OK, we’ve come back from our weeks’ holiday in Cornwall to find it’s all gone a bit mad. At home, the grass (which I cut the day before we went) has decided to attempt a maize field impression and whilst my Tomatoes & Chillies have been happy inside the house (using the old bowl of water and tea towel underneath trick) the greenhouse produce has not fared so well.
It’s all down to the fact that no-one could pop in and water them and with no electric or water tap in the garden, left me to hope that drenching everything before we went and leaving buckets of water in there too, would stop any demises.
Ed’s Sunflowers loving the greenhouse
On the whole it did, but the Courgettes are touch & go, so I’ve planted some more today.
On a happier note, my Asparagus seeds are starting to sprout, so here’s hoping it’s the start of a beautiful long-term relationship.
The start of a beautiful relationship?
At the allotment, the Rhubarb is going great guns and I’m going back later this week with E to pick some to make Rhubarb Cordial – a move to the non-alcoholic drinks so E can drink it and by the horrified looks on peoples’ faces when they think I won’t be making anymore Rhubarb wine, not a popular one with the adults. E has realised rainbows are made by water and sun (although he seems to think it means any water and any sun) so was VERY keen to help with the watering at the plot, although I drew the line on him helping with the worm-wee feed and left him in charge of the hosepipe. I hadn’t realised that he’d get distracted resulting in the plants nearly drowning, so to keep his attention and to help direct the hosepipe, poor J had to stand behind the beds and E had to try and ‘get Daddy’ – maybe next time, I’ll get J to wear swimming shorts instead of thick jeans before he goes to the allotment.
It’s getting better all the time
Last weekend was fabulous with nice weather, no prior commitments, no illness and even J was pining to go to the allotment “to see how our little plot is faring” (seems that my love on gardening is starting to rub off) we ended up working on the allotment both days. More amazing is the fact we didn’t get frozen/rained off/blown away and/or sunburnt or even ache too bad once we’d done! So now we are the proud owners of all beds turned over and weeded (save for half a bed where we still had leeks and parsnips happily growing).
Through the week my car battery died and with other commitments, we weren’t able to get enough time to walk to the allotment and back, so carried on potting seeds at home. E has planted some Giant Sunflowers and Phacelia in self-watering pots and already they are coming through thanks to the nice weather we’re now having. I’ve planted up 4 types of beans (yellow dwarf French beans; purple dwarf French beans; Blue Lake French beans and our first attempt at Borlotti beans) along with 2 types of Courgette (Ambassador and Jemmer F1) my experiment this year (which is F1 Atlas Asparagus) and (as a joint effort with E) some Sweetpeas and mini Sweetcorn we had left from the other year.
Two types of Courgette living in harmony
The nice thing about Courgettes is how quickly they start growing. Their dramatic speed of breaking through soil and producing their first leaves make them ideal sowings for an impatient E. Now all the Courgette plants have got leaves through and apparently not so exciting, E’s moved onto the mini Sweetcorn which are just starting to break the soil. He seems to like the fact its shape is different and he refers to the plants that can be seen, but still have soil on top of them as “hiding plants”.
Interesting Mini Sweetcorn
After having problems with plastic and wooden plant labels when mixed with wandering animals/toddlers/clumsy husbands, this year I’ve decided to make my hubby’s day and use up some of my craft stash. So all my tags are made out of craft foam that seemed like I’d find an immediate use for 8 years ago, but has been lounging around until I had the idea to write on them in permanent marker and make labels out of them. It works a treat as can be fallen on or stamped on without breaking into a million shards and doesn’t fade or go brittle in the sun.
My experiment & crafty labels
We’ve spent this Sunday at the allotment – J was digging out the Parsnips, whilst I planted this year’s Parsnips (Tender & True) and some mixed Radishes straight into the ground in this year’s rotated bed. E decided he was going to help both of us and then turn over the Asparagus bed in preparation for a few months’ time. The council still haven’t turned on the water at the allotments (and I haven’t had chance to sort out the water butt kit) so we had to take old lemonade bottles filled with water with us to bed in the seeds, but rain is due overnight for the next few nights, so they should be OK.
A large chunk of my Monday was spent scrubbing clean, peeling and making soup from the huge pile of parsnips and leeks J dug out of the allotment the day before.
One pile of Parsnips…..
At least it was a lovely day, so I could do all the scrubbing outside in the garden whilst B sunbathed and E kept finding the ‘cabbages’ (his new name for dandelions) in the lawn that I had to dig out later. Whilst E had his nap, I peeled the parsnips and inadvertently found that peeling that many parsnips tans your hands. Nice to know a natural recipe for fake tan, but not much use to me except to connect the freckles…….
…the resulting tanned hand
Yet another month of E & I being ill (will it ever end??) so haven’t been able to do anything at the allotment – not that I could of if I’d tried, due to the freezing snow or torrential rain. Whilst E has napped most of the month away (in between grouchy demanding periods) I’ve been busying myself planting leeks, red cabbages and beetroots in a variety of seed trays, little pots and yoghurt pots respectively and now have quite a collection in the unheated greenhouse that have already started to show through, just to spite the weather.
Inside our house, the tomatoes are doing OK (even though they have to be moved every time we need the dining table to eat) but the true star of the show is our two chilli plants which both have early signs of chillies to tantalise us. E has taken to insisting on inspecting the two plants each day, as if he is a trained time and motion inspector of chillies. Very cute.
A little chilli for this time of year
Freedom from the house – just!
