Sunday, 6 August 2017
Saturday, 15 July 2017
Saturday, 1 July 2017
Growing older, appreciating that you are only a crumbly brick in the family wall. It is disconcerting, worrying and inevitably irrelevant.
Sunday, 25 June 2017
For the past few years I have grown a small fruiting aubergine in the greenhouse in addition to the usual tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers. If I am honest I don't really know whether I like the taste of the eggplant's fruit so this year I decided to replace the aubergine with an alternative indoor crop.
The plant that I selected was the cucamelon which is also known as the Mexican sour gherkin. Germination was practically one hundred percent successful and occurred within ten days of sowing. This left me with more plants than I probably needed. Not wanting to consign any of the young vines to the compost heap I planted two per ring, so sixteen plants. I expect that I have over planted by fifty percent but if so my error is not obvious as yet.
The mature fruit are described as being grape size. So far there are plenty of small yellow flowers but the fruit have not yet begun to swell. The books tell me that the fruits taste like cucumber with a tinge of sourness. Not a very appetising description! One feature of the cucamelon which does appeal to me is that it doesn't have to be grown as an annual. The roots can be lifted in the autumn in the same way as dahlias and over wintered before replanting them in spring.
Sunday, 11 June 2017
I sowed my second batch of peas of the year yesterday.. Unlike the first batch I sowed them directly in the position that they will crop in, - hopefully at the beginning or middle of September. The first sowing of pea seeds took place in the greenhouse in March. They were sown in modular root trainers. I suppose that I ended up with about one hundred plants. These were planted out on either side of a stretch of netting wire in May.
In between today's heavy showers I was able to pull the first pods of the year. Their contents have now been consumed. Fresh peas from the garden are so much sweeter than their supermarket cousins which almost invariably have started on the downward slope to starchiness.
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Over the past month I have accompanied my father to two church graveyards. On the first occasion he wanted to visit the grave of paternal great grandparents who had died in the middle of the nineteenth century. The headstone is made of Welsh slate and originally rested on four squat stone legs. The two at the front of the grave have been removed or disintegrated with the result that the stone now lies at a slight angle. The term for this style of headstone is I think, "table."
Neither great grandparent lived to a great age passing away when aged thirty seven years and forty two years respectively. Their daughter and only child Anne, (my father's grandmother) and who was born in 1842 was made a ward of court and was subsequently brought up by a distant relative who resided in the vicinity of Ballyshannon, Co Donegal. Family history would have it that her guardian somehow managed to get her funds mixed up with his funds but that any unpleasantness was resolved by a house being built for her and her husband.
Our second cemetery outing was to St Columb's Parish Church, Moville, (Moville Lower).This time my father wished to visit the grave of a youth by the name of Jack Bennett who had died on 1st August 1941 aged fifteen as the result of a swimming accident. His father William Bennett was the local chemist. My father had attended the funeral almost seventy six years ago. He and Jack were both pupils at Foyle, Jack a boarder and my father, two years his junior, a day boy.
Friday, 28 April 2017
It is over fifty years since I first saw globe artichokes being cultivated. They appeared to be very exotic to a young school boy, tall and strange. It was in the kitchen garden of Aberfoyle, (formerly know as Richmond), that I espied this member of the thistle family. It would be four or five years after that when I had my first opportunity to taste this vegetable which is just at home in the herbaceous border as the vegetable patch.
Two years ago I determined to grow on my own specimens. Although five of the seeds germinated and the resultant plants were planted out in the raised border surrounding the yard four of them succumbed to the local slug and snail population. The sole survivor should provide me with at least three or four flower heads for cropping this year. Not a big cropper.