Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Storm damage

Well it's all been happening here. The storm hit us Monday, high winds & loads of rain. When I went to bed everything was still standing but by Tuesday morning it was a scramble between the rain to try & repair & retrieve everything.

The roof on the greenhouse blew off, 2 panels completely broken, 2 missing. Luckily I had kept all the old panes when I replaced them with the plastic ones, so gloves on hands I carefully replaced them all. Now this wasn't the only happening at 10am, mum's door finally gave up the ghost & she couldn't get in her home. So there she was sat in my house waiting for a locksmith (Christmas eve- double charge?). At least she kept the dogs entertained for a while but it did take me 3 hours to replace them all & remove all the soaking wet bits from inside the greenhouse. During winter I use it to store all my seat cushions & fabric bits from the garden. The electrics were a problem too, luckily the fuse had gone on the main box for the circuit & not the whole house.

The whole of the garden is soaking wet, luckily not flooded like some down here in Kent. It's more mud than grass & the dogs took delight in taking as much of it indoors to dry it out. Hurry up summer. A lot of my seeds are all soaked too, I think I will invest in some plastic boxes to keep them in instead of the cardboard shoe boxes I have.

I now have the heating going in there, the candle & plant pot trick, to see if this will help but at the moment there is so much moisture in there I don't know if it's really going to help.

I hope everyone else managed to get through the storm with none or minimal damage.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Heating the greenhouse/shed for 4p per day | Sean's Allotment Garden CHA...

Sorry the link below didn't work for some reason.

Bad blogger

I don't mean me, I mean Blogger. Why do they have to keep changing things, especially without telling you how to use the new stuff. No wonder people are leaving & going over to Wordpress, personally I don't like that either. The alternative of course is to go to FaceBook but then people have to have an account with them to read that.

Well, I've not been up to much in the garden, as you can imagine, but I have re-filled the beds with manure & compost ready for next season. As you have already read I have also put the bubblewrap up in the green house too. It was then going to go on to the next bit about heating it cheaply, but I got beat to it by the Horticultural Channel so in some ways that saved me having to make my own video as I can let you watch theirs.



Now there are a few points I would like to make about this.
First off, there is NO POINT heating your greenhouse unless you have insulated it. All the hot air will just simply disappear through the glass & the metal frame. So make sure you have the bubblewrap up, double layer if necessary.
Secondly those candles do not burn all day, they last about 3-4hrs. You can buy bigger ones which last 8 hours (as I have) but they do work out more expensive, I think about 10p each & you will need 2-4 depending on how much you need to raise the temperature. Also remember that as you are using clay pots even after they have stopped burning the radiant heat will still remain for a while, how long I don't know. (I see an experiment to come)
Thirdly, don't stick it on top of ANYTHING. I know most things in a greenhouse aren't combustible but I'm sure some of you (like me) will have something in there that could. Not only that but as hot air rises you will simply loose what you make. I would suggest you place it on the floor or on a shelf under/nearby any plants that need this extra heat (not too close to plastic pots/trays)
Fourthly & remember I haven't actually set mine up yet as we haven't had any frost (lowest temp in greenhouse so far was last night at 0.2 degrees C) but I think using a ceramic tray maybe safer than a metal one, it will heat up just as the terracotta pots will, using a ceramic or clay one will heat slower & cool slower so keeping heat around longer.

This is a good way to heat a greenhouse for anyone with a plot or without electricity, it still costs less to run than a paraffin heater & also a bit safer (imagine knocking over the paraffin). I actually have electricity in mine & will invest in an electric heater one day, I just don't know if it will be cost effective as I wouldn't need to use it much.

I don't grow plants in my greenhouse over winter but I do store some frost sensitive plants & bulbs (mainly in pots) & I do like to heat it in early spring so I can get a head start on growing.

I hope everyone is safe, it's a bit windy & there is snow up North, we also have flood warnings down here for tonight & tomorrow.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Sweet Potatoes Total

I got round to emptying out the bins that the sweet potatoes were growing in. Not a great success.

From the first bin (harvested a while back) remember I got 3lbs 7oz in total, with 2 very large tubers & a few small ones which were usable. This was a bin with only one slip planted in.

