7 September 2008

Damp and drizzly garden update


I meant to do a posting about the Permaculture course I was on a couple of weeks ago but of course, life's not like that. It took me ages to "reclaim" my kitchen, sort out the garden, catch up with paperwork (Did I ever tell you that I'm Fabrice's secretary?) and just spend time with the animals. We've had loads of visitors and lots of late nights and laughs and spending time on the 'net just hasn't been possible.

I also seem to have lost the knack of taking photos, maybe it's because by the time I feel like getting out my camera the light's gone and this rainy weather hasn't helped a lot either.

One of my delights when I came back was to see how fast the loofahs have grown up the tent frame and when I looked closer I realised I have about eight which are already a good usable size. My plan is to use them as scrubbers for the kitchen and bathrooms instead of buying those spongy things - one less thing we have to buy when we go out shopping ! I can even dye them different colours and if I've enough they'll make lovely presents.

The other thing in the garden which is doing really well is Sweet Peppers. I bought a few plants early in the season and sowed far too many seeds all of which have been keeping us in peppers all summer and there will be enough to do quite a few jars for winter.

The Aubergines are ripe and we've been eating them for a while too, but they really need more heat to produce a second crop - like the tomatoes which are taking too long to ripen, although we usually manage to get a handfull every day for a salad and when there's more I make a meal based on them.

My prettiest Peppers are these black ones which I bought as young plants - they're so shiny and even black and unripe they taste quite sweet.

I also have two bought plants of another very early variety which must have produced at least 40 fruits per plant and they're still growing well. (The photo below was taken in mid-July) I imagine they're both F1 hybrids though and the seeds will be sterile - I must find that out from our neighbour Yan who sells spices on the markets and was kind enough to bring me back these very early plants as soon as he saw them for sale. I really miss my little greenhouse for starting off things - I'll sort something out for next year I hope.

Let's hope it stays fine for a while tomorrow...

This is an update to let you see how our Loofahs turned out.

I finally got about 13 decent sized Loofahs and gave some away to friends to let them clean the loofah out themselves - that way they get to keep the seeds.

Cleaning them out takes time and patience. It consists of cutting the ends off the loofah, then wetting it and squeezing it gently to get the fleshy insides out along with the seeds - pushing them gently to the ends until they plop out.

Some people wait until much later in the season when the loofahs are completely dry but I was very impatient and I've still got a few hanging on the vines which I'll experiment with after Christmas.

After they were empty of all the stuff inside them and the seeds were all removed, I washed them well and left them to dry naturally. You can bleach them but I like the natural colour and my septic tank doesn't like bleach!

I dyed a few but I've misplaced the photos and given the ones I dyed away as presents.

I'm very pleased with them and have a few around the house for wiping around the bath and washbasins and scrubbing myself with in the shower and a good few left over to last me for quite some time.

I intended to use them to do the dishes but after a couple of weeks they tend to collect bits of food and rot quite quickly so I think I'll give up on that idea.


TheCrone said...

I just planting my capsicum seeds now so it is lovely to see your pics of your ripe peppers!

MrsL said...

It's good going away, but better coming home...........especially to crops like that! My chillies did well, but I only got a few peppers. Not good poolination here for the greenhouses, but toamtoes OK. I like the idea of loofahs as presents - might snaffle that oen for next year! Lovely photos, and nice to see you back!

LL said...

Sounds like you have been busy! I did okay with my polytunnel harvest, tomatoes have been fab and are still going, chillies are great and sweet peppers have been very successful but my normally wonderful aubergines haven't produced anything!
It's lovely to read about how you and Fab are.

Val Grainger said...

OMG..........wish I had peppers like that! We have been soooo damp 900ft up in soggy somerset! I have managed 3 large aubergines in the polytunnel and we too have had a few tomatoes per day but now blight has got the outdoor ones!......carrots and onions love it though! Sadly we have noticed a great decline in bees....very worrying!

Gabrielle said...

Please could you share the secrets of your success with your loofahs. I've been growing them in my polytunnel where peppers, aubergines, tomatoes and chillis have all done well, but they have done nothing. Flowers have come with small fruit following but then has turned yellow and dropped off! I had such high hopes, like you for my bathroom and kitchen and presents and even started with two varieties, one long and one round. I will try again but I would love to know what I'm doing wrong.

rhonda jean said...

Hello! Your blog continues to be an absolute joy. I wonder if you could email me when you have a few moments? rhondahetzel at gmail dot com

Thank you.

RazorFamilyFarms.com said...

As always, I adore your blog. I see that Rhonda Jean has discovered you, too! I'm so glad! She is such a love!

You to are like cosmic twins!


La Ferme de Sourrou said...

Hi The Crone, Good luck with the germination and I hope your plants do well !

Mrs L, I really have to force myself to go away and I'm in a rotten mood for days before I leave...
Coming back to our "real world" is such a relief! :-)

ll, (???)The aubergines aren't great here either. I normally get a second crop at the time of the year but it's just been too damp and miserable.

Val, Our toms got blight too. I sprayed them with Bordeaux mix once early in the season which helped temporarily, then when I got back from my Permaculture course most had succumbed to the dreaded "maladie". Ho hum.

Gabrielle, This is the first time I've ever grown loofas - so I'm no expert. They're not off the bush and ready to use yet, so I don't want to tempt fate - but
I'd love to try growing the round ones you mention - I'll have a look for some seeds for next year.

Rhonda Jean I'm very honoured to be on your blogroll - your blog is really crammed full of life and as far as I can tell you can't get much sleep !!

Lacy, Thanks. :-)
It's great to have the internet to find people who do the same things isn't it? A few years ago I felt that I was the only person on earth who got so much pleasure from just getting on with everyday stuff. Now I realise that there are lots of us who love making and growing and cooking and its great sharing that joy with all of you.

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