Tag Archives: postaday2011

Vegetable Diary July – I will never be self sufficient!

My “Monthly Diary” and the saga of my attempts to grow my own
fruit and veg continues… My success rate to date leads me to believe that even if I had a large enough plot I certainly would not be self-sufficient by any stretch of the imagination!

Zucchini (Courgettes)

My Zucchini are Bald!

My Zucchini are trying to escape!

My zucchini are still desperately clinging to life as the problem of white mold on the leaves and rotting ends on the fruit continues. Apparently I have blossom end rot!

Fellow blogger Enjoy Creating suggested I try Hydrogen Peroxide and kindly gave me a link to Using Hydrogen Peroxide in the Garden so fingers crossed this may provide the answer!

I have now removed all the leaves which were covered in the white mold and sprayed the remaining leaves and baby zucchini with the diluted Hydrogen Peroxide solution. I used 2 tbsp to 1 litre of water. For those looking to buy this product in Portugal it is called Agua Oxigenada and is available in both Continente and Intermarche at under 50cents for a 500ml bottle!

The stalks on my zucchini are now over five foot long and still bearing fruit despite the fact the plants are now almost bald. Do they look like they are trying to escape?

I do hope the Hydrogen Peroxide is the magical elixir of life my poor zucchini have been waiting for! Think positive Piglet – next month they will  grow to the size of marrows!

Red Cabbage

Who win the battle to eat the Red Cabbage - Me or the Bugs?

Who will win the battle to eat the Red Cabbage - Me or the Bugs?

It’s a a constant battle with the bugs as to who will have the privilege of finally eating my Red Cabbage. I spray regularly with diluted washing up liquid to deter the little critters, but they are persistent to say the least!

Spring onions, sorrel, cherry tomatoes, chilli/jalapeno peppers, orange peppers and melons are growing well – at the moment. The honeydew melon seedlings are a result of just scattering some seeds from a melon I had bought for lunch from the local market. Much to my amazement they are still alive and growing well. 

Fruit and Vegetables Grown in Pots

Strawberries

My last few Strawberries were delicious!

My last few Strawberries were delicious!

My Strawberry plants continue to bear fruit, and much to my surprise, dare I say, are still healthy and even producing runners for further plants!

Rhubarb

A "Rhubarb Crumble" will soon be on the menu!

A "Rhubarb Crumble" will soon be on the menu!

My solitary Rhubarb plant, kindly donated by a friend who had grown several from seed last summer, is finally producing some usable stalks and it won’t be long before we have our first Rhubarb Crumble desert since moving to Portugal. However, I suspect I will have to transplant to the ground this coming winter. Apparently, they do not grow well in pots on a long-term basis.

Does anyone have any experience of growing Rhubarb in pots long-term?

Cape Gooseberry (Physalis)

Cape Gooseberry

Cape Gooseberry

The Cape Goosberries plants are the latest victims to join my “fruit and vegetables in pots” collection. I have never tried to grow these before so I was absolutely delighted when I was given three plants to experiment with!

Does anyone have any tips on growing Cape Gooseberries please? I want to at least give them a fighting chance!

Tomatoes - Pot grown tomatoes have grown VERY slowly this year – I have about three tomatoes on each plant so my aspirations as to having a “glut” of tomatoes which I could sun-dry have been dashed. Hey ho there is always next year!

Chillies My Chillies grown in pots continue to grow well! These seem to grow all year round.

Finally…

Lettuce

The lettuce have now gone to seed!

Yes, this is my lettuce!

The lettuce has now run to seed; I will now collect the seed and grow more. I don’t know why I have never thought of this before, so like growing the Cape Gooseberry, another first!

Garlic – While I was in France all the leaves died off; I am just plucking up the courage to investigate further to see if I have any heads of garlic lurking in the soil beneath!

Related posts:
Vegetable Diary June: Veggie Disasters – S.O.S
Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Portugal: May
Growing Fruit and Veg in Pots and Plot: April
Piglet’s Gardening Diary: Seeds, Vegetables, Pots and Plot – February 2011

Pet Peeves, Grumbles and Stuff That Bugs Me!

What makes you mad?

What makes you mad?

Margaret at Cachando Chile challenged her followers to write a post about “Stuff that just bugs me…”

This challenge was not too difficult as I’ve definitely become more “grumpy” as I’ve grown older! Not that all older people are “grumpy”, I hasten to add!…Hmmm I think I am digging a deeper hole here so I will move swiftly on!