The second bin also only had one slip, planted exactly the same as the first. From this one I got a total of 2lbs (missed a bit when I took photo so added it on). Again 2 large tubers & a few smaller ones.
second single slip bin.

The third bin was taller but narrower (repurposed kitchen bin)  than the first 2 bins and I had put 2 slips in this. When turned out there were much smaller tubers, only weighing in at 1lb 8oz.
2 slips in taller, narrower bin

Now the final bin (exactly the same as the third) had a few more tubers in weighing a total 2lbs 7oz, again very long & thin not big round fat ones like I had in the 2 single slip bins.

2 slips in taller narrower bin

Well if my math is correct that gives me a total of 9lbs 6oz. Not too bad. There was definitely a larger harvest from the bins with only one slip in so I will say it is better to give more room for tubers to form & don't pack them into too small a space. I also noticed that the tubers formed close to the surface, so I think shallower, wider pots seems to be the way to go.
Remember these were dug up from the allotment before I left so this probably gave them a bit of a shock, also I have been told that you need to earth them up just like potatoes. So next year I will try planting one slip only in a wide pot only half filled with compost & then top it up as they grow. I think I will also keep the pots in the greenhouse a bit longer before placing out to see if the extra warmth helps.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Very quiet

Yes, I have been. Well there hasn't been a lot to write about.

It has now come to that time of year when most things have been put to bed. Not a lot is growing, there are a few carrots still left in the box, I will be taking that into the greenhouse over winter so I can still have a few. All the chillies have finished, I don't think I will bother with them again next year, they were more hassle than they were worth.

I have built up the four small beds I have and put more compost in them ready for next year. Top dressed all my blueberries with compost & coffee grinds. I still have to empty my sweet potato pots, the frost has now hit them & the tops are dying back so it is now time.

The biggest thing I have done is insulate the greenhouse. I hate that job, those stupid little black poppers that never hold & can only be put into the metal bit between panels, I take it no-one thought about how you hold the end bits up. There was something good about the old wooden greenhouses. Any way, I found a solution, Ok a friend told me. She posted a link onto FaceBook (sorry I can't remember who it originated from) which told you how to insulate windows indoors. Now my thought was that this would be a great idea to transfer to the greenhouse. So armed with scissors, a spray bottle & my bubblewrap off I set to work. Now in the spray bottle you can use just water, or you can add some glycerine for heavier duty, so I put warm water in & about a tablespoon of glycerin. My greenhouse is quite full of non plant things so it's difficult for me to move everything around so it takes a long time to get the bubblewrap up. I started off with the sides as this was easier to get to. Clean everything off & out of the way & spray the whole panel liberally. Get your bubblewrap & stick it on, smoothing it down as you go, you can then cut the excess off. Now if you want to be smart about it you can cut each piece & label them for future use. It doesn't even matter if they are smaller than the glass as you can just put a bit in to fit.
I must say it was the easiest thing I have ever done. Very quick too. Now I just hope it does hold. So far so good. All the bits on the glass are still in place & I was able to cover the door easily, that is usually impossible. The roof of my greenhouse is plastic though and it didn't stick as well on this, but it is still up & seems to be staying put.

First bit done, took about 30 seconds

Smaller pieces can be added together without taping

It is an excellent way of doing it, very easy to get around those awkward bits. I just tucked the sides under the metal but you can also spray onto the bubblewrap & stick the excess from one side on top of the next row. I didn't think I would have enough to do the whole greenhouse as I had to throw some away (eaten by mice) but it seems you use much less this way and I have some left over.

This friend also sent me a link on heating the green house for pennies during the winter, it will be enough to keep it frost free so that is the next thing I need to get set up (will leave that for another post).

I hope you are all getting ready for winter, it is going to be here very soon now.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Well I never!!!!

