Thursday, 31 August 2006

just couldn't resist ...

... had to have a trip to Wyevale to check out their fantastic seed sale. Really don't think I should be allowed to garden centres on my own - 57 packets of seeds later and £14.25 lighter, thanks very much and I'm almost all set for next year - almost. Just can't resist sharing my spoils with you:

Aubergine - Baby Rosanna
Aubergine - Black Beauty
Aubergine - Calliope
Aubergine - Mohican
Aubergine - Moneymaker
Aubergine - Red Egg
Basil - Ararat
Basil - Cinnamon
Basil - Greek
Basil - Lemon
Basil - Lettuce Leaf
Basil - Purple Delight
Beetroot - Boltardy
Beetroot - Choggia Pink
Beetroot - Cylindra
Broad Beans - Aquadulce Claudia
Broad Beans - The Sutton
Cantaloupe Melon - Sweetheart
Carrots - Nantes 2
Carrots - Red Dragon
Carrots - St Valery
Carrots - Sugarsnax
Carrots - Supreme Chantenay Red Cored
Carrots - Sytan
Carrots - Yellowstone
Celeriac - Monarch
courgettes - Dundoo
courgettes - tricolour
Cucumber - Bella
Cucumber - Bella
Dwarf French Bean - Yin Yang
Lemon Coriander -
Melon - Edonis
Melon - Temptation
Mint -
Parsnip - Tender & True
Pepper - Big Banana
Pepper - Gypsy
Pepper - Redskin
Pepper - Worldbeater
Pumpkin - Baby Bear
Pumpkin - Dills Atlantic Giant
Pumpkin - Jack be Little
Squash - Sunshine
Squash - winter Festival
Tomato - Cristal
Tomato - Golden Sunrise
Tomato