On a positive note, the wisdom of age has taught me how to “manage” my frustrations, be more tolerant, deal with my
“Pet Peeves”, “Grumbles and “Bugs” – grade them in order of annoyance and then deal with them accordingly! I also waffle more with age…

So here goes.
Pet Peeve – is literally a “Pet” Peeve

Dogs not kept on the leash on Blue Flag beaches
Dogs pooing on beaches has to be top of the list. It really concerns me especially when the beaches are crowded with young children playing in the sand.
Related Post: Dogs on beaches – please “scoop their poop”http://pigletinportugal.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/dogs-on-beaches-please-scoop-their-poop

Grumbles

People demanding money to find you a parking space in an empty car park!
It does not matter whether you park in a side road or in a free car park the “Parking Scammers” are lurking – just waiting to spring into action by directing you into a “free” parking space.
Related Post: Parking Scams in Portugal http://pigletinportugal.wordpress.com/2011/03/08/parking-scams-in-portugal/

Inconsiderate Tourists
One of the downsides of living close to the beautiful beaches of the Western Algarve is the Tourist Season or as we have aptly named it “The Terrorist Season” Portuguese, Spanish, French and a handful of British Tourists descend on this normally quiet and as yet unspoilt area from mid July to the end of August.
Related Post: Tourists terrorize the locals – Vuvuzelas find new use!http://pigletinportugal.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/tourists-terrorize-the-locals-vuvuzelas-find-new-use

Hole in the ground Toilets – Turkish Loos
No I have not got a toilet fetish but I did find it amusing that a café that charges €7.00 for two cups of coffee had the nerve to offer such primitive toilet facilities as a Turkish Loo to its patrons. That or I have led a very sheltered life!
Related post: A Turkish “experience” in France http://pigletinportugal.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/a-turkish-experience-in-france/

What else BUGS me…

Joke Emails
“Friends” who send loads of joke emails but never write and enquire as to how you are.

Rip off Restaurants
I have lost count of the numerous times restaurants and cafés have overcharged us – or attempted to! Perhaps this is because we live in a tourist area and they think it is acceptable to overcharge tourists.

Hey, I’m on a roll here so just one more…
Errr no, nothing else springs to mind!

“CALL FOR A GROUP POST!”
What’s bugging you? Write a post about it on your blog, link to this one and I’ll link back to you! Alternatively, please share your “Pet Peeves”, “Grumbles” and “Bugs” in comments below

Octopus Salad

We went to a BBQ last week and the hostess served this delicious Portuguese Octopus Salad. She was fascinated by the fact I was keen to photograph her cooking and share with the world. Enjoy!

Octopus Salad

Octopus Salad

1kg of Octopus
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Bunch of flat leaved parsley (finely chopped)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper

Remove head of octopus and cut tentacles into approximately 1″ pieces.
Wash thoroughly and put octopus in a large pan. Cover completely with water and boil octopus until tender. Drain water and put cooked octopus in serving bowl.

Finely chop the onion and parsley and add to the octopus. Add the oil and white wine vinegar plus salt and pepper to taste. Allow to marinate for about an hour before serving.

Great as an appetizer, starter or lunch!

Do you like Octopus? Yes?… please share your favourite recipe.

Baby Piglet and Language Problems

The last two weeks in France have literally ‘flown’ by! Looking back it seems like only yesterday we were eagerly driving to Lisbon Airport to catch a plane to Lyon. Our daughter, husband and Baby Piglet had just moved to their new home in the French countryside and we’d volunteered our services to help them settle in.

She likes my singing!

She likes my singing!

Mr. Piglet’s DIY (Do-It-Yourself) skills were well utilized and a long list of jobs had already been drafted on our arrival. I was head cook and bottle washer plus baby entertainer and nappy changer.

Their new home is approximately 250 years old – a rustic farm-house with a wealth of character features which gives the place a real ‘homely’ feel. The garden, approximately 1.4 hectares, is great but will be a full-time job in itself to maintain! There are several nut and apple trees along with vines and fruit bushes which already offered an abundance of loganberries, raspberries, red and black currents. This is exactly the type of garden I would love, but in Portugal living so close to the sea it’s just not possible.

Apart from our last visit to France, when our daughter gave birth and we stayed in Valence, we had really only experienced French life in the city of Lyon. A country girl at heart I always felt uneasy in the city so I really appreciated the slower pace of life in the French countryside. The architecture, markets, villages and medieval towns such as Annecy and Chambery were a complete contrast to the towns and villages of Portugal.

