Spaghetti squash in the (kitchen) area

It’s still been a bit wet and windy here so there hasn’t be that much garden-related to write about. Apart from yesterday, when we finally put the spaghetti squash we grew on the Thompson & Morgan seed trials last year in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt.

The squash has been sitting on the kitchen windowsill since harvesting last autumn so perhaps we should have had it when it was a bit fresher. After the 40 minutes on about 200 degrees centigrade and a ruffle with a fork this is what it looked like. As for taste, it put us in mind of sauerkraut which ain’t a bad thing in our book. Next time when we grow them we’ll eat them straight away! Well worth trying though.

And there was a massive blow to music in general last week when we heard of the passing of the great Andrew Weatherall. We’re still in shock here, but the story in Time Out here about him still being on google street view brought a smile to our sad faces. R.I.P. Andrew Weatherall.

The trials of tomatoes (and squash and lettuce)

The Thompson and Morgan seed trials are sadly coming near the end, I mean look at the beefsteak tomatoes (above) that are now ripening on the plant and the few we took off today next to an AA battery to give some idea of scale. Whoppers they are and we’ll certainly be wanting to grow them again.

The lettuce that was growing in the shade of the broad bean ring around the birch tree has survived and is looking great. It’s either one or a collection of a few!

And the spaghetti squash has stayed this colour and size for a few weeks now. We have now idea of what they’re supposed to look like when they ripen or when they’re ready but we suspect the time is very close!

Thanks again to Thompson and Morgan for getting us in on the trials and we reckon they’ve been a success our end. We’d had a lot of suprises (the sunflowers and nasturtiums) so we can’t complain! It’s been fun!

And as we stand in the front of the jury today…

We’ve been suprised a few times by the results of this year’s Thompson & Morgan seed trials, by the red/pink/purple nasturtiums (below) and what we think may be beefsteak tomatoes but we haven’t been half as surprised as when this sunflower (above) appeared the other day. How good is that? We’re not sure if it’s supposed to be a mini-sunflower or a full-sized one as our plant is quite short, but it could be where we planted it, but what a flower!

And the tomatoes are doing well! We gave them a good watering all week and also a good lot of comfrey liquid this morning. Fingers crossed for some nice beefsteak ones (if they’re not, no bother but it would be nice to have a tomato as big as your hand!)

The spaghetti squash is now romping away (below) but it looks like the slugs are getting to the fruits before they set, damn! We do love this seed trial!

On a beefsteak tip, perhaps?

The other day we spied what we think are possibly fruits of the beefsteak variety on the Thompson & Morgan trial seeds tomato and (a possible further clue it may be a beefsteak) looking at the sheet accompanying the seeds it does mention that the “plants need side-shooting and support”. We love a beefsteak tomato here, please be one.

Talking of tomatoes, we always side-shoot the plants but the other week we watched Bob Flowerdew on youtube where he was advocating not to pinch out all your tomato side-shoots as growing on two/three cordons ain’t a bad thing. Have at the link look below as he’s very funny, educational and we do love his barnet!

Also we’re now getting flowers (and the start of fruit) on the spaghetti squash. We got what we thought was another spaghetti squash at the bottom of the garden (lower of the two pics) but now comparing leaves we wonder if it’s something else like a courgette (zuchinni) that we may have sown earlier? Only time will tell!

Also another spinach experiment is on the go (we’ve had the seeds sown between the earthed up spuds and inside a circle of broad beans which both sadly didn’t work), we sowed a row at the bed at the bottom of the garden that gets limited sunlight, let’s see how they do. The sticks are to keep the cats off (going back to Bob Flowerdew, on another youtube in that series above he says he welcomes cats into his garden and encouraged them to do there “doing’s” in a dedicated toilet space complete with straw and catnip! We do like his unconventional style!) Updates on the trial seeds to follow.

More from the seed trials

Here’s an update to the seed trials we’re doing for Thompson & Morgan in the Weeds back garden. The most suprising thing to come up are the tropaeolums (nasturtiums), we’ve lots of self-seeded normal orange types going nuts at the bottom of the garden (below) but look at the pinkish/purple ones from T&M above, how good are they? We’re loving the colour of them and funnily enough nasturtiums normally don’t do that much for us here.

The spaghetti squash that is in the top bed is now making a break for it (below). Hopefully they’ll be more room when the broad beans beside it dies off. The squash is looking healthy and just started to flower. We’ve neglected feeding all the plants for a couple of weeks as the home-made comfrey liquid ran out (we gave Honor Oak Train Station a couple of bottles of it to help them with their station in bloom contest entry!), but we’ve now a new batch on the go. There’s another spaghetti squash at the bottom we sowed late but who knows the summer may go on for a bit longer this year.

The tomatoes (below) are in a bed which once used to house a greenhouse, the soil is not great there and doesn’t get the sun until mid afternoon and not for that long but the three plants there are surviving and there’s at least one truss of flowers showing. We won’t give up on them and we’ll be on it with the comfrey feed this weekend. Cheers again to T&M for the seeds!

Don’t step on the cracks

A trip down the garden path tonight produced this trio of pics. Above: The fiver’s worth of water lily we bought from the Lewisham pet shop (whose website’s by-line is “For all your reptile needs”) a few years ago has gone mad this summer. We counted nearly 7 flowers on it the other day. The fish are using it as shade during the sunny periods and the tadpoles as mini swimming pools. The pond need a bit of thinning out this weekend as it would be nice to give the inhabitants more room. We now get our fish food via ebay, and you get double or treble of the volume of food for the price compared to what you get in those supermarket tubs.

The pink flowers shown above don’t look like much and as a plant it’s a bit on the scrappy side but disregard that and grow night scented stock for it’s evening smell!

And somewhere in the middle of the tomatoes and broad beans growing against the garage wall and the dahlias is the Thompson & Morgan trial spaghetti squash. We reckon it’ll outgrow the space in no time!

And finally a dubbed out one for the warm night we’ll be getting tonight (where it’ll be hard to sleep even with the windows are open!), it’s from Masis called Unearthed Dub  and it’s the Frenk Dublin mix. Tune!

Back yard reportage 2

A big thanks again to Thompson & Morgan blog (have a look as it’s interesting stuff with tons of hints and tips!) for sending us some seeds to trial this year and this is how they’re doing in July! They are all watered on a daily basis and have a comfrey feed weekly.

The above is the spinach (in the front pot) which was started off on the kitchen windowsill and a couple of the seedlings were transferred outside but here’s the pot with two left in them. They haven’t gone to seed yet and are doing well!

The daft idea we had to stick a row of the lettuce and spinach in the area shaded by some broad beans (so they didn’t bolt) may have not been a good one but here’s what’s going on so far! We won’t even mention the idea of sowing lettuce in the gully between the earthed up potatoes as nothing has germinated there.

The spaghetti squash is coming on a treat and we reckon we may have put it in the wrong place but “Hey! it’s an experiment”. The other squash that had lots of space to run free has been decimated by the slugs so this is the only one at the moment!

And as the song goes “Where have all the zinnia’s gone?” We don’t know what we done wrong but there’s no sign of any zinnia’s yet. Damn! But the tomatoes and sunflowers seem to be doing well and we eagerly look forward to seeing what variety they morph into! Ta again T&M, there will be updates!