I have fallen behind with my blogging. I can't say that's because I have been busy harvesting, it's more a case of rain stopping play.
Over the last couple of days it has rained so during the few sunny patches I have been out to try & clear away all the dead & finished plants. The cucumbers have produced their last, so out they came. The pumpkins too. They are now curing in the greenhouse.
The chillies are turning red, I chopped up a load & put it in the freezer. This will be turned into Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce when I have some time.
And the of course there are the Sweet Potatoes. I had such high hopes, already having harvested one awesome tuber & knowing there was another just behind it. Unfortunately, that was about it. Well in that bucket any way. I am going to leave the other 3 for as long as I can, hopefully they might produce more. I found in this one bucket that the tubers were right at the top, the bottom was just fibrous roots. Next year I will follow the advice I was given & plant them shallower & earth them up as they grow. I still think this was good considering I had dug them up from the plot & brought them home. I will also keep them warmer next year.

Tubers only near the top

another large one

Smaller ones
 So a complete total from the one bucket with one plant was: 3 pounds & 7 ounces. That's not too bad. I have already made 2 cottage pies with the first tuber, now these ones have been diced & are in the process of being roasted. I will then freeze them to use with my roasts during the year.

Although I do have to admit I was rather taken aback when I started peeling the large one. Nature is funny sometimes.

Oo er.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Sweet

Do you remember that beautiful Sweet Potato that was poking it's head out of the soil? Well I couldn't resist any longer.

Oooo!!!

1 pound 4 oz
Awesome. I have peeled it & cut it up & put it in with a few potatoes for the topping on my Cottage Pie. Tonight's tea. I've also used my tomato puree.

I also saw another one behind it, can't wait to pull them all.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Successful cooking

Wow. I said I was going to make some tomato puree (or paste if you are from USA) and didn't really expect it to go right but it did.

I found a recipe on How to, it had a few references along with it & links to other ways to cook the same thing so I got a bit confused over how much to use. One said 5 lbs of tomatoes and half teaspoon of salt and another said 5 tomatoes to half teaspoon of salt, not sure which one was correct but it is a big difference. In the end I had just under 4 lbs of tomatoes to use, I took off the stalks, washed & quartered them. I put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pan, heated and added the tomatoes and salt. The recipe said cook for 5 minutes but I cooked it for about 20.


I then put the mix into a blender as I didn't know what a food mill was so I knew I didn't have one. This chopped it all up lovely. I then passed it through a sieve to remove the seeds and skin. The recipe then said to put it into a shallow dish in the oven on a low heat for about 2 hours.

2 hours later

Well by now it was late at night and I wanted to go to bed. The sauce still hadn't reduced down and I didn't want to leave the cooker on all night, especially with the dogs. So brainwave time. I got out my slow cooker (electric crock pot in USA), poured the mixture into it & set it on high. I left the lid ajar so the steam could escape. When I came down in the morning 6 hours later I had perfect tomato puree.


There isn't much of it, amazing to see how much actually goes into that tin I normally buy.
Now some people might say this is a waste of good tomatoes, I've never liked them but I do like lasagne & bolognese as well as ketchup. I buy a lot of puree so to me it isn't a waste, in fact this will be the first time ever I will be eating my own grown tomatoes.

Now all I have to do is figure out a way to make that cucumber relish come out as I want it to.

Here's the link to the recipe I used. http://www.ehow.com/how_8485322_make-tomato-paste-diced-tomatoes.html

Friday, 6 September 2013

Excited!!!

Look what I found hiding under the soil...... a Sweet Potato...


Only a gardener could get this excited.....

My first time growing these & it looks like they may be a success. Not ready to harvest yet, I've heard you need to wait until the tops die down. It's a bit dry in there, I have been watering every day but didn't today because it rained. Think it needs more so I will get the hose out & give them a good watering tomorrow.

I have loads of tomatoes so I'm going to try & make some puree with them & freeze it. Hope it goes better than the cucumber relish.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Harvesting.

Up until now I've been picking small amounts as they begin to ripen. Well today I got quite a hoard.
The first of my chillies, lots of tomatoes, runner beans and of course cucumber. The cucumbers have nearly finished now, one of the plants has mosaic virus which is now getting quite bad so I don't think it will produce much anymore.

Probably the last few cucumbers

I have had the first ripe Chillies, this is the first time I have grown these. The intention is to make some Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce for my son. There isn't enough yet so I will chop & freeze these until there are more.