Shopping in the local shops and markets was great but I quickly discovered nobody spoke English. My pronunciation of words such as pain au chocolate and pain au raisan (please forgive the spelling) was apparently so bad I was greeted with a blank expression, a grunt and a shrug of the shoulders which immediately knocked my confidence.

As I write this post I feel extremely sad thinking of my little granddaughter ‘Baby Piglet’; I miss her so much. I miss her smiley face as she greeted me each morning and even her shouting for food as she impatiently demanded to be fed. This is definitely a Mr Piglet trait; he also likes to be fed immediately he is hungry!

She chuckled with enthusiasm at my renditions of the various nursery rhymes and lullabies such as ´Incey Wincey Spider`, ‘Rock a bye baby’ and ‘If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands’ to name a few. She was probably thinking “Poor Grandma, better give her a smile even though her singing is dreadful” It’s amazing how all the words and tunes of nursery rhymes and lullabies, unsung for a couple of decades, sprang so readily to mind. My singing is not that tuneful but at least it kept her entertained for a while.

As I entertained ‘Baby Piglet’ I soon realized crawling around on the floor was a problem – I resembled a grounded whale or should I say Jabba the Hutt!. Perhaps NOW was a good time to start the 21 days without sugar diet I’d read on Nina Badzin’s Blog and stop procrastinating and just get on with it!

I soon recognised how ‘Baby Piglet’ communicated her feelings as to when she was happy, hungry, tired, bored, grumpy or just had the grizzles. I discovered she is not a baby that likes lots of cuddles she is far too inquisitive. Instead she prefers to look round and explore the various rooms and their contents. Her little mind, like a sponge, soaking up the running commentary I gave as we walked from room to room pointing out various items.

During our stay, her French Grandparents came for the weekend. Conversation with ‘Baby Piglet’ reverted to French and I felt like a spare part, an outsider. I did not have a clue what was being said and a wave of panic and sadness washed over me as I thought – one day I may not be able to converse with my granddaughter because I can’t speak French!

My thoughts are in turmoil. Could I actually learn to speak French? (I’ve already tried so hard and failed miserably to learn Portuguese), my heart is telling me I must but my head tells me I am useless at languages and I am setting myself up to fail. I wonder how other grandparents fare when their grand children’s first language is not English

What would you do?

Related Posts:
An Emotional Rollercoaster
Proud Grandparents

Vegetable Diary June: Veggie Disasters – S.O.S

Here we are in June and I feel rather despondent. Even my inbuilt tenacity is beginning to wane. Why?, my pigging vegetables just won’t grow! My motto has always been “If at first you don’t succeed try and try again“. Yes, I’m trying

I’ve read several interesting posts on growing vegetables recently by fellow bloggers Enjoy Creating and Hortophile All their healthy vegetables look amazing; I then surveyed my pathetic offerings…

Maybe the problems stem from the fact I am close to the sea so we experience high humidity and salt winds. I just don’t know.

However, I remain optimistic despite my current “Veggie Disasters”
Yes, I will have a bumper crop of zucchini, squash, garlic etc if I persist.

My solitary cucumber struggles to grow. What a strange shape and it’s so prickly!

My solitary cucumber fights for life

My solitary cucumber fights for life

My lettuce has run away and is now over two feet tall! I wonder if I can save the seeds?

My lettuces are now over two foot tall!

My lettuces are now over two foot tall!

The garlic I’d been carefully nurturing since the end of last year has also given up. The leaves have died off and as I removed the earth round the garlic heads to see how they were progressing I realised they have not fully formed. I wonder if I left them would they continue to grow or will they just rot?

Garlic dies off but has not grown

Garlic dies off but has not grown

Zucchini start off well – there are no shortage of flowers. There are plenty of bees since planting lavender and herbs close by – so pollination is not the problem.

Zucchini start off well

Zucchini start off well

They grow so big and then start to rot.

Zucchini rotting as they grow

Zucchini rotting as they grow

I was also looking forward to eating home-grown squash, but seems they have also fallen victim to the dreaded mold. They also seem a little soft when squeezed – is this normal?

My Squash plants- I wonder if they will survive?

My Squash plants I wonder if they will survive?

Rotting zucchini and now my baby squash

Rotting zucchini and now my baby squash

Enjoy Creating referred me to www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com what an informative website! This may be the answer to my problem!

