these striped beauties πŸ†

Also, check out my Mini Love watermelon, growing nicely. I hope it’ll taste good! πŸ‰

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Tomato drama

Like so many of you, I’ve had issues with my tomatoes and their stunted growth in spring. Then they were covered in aphids, my lack of wanting to be out in the garden and therefore watering everything has resulted in a lot of blossom end rot (I’ve lost loads of fruits because of this and in turn makes me want to be out there even less), and to top it all off i’ve spotted caterpillars munching holes in what’s left of the tomatoes πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

However(!), there are some good bits, I’ve had my first mini harvest yesterday of Black Strawberry (cherry) tomatoes, the photos here are of Kaleidoscopic Jewel, ones I always like to think of as the big sister to Black Strawberry (they’re similar in looks and bigger). These seem to have skipped the blossom end rot problems (so far so 🀞 it stays that way)

Other tomatoes that are doing ok are Black Beauty, Reisetomate and Pineapple (although that latter one is big, they are suffering and have caterpillar damage). Others that are being prolific in fruit but suffering with BER (Blossom End Rot) are Brad’s Atomic Grape, Cuor di Bue & Crushed Heart. Various others are slow, very slow in ripening too so not sure what’s happening there.

Time will tell! πŸ…

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The Forgotten

I’ve said it before, everytime I now do venture out into the garden and greenhouse, I come across various surprises. I would have forgotten about my chillies and peppers and a possible second watermelon – although it’s looking rather wrinkly and weird. I think it’s another one for the ‘we shall see’ section this year πŸ˜†

The chillies are JalapeΓ±o & Padron, they will – eventually – be picked for pickling and frying to blackened & sprinkled with salt πŸ‘ŒπŸ€€ The Padron are now quite large which will most likely mean they’ll be spicy. Oh well 🌢️

I’ve also spotted some Cardinal Peppers and my Red Pointy ones from supermarkt save seed. I’ve not spotted my Lilac Bell Peppers yet but I have seen flowers.

There’s also no flowers/fruits yet on the cayenne peppers. In the end it all does not matter too much. I’ve mentally already written this year off anyway.

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3 sisters thriving

One thing I am chuffed with this year is how well the Three Sisters are doing, they are sistering alright! There’s at least 3 descent sized Queensland Blue Pumpkins so far, the Sweetcorn (Incredible) has started to fatten up the cobs, the 2 types of beans have wound themselves through, over and under everything in that bed. The Glass Gem Corn has started to sprout it’s tassels, it won’t be long until the cobs and silks are about. I’m hoping I’ll have at least one Crown Prince Pumpkin but so far no luck.

Then the bonus sisters in this bed, Sunflowers, Hollyhocks and Boarage (self seeded that one) are also doing well. I’m looking forward to harvesting the sunflower seeds, the flowers of the 3 Hollyhock varieties and the bees are in nectar heaven with the ongoing, ever going Borage.

The pumpkins are going a tad mad, sprawling over and out everywhere, but I have to say, I kinda like it πŸŽƒπŸŒ½πŸ«˜πŸŒ»πŸŒΊπŸ

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Such a mess

Behind the wonderful 3 (or rather, 5) sister bed is a sad looking mess. The Queen Anne’s Lace is going over in places – seed saving shall be happening soon), my one Artichoke plant there gave me 3 flowerheads, and is now just bare sticks. I think various someone’s or something’s were very hungry πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

I think my Plum tree is ill. It’s either that or it is suffering from the random weather we’ve had this year. Not really sure what to do with it, so I’m leaving it for now. I also spotted that my 2 rambling roses (generous gardeners) have black spot. I’m in two minds about it whether to keep them and try & save them or get rid and try again another year.

Among the mess, ill plants and weeds are my hardy geranium Rozanne, providing beautiful pops of purple among the dry grass. In their same space my thornless blackberry seems to be putting out fruits so who knows if they’ll come to anything.

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MusquΓ©e de Maroc

My surprise squash has to be the MusquΓ©e de Maroc. A “warty”/scarred looking elongated pumpkin (which is new to me this year) and it has taken over the Kitchen Garden. So much so that it has started to sprawl out in and through the lavender and the mint – so top & bottom of the sleeper steps. I’ve spotted at least 2 pollinated fruits with more on the way! How exciting!! The seeds for this pumpkin (along with a lot of the others I’m growing) were very kindly given to me by Kathryn β™₯️

This pumpkin is just 1 plant and an absolute beast with vines sprawling out in every direction. I look forward to seeing the pumpkins once the plant has died back come sept/oct.

Watch this space!

*sadly the nigella, cornflowers and calendula I planted among it have been swamped & crushed by the sheer size and volume of this one plant.

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Happy accidents

This always makes me think about that reel audio, goes something like; “I can grow under any condition” vs “I’m allergic to tap water”. Well, case in point, this tomato plant has grown out of a BER affected, unripe fruit (can not for the life of me remember which one it was)Β  and is growing outside, in the wind, in the ongoing rain we’ve had, in the tiniest bit of soil πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ Like, wtf. We’ll see how it progresses.

Other happy accidents are this bright Calendula flower, one I do not recognise from any of the ones I’ve sown this year (or any previous years for that matter), but I’m loving the colours of it and it’s also huge! Seed saving imminent I think!

Next up a sea of self seeded Calendula in lots of yellows from last years sowings, and the giant MuscuΓ©e de Maroc in the background. there are also some flopped over Gladioli (Espresso) and my Canna Tropicanna Black and Hollyhock Creme de Cassis that is in its second year.

Another surprise is on the patio weed mess that has sprouted a magnificent nasturtium, no idea which colour the flowers would be, but I’m here for the pop of colour, especially since all my sown nasturtiums from this year have been killed by aphids – they literally sucked the life out of them.

And in the courtyard in my Wild Garlic pot (I bought this wild garlic from Anjee) I have a fern growing! I love ferns and I think this one must have come from Anjee’s garden with the Wild Garlic and will end up living in mine 😍

 

So yes, there is lots to be happy with in the garden & greenhouse, plenty of little wins and pops of colour among all the misery. It’s hard to focus at all that when your heart isn’t fully in it.
Happy August all, let’s hope it’s a nice one, with brighter days, ripe tomatoes and an abundance in flowers 🌻

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