Friday, 29 August 2014

For One Day Only But…..

Summer made a welcome return on Thursday. For the first time in two weeks the temperature made it up to the 20°C mark reaching a respectable  21.6°C in the afternoon. Some rain in the early hours of the morning brought our monthly total up to 98.8mm. Will we manage 100mm before the end of the month?

Now to the but … as it was such a nice day we decided on a visit to Harlow Carr. There were lots of visitors and as we found a car parking space the sun was shining and it was a lovely afternoon. Getting out of the car we hummed and arred about taking a small brolly each just in case the weather should turn. In the sunshine it didn't seem like a good option but we decided better safe than sorry and took the brollies.
Once into the gardens we headed for the parts we’d missed on our last rain interrupted visit. We hadn't been in the gardens for more than a few minutes when the first few drops of rain fell. It surely couldn't rain us off again could it? Undeterred we carried on looking for some inspiration for our new border at home. In the end we had to relent and head for the shelter of the alpine house. You may find lots of lovely pictures of alpines appearing soon as we spent some time sheltering waiting for the shower to pass over. 

Unfortunately that didn't really happen but in a short dry spell we headed for the kitchen garden. They have a couple of greenhouses there where we could shelter if the rain became heavy.  One of the greenhouses also contained those tomato plants growing on straw bales and we wanted to see how they were doing.
For anyone interested in giving this method a go these are the instructions I forgot to photograph on our last visit. As for the success and amount of fruit you can expect from this method I'm not at all sure. I might see if I can find out later in the season if the RHS have any results from their trials.
Interestingly against most of the advice I've seen for growing tomatoes the vines haven’t been stopped as the plants have reached roof level but have been trained to grow up the roof to the ridge of the greenhouse.
The trusses of ripening tomatoes hang downwards more like grapes then tomatoes. The only variety planted up using the straw bale method that is the same as we've grown was Sungold which we've grown for the first time this year and been very pleased with. I’d guess it’s been producing lots of ripe fruit and as you can see from the photo above the trusses with fruit are now well on their way to the ridge of a very high greenhouse.

In a normal greenhouse I think you would quickly run out of growing height but whether this method gives better tastier crops and reduces problems like blossom end rot it would be useful to know.

After investigating the kitchen garden the rain still hadn't stopped and after a look around the nursery we decided to head for home. The weather was still sunny and warm at home and I had plenty of time to cut the grass and clean out the pond filter. One day we will get a rain free visit to Harlow Carr.

1 comment:

  1. The straw bale growing is really interesting. Looks nice and tidy as well. Maybe something to try at some stage.The Scottish TV programme 'Beechgrove Garden' had an interesting 'hot bed' trial this year for growing melons that I believe also involved straw amongst other materials.


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