Unfortunately, it’s taken me several weeks to track down the product, but I am pleased to say I have finally identified Hydrogen Peroxide in Portugal (I hope) as – “Água Oxigenada” and at just 39cents for 500ml a bargain!. I assume 10 volumes means 10% so I will need to dilute before spraying the plants to get rid of the mold. I assume as you can also clean your teeth with it that it is not poisonous when diluted correctly. Never assume! I am always nervous when I am unable to understand the instructions!

Agua Oxigenada - maybe a miracle cure?

Agua Oxigenada - maybe a miracle cure?

On a positive note my strawberries are growing well and are absolutely delicious. Cherry Tomatoes are just beginning to go red, as are the chilli peppers. Spring onions are growing (slowly) and the red cabbage – well we will see if we get to eat them before the bugs. The Rhubarb is still thriving (for now) in a large pot. I have one orange pepper two lemons, several jalapeno seedlings and a partridge in a pear tree.

Please share your successes and failures and/or any further gardening advice other than not to quit my day job and become a gardener

I could do with cheering up!

Related posts: Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Portugal: May
Growing Fruit and Veg in Pots and Plot: April
Piglet’s Gardening Diary: Seeds, Vegetables, Pots and Plot – February 2011

Blackbirds In Portugal Are Once Again “Under Fire”

There are many blackbirds in our garden and over time I believe they have learned (on our patch of earth at least) we do not pose a threat to them. We coexist and live in peace. I love to quietly observe the blackbirds building their nests, flying back and forth with suitable building materials until the nest is complete. Time passes and we then hear baby blackbirds chirping noisily and demanding food.

The 20 year ban on hunting blackbirds in Portugal has been lifted

The 20 year ban on hunting blackbirds in Portugal had been lifted

I had never actually stopped to consider bird hunting in Portugal prior to reading a plea asking people to sign a petition. Apparently, The 20 year ban on hunting blackbirds in Portugal had been lifted and they wanted to reverse the decision. If you would like to sign the petition further details can be found here
I was horrified as I read about different aspects of hunting and asked the poster of the petition to write an article to share with my readers; he kindly agreed. What was the point in shooting blackbirds?

Article courtesy of Les

Hunting of blackbirds was banned 20 years ago and now it is back on the list of birds, which they are allowed to hunt. This is due to the Viniculture Industry applying pressure on Min of Agriculture who then passed the problem on to Sectary of State for Rural Development & Forestry
Who then decided that the Ban should be lifted!

This decision was taken without consulting the Environmental NGO’s & without consulting the Sectary of State for the Environment

The Viniculture Industry stated these birds are causing damage to the grapes.

Many years ago they had a similar cull of Black Birds in Spain for the same reason.
After the cull, they did a study; it found the Birds had been eating the grubs that had been eating the grapes.

Out come – Ecosystem out of balance & even lower crop yields.
The following quote was taken from a Portuguese Hunters Forum over this change of Law

“In addition to the violation of existing Birds Directives, this Law is the biggest load of nonsense & Bad Game Management practice that has ever been seen in Portugal”


I was a little confused, so I asked Les whether they shoot the birds purely for sport or to eat.

As for eating them I doubt very much if they could most the Trudus genra
Blackbird – Redwing – Fieldfare – Missal Thrush – Song Thrush
Only weigh 80 -125 grams (3-4.5 oz).
When hit by lead shoot they would possibly be shredded, what’s left to eat?
The Starling is even lighter 75-90 grams (3-3.5oz)

Article to be continued…

Why would anyone want to shoot an animal or bird just for sport? If it’s not vermin, it’s not about to attack you and it’s not for food, why shoot something just for “fun”?

There are also other issues such as the lead from the cartridges contaminating the ground and being ingested by wild life which causes lead poisoning.

Plus if you are walking in the country beware the hunting season starts 15th August and finishes end 28th February and Hunting takes place on Sundays – Thursday & Public Holidays

Please share your views both hunters and those who object to hunting. I am trying to keep an open mind here, but I’m struggling – to hunt purely for “fun” seems so morally wrong to me…

Picture courtesy of http://www.wildanimalsonline.com

Devon Clotted Cream Teas – Seriously Naughty

The “foodie” highlight of my trip to Devon in England last week, to visit my Mother, was to disappear for an hours peace and quiet and seriously indulge myself with a “Devon Clotted Cream Tea”.

