Thursday, October 11, 2007

The wonder of serendipity

DOF experiment, originally uploaded by mike1727.

Sometimes things just, well, work out.

Yesterday we were scrabbling around looking for material for capes for a children's superhero party this weekend. Our car wouldn'r start so Tracey couldn't get to the market and I wandered down to the Galleria to see if there was a shop selling material. Returning empty-handed, I walked through reception to discover that Sony Ericsson were handing out..capes as part of a promotional giveaway. Walkman/Cybershot girl.

Last night I was playing around with my new camera, experimenting with depth of field and high ISO black and white. Just a few minutes ago I got an email telling me I'd won 30 days of free coffee and pastries at our on-campus Starbuck concession.

Yes, I know it's just co-incidence, but it's nice.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Taking down the beanpoles and tidying up

Taking down the beanpoles, originally uploaded by mike1727.

There's no denying Autumn has arrived; most of the veg have finished so it was time to pull up dead plants, weed any tidy up ready for the winter. The veg beds are bare now, bar a few cabbages and some curly kale, all of which are going very well. (The kale is shaping up nicely for Calda Verde or Kale and Bean soup later in the year.)

With few exceptions it's been a disappointing summer for the vegetable experiment, both in the beds and the greenhouse. I'll blame it on the weather..

  • Shallots 7/10. Grew well, not an incredible yield but they are tasty and very pungent- as I found out peeling some last night with streaming eyes. I'll grow more next year.
  • Garlic 2/10. Poor yield, died back early. Planting in spring won't have helped. A possible for planting again in the next few weeks, there are already a few shoots coming up from bulbs I missed when harvesting them.
  • Broad beans 5/10. Got off to a good start, minimal blackfly infestation once I'd nipped out the growing tips. The plants were battered by the rain at the end of May, then fell victim to some sort of rust-like infection. I'll plant again later in the Autumn at a slightly wider spacing and put in supports for next year.
  • Potatoes 3/10. Not a great harvest from either the beds or the bags. The bags had plenty of foliage but few spuds, the beds were very low yield. I'm unlikely to bother with them next year.
  • Runner beans 5/10. Not a huge crop, but OK- at least the poles stayed intact. When digging over the bed I noticed it was very dry where the means were growing, so they'll go in a different bed with more watering next year.
  • French beans 2/10. Low yield and no-one in the family likes them enough for them to be worth the hassle next year.
  • Courgette 3/10. Very disappointing, after being snowed under with fruit last year I'd expected a good yield, but many fruit rotted/mildewed at the tips before having time to develop. Need full sun for them next year.
  • Lettuce 7/10. Good results- not show-winners but enough to make fresh salads. Need to pay more attention to sucessional planting next year.
  • Carrot 5/10. Grew better than expected but were crowded out by other plants.
  • Raspberry 8/10. Only a few fruits in the first season, but very tasty. I'll put in some more canes and better supports for next year.
  • Peas 7/10. Reasonable yield and well liked by the family. Need to protect against pea moth and ensure sucessional planting next year- wider spacing would be a good idea.
  • Cabbage/Kale 6/10. Looking good so far.
  • Tomatoes. 3/10. Failed to control side shoots, resulting in lots of foliage but few fruit. What fruit there was tasted good. Need an earlier start next year, with fewer plants.
  • Aubergines. 0/10. Abject failure- few flowers but no fruit. May try again next year but needs planting earlier.
  • Chili 6/10. Produced fruit (still green)- no idea of the heat yet since they're still unharvested.
  • Basil 4/10. Grew OK but nothing spectacular due to overcrowding from other plants. Needs more space and full sun next year, I think.