Saturday, July 28, 2012

BlackCurrant Harvest

"The Black Currant, by it's viscid, sweet, aromatic juice (thickened over the fire), makes a 'robb' of capital use for relieving sore throat, or quinsy. This old-fashioned 'robb' or 'rob', is an inspissated fruit juice mixed with honey, or sugar, to the consistence of a conserve, and is to be preferred before the berries themselves."

Meals Medicinal by W.T.Fernie, M.D.

I didn't realize until recently that it is still unlawful to possess, propagate or sell the black currant bush in many states and inspectors are ordered to condemn and destroy any that they find. This would account for the absence of black currant flavoured product in Canada during my childhood - the exception being blackcurrant pastilles imported from Britain (yum!). This year we've put away 4 bottles of schnapps and a jar of jam.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wet Wet Wet

This photo sums up 'summer' in the garden so far. In the greenhouse I'm growing mushrooms and mould, outside I'm battling potato blight, the slugs ate all but half a dozen carrot seedlings, red currant and cherry fruit was nonexistent and I don't think there will be much honey. On the plus side, I haven't seen a cabbage white in three months! Nor have I had to spend any time watering the garden. They say it's all going to change this weekend and we will have bright sunny weather just in time for the olympics. Hmm, I would have wished it contrariwise.
My well camouflaged helpmeet.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Lambs to the Slaughter

Well I kept these seedlings in the greenhouse until I couldn't put off transplanting any longer. They looked big enough to fend for themselves, able to survive a few nibbles. But, voilĂ , the slugs are operating in much the same way as the fox - killing, beheading and leaving the spoils strewn around uneaten! Grrr!
And this from B. in the morning's epost.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hairy Glandular Trichomes!

More potato flowers. This to show the more hirsute varieties, particularly 'Boy's Pig'which has little hairs on both sides of the leaves as well (click on picture to enlarge). The hairs or trichomes on potato leaves release phenols and phenol oxidizing enzymes which react to form a sticky substance which hardens to entrap small-bodied insects. I think the first round makes them woozy then in the struggle to escape, they disrupt a second type of trichome which releases polyphenol oxidases. These oxidize the phenols into quinone and it hardens like cement around the feet of the unsuspecting creature. So, more hairs = less aphids! I will save seed from this one particularly furry plant for next year.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

First Tomatoes

Jaune Flamme from the greenhouse.