Friday 27 May 2011

Progress - despite the weather!

I think we may have scored a "hole in one" with the Marrow, if you know what I mean. In order for a fruit to "set" or begin to grow, the female flower has to be pollinated with pollen from a male flower (this sounds like a sex lesson...). In order for this to happen you obviously have to have both types of flower mature at the same time, and for some reason this often doesn't happen at first, and the different genders of flower come on at different times. Not this time, it would appear.

In the picture above you can clearly see the male flower (understandably looking a bit droopy) in front of the embryonic fruit underneath its equally droopy female flower. Of course we don't see here the crucial Third Party in the affair - the bee which may have helped make the transfer of pollen.  If (and I emphasise IF) the bees have done their thing, this marrow will soon be swelling. On the other hand, if pollination has not occurred the fruitlet will turn yellow, go soft, and eventually fall off the plant. We should know within a day or two...

Another Wannabe Father showing off...

The Cucumber plants have taken a battering at the hands of the sustained strong winds we have had recently. Several of the leaves have gone brown at the edges. Not major damage, but it will check the plants' growth for a while.

As regular followers will know, my climbing beans also suffered severely from wind damage, and several of them have been attacked by underground "beasties" of some sort, so I am thankful that I sowed another batch of bean seeds just in case. I may have to use a few of these:-

The two types of Savory have been making progress too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the ones that are most advanced are the "spares" which didn't get transplanted to individual pots - hence didn't have to endure so much root-disturbance. This one is the annual Summer Savory. Hopefully it will be mature at about the same time as the Broad Beans with which it goes so well.

Summer Savory

The Winter Savory has grown comparatively slowly, but then it's a perennial, so it can afford to take its time more than the annual Summer version.

Winter Savory

Here's an example of how I maximise the use of my limited available space. I have planted a few lettuces at each end of my rows of climbing beans. I anticipate that they will be ready before the expanding foliage of the beans blots out their light. This is why I have only put them at the ends of the rows, not all the way down the centre, where less light would be available. These red lettuces are the variety "Delicato", seemingly very similar to Red Oak Leaf. I'll treat it as a cut-and-come-again lettuce, picking individual leaves rather than cutting the whole plant in one go.

Unusually for us in the UK at this time of the year, I have had to water my beans (and lettuces) with the hosepipe every couple of days, because we have had very little rain. The strong wind has exacerbated the drought too. In circumstances like this I am very glad that my veg plot is right outside my Living Room window, and not on an allotment at the other side of town. It means that I can give it the attention it needs, every day.


  1. Everything looks super!

    We're having a courgette glut at the moment!

  2. Mark everything looking green and healthy I didn't realize that marrow had both male and female flower.

  3. All looking good Mark and your marrows are ahead of mine, first time I've grown them but I picked up a couple of spares from a recent plant sale so thought I'd give them a go.

  4. Hi Mark, interesting lesson as I have not had any experience in marrow.

  5. I can't believe how far on you are. Things are slow, wind and rain battered here, with little sun and frigid temperatures.
    'Interesting'! about your bean attack. My French beans, which are still in root trainers at the house, are being eaten by something that has got into the soil when I put them outside during the day. Better take your tip and sow some more - I don't think there will be much left by the time I plant them out.

  6. Our problem on the plot is keeping things watered we have loads to plant out but are reluctant to plant into bone dry soil.

  7. Sue, I know what you mean. Even my little plot is hard enough to keep watered. My water-butt ran dry long ago. When we do get rain it will need to rain constantly for several days to completely re-hydrate the soil.


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