Friday, 14 December 2012

Choosing my prize

Well I thought that would be a difficult job, choosing which plants to get as my prize. I didn't know whether to go for tools (I already have loads) or to go for enough seeds to fill the plot next year. The seeds won out. I could easily have spent hundreds of pounds, so many plant & seeds, gardener's heaven. I whittled them down to those I really love to eat and some that I have never tried. I also chose a plant and the Dutch Iris bulbs I so loved.
So a big thank you goes out to Spalding Bulb & Plant Co. for my free plants.
Just for everyone else below is my choice.

Savoy Cabbage 'Melissa' F1 Hybrid

£4.50
Mixed Lettuce Seed Tape
£2.75
Cherry Tomato ‘Black Cherry’
£1.75
Sweetcorn 'Bloody Butcher'
£2.50
Parsnip ‘Guernsey’ Seed Tape
£2.75
Cucumber 'Confida' F1 Hybrid
£3.95
Climbing Scarlet Runner 'Lady Di'
£3.95
Broccoli 'Marathon F1 Hybride'
£3.50
Pumpkin 'Atlantic Giant'
£2.50
Climbing French Bean 'Regius'
£2.50
Japanese Anemones
£9.25
Opium Poppy 'Danish Flag'
£2.25
Seed Pads Fine Chives
£1.99
Dutch Iris 'Silvery Beauty'
£5.50
£49.64

Bulbs

Wow, I won the  Spalding Plant & Bulb Company's Spring Bulb competition. This has been a good year after all, I was sitting there thinking I don't have much luck with competitions (never won the lottery, well OK I have but only £7) and I though "hold on" you won the Culpepper's book of Herbs from Tanya and now the Spalding's blog comp, not to mention getting a photo into Amateur Gardening magazine. Sue was a runner up and I checked out some of the other sites that were involved in the competition. I'm doing well.
My plants aren't though. The pigeons have had at most of what is left down on the allotment, the last few Calabrese heads, the Broccoli spears, the cabbages are shredded and most of the (blown) Brussels Sprouts have been eaten. So far the Kale is the only thing they haven't touched.
I did find some Beetroot hiding under the ground, I thought I had better lift those that were there, thinking they were small, but turned out that under the soil there were some large ones.
No photos today, too wet and windy and there isn't anything to look at down on the plot now.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Spalding blogger's club

Well, those of you who also read Sue's blog will know all about the competition from Spalding's. The idea is we have to choose up to 5 bulbs for a spring patio tub display. Well it harder than I thought. As I had already read Sue's post I thought I had better not use the same bulbs, although I must say she had picked 2 that I liked very much, the Fritillaria and the Tulips. Now I'm not one for bulbs at all and I certainly don't like yellow, in fact I have quite a fear of Daffodils. But I do love Alliums so of course I knew I had to include these, but Spalding's has quite a few of them to choose from and I couldn't possibly choose them all (or could I? don't worry I didn't).





So for my first bulb I chose Allium Karataviense 'Ivory Queen' The leaves are silvery-green with pale purple veins, and the flowers are a pinkish-white to cream.

'Ivory Queen' is unique, low-growing, very decorative and excellent for pots and planters (according to Spalding). Also suitable as a dried flower.

It flowers from May to June, to a height of about 25cm.









For my second bulb I chose the Sicilian Honey Garlic (yes I can get away with this, it's not exactly an Allium).

This bulb grows to about 1m in height and has very pretty flowers of green and white with touches of pink/lilac. I felt this would bring a touch of warmth to the Allium's contrast of cool colours.

They flower June/July and need to be planted about 10cm deep. 




Now I decided to only choose 3 different bulbs. Less is more as the saying goes. To be honest I usually only put 2 different plants in my pots at home, one tall and one trailing or low growing. Either that or ones that flower at different times but of course that would defeat the object of a Spring flowering pot.




So for my third bulb I chose my absolute favourite, Dutch Iris 'Silvery Beauty'.

I thought that the colour would compliment the Alliums and the grass-like leaves would be able to "poke" up through the wider leaves of the Alliums.

They have a slightly warmer shade of purple which would bring the cool shades of the Alliums and the warm shades of the Garlic together.