Mixture of Chillies

I have already had 2 heads of Calabrese but managed to get a few more today, the caterpillars have been having a munch but I hope I've managed to keep enough of them off not to worry about cooking a few (yes, last year we found some cooked even after I had meticulously cleaned them).

Hopefully Caterpillar free
Then there is the tomatoes. Lots of lovely red ones. The dark one I planted (not sure what type but will look it up) has started to ripen but not enough to pick yet. Gardeners Delight is the other type I like to plant, mum likes the small type and this produces lots of lovely cherry red small tomatoes.

For mum
Next year I would like to try growing some that can be made into a strong puree which I can then freeze. Not something I've tried before, but then there are many things I have tried this year for the first time.

Finally there is the runner beans. We have picked a few so far but they took their time to recover after I dug them up from the plot. The French beans didn't make it, all died.

Runner beans
We still have a few of the potatoes left, getting through them slowly. Mum still has some of her Desiree left, she gave a few of them to my brother, makes me laugh that he will accept my potatoes but won't talk to me (we don't get on at all).

Hope you are all picking lots from your plots or gardens. I am looking forward to my Sweet potatoes, not sure when they will be ready or even how I will tell. The Sweetcorn is getting plump too.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Autumn is nearly here

It's only 8.30pm and outside it's already dark. It won't be long until the weather turns & Autumn will start. I'm still stripping the varnish off the garden furniture, it's not been as quick nor easy as I had hoped. Although what I have done looks good.

The plants are growing, the sweetcorn has lots of cobs although I don't think they are ready yet. Most people say its when the little frilly bit at the top goes brown, but I've found they still aren't ready. I did find a caterpillar eating one, was not happy.

I have removed everything from the plot now. All the wood is back home, except the pallets. I burned all the rubbish and any of the bad wood. It has already been taken back by nature, amazing how quickly that happens. I left the carpet behind, I don't want that.



Back home I had far too many cucumbers to eat, so I looked for a recipe for cucumber relish. Looked easy but didn't turn out like the picture nor how I thought it would. Maybe I didn't cook it long enough but all the veg was still solid, it was more like pickled veg than relish. I will try it again, but maybe with a different recipe.


If any of you have any good cucumber relish recipes please pass them on to me, either that or if you know where I went wrong pleas tell me. I have a load more cucumbers I need to do something with.

I am surprised how much greenery there is on all my plants, I will try and get some new photos tomorrow.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

So much to do, so little time

At last I can post again. I have taken the plunge & gone for Chrome. It seems a bit too simplistic for my liking but hopefully I will get used to it.

At home my plants are taking off. I have been over run with cucumbers. The zucchini isn't doing well, we've had a few off the plants but they didn't transplant very well. The pumpkins are rampaging, there are quite a few getting big. Tomatoes, which were at home anyway, are still green. I have my first Calabrese head. The first without caterpillars ever.

Look at the size of that.

Raspberries have finished, Jam made, but the dog has wreaked the new shoots so it may be that I don't get any next year. Gooseberries & Blueberries were disappointing this year, hardly any berries. Strawberries, again, disappointing, didn't help the dog ate most of them before they ripened, what she didn't get the slugs & snails did. So next year they will be in planters, I'm trying to make them at the moment using the wood that made the raised beds at the plot.

I picked up a new table & chairs for the garden on Freecycle. They will be beautiful once I've finished stripping the paint off, sanded, re-varnished & put them back together. Sadly I can no longer get my favourite stain, Ronseal hardwood furniture stain in dark rosewood. I used to buy the oil based one, now due to new laws they only make the water based one. The oils based was lovely as it actually sank into the wood, this water based one just sits on the surface & you just don't get the same colour effect, you also get streaks in the surface & overlaps which you didn't get with the old one. I still love Ronseal products though, as it does exactly what it says it does on the tin. Not like Cuprinol. Although I do like the cuprinol fence sprayer, yes I do the laugh to the tune every time I spray my fence. The photo doesn't do the colour justice, it looks so much better in real.

Old colour left, new stained & repaired right.

