Grow your own watermelon…

I’m always on the look out for slightly unusual or interesting plants which I can grow, normally which are fairly inappropriate to the weather conditions in England! I haven’t got a greenhouse yet so growing anything vaguely exotic is sometimes a problem. Tomatoes just about work but at the mercy of the weather and the famous British summer.

This year, I randomly tried planting 6 watermelon seeds. I didn’t think they would germinate but 1 of them did! It took 2 weeks for the shoot to appear above the soil and was fairly slow to start, but so far it has grown well. I planted the seeds around mid-May and now, at 20th July, it has already developed maybe 7 flowers and what look like a couple of fruits!

There has also been an interesting leaf shape change from the first dicotyledon leaves, through various stages of increasing complexity. The newest leaves are quite rough and spiky with longish white hairs. The edges are crinkly and variegated and there are loads of tendrils which the plant uses to support itself.

I have just planted it out so we’ll see what happens. I’m hoping slugs and snails stay clear of it as it is only the very thin stem which is in contact with the soil, with the rest of the long plant supported above the soil using its tendrils which have wrapped around garden sticks.

squarewatermelonJapan

Image from: http://kidstimepass.com/2-uncategorised

Who knows where this will lead…?

out

Pink explosion…

Flower 10.05.14

out

Day 050 – the fruits of our labour…

Finally, some small reward for the hours of work in the garden. C’s cherry tree is producing but as soon as they are ripening, the birds are taking advantage : )

The strawberries are doing well and we got back from camping to find a good selection ready to pick. I just need to go and see if the allotment is still there – I suspect it’s walked off or arranged to get new owners.

Thistledown camping 28-30.06.13 - 151

out

Day 014…

A sunny and warm day – mostly spent Spring cleaning the WHOLE house, but an hour or so out in the garden too.

Garden chive flower 26.05.13 - 15 Garden chive flower 26.05.13 - 17

Chive flowers are just coming out just as the cherry and apple flowers are going.

out

Day 009…

Contrasts are great. Life and death, light and dark. These two images show the rich and full colour of living Bulls Blood Beet, alongside the slowly expanding and decaying side of a chip board table.

IMG_2848 IMG_2862

out

Garden textures…

Spring is finally here and the blossoms are out in force on the apple and cherry trees.

After not noticing the details in the garden over the long winter, new and returning features are revealing themselves. Even simple things like being able to dry washing on the line are back again, along with lower electricity bills : )

out

Jack Frost touches the garden…

While it’s been fairly cold so far this winter, there haven’t been too many dramatic photo opportunities. A few hard frosts has been the extent of the options so far.

Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 6 Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 7 Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 8 Ice crystals 16.01.13 - 2

10cm of snow is forecast over the next 2 days… watch this space! : )

out

Bonfire Night…!

Always a good excuse to get the fireworks and sparklers out!

A very chilly and clear night – perfect for fireworks!

If I was the apple tree, I would not be impressed!

Double sparkler action!

out

Tomato blur with scar…

Some of the very scarce tomatoes from the garden this year, complete with top to tail water-split scar! It’s a tough world out there : )

out

Champion cooking apple…

The largest apple our tree has produced so far – 475g! This thing was huge. It’s a proud day for me (as you can tell) ; )

out

Classic apple pie…

This is a GREAT apple pie recipe…

Really nice balance between the tangy apple flavours and the soft and crispy pastry. Awesome with custard too : )

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2052/ultimate-apple-pie

Ultimate apple pie recipe – Recipes – BBC Good Food

I altered the recipe shown on the BBC site a little bit, from the first time I tried this a month or so ago. The last time I followed the instructions and prepared 1KG of cooking apples, but found this was way too much and would have led to a huge amount of filling compared to pastry.

For the latest pie, I used 800g as I prefer more of a balance between the crispy pastry but 900g would work well too.

out

What wood…?

Ummm….

From left (I think): Hawthorn, ??, Beech, Birch.

Some wood I can identify but i’m still learning a lot about wood-lore. Anyone know what these are? This was a selection from the last load of firewood.

out