The Dutch Iris grows to about 50cm in height, just above the Alliums and allowing the Garlic to stand clear of the tops of the flowers. They flower from May to July.


Now Spalding Bulb Blogger Club didn't specify what type of "tub" they wanted us to use, as the bulbs I chose are silvery/mauve I feel they would look good in a stone colour coloured bowl, not too shallow, not too deep. Too shallow would not allow for the layering of the bulbs and of course different sized bulbs are planted at different depths (drainage material also needs to be placed in the bottom) and I feel that if it were too deep the height of the Garlic wouldn't be appreciated.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Busy week

Well I only managed to pop down the plot today for about 5 minutes, I picked some of the sprouting broccoli. The headed broccoli "sakura" is also producing some more heads from where I cut the large heads off, they need a little bit more time to get a bit bigger, hopefully they won't get hit by frost as they are not as hardy as the sprouting type.

I have been very busy this week with other things. As I had the week off I thought I would go and see some of my dog friends and give Fizz a day out. So first I took a trip down to New Romney to visit Jake and his owners, then on Saturday I took a walk around Danson Park with Bella and her mummy.

Fizz & Jake

Fizz & Bella
Jake is a Bernese Mountain Dog just like Fizz and Bella is a Swiss Mountain Dog which are related to Berners, there are 4 types of Mountain dogs from Switzerland.

We all had a great time. New friends meet through the wonder of the Internet.

Sometimes this Internet thing can be a good place, but not always which is a shame. I must say that although I am on both blogger and FB I have found blogger to be a much nicer place. Too many liars and arguments on FB for my liking. I belong to a few groups on there and it seems that the people that run them have a bit of a "god complex". I think they would like blogger much better, after all a blog post is all about the writer and their opinions (me,me,me), which is great and if you don't like it you don't have to read or follow them. Blogger is more like a diary, and I have no problem with any one reading it. I like to pop over to other's blogs and see what's going on with them, some make me laugh, some are more informative, some about dogs and some about gardening. I thank you all for sharing your days with me.

Today's blog hasn't been much about gardening, sorry. It's nearly winter so there isn't much going on. In a few weeks we will be witnessing frosts, snow, rain & wind. There might even be a bit of sun too.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Weather

As a Brit we love talking about the weather, usually along the lines of how bad it is. Yes this week has been horrible, we have had spells of rain but it has been nothing compared to parts of the USA and the islands near it. Many of my on-line friends are without power, heating, fresh water and low on food. I wish there was something I could do to help them but I am here and they are there. Money is not the problem, they have that, but they can not find petrol to get to anything, and without power no heating either, and it's cold. The electric companies are trying to get things sorted but with the infrastructure down they are looking at a long wait before the power goes on in some areas. Lets hope repairs are quick. It has reminded me of the Great Hurricane we had here in 1987 (Michael Fish will never live that down), how people moaned at that, really it was nothing certainly not in the same league as Sandy or Katrina. We lost power at out house and it took 10 days before it came back on, so we had to use candles and boil our water on the gas cooker but it was all fun. Just like the power cut we had a couple of years back, got the candles out and read a book.

So, down to the plot. Bonfire to get rid of all the branches I cut down as well as the brambles I dug up. That all kept me nice and warm. I also started off my bug hotel. It's not easy getting pallets these days. Companies won't let you have them anymore, they have to go back for recycling. Now I know that's not entirely true, the ones with names on have to go back as they are usually thicker and reusable, but the cheap ones don't, these can be thrown away. I suppose some companies may have their own policies but it costs them to have them taken away, so, why can't I recycle them. I managed to get some, took them from the bins. I'm not sure how high it is supposed to be as the picture didn't really come with instructions. I also don't know how I'm supposed to keep mice out of it. I have just stacked the pallets up to get an idea, I have yet to get all the bits that need to go in it. I want to try and make one side suitable for hedgehogs.





I'm not sure about the top ones, they will probably come off, I think 4 high should be ok. I have to get sticks and pots etc to make the "rooms" now.

I have a funeral to go to tomorrow so I won't be down the plot and Sunday is looking like rain (according to the weather site to the right here- that has been wrong all week). I have work all week too.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Packing up for winter

The weather here has got cold and wet, well it never really got dry this year. I did go down the plot yesterday and did a little digging. I also trimmed some trees that were over hanging the seating area. I will have to have a bonfire soon but need to wait for it to dry out. Weather forecast on the right says it's going to be dry all week so hopefully by Friday it will be dry enough.