I have dug the potatoes up on the plot, out of 32 seed potatoes I got 250 new ones weighing 39lbs. Not bad considering I hadn't been down there to water them. I still have a few bits to collect but then I'm off completely. I am surprised I have been able to fit it all into my garden. The Sweetcorn is amazing, it's been packed into a large plastic box but there are loads of cobs ripening, last year I lost the lot to badgers.

I managed to get my sweet potatoes into containers & they are growing really well, lets hope there are some lovely tubers under the soil. I've even sowed some carrots into a deep box, they have already started growing and so is the beetroot. I had none last year or this year on the plot.

It seems to have been a blessing in disguise.

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Phwew! It's hot.

Wow, the temps are really high & the widget to the right says it's gonna get up to 32C tomorrow. Well at least all my plants are at home now, right next to the hosepipe. They have all transplanted well, although I think there may be a slightly later harvest whilst they recover.

So far we have been harvesting from the raspberries & strawberries that were already here. We have already had 2 cucumbers. That's a funny story in itself. My son was making himself a tuna sandwich and said he preferred to have cucumber in it, so I told him to go get one from the garden. He asked where they were, so I said on the cucumber plants, got a blank look back, so I went into the garden, picked one, came back inside, washed it & put it in the fridge. I then sat down & shouted to him "It's in the salad drawer where they usually come from". Some kids these days just have no idea, well he does really but isn't interested in growing things.

2 boxes of raspberries ready for the freezer

Sweet potatoes, sweetcorn & pumpkins in containers

Sweet potatoes, strawberries & a container of carrots (just sown)
 I have brought some of the tyres back from the plot, these I will try & get into use next year now, most likely for potatoes.

Runner beans & pumpkins, Zucchini in pot
 The 2 zucchini's I dug up were really looking sorry for themselves, so I have cut off the dead leaves & developing fruit so they can start again, I already have new flowers & the beginnings of new fruit swelling.

Broccoli
 Well to be truthful it's Calabrese, the large headed type, my favourite of all. I have got netting over these to try & stop the butterflies but they are still managing to get under it where the Butternut Squash it, I have 2 of then ready to climb up a bit of trellis, last year they were slow to develop.

Tomatoes & cabbages
 Now to be honest I don't like tomatoes, I grow them for my mum so I only grow a few plants. I think next year I will grow the type that can be made into ketchup or puree as I use that all the time. Will have to find out how to make it, you can find most recipes on the net.

Cucumbers & red cabbage & cauliflower.
 Dale is the lover of cucumbers, I am very fussy with which ones I like, this is Socrates the one I used to buy is no longer available but this is the nearest to it. I like cauliflower & red/white cabbage but Dale doesn't unless it's been turned into coleslaw.

Chillies
 I know there are some blogger that are doing the chilli challenge, I'm not one of them, but I have got chilli plants growing. These will be used to make Sweet Chilli sauce for Dale. This is my first time & I was very worried they weren't growing a few months back, but look, my how big they've got. I'm really proud of them.
Chillies, awesome.

Everything crammed into a tiny space.
 Now I brought the paving slabs back too, I have just laid them on top of the grass at the moment, next year I will lay them properly & rearrange the garden a bit.

2 bags of potatoes
The white potatoes down on the plot had got a touch of blight so I dug them up, I only managed 2 bags full. The Desiree potatoes are not yet affected so I have left them in to hope they grow bigger. I will still need to go down the plot to get other things off so I can keep my eye on them & dig them up before I leave for good.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Still alive, just.

Sweet potatoes have grown

Calabrese is beginning to perk up

Cabbages settling in with the tomatoes

Runner beans have new growth & pumpkins underneath doing well

Strawberries are now in a tower (blueberries in pots)

