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Garden Smallholding Blog

Growing mainly fruit, with some veg, and getting excited about growing chillis

Getting Strawberries Slowly

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Tagged in: Untagged 

We have only had a few strawberries thus far;

Ripe strawberries in UK greenhouse

Nasu Chilli Is Fruiting

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Tagged in: Chillis

The Nasu Chilli in the greenhouse is starting to fruit and looks like it is going to produce loads.

Nasu Chilli fruiting in UK greenhouse

Romital Chillis Are Starting To Ripen

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Tagged in: Chillis

After the mishap with the Romital in the greenhouse caused by infrequent watering - see Romital Chillis Discolouring And Going Soft they are starting to ripen and take on a nice red colour. The large one in the centre is a crazy thing and has grown round the stem. 

Romital chilli starting to ripen in UK greenhouse

Close up of twisted ripening romital chilli in UK greenhouse

Blueberries Ripening

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Tagged in: Blueberries

Some of the blueberries in the greenhouse are just about ready or are ripening depending on the variety. There is little between them, maybe a week at most. See below;

Ripening blueberries in uk greenhouse

Ripening blueberries in uk greenhouse

Home made wasp catchers are working perfectly

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Tagged in: Wasps

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that the wasps were eating their way through my cherries, and so a wasp catcher was required. I duly made one rather than buying one - details at Making a Wasp Catcher 

After filling them with Coca Cola they have really done the business, have a look at the following pics, they are the sugar, water and lemon juice mix. I would show you the Coca Cola ones, but the wasps do not show as well in a dark liquid.

wasps caught in home made wasp catcher filled with water sugar and lemon juice

In the one below, there are far more captured wasps - yet the liquid mix in the one above and the one below are identical - they contain water, sugar and lemon juice.

wasps caught in home made wasp catcher filled with water sugar and lemon juice

From that, one can deduce that location, location, location is the key. Any tips welcomed.

Mishapen Tomato

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Tagged in: Tomato

One of the moneymaker tomatoes is growing an appendage.

Moneymaker tomato grown in conservatory growing an appendage

Making a Wasp Catcher

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Tagged in: Wasps

Time to make a wasp trap, or wasp catcher - whatever you want to call it.

I took a standard water bottle - see below;

Plastic drinks bottle to be turned into wasp catcher

Taking this drinks bottle, I cut the top off and some of the body of the bottle as shown below - for this I used scissors - in a true Blue Peter moment, kids you may ask an adult to do this for you as sharp things come into play and you could seriously injure yourselves;

Plastics drinks bottle cut in half ready to be turned into wasp catcher

Then, place the cut off top upside down, and inside the main body of the bottle as shown below;

Plastics drinks bottle ready to be turned into wasp catcher

If you want, you can use sellotape to tape around the top edge where the two bottle surfaces meet - I didn't bother as the following steps held everything together nicely;

With the upturned top half of the bottle sat in the bottom half, I heated a skewer on the gas ring  - with many of the more pliable plastic bottles out there this is not necessary ( - skewer only, so watch your fingers kiddies!), and I used the skewer to punch a hole through two opposite sides. I then used some galvanised wire lengths (often used to tie up big plants, and available from many garden centres - hessian string or polypropylene string will do the job just as well) to form a hoop that the catcher can be hung from branches on the tree by. See below for the idea using galvanised wire;

Finished home made wasp catcher fabricated from plastic drinks bottle

Below is the finished result;

Finished home made wasp catcher fabricated from plastic drinks bottle

Now, all that remains is to put some liquid in it to attract the wasps, and hang it up.

Before posting this, I have experimented with a number of different liquids over the last couple of days to put in the bottom of the wasp catchers. I tried sugar water with lemon juice, coca cola and pepsi. The one that got by far and best result was the good old coca cola - i.e. coke. I don't know if this is specific to a particular species of wasp, but here in Kent, it got the best kill rate. So much for the taste of a new generation PepsiCo! I would be really interested if any of you have any better ideas for the fabrication of a wasp catcher, or what to put in it.

See how it worked out here: Home made wasp catchers are working perfectly

The Wasps Are Eating My Cherries

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Tagged in: Wasps , Cherries


You will hopefully remember from my previous posts that our cherry tree has had a bumper year - the volume and quality of cherries on its branches has totally eclipsed previous years - superlatives fail me. I have supplied pound after pound to friends and work colleagues. It has now got to the point, as it has with the raspberries, that I simply cannot pick them fast enough in the amount of time that I have.

This has presented a problem - the fruit on the tree is suffering attacks from the birds - especially blackbirds and parakeets. Some of you will be suprised to learn that I am not blogging from Australia, but South East Kent in England. A few decades ago, some pet parakeets escaped from their enclosures and started to breed in the Kentish wild. Now they have achieved pest status along with the grey squirrel and other non-indigenous species.
By far and away the most devastating attack has been from the lowly wasp. They have swarmed the tree and have not discriminated between ripe and unripe fruit. They eat a little of each cherry before jumping onto the next, regardless of whether it is ripe or not. The damage is detailed on the next couple of images;

Cherries that have been eaten by wasps

Cherries that have been eaten by wasps

This assault called for direct action - I needed to prevent the wasps attacking the cherries on the cherry tree more than the birds - and the parakeets are by far and away the most ravenous and destructive bird. It was time to build myself wasp traps. See Making a Wasp Catcher


Romital Chillis Discolouring And Going Soft

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Tagged in: Tomato , Chillis

The last couple of weeks have been eventful in the greenhouse - the Romital chilli has undergone some undesirable changes. I think I have had a similar experience with this chilli as with the blossom end rot on the tomatoes - Moneymaker Tomatoes Have Blossom End Rot caused by infrequent watering. See below;

Romital Chillis Going Soft Then Rotten Due Infrequent Watering

Chillis Going Rotten Due To Infrequent Watering

The chillis had got to between 10 and 15cms long and started to discolour and go soft. I did some googling and got a general idea from a number of different sources that the problem was likely linked to infrequent watering. I immediately removed the affected chillis so that the plant can concentrate is energy on the good chillis and regularised the watering the same as I did with the tomatoes - watering morning and evening.  That was in the last couple of days of June, and nearly a fortnight later, the remaining chillis on the plant are up to a similar size or even larger than the removed ones with no recurrance of the problem (fingers crossed) as with the tomatoes.

I am disappointed with the pineberry, it flowers, but the fruits don't develop. It doesn't seem to have grown any new shoots that have flowered, instead, the old ones are still going. They get to a point and then shrivel - here is the latest pic;

Pineberry fruit not developing

The crazy thing is that it has sprouted loads of foliage and looks really healthy, and I seem to have eradicated the pests.

Have a look at the picture of when I first got it, you will see what I mean: Pineberry / Pineberries

There are a few runners on it now, and I have haphazardly balanced some pots with multipurpose compost under them in the hope that they will take;

Pineberry with potted runners

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