I spent today packing up the green house with bubble wrap. Not an easy job and even worse when you can't take everything out first. I still can't figure out how you are supposed to attach the bubble wrap to the ends, I mean they give you these stupid plastic things which go in the runner but there isn't one at the ends, so how are you supposed to do it. I have used some tape that I was encouraged to buy last year when I got the bubble wrap but that ends up leaving white marks on my glass. Would be simple if it was a wood framed greenhouse. In my old on, which I wish I had repaired rather than replaced with a metal one, I just used to use drawing pins. That was so easy. Although I have to say whist trawling internet sites last year I'm sure I came across someone who put their bubble wrap on the outside. That would be easy but I don't know how well it would work. It would be great if we could just shrink wrap the whole thing. Mmm, that gives me an idea, could I get away with wrapping cling film around it? Pound shop time I think.

I still need to mow my lawn, it's got quite high, but it's been too wet and I still haven't got round to pruning or planting. I have decided that I no longer want my Weeping Cherry tree. It's not too big so it could be dug up and given a new home somewhere. I want to get the one that grows upwards instead of outwards, although it only comes in white flowers. There are a few more plants I want to get but I will start looking around for them next year now.

I keep forgetting to take photos, sorry. Between gardening, work and the dog I often forget to update the blog, there is also Fizz's blog (the dog) and FaceBook to update too, although I will never Tweet, leave that for the birds. I'm still trying to source things for the plot as cheaply as possible. I am still on the look out for more pallets and thin I may have found some. I intend to make a bug hotel next year, putting it behind the compost bays (my plot is getting longer & longer). This is what it is supposed to look like


I can't guarantee mine will look this good, in fact it definitely won't. But I will try to remember to take photos (unless it's really bad). I'm not sure how far in all this stuff is supposed to go, if it's just around the outside or if it's supposed to go all the way into the middle. I am hoping to get more slow worms and this time get a photo of them for Sue over at Green Lane as she said she had never seen one at her plot.

Monday, 22 October 2012

I took the dog for a walk today. The weather is very misty and damp so I din't bother to go to the plot. It should be ok down there. So I took some photos of the woods we went to. It was originally part of the forest that ran from London down to the coast, but like everything, most of it has been lost. This part had been used to grow conifers, now the National Trust has taken it over they are cutting down the old fir trees and re-planting our native trees. So I decided to take some photos of the firs before they are gone.





Friday, 19 October 2012

Rain

Wet, wet, wet, not the group but the weather down here at the moment. It is bucketing down, the little river is almost over flowing, the plots are covered in mud and only the stupid ventured down, oh yes, that was me. I got soaked, my feet were floating in my shoes and my coat (wool) is twice as heavy.

At last I made it back to B & Q to pick up the polystyrene trays the lady said she would put aside for me. Something for free. I have used them in between the pallets to hope fully make my compost heap retain heat. I have read different methods on other blogs on how to make a hot heap, I read you need to use paving slabs on the bottom then make your walls thick to retain heat, this should make the micro-organisms work rather than worms. Well I haven't quite done this, I put plastic on the bottom and only 3 walls have been insulated, we will see if it helps. I also put black plastic on the sides to help heat it up when the sun shines (laugh hysterically).


I decided it was time to harvest my pumpkins and butternut squash, I don't think they are going to ripen in this weather so have brought them home and put them in the greenhouse.


The upside is that my cabbages are doing really well, I'm not sure if they are summer or winter ones, will have to find the packet and have a look. The celery is still very small, don't know if they are going to produce much. There is one courgette left, the plant has had enough, and so have I. I don't have a clue how to cook it or what to put it in. Only going to grow one plant next year.


Lets hope next year is great growing weather, I want lots of carrots and beetroot. I also need to get some parsnip seeds, I love parsnips and haven't got any this year.

So over the winter I will need to work out what I'm going to plant and get everything ready for the new season. Next year I may be able to record my harvests too.

