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yielded some pleasant surprises. We bought some beautiful and inexpensive cyclamen, which came in a variety of colours, including rich velvety red, pure white and a lovely flamingo pink. My children demanded that we bought a variegated orange-fruiting
previously (which we'd assumed were male) have got a fair smattering of bright red, waxy fruits, proving their femininity at long last! They look great and they're a very useful source of food for local wildlife. But I want some too. The only way to stop
.But the downside of the cold weather is that my compost heap has stopped decomposing. The pile of fruit and vegetable peelings and garden waste has shown little sign of decay in the last few weeks. The banana skins turn black very quickly, and the local badgers
, they announced that they wanted to enter their fruit and vegetable crops in 'proper' categories. I'm incredibly proud to say that more than one first prize was won, and an even prouder that they wanted to do it in the first place.
concentrate its energy on producing new flowers and fruit. Affected blooms are also more prone to attack from grey mould, which can infect the rest of the plant and its neighbours.
away very merrily too. But king of them all in terms of vigor and size of the yield, is 'Scatalone' - an Italian variety I got from Seeds of Italy. The elongated fruits are positively dripping off the plant, and when it comes to grilling and roasting
's not just about fruit harvests, pumpkins and squashes, but also rust fungi.But here's the problem: rust fungi thrive when there's a lot of surface moisture about, and it hasn't rained for ages. The only moisture on the grass is from the morning dew. So can
I adore home-grown courgettes. They lack that slightly bitter taste and spongy texture you can get with supermarket specimens. My first fruits were a bit late this year, as I’d delayed planting because of cold weather. They were well worth the wait
, the prickly pear, which are often dotted with fruits.The bird of paradise flower, Strelitzia, always seems at its most vigorous and vibrant in Madeira, too. I always find hard to avoid the temptation of buying a packet of the seed while I’m there. There
Castle, near Belfast.The early courgette fruit that I boasted about in a recent blog has fallen victim to the combination of dry weather and strong winds – I found it lying, dehydrated and dishevelled, on the ground this morning.Moisture is lost from