It was with enormous trepidation that I ventured into the Vegetable Garden on the evening that we returned home after a good three weeks away whilst we were cruising the Western Highlands and Islands of Scotland in our yacht Ranger. The weather whilst we were away had ranged from 30C to torrential downpours and much cooler conditions. What a pleasant surprise that many things had survived, and even flourished under the tender administrations of Karen, our wonderful friend and housesitter, and John, our part-time Gardener who is in his seventies and puts us all to shame with his energy and enthusiasm. The disasters were the Greenhouse Cucumbers, which gave up the ghost overnight in scorching daytime temperatures, and the peas likewise. These things cannot cope with over 30 degrees C of heat and strong sunshine. The lettuces I had sown just prior to leaving had also failed to germinate. The potatoes have started to get potato blight, so last night was spent spraying them and the outdoor tomatoes with a secret stash of Dithane Plus which I will be out of by next year. The EU has banned this, along with many other extremely useful chemicals such as Bromophos/Chlorophos, Permethrin and Roseclear. All of my forefathers have grown up with vegetables which have been treated lightly with these potions, and all I can say is that we have never suffered any cancers in the family, and all have lived to an extremely ripe old age.
The beans are climbing nicely, the beetroot is a star, the Salsify looking good, the spring onions huge and the Alicante tomatoes are really flourishing in the greenhouse, and the outside ones , a mixture of Country Taste and San Marzano are doing OK. The carrots are amazing in their cage, and I have only found half a dozen or so with the dreaded carrot root fly, which I promptly removed. The Cavolo Nero is looking a bit pale, so my next job will be to apply some Sulphate of Ammonia by way of a drench. This really does wonders for Brassicas.
My real pride and joy are the Bulls Horn Peppers in the Greenhouse. For some reason these are miles better than last year. I put some outdoors at the same time, but they are quite pathetic in comparison.
What has really delighted me though, is that we were home in time to net the Brown Turkey figs from the wasps.
One year, we timed our holiday badly and came home to find every single one had been eaten.
Of course the Lavender is once again so Bee Friendly!