Oh I nearly forgot, I took video of my river.

video

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Autumn

I hate this time of the year. The leaves are dropping and the plants are going to sleep. That's how I feel too. The days are getting even shorter and the weather is miserable. It's not been a very good year at all, well it was ok to start with but then hurting my knees meant I couldn't put everything into the plot. I suffer from S. A. D. that's seasonal affective disorder, normally it only sets in at this time of the year but it's been so miserable all year that it's been there in the background all the time. I have tried to keep myself as busy as I could, but there were days when that was difficult to do. Sometimes I wish I could hibernate, but I do like snow, maybe it reflects enough of the sunlight to help me.

It will be Halloween soon, I have a couple of pumpkins which are now turning orange, they should be ready by the end of the month. I picked a couple of the butternut squash too but they aren't ready and I do hope they turn just like pumpkins do. I have never grown them before so I don't know what to expect from them. I will definitely start them off earlier next year as they didn't get chance to ripen, maybe that was just due to the weather, lets hope it's better next year.

I forgot to take photos today, I spent 2hrs on the plot. I took down my beans and put them on the compost heap. Wandered down to see the bees (there are 2 more hives there now), they haven't visited me since I moved the blue box, maybe they don't like it now. I did get another head of calabrese and the cabbages are doing very well, maybe a little too well. I don't like cabbage so I have no idea what I'm going to do with it all. The celery is tiny, don't think anything is going to come of that now.

I need to try and get on with things down there now, the weeds are going to slow down their growth so I should have time to do the digging and clear up. I still need to get a shed but finances are very short at the moment. The subs are due by the end of this month, thank goodness they are only £10. I have read on some other blogs they are being charged nearly 10 times this.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Free Kindle

The free kindle app is here, for those who don't have a kindle you can download the app free of charge, that way you can read the book in the last post for free on your PC, iPhone etc.

I like free stuff, so hurry.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000425503

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Free book alert!!!

Quick whilst it's still free. Kindle book from Amazon, free to download. The  Vertical Garden  


  http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Vertical-Gardening-Guidebook-ebook/dp/B009DADXLQ/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1349637204&sr=8-14

Or for those of you in USA 
 http://www.amazon.com/Vertical-Gardening-Guidebook-Beautiful-ebook/dp/B009DADXLQ

I haven't read it yet so I don't know how good it is but it's free so it can't hurt to have a read.

Friday, 28 September 2012

The Leaning Tower of Beansa

It's been raining on and off all week, some very heavy down pours too. Got down to the plot today, just to check on everything. The wind and rain have had an effect and luckily it wasn't too bad.


Leaning tower of beansa
 Play on words there, sorry couldn't resist. Not sure how well you can see it from this photo but the beans are really leaning to the right. It's heavier on that side as the bean plants grew better there, I think they preferred the shade of the other plants. The sun comes from the left of the picture so not sure what that means directionally for the plot, I think it means I've made the beds North/South facing, no maybe East/West. Depends on which way you look at it. The shorter sides face the sun, they would have been the other way round if I had kept to my original plans. I don't think the plants mind.

Butternut Squash bed
I thought I would put some plastic sheeting over the Butternut Squashes to help raise the temperature and therefore help ripening. I don't know if it's the right thing to do as I've never grown them before. We will have to see if it helps. I've made sure there is plenty of ventilation, I can always use the plastic for something else later.
Tyre stack
Whilst I was at B&Q I nipped over to Kwick Fit and asked them for some tyres. They were really helpful, I hadn't expected that. They are currently having a re-fit so they are working under some difficult conditions there, but they found some tyres that I could have, and they gave me large ones too. Now I've stacked them at the plot so I hope no-one complains, I will fill with compost and manure and use them to grow pumpkins in next year.  At the moment I've put my netting in one to stop it getting blown away. Hopefully I will get a shed soon and I will be able to store it all in there when I'm not using it.


Today's harvest

Well there is still lots to do down the plot, but I am getting there. To be honest though I think my plot is the neatest, I have less weeds and even the bit that isn't dug over yet is tidy. Some of the plots are overgrown and have lots of mess on them, but so far all the owners are very nice. 