Devon Clotted Cream Tea - A foodies heaven!

Devon Clotted Cream Tea - A foodies heaven!


I had not intended to succumb to temptation due to my expanding waistline, diet, sense of guilt etc, but as I walked past all the cafes and saw people eating “cream teas”, I could not resist.

I just had to have one!

I just had to have one!


Cream teas are to Piglet like Eve’s “apple” was to Adam. To be honest, after just 24hrs with my Mother I was definitely in need of some comfort food. Please trust me when I tell you I needed an hour or two alone for my nerves to recover and gather my thoughts for the next onslaught. My Mother, at 85, is not only cantankerous, but as difficult to reason with as a nest full of angry wasps. This drains me both physically and mentally.

A Devon Cream Tea, for the uninitiated, usually consists of a scone, thick clotted cream and homemade jam plus a pot of tea. Hmmm delicious

This is probably as typically English as you can get. Yes, the cream and jam combination gives me the heartburn from hell, but occasionally it’s worth suffering the discomfort.

Enjoying the sunshine and my Devon Cream Tea

Enjoying the sunshine and my Devon Cream Tea

Sitting down at a pavement café in the sunshine I placed my order for a Devon Cream Tea and waited for it to arrive.

Two women sat at the table opposite chatting about this and that. It made such a change for me to be able to eavesdrop on a conversation I could actually understand. My Cream Tea arrived; a pot of tea, TWO scones, a dish of jam and real devon clotted cream – what a treat!

I promise the diet starts tomorrow!

I promise the diet starts tomorrow!

I carefully cut each of the scones in half, spooned on the jam and then the clotted cream – a food orgy indeed! I was just about to take my first mouthful when I heard one of the women on the table opposite say…
“Oooh I could only eat one of these scones, two is just plain greedy”
I felt absolutely mortified for being such a glutton and wished the ground would open up to devour both me and my Devon Cream Tea; at least I could finish one or maybe two scones away from their prying eyes.

Hey, the diet starts tomorrow – live for today!

Related posts:
I hate diets because I love food…
Mrs Blobby’s 10kg Fat Attack!

SCONE RECIPE
This is a really simple recipe for scones. I am unable to buy the clotted cream in Portugal but I can still enjoy them with my homemade jam.

Ingredients
8oz plain flour
pinch of salt
½ level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 level teaspoons cream of tartar
1½oz margarine
4 tablespoons (approx) of milk
4 tablespoons (approx) of water

Method
Mix together (sift) flour, cream of tartar and bicarbonate of soda into large bowl.
Cut up margarine into small chunks and rub into flour until breadcrumb texture.
Gradually add milk and water and form into soft, but manageable dough.
Roll the dough to about ½” thick.
With pastry cutter cut into 2” rounds cutting as many scones as possible by utilizing the trimmings.
Place scones onto a preheated ungreased baking tray and brush with them with milk.
Bake near top of oven 450F for approx 10mins, until risen and are lightly golden brown.

The Devil is always in the “Detail”

Hmmm nice...our sludgey freezer

We recently went to France and during our absence our electricity tripped off and we were left without power for over a week. When friends informed us we may have a problem with our electricity we were not too concerned as we were “insured”. OK, items such as food in our freezer were covered on our home contents insurance, so why worry? I had to smile, before leaving for France we had taken advantage of a supermarkets 25% promotional discount voucher so both freezers were stacked to capacity. Oh well, not to worry we were insured.

When we returned home yes our fridge/freezer and freezer were full of rotting food and in a right mess; black mold, rotting decaying sludge and the smell, as we opened the doors, was so awful it took your breath away.

Fortunately, our insurance broker’s office was still open so we telephoned immediately to ask their advice. Mr Piglet explained the situation, “No problem” he was told, “Take photos, make a list of the contents including value of all the items lost as a result of the power-failure”. We sent off the details as requested and sat back and waited….and waited…

The insurance brokers also advised us if the fridge and freezer were damaged we would need to get a technician’s report to accompany our claim. Luckily we managed to eradicate the dreadful smell, by using chunks of charcoal so a claim was not necessary.

Several weeks later Mr Piglet chased our claim for all the food we had lost, only to be informed we were not covered! Mr Piglet went BBQ red with anger. Apparently, we were only covered if we could prove the electricity supplier EDP failed to supply electricity for over twelve hours which then resulted in the loss of food. Our electricity supply had tripped due to a power surge and as such needed to be reset – pretty difficult as we were away. Even if it had not tripped how could we prove how long we were without electricity?. The wretched woman at the insurance brokers never told us this when we telephoned her for advice. I had to peel Mr Piglet off the ceiling such was his anger. Does this mean if you are on holiday you are not covered? What WHAT! What!