Considering the other week we had snow, fog etc made me think I was absolutely nuts to have marked on my little calendar to start sowing seeds yesterday. Then over the weekend the weather over here changed and the last two days have been almost tropical. Seriously, E, B & I have been playing in the garden (as a chest infection means I’m not able to go out, out to the allotment even). So after brushing B and playing we eventually got down to business and planted some Alicante Tomato seeds and some Purple Top Milan Turnip seeds. I had tried to put 2 seeds in each pot to start them off, but E had other ideas and decided he needed to take charge of the planting and be more generous, so we may have to split the pots a little earlier than I planned.
After my blog earlier this week, I got a lovely e-mail from vegetableseeds.net to say they would be re-sending my order (even though it wasn’t their fault the order hadn’t arrived – and still hasn’t, so must be lost in a post black hole). Today (2 days later) the re-sent order has arrived, much to both mine & E’s excitement. E even had fun with the bubble wrap, which kept him occupied for over half an hour as he methodically popped one bubble at a time and then took to dancing on the wrap – so much for using it to frost-proof plants! The weather yet again is taking a turn for the worst over here, which means that there’s loads of time for plotting on the calendar and filing the seeds, so thank you vegetableseeds.net.
E’s new toy
No Show Seeds
Happy New Year everyone.
I’d been getting all excited, expecting to find that after a post-Christmas plot-planning internet shopping spree, I’d be getting most of my seeds sent to me in the first few days of the new year. First time we were to use vegetableseeds.net and was starting by using our vouchers. However it’s 16th January and I’ve received word from vegetableseeds.net that they posted them on 31st December via Royal Mail and still not shown up, so one can only assume that they have been lost in the post (as had no problems with other postings to our house) and it appears no comeback.
I know I wouldn’t have started sowing them just yet, but I do look forward to just getting the packets and putting them in the seed box in order just waiting for the date on the calender to start potting up with E. You do need some excitement when the ground is frozen with 2 inches of snow on it and going a bit crackers cooped up with E & B as activities are cancelled due to H&S caused by the weather.
Ho hum, guess it means waiting for our local hardware store to start getting seeds out on the shelves for this year and getting pot luck as to what types of veg we have this year. Think I’ll call this year’s pickles, Pot Luck Pickles then.
Wanted: Missing seeds. Reward – pickles, meals & wine later this year
Happy Christmas everyone
Not a lot has been going on at the allotment this month, just digging up some of the parsnips and cutting some cabbages, along with putting the nets and fleece back on the cauliflowers and spring greens when the strong winds blow them off. Not a lot has been happening back at the fort either gardening-wise. We’ve tried the strawberry & rhubarb wine (which is quite dry, surprisingly) and sent some off as presents to the families (but kept the majority for us over the next year) and I’ve split the chilli plants into their own pots. The chilli plants are now taking it easy on the window ledge above a radiator, so they shouldn’t be bothered by all the cold, wet, windy weather outside . Anyhow, hope you all have a lovely Christmas and we will blog in the New Year.
It’s going to be a chilli Christmas
Mud, mud, glorious mud
So we’ve had a productive weekend cleaning up the greenhouse and leaf-fall in the garden yesterday and at the allotment today. OK, it’s been more J than me, but I am recovering from a medical emergency, so just to be doing something not involving hospitals felt brill. J’s cleared the beds of the remains of the courgette, sweetcorn, cucumber and tomato plants and dug the soil improver in I collected months ago, which meant I could just roll up and plant the cauliflowers and cabbages which are to be spring greens and cover them up. E carried on his love of hoeing on the other beds and ate the last raspberry before J cut back the raspberry canes (much to E’s lament). Although he does seem to be turning into a time and motion toddler as he liked to complain I was taking too long to plant each of the caulis as he decided it was his job to collect and stack up the pots. Guess I’ll be doing speed gardening from now on then
Cabbages & caulis all tucked up in their beds
Winter is coming
I’ve been very impressed with the raspberries at the allotment which are still going strong, much to E’s enjoyment. On the last visit after polishing off about a punnet of them, he climbed inside the shed, pulled out the hoe and started to hoe one of the empty beds on his own. Not bad for a 20 month old, maybe it was the natural sugar-rush from the raspberries!!
We’ve cut back the perpetual spinach and will probably have to pull it out and re-seed as it seems to have gone over and got rust-like spots on quite a lot of the leaves and stems. The radishes and cabbages are still going strong though and making very nice allotment stews, which is lovely on cold rainy days which have started to become the norm over here.
I recently planted some cabbage seeds (with help from E) so that we can have some early spring greens and they seems to be doing OK – just need to pot them on when the weather allows us….
Spring greens on the go
Been a lazy month
For the last month or so, we haven’t had that much time for the allotment with being lucky enough to go to the Olympics & Paralympics a lot, so I did feel a little guilty of neglecting it when I went up yesterday. I shouldn’t have worried as it wasn’t the stuff of overgrown nightmares. OK, the radishes looked like white carrots & there were about 4 courgettes that were now 3ft marrows and a few smaller ones had been tasted by (going by what the teeth marks look like) rabbits, but on the whole all that needed doing was a little weeding and trimming the grass. Sorry haven’t got any piccies of the giant courgettes (much to the annoyance of J who’d wanted to see them) as it was an unplanned visit; my new phone doesn’t have a camera and I gave them away to neighbours etc on the walk home, as we have no more room for anymore courgettes or courgette produce.
At home the second lot of solely rhubarb wine is bubbling away in 2 demi-johns and the strawberry & rhubarb wine was bottled up into 13 bottles – hopefully lucky for us . Outside, the tomatoes and basil continue to grow and we now have separated the cauliflowers into their own little pots for growing on. Since planting the seeds, I’ve been told by a number of people collis are difficult to grow. I guess sometimes it’s better to be ignorant and a bit gung-ho, as I might not have tried them if I’d known they might not work, esp. after a summer with the worst cropping since we started. Here’s hoping they keep going as they have so far……
Some of our cauliflowers