Friday, 21 September 2012

Bee watering hole

Remember the blue storage box that was left behind by the last tenants? I finally got round to doing something about it. I dug a hole and buried it. Then I filled it with stones and rocks, so now the bees can drink without drowning and hopefully frogs can also drink here and eat my slugs. All I need to do now is put some plants around it, I want some to trail into it not tall plants to hide it. It didn't take long to do it and it's just at the edge of my patio, I don't think it will be in the way there. It's raining out now, a bit too fine so I don't think it's going to be enough to water the plants. There is a water mains that has burst, all the water is coming down the little river that runs along the plot. It is lovely as for the first time it's actually flowing and you can hear it. Sitting on the bench was so nice having a babbling brook behind me.


I don't know why but blogger wants to put my photo in sideways. Just tilt your head or computer, that's what it really looks like. Need to sweep the dirt off my nice new patio.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Blogger bad

No, not I'm a bad blogger, blogger is bad. I've been forced over to the new look and I don't like it. It's messed everything up and now I've lost all my favourite blogs I follow. I have to re-enter all the sites now and there are some who's addresses I can't remember, at least I have some of them listed on the main page so those I can do, but there are others I follow that I didn't put down because they weren't about gardening. Oh well.

I got down the plot yesterday and finally met the man who's plot is next to mine. He hasn't done much to it but he is old and uses a stick so it must be difficult for him. Mind you my knees still hurt and I can't kneel down still so have been sitting on an upturned box to weed.

I raided the neighbour's (at home) skip for rubble and laid the patio. It's not too bad. It still doesn't look exactly flat but I did use a spirit level. There looks to me like there is a bump at one point.  I also grabbed the pallet that was there and put that at the front of the compost bay. I don't know if I will get down there today as I am very stiff and my knees are really hurting today. I think I can be forgiven.




One of the other plot holders from further down came and had a chat to me. He was telling me that the people who run the site (on behalf of the council) want the guy who has the first plot to leave as they don't like him putting down cardboard, odd, they haven't moaned at me with the carpet and he seems a nice person, he keeps it going unlike some of the others. There are a lot of untended plots, maybe they aught to put their energy into making the owners tend them or give them up and finding new people to take them over.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Another day (well yesterday was)

Yes, I did go down to the plot today, and yesterday. I had a big bonfire yesterday and cut back loads of nettles and brambles. It looks very clear behind the compost heap now. I also managed to put the two pallets up to form another bay to the compost area. This time though I dig out the roots of the weeds that were there. I still haven't managed to lay the paving slabs. I will try and sort something out tomorrow.

Now I left the bonfire smouldering yesterday and when I got there today there was a little bit that hadn't burned so I just quickly piled it back into the middle ready to sort out another fire later in the week. Except what I didn't expect was for the wind to blow and the fire started up again. Bloody hell. Talk about dangerous.

Any way it's looking good. I have got onion sets and garlic to plant at some point. All I need to do now is figure out some winter planting. Haven't got a clue what to grow. It needs to be something that I can sow now in the greenhouse and plant out in a month or sow. I think I can also sow peas directly into the soil and over winter them, broad beans too. I have never grown anything over winter before so I really haven't got a clue. I do have Kale in already and some of my broccoli were supposed to be purple sprouting but I can't figure out which ones they are as they all seem to be green. I think it's too late now to sow some more.


Clear behind the compost bays

New bay added to existing heap.

Now All I need to do there is clear the bit in front so it's easier to get to. I also want to find somewhere to bury the blue box and put some stones in for the bees. Some of them have drowned trying to get a drink and I don't want that to happen. I will raid my neighbours skip tomorrow.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Where did it all go

Well I can't believe it's already half way through September. It's flown by. I have been popping down to the plot but keep forgetting to take photos and updating the blog. I did remember to take photos of my harvest today but forgot to take them of the stuff I took to mum's. She had a bag of Desiree potatoes, loads of tomatoes and some courgettes which were more like marrows (dad loves marrow). I picked one of my pumpkins as the plant had died, it is nearly ripe so I have put it in the greenhouse to harden off.



I pulled out all the pea plants, they were all dead, hoed and pulled out all the weeds. The chard is still growing so I have left them in and I have taken the netting off that was there. Looks a bit neater now.


I picked all the beans I could, some had been hiding from me so they had got quite large. I don't like them when they get big as they get hard and don't taste as nice as the baby ones. I let Dale eat the big ones as he never complains, he loves runner beans. I hoed around them too.