Zucchini went a bit limp but there is now new growth
Blogger is playing up a bit today. I have to get a few more bits off the plot but what I have brought home already is beginning to settle in. The leaves on the zucchini have gone limp & crispy but there is new growth coming so I think they will be ok. I have tried to transplant the few parsnips & carrots that germinated but I'm not sure if they will be ok.
I haven't been able to get down to the plot to remove the rest of it as I have had to look after my dad who is ill & my puppy isn't well either. All that is left is the potatoes, some onions & garlic, then all the wood I made the raised beds from & paving slabs & bench. These are the big bits. It doesn't help the weather has been so hot, I can only go down there during the hottest part of the day. I am at work all day tomorrow so hopefully I can get some more bits off on Sunday.
At home my raspberries are ripening, we've already had loads from the bushes, the strawberries have finished their first round, hopefully the ones in the tower will start to produce now, there aren't many blueberries this year, I had an infestation of scale insect which stopped it producing fruit. There are some apples already forming, oddly enough only on one tree, the other tree seems to only flower biannually even though they are the same tree, planted in exactly the same way at the same time.
There doesn't seem to be many gooseberries on my bush, it seems to only flower on the new branches and the older branches are completely bare, it is fan trained against the fence so I will try & get a good photo so maybe you can give me clues to what I'm doing wrong.
I'm trying to make room for everything at home, I may have to increase the size of the veg patch or find some other way to give me more space, I already have a lot of plants in pots.
One thing I am glad of though, my Sweet potatoes are awesome.

Sunday, 7 July 2013

It's hot

I'm not complaining about the sun, we get very little of it at times, but it does mean more watering is needed. Well, not down the plot, but definitely at home. So far I have brought about half of what is growing at the plot back home, I hope they transplant ok, they look a little droopy. I dug as much of the soil with the roots as possible & got them home as quickly as I could, so it's been back & forth all day. Got all of it in the ground at home, so far I have filled 3 of my home beds, they are all very closely planted but the soil is very good so I'm hoping it's all going to be ok. The hosepipe is on to try & provide enough water to help them get over the shock.

Whilst I was there another plot holder was too. The man who I mentioned had problems before. Well it turns out there have been others who have made formal complaints against the man that runs things. He seems to be giving a lot of the plots to friends of his too. He certainly wasn't elected to run things, there is no Allotment Association here, just him. Any way I don't feel safe down there anymore & will also be putting in a formal complaint. It seems there are lots of them who want to see me stay & say not to let him get to me, but they are all men, not that I'm a weak woman but........

So, I have my name down for a plot on a very well run site, in the meantime I will grow from home again. I still have to bring the Sweet Potatoes home and I will need to dig up my potatoes, garlic and onions. That will be all the plants/veg I can manage. I will loose the couple of parsnips & carrots, they don't transplant well. Then I will need to take up the wood that makes the beds & the paving slabs.

A sad day really. I just hope I do not come face to face with him. I kept my mobile in my pocket, just in case.....

Friday, 5 July 2013

Oh dear

It looks like the plot has got to go. I took the caravan back down there today (bought it to use as a shed) there had been a problem before, I had a letter from the council to tell me to remove it when I first put it there, I phoned them & they said it was ok if others didn't mind. Now I spoke to over 7 of the other plot holders and they were all ok with it. The man that manages the site on behalf of the council is never there for me to talk to so I had been dealing with the council about it. I took it back down there today as I had help. There was only 2 people down there, husband & wife on the same plot, I waved to them as I passed. Any way, I get home & the phone rings. It's the guy that manages the site. Well the only thing I can say about what he said is that he is a racist bigot. I am thinking of making a formal complaint as I really am not happy. I don't mind about the van, all he had to do was phone me in the first place to say no. Everything would have been ok. Obviously this plot holder I saw today was the one that phoned him, they said I snuck in & didn't even acknowledge they were there, all cloak & dagger. That was not the case. So tomorrow I will be removing the van & my stuff from the plot. A formal complaint about his handling of the situation & his lack of management (too many overgrown plots) is already being typed up. My name is going down on waiting lists at other allotments, ones that are properly run & preferably with a toilet. The only down side is they will probably charge more for rent then this one does.

Thankfully there isn't a lot planted down there, it will be the tyres with the sweet potatoes in that will be the problem. The potatoes can come up as newbies & be eaten.

I know it sounds like a reaction to not being allowed the caravan, it's not, it's shown me however what this man Terry is really like. It explains why he was being nasty to that other plot holder that I mentioned before, he wasn't English.

Now all I need to do is try & sell the van, although the council have said I can leave it on the street in front of my house completely legally.