What’s the point of having insurance?

I sighed; it took me hours to list all the food and work out all the prices for the claim – what a waste of time.

As they say, “The devil is always in the detail, and on this occasion the detail proved to be a devil of a detail…are you still with me?

Am I alone? Please share your “insurance” experience below.

Related posts: An Emotional Rollercoaster

Weekly Photo Challenge: Tiny

Tiny Yellow Spider

Tiny Yellow Spider in Portugal

This weeks WordPress “Weekly Photo Challenge” is Tiny 

I was removing the weeds around my Jade plant when I came nose to eyeball with this tiny yellow spider. No I did not scream; I’m not that much of a wimp, but I did go and grab my camera. Look at it’s eyes – awww it’s so cute!

I’ve just spent the last thirty minutes trying to identify my new friend, but without success. I am always interested to know whether a bug is likely to bite or sting me so I can take the appropriate action.

The Brown Recluse Spider looks harmless

The Brown Recluse Spider looks harmless


Call me cautious but, the most innocuous looking spider I’ve seen in Portugal is the Brown Recluse Spider looks harmless and if you are bitten you MUST seek medical advice immediately.

Can anyone with a spider fettish identify my tiny yellow friend?

Growing Fruit and Vegetables in Portugal: May

The diary of my challenge to grow my own fruit and vegetables in Portugal continues. Seasons,  soil conditions and climate are totally different from the UK,  so gardening here is one big experiment.
 
I am not a knowledgeable gardener, nor do I have a “green thumb”, but my enthusiasm makes up for what I lack in these areas.
 
Unfortunately, I am unable to grow enough fruit and vegetables to be 
self-sufficient as my humble plot is really small. The “return on investment” in terms of time, effort and cost is zilch, but I enjoy the challenge and the convenience of organic fresh salad, veg and fruits just a few steps away! 
My Raised Vegetable Garden 14/05/11
My Raised Vegetable Garden 14/05/11
How quickly everything has grown since last month!
 
SQUASH
Squash plants 150511

Squash plants 150511

I’ve never grown Squash before but as a friend in Northern Portugal sent me some seeds I thought I would try.

Although my squash plants are still very small they are just beginning to produce flowers. Seeds planted 7/03/11
I think I’ve planted them to close together – they looked so tiny when they were first planted!
Although a different variety I hope they grow as well as the ones I spotted on “Enjoy Creating’s” blog : http://enjoyingcreating.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/round-squash-my-favorite-garden-veggies-to-grow/  Squash plants in flowers 22/05/11
 
CUCUMBER 
  
First cucumber 15/05/11
First cucumber 15/05/11

Cucumbers grown from seeds planted 10/2/11

 
ZUCCHINI
 
Unfortunately, the white mold that appeared on the leaves of the Zucchini plants caused many of the Zucchinis to rot. I am unsure as to the cause of the problem – perhaps humidity or overcrowding?
Any suggestions please?
Zucchini Jungle 15/05/11

Zucchini Jungle 15/05/11

 I braved the mosquitos and removed most of the leaves to improve air circulation. Not sure if this will help but it certainly cleared some space as you can see below.

Zucchini leaves removed

Zucchini leaves removed to encourage air circulation

 
Zucchinis rescued from jungle
Zucchinis rescued from jungle
 I rescued the above Zucchinis and used them in my Zucchini and Tomato Chutney I made on Saturday. I used the same recipe as last year… hmmm delicious! 
 
GARLIC
 
Garlic grown in pots
Garlic grown in pots – is it ready?
I planted cloves of garlic last December. I am not sure if its ready to pull but the leaves are starting to go brown and leaves in the other pot of garlic are have rust spots.
 
STRAWBERRIES
Prolific strawberry plants
Prolific strawberry plants

I rescued this crate and it is now home to some strawberry plants. I use netting from potato sacks to protect the strawberries from birds.

What else am I growing?

Sorrel, spring onion, spinach, chilli peppers, peppers, tomatoes and rhubarb. No show for the carrots I planted – I will try again in the autumn.

HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW? 
 
I am looking for some ideas on how to get rid of slugs, snails, blackfly and ants without using chemicals any suggestions folks?