Now even though I put net and a barrier in place the badgers have been back and had the last of my sweetcorn. So to date we have managed to only get two very small cobs. I'm not sure if it is badgers, I found another shrew (alive this time) and wonder if it is this that is eating them. The Butternut Squash are getting very big and there are lots of little squashes on the plants. I'm hoping there is enough good weather to get them a bit bigger. I pulled up the remains of the sweetcorn so there is plenty of room there for them. I got hold of a load more horse manure so have dumped that on one of the beds and will sort it out later. There is still a lot to dig over and I will do this if we get a good spell in the winter. I cut a lot back and have piled this up and will burn it when it gets a bit drier.


Now I have to also finish off the patio ready to get a shed. I will also have to think about what I can do for some fencing to keep all these pests off my plot.

So this is my harvest for today, the last two pea pods, some overgrown zucchini, lots of beans and some calabrese.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Famous at last

Ha! I forgot to tell you all. I made the FB page in Amateur Gardening (magazine). My bird scarers were in the mag on page 47 dated 25 August.


I have some more ideas, I like making things, especially if they don't cost anything.

Harvesting

I don't know what happened to last week, one moment it was there, the next, gone. I didn't manage to get down to the plot until today. The weeds have grown, so they had to come out. There were beans to pick and zucchini (ok, marrows) to cut. My pumpkins are getting bigger, one is beginning to ripen. I have 2 Butternut squashes too. The sweetcorn hasn't done too well, at least the badgers haven't been able to get to them.

The beans are running away with me. They have grown so tall I've had to trim the tops. I missed picking them this week so a lot of them have got too big and stringy.

The main reason I didn't get down there was I bought a freezer and had to install it. Well that was a story and a half. First of all I had found a lovely one for sale (£35 pre-loved) and e-mailed to ask if she still had it, by the time I called there was someone else interested. So I looked elsewhere and found one for £20, phoned and they still had it, asked me to call round after 3pm on Friday. So there's me ringing their doorbell at 3.40pm but no answer, so I phoned the number but no-one answered. Next thing I know she's opening the door. Well first, there were 2 fat, lazy blokes in the front room with 2 noisy, vicious Jack Russell dogs, the later of which decided to bite me (not happy).  The freezer was still in use, so I had to wait whilst they emptied it and carried it out of the cupboard. What apiece of junk, but me being me and not liking confrontation paid and left with it. Now the lady had told me on the phone that they were moving and needed to get rid of it, from the looks of things I think they thought I was the bailiffs and that's why they didn't open the door. It took 2 hours with the hairdryer to defrost it and another hour to clean it. The seal is broken, that's why it was so frosted up. Well I called LEC and they said the model was obsolete so I have to call them back on monday to see if they can find a similar seal. Then to top it all, the first lady phones back to say she still has the freezer available (oh bollocks I bet that one was clean). Any way this one is clean now and working (just).

My knees are still troubling me. I have an appointment with the doc on friday. I managed to get down the plot for 4 hours today. I dug up some more potatoes for mum. Cleared away weeds, got bitten by ants (hurts) and picked lots of veg. The peas have had it but I did get some (see photo). I don't think I will buy them again, they really didn't do very well at all. There is still plenty of seed so when that runs out I will try another type.

The sewage spill is still there, the council obviously didn't find the source. It stinks and it's all the way down to my plot now.





The beetroot that I sowed earlier in the year has finally started to sprout. I did grow some in modules and planted them out, they are the larger ones in the photo. They are all still too small to harvest. I hope they grow a bit more before winter gets here.

I also cleaned out my greenhouse and sowed some cauliflower into pots. I now need to think of some more veg I can plant to go through the winter. My cabbages are doing well and some of them are winter type so that will be something. I also have kale.

I spent the rest of the day slicing runner beans and freezing them.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Gardener's Delight

Well that and Red Cherry, tomatoes that is. I planted both this year as I couldn't remember which one had been the best. Well Gardener's Delight was certainly the best. I also looks like there may be some blight on the Red Cherry, so I will not be growing them again, although the tomatoes themselves were lovely and red and small. The Gardener's Delight has lots of nice shaped and tasty tomatoes, they are growing better and no blight.