I will bring as much as I can back to the house & grow here whilst I am waiting for a new plot.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

The plot today

Well, it's been a lovely hot day here. I got down the plot, I really needed to get the grass & weeds cut back. But hey! where is the plot, cummon.

Little House on the Prairie
 So i had no choice but to get on with it, out came the shears & the battery strimmer (useless piece of s**t) and I got to work cutting my path. Now I know we don't pay much in rent but you would think that those people who have a petrol strimmer & cut the rest of the grass could just do my little bit, but no they don't, maybe they don't realise I'm there. Well they should, most of them know me know & they come & sit on my bench for a rest.
That's better
 All chopped down & ready to take the caravan back down there now. I have have my tummy problems & this took me ages to do, but if I keep on top of it I should be ok.


The potatoes are growing well, some flowers already, I pick them off so the energy goes into the tubers not the seed heads. There is part of the row at the back which didn't come up but it's too late now to do anything about it. Not much of my sweetcorn came up & what is there is still tiny. The slug/snails had loads of my pumpkins, I have bought a couple more from Homebase (50p each) to replace them with but they are a different type.

My calabrese is doing well, the frame has kept the birds off but there are a lot of potatoes coming up in the bed, must have missed some last year. The 2 zucchinis are doing well. I still have nothing to put into the other 2 beds.

At home though, my chillies are doing very well. I have a couple of flowers too, the cucumber is doing well too.

As are the tomatoes, they are flowering too. Still very short but they should take off with this warm weather.
The new puppy has dug holes in the garden, chewed all my plant pots, dug up flowers, chewed holes in the hosepipe & caused such a nuisance. Lucky she's cute.

Hope you all have a good weekend, the weather is going to be hot here in the UK. And Happy Independence Day to all you readers from the US.

Monday, 24 June 2013

I'm back

Wow, it's been over a month since I last posted. I bet you all think I've been slaving away down the plot & have lots of produce growing & harvesting. Well that couldn't be further from the truth. First off I was trying to get the caravan fixed, painted etc. and that took ages so I ended up not going down the plot as much as normal. Then I have the puppy to contend with, she has wreaked my garden at home, fights with my older dog & chews everything she can get her paws on. So far she has had a pot of dried onion flakes, bottle of weedkiller, packet of plaster of paris, bottle of pepto bismol, 2 torches, 3 food bowls, hunderds of other little bits & my camera, yes you read correctly, my camera.

Also we all took a holiday to Wales (in the van), so it meant I hadn't got to the plot in a while. So off I popped last week only to find it was so overgrown I nearly couldn't find it. The path to it is no longer there, nice to see someone has mowed the rest of the plots, but not mine. I must get a petrol strimmer.

I was heartened to see my sweet potatoes hadn't died but neither have they grown much. I have about 4 parsnips up & a couple of carrots. The snails & slugs have eaten most of the beans & cabbages and the birds have got at my broccoli. Then there are my pumpkins, well no there isn't. All but 3 of them gone. On the plus side my potatoes are doing well, only about half a row haven't appeared but there are loads of volunteer ones coming up where they were planted last year. I am gradually digging them up as they are coming up in the broccoli I have managed to save. I think I will need to go to B&Q to see if I can get some replacement plants as any I sow now will be far too late.

After all that I had hoped to get down there regularly, I even managed to get 4 bags of manure from the stables to take down & put in the compost bin. Then to top it off I get gastric enteritis. Now I had this years ago & it left me ill for months, not to mention the problems it left me with for life. So now if it's going around I always seem to get it. I have been so ill today has been the first day I have got out of bed. I still feel sick but there is nothing to bring up (or go down) & I keep going hot/cold & feeling faint. The manure, still sitting in the car, needs to go to the plot. I have had to drag myself down there. It's not too bad, well it's not good either. These photos were taken last week.


Parsnips

sweet potatoes


potatoes

beans

This time last year we were all complaining about too much rain, we've had very little this year so it has meant more watering for everyone. But still most of my stuff hasn't grown, carrots, beetroot doesn't seem to germinate & I bought new seed this year. There are several beds I haven't got anything in at all (except weeds). Even my onions aren't doing very well & my garlic is just dying.