Sunday, 31 January 2010

The 1st sign of Spring 2010

After several weeks which saw the biggest snowfall, well since last Februray anyway, I awoke with a strong desire to get outside today - despite a banging headache. I think I was under some illusion that an icy blast will clear my head.

-2 degrees, sunshine plus a few snowflakes - that is today's weather in a nutshell.

I wrapped up well, wellies, hat and fleece, popped on my solar powered radio for a spot of The Archers Omnibus and ventured into the garden to do a few little jobs and to my delight saw some perfect little snowdrops and some yellow crocus in bloom.

Did you know that soldiers were so enchanted by snowdrops that they brought them back from the Crimean War battlefields to plant in their gardens?

Those tiny little milky white helmets put a wry smile on my face and I am seriously feeling like Spring is just around the corner now - and I just adore spring.

I am not sure what I am going to do in the garden this year as we are about to start extending the cottage. It seems futile to sow heaps of veg if I am not going to be able to tend to them as I am expecting most of it will get trashed by machinery and rubble.

I am however so looking forward to the build being complete and starting the garden again but this time as a blank canvas rather than the legacy I took on.

I have lots of ideas and I think I will be spending a lot of time planning and designing over spring and summer this year. I need a multi-functional garden which will incorporate space for kids, dogs, chickens, fruit and veggies, trees (oh how I long for some trees), space for entertaining and of course above all a space for me to relax and admire the view.

Watch this space...

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Gardening with children

My 3 year old son loves being outdoors. We are lucky to have a large garden and there is always something to appeal to him - mini-beast hunts, mud-pie making, watering the plants, pretending to mow the grass, harvesting the crops or making general mischeif!

Yesterday we had a scorcher, I am sure it hit 30 degrees at times. We lubed-up with the old Factor 50 and popped on our hats for a spot of weeding. The enthusiasm of a 3 year old weeding lasts about as long as mine - 5 minutes!

The weeding was closely followed by digging and retrieving some potatoes for a delicious lunch. He loves this job and would help dig up the whole crop if I wanted him to. A few runner beans and a handful of juicy red tomatoes and lunch was complete.

We then studied the bees for a while - looking at the different types and their different coloured stripes. He is fascinated by Bees after watching Bee movie and having me read the rhyming story of The Beeman to him
A lovely book and would thoroughly recommend it.

My son then retreated to his sandpit to play with his tractors and diggers. Why he has a sandpit I don't know, I have more sand on the patio! However the break meant I was able to get on with some more weeding.

I was given a solar powered radio as a Christmas gift and I love it - I take it all around the garden with me without having to worry about spending a small fortune on batteries. A dose of The Archers is good for the soul and helps pass the time when your back is aching. I put on the music too and we have a mad 5 minutes dancing (what will the neighbours say?)

When the sun had retreated to the front garden we set about a spot of watering out back, especially the pots and what is left of my hanging baskets. My son has his own watering can but will insist on trying to carry my 2 gallon number! When I suggest we get out the hosepipe this sends my son into another realm - if I could bottle his beaming smile and sell it I'd make a fortune. We pretend to be firefighters for a bit and then spray the dogs! Poor hounds but I am sure they appreciated a spot of cooling down.

We never have a dull day in our garden - gardening with children is simply put FUN!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Onions galore

The onions (those that have escaped a dose of mildew) are drying out nicely on top of the warm earth. Today's glorious sunshine has helped them on their way to becoming very tasty meal additions over the next few months.

Have given my bees their buzz back today
I dotted a couple of small tubs of sugar water mix under the flowers to help them on their way. Hubby and I would love to keep bees someday. In the meantime I hope they are enjoying the nectar from my flowers and the little energy boost (perhaps its like our Red Bull equivalent?)

I have a few ripening tomatoes - but noticed this huge fat slug with his head stuck right inside what would have been a lovely tom! He was so fat I have honoured Mr Tomato Head with a photo on my blog! He'll be drunk on beer later - hopefully in the slug trap.

The herbs look fabulous - especially the flat leaf parsley and the sage. Must start drying some out in the next few days along with the chilli's that are ruby red.

Little Gems are looking good in their little window box. Note to self: Must try and eat more lettuce!

Another blogger mentioned his bath-time herbal remedies.
And I thought I'd tell you how I love to run a bath with some lavender flowers and some oats popped in a muslin bag and hung underneath the hot water. I sometimes use rose petals if I am feeling indulgent. It doesn't have quite the same effect as the Herbal Essences ad but I enjoy it just as much.

Hope Mr Tomato Head Slug enjoys his trip to the pub (and leaves my toms alone).

Mobile Blogging from here.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

harvest festival

Haven't updated in ages life has been busy.
I am having to harvest the runner beans in a state of panic each day as one of the dogs has taken a shine to them. He squeezes inside the wigwam and nicks the best ones from inside. Cheeky boy this is not your beanfeast it's mine!
Potatoes are varying in size from tiny to downright obscene - jacket spud anyone?
The onions are a mixed bag some suffered mildew others are just fine. Massive variation in size again have no idea why?
Parsnips - now you just can't beat the smell of a fresh parsnip - glorious, fat, healthy parsnips a great crop even if I do say so myself.
The tomatoes are still green - have had 1 red one to date.
The chillies have almost all gone red - am harvesting them on a daily basis and freezing them. Will probably dry the last few and make some chilli oil.
I never eat enough lettuce and some have run-on - there are far too many for us must grow less next year.
Have to weed the asparagus bed this week it's getting overrun but this moist soil is making weeding a doddle - did I just say that, weeding is never a doddle.
Have no idea when the garlic will be ready - I think I need to wait for it to flower?
Must do some more sowing - time to rummage through the seed box and see what else can go in in august - no more lettuce please!
Thanks to Mr M for the beetroot - made chocolate and beetroot cake which was scrummy.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Stunning poppies...shame to dig them out

I just spent half an hour weeding the 'roots' bed - I am hoping to sow some Autumn King Carrots and some beetroot in the next few days.

Amongst the huge triffids I found a couple of lovely looking poppies. White with a purple and yellow inner. Have tried to look up the variety but to no avail - if you recognise it, please let me know. It was a shame to dig them out but they had to go. I have re-planted them elsewhere in the garden but doubt they will like being moved especially in the 32 degree heat we have today.

Have taken a few shots of the garden as it is today...hope you like them.

Have had to pull a few more onions due to mildew - am praying the whole lot doesn't get it but not holding my breath.

Am scared to pull my spuds - the first earlies look great but the ones I forked out the other day had no spuds underneath?

This gardening lark is all trial and error isn't it. It is fun though and I am really enjoying it.

PS still don't know where my allotment is yet :o(

Monday, 29 June 2009

The Hollyhocks have started to flower this morning - peach and yellow ones so far - ther are about 9ft tall! And they certainly hide the 3 compost bins, which was my intention.

I have one tomato about an 1" across - he is still green. And a few babies are starting to show their little round faces.

The beans are climbing the poles as they should.

Not sure what is going on with the spuds - the Cara's are flowering and look a picture above ground but the Winstons (the main crop) are tiny and have yellowing leaves and a few black spots - is this blight? Off to research it on the web in a bit.

The onions are huge - have had to pull a few though that have got mildew. Am hoping it doesn't spread all around the patch.

The peas are in flower - I think we may get a tiny crop. Wish I had planted more.

Must get my brussels in today - need some netting so that the fat pigeons and caterpillars keep off them.

Hope to find out where my new section of allotment plot is this week so I can get a few things in the ground. I hope its not too overgrown with weeds.

Things to do so must fly...