We still need more sun to ripen the green tomatoes but they are turning. Rain is forecast over the next week but hopefully we will have some sunshine too.



I also tried growing some Loofahs, the plants are not very tall and there are quite a few fruits (?) on them but they seem to have stopped swelling and are turning yellow, except for this bendy one. I don't think it has been hot enough for them although I did keep them in the greenhouse. May be next year I will plant the cucumbers in there, they haven't done well at all this year. It's odd as I always grown mine outdoors even though they are a greenhouse type, they usually do very well. I think it just proves the weather has been all wrong this year.


Now I think this is Radicchio. I planted a load of seeds but the snails & slugs have had most of them, well all but this one. It's greener than I thought it would be, maybe they get redder with age. Of course it may not be what I think it is, I will have to wait and see.



 I had to rescue this little cheeky chappy. I knew he was in the garden, whilst sitting on my back door step I could hear him/her croaking and couldn't figure out where it was. Well today I found it, trapped in the bucket. It's now back near the pond.


Down on the plot, the bees have found a nice watering hole, you can just about see them along the water line. There was lots of rubbish left from the last owners and the boxes have come in rather handy. One I have used to sit on so my knees don't get painful but I had just left this one to the side and as it has rained it has filled up. It isn't very deep but the bees have started using it to drink from. I think I will have to do something about turning it into a little pond. They are attracted to the blue colour so it is ideal for this use. I will have to put rocks in it so other animals don't get trapped.

I'm not sure how much I will be able to do down there over the next week but I would really like to crack on with the patio area. There are a couple of skips on the way home with some rubble in, I might raid them for foundations although the few I laid directly on the soil seem quite steady.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sorry!

Well things have a way of running off and leaving you behind. I have been so busy with work, doing overtime thanks to my NOT wonderful work mates leaving, having babies and holidays and bunion operations. That has left 3 of us to work 101 hours between us. Now I am only supposed to do 12 hrs a week (contracted) and have been doing double this. Doesn't sound a lot but I am only part-time. So It has been 8 hr shifts for all of us, no breaks and on our own. I work in a pharmacy (in Sainsbury's) and it is busy, it's not all about giving out prescriptions, there are the long conversations about ingrown toenails and babies that haven't pooped for 4 days. So I am knackered, my knees are killing me and I haven't posted for a while, so sorry.

I have been able to get down the plot to pick veg (not a lot of it) and watering. Picked a lot of beans yesterday (chopped & frozen already) also dug up some potatoes (desiree) for mum. The courgettes have gone mental (I really don't want this many so next year it's 1 plant only) and I have finally got a few peas. There is still only 1 carrot and a few beetroot but my pride and joy were the sweetcorn, were being the word, the badgers have eaten most of them and I think the mice have had some too.

Having said all that, I do have 2 pumpkins growing and I think I have a butternut squash (thought it was a pumpkin but the fruit is the wrong shape) but I don't think it is going to get big enough before autumn sets in and I don't know if it will ripen.


Pumpkin

Butternut Squash




























Celery
 The celery seems to be doing well, although again I'm not sure if this is growing too late.

Most of my veg & fruit in my garden has finished, just waiting for the apples. I will try and take some photos of the garden soon. The tomatoes are now getting lovely and red, have picked quite a few of them. I chose 2 varieties this year as I couldn't remember which ones had done well from last year. It was definitely Gardeners Delight.

Any way I'm off for the week now and it's raining, so won't be able to get down the plot.

Oh, nearly forgot, we got shoved off the plot yesterday, there had been a sewage spill in our little river and the council had to pump it out, so lets hope that's all sorted.


 

Friday, 10 August 2012

Good news, bad news!

The good news first. I picked up the paving slabs today and took them straight down the plot. I think I've told you that the person on the plot before mine hadn't been looking after it and had thrown his weeds on the path between the plots making a huge bump, anyway I usually just drive over the bump (carefully) in my CR-V but today I totally forgot that the car was lower (a lot lower) with the paving slabs in. Well I grounded out, lol. So instead of driving them all the way, I had to park up and carry them. Dale gave me a hand (faint) and between us we had it all done in an hour (pick up too).

I have laid some down just to see what it will look like and for size and placement.


I need to take my spirit level with me to make sure it's level, it looks like it slopes.



Well whatever it was that broke some of my sweetcorn has been back and eaten the large cobs that were almost ripe. Bastard! (sorry). So I have put netting all around them. It had also eaten all of Roger's carrots (and my only one). We think it may be badgers but I suppose it could be rabbits.

I hope everything is going well for everyone else.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The plot today

I spent yesterday and today picking up bricks that I got free from Freecycle. I am going to use them to make a patio at home. It took four trips in total to pick them all up, now I'm knackered. It didn't help that I trapped a nerve in my back, that to go with the bad knees I already have. Never mind, I will have a long soak in the tub that should make me feel a bit better.

I managed to pop down to the plot, mainly to check everything was OK, and to pick anything that was ready. The zucchini had grown to marrow proportions, oh well! So here's how it looks today.






I also found a poor dead little Shrew. I didn't realise they were so small. It was only about 2 inches long.




















I have managed to get some paving slabs free too. I will be collecting them later in the week and will use them as a base for my shed (when I finally manage to get one).

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Jersey Tiger Moth


We had a little visitor last night. We found him sitting on a plastic bag in the bucket of spuds. It is a Jersey Tiger Moth and usually live in Europe, they are now being found in the UK and have been sighted in the south of England. This is the first time I have ever seen one. It is supposed to be a daytime moth, I let is go outside last night so I do hope it's ok. I don't think moths live very long.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Harvest


12 Kg, beautiful, wonderful, lovely potatoes. All white (except the one red), this is the potatoes dug up from one of my beds, the other bed has the reds in but as they haven't succumbed to blight I have left them in (still flowering too). We had some of the little ones for tea tonight, they were lovely.


The reds are still in the ground, it looks like spraying them with Bordeaux mix worked as there is hardly any blight on these. I have picked off all the flowers and the fruits so all the energy goes into the tubers.


The two pumpkins I planted under the beans seem to be doing well, one has several fruits on it but the other looks like it only has male flowers, I'm not too worried about this as it has obviously fertilised this one. The butternut squash plants are still small but I can see some flowers forming so I'm keeping my fingers crossed. It is the first time I have grown Butternut squash so I don't really know what to expect from them.



Now I had a problem with my broccoli this year, I didn't label the plants properly and didn't know what was what, but this is definitely a broccoli (Calabrese really). I'm not sure which type as I planted several, using up the open packs of seeds left over from previous seasons and packs of things I wasn't really keen on (like purple sprouting broccoli).



My beans are doing great, lots of flowers and many tiny beans. It's a waiting game now. Unlike others down the allotments, I have kept mine as weed free as possible. In fact I have pulled as many weeds as I can get to all over my plot. A lot of the others have weeds everywhere, some are quite overgrown.


 















After reading someone else's blog (sorry I can't remember who's) I decided to make my own scarers (left). I had originally bought 2 from the £shop (right), not expensive and quite pretty, but growing your own is also about making things cheap and, well, just making things. So I made about 5 of these. Easy peasy, cut the middle out of a bottle of pop, use a hole punch to punch 3 holes in the top and six holes along the bottom, cut carrier bags into strips and tie them into the bottom holes. Tie string to the top holes and hang. Don't they look good. Home made and free. I'm enjoying this plotting lark.


 

Well that is until I look at the onions. Only one grew big enough to use in a salad. The others have all lost their green so I had to pull them up. It was recommended that instead of keeping these and using them as sets for next years crop, that I pickle them. So I have got out my trusty old (1951) cookbook to check exactly how to do this. Hopefully I will have some time tomorrow to start this (and find some jars). The rest of the harvest consisted of one overgrown zucchini, one pea pod and three runner beans.

The sweetcorn look very nice, they are very short but I can see the cobs swelling and there seem to be several cobs on each plant. Other people there have sweetcorn which seem to be getting taller but there are no cobs on any of theirs yet, I don't know if that's better or not.

Oh, by the way, the cookbook was my nan's, not mine, I'm not old enough to have bought it new. It was passed down to me, I do have the one I bought when I first started having to cook but I don't think these will be passed down any further in my family. My son DOESN'T COOK NOR DOES HE GARDEN. Actually there isn't much he does do, except sit in front of the X-box.