About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Friday, 12 August 2011

All fall down

This post has nothing at all to do with the previous one, except perhaps for the inclusion of peas. We have quite a lot of peas at the moment; I may be slightly preoccupied with them.

There are quite a lot of plants that are usually offered support by gardeners. I don't mean a shoulder to cry on or encouragement to buck their ideas up, though these may be offered too, I mean canes and bits of string and suchlike. I have been observing some of these plants closely this year, and have come to the following conclusions:

Some of them, including peas and cucumbers, have no interest in standing up on their own, and actively seek out support. You really can't get away without the bits of string for these plants.


A cucumber plant seeking support. The clue is the tendrils.

There are other plants, including broad beans and tomatoes, that show every sign of falling over deliberately. They start out growing vertically, but as the fruit/pods form, they take a more horizontal approach. I used to think this was because we'd bred plants with larger and larger fruit, until the plants could no longer stand the weight of them, but looking at the plants in my garden, that theory just doesn't hold up. The key point here is that the stems aren't floppy and collapsing; they're just as firm as they ever were, but heading in a different direction.


Tomato plants going over there, if you don't mind.

It's my belief that this is a strategy on the part of the plant to get its seeds as far away from the parent plant as possible. Working on this theory, I haven't bothered to support these plants (it's not just laziness, honest!) The main disadvantage is that it's a bit more difficult to find the crop when it comes to harvesting. In addition, bean pods sitting on the wet ground are a bit more likely to go mouldy than those held up in the air, but I haven't had much mould damage. We'll see how it goes with the tomatoes, but for the time being, I'm letting them spread themselves around, if that's what they want to do.

1 comment:

  1. I've not supported some of my tomatoes either - but that IS sheer laziness ;)

    I've grown some "bush" tomatoes this year, which I've not done before and one of those has grown in a really interesting way - it grew up to about 3ft then "flopped" over (but as you say, not actually flopped, just redirected) and started a whole load of (what would have been) side shoots growing vertically along almost the whole length of the main stem -- resulting in a whole lot more foliage/flowers/fruits in a similar amount of space. Not sure that is what it's supposed to do but it seems to be working for that plant.

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