August letter from The Ferns chat about pumpkins, peaches, moths and frogs


I was listening early today to BBC Farming Today and there was a man who hailed from Africa and who had a farm. Part of his crop was pumpkin leaves. This reminded me of when we lived in Papua New Guinea and  Papuans would always have pumpkin tips for sale in the market. We would both buy them or grow pumpkins ourselves.


A pumpkin tip. Where my hand is, shows the point at which to cut.

The secret it to just use the tips – about 5 ” (c 15cm). You need perhaps  7 or 8 to cook for say two people either as a side dish or to put in,  for example, a curry dish. They need to be fried very gently with the addition of a little water. They are really very tasty.


                                             My squash plant

The only problem is   that it is  difficult to find enough tips on one plant, which is all my garden can hold. Here it is growing over an old compost heap. It you have a few plants growing in a large garden or allotment, then have a try picking and cooking them.  They are very tasty!


The peach crop is looking lovely. We have a small tree, on a south-facing wall. You may be lucky if you are a visitor at the time of harvesting which will be this month, and you may get fresh peaches on the B & B menu.

peachesThe only problem with growing it on a wall is that the slugs and snails crawl up the wall and get onto the tree to eat the peaches!  At this time of the year, I clear all  around the base of the tree, so at least there aren’t the places for the slugs to hide. Also we try to get the tree off the wall, by putting meshing between the tree and the wall, but I suspect that the slugs just crawl along the mesh!

Are they cute, or are they monsters?


Moths in the Garden

Rob and kath

We had two B & B visitors recently who were studying  entomology at Nottingham University.   They set up a moth trap in the garden to see what moths we had in our garden.  I think we were all hoping that an elephant hawk moth might appear – but it didn’t . The machine, which had an ultravoilet lamp, shone all night

Some of the moths in the box

Some of the moths in the box

There were many moths in the box in the morning.

Quite a large one was the longest named UK species:  “the lesser broad bordered yellow underwing”.

Rob finds the longest named UK moth: the lesser broad bordered yellow underwing!

Rob finds the longest named UK moth: the lesser broad bordered yellow underwing!

Here it is close up.

Here it is close up.

It looked rather dull with its wings closed but when they fly they have  yellow orange wings.

At the  same time we were being greeted by three frogs in the pond croaking. Lovely!

frogs in the pond Aug 2015This was great fun, thanks to Rob and Kath for entertaining and educating us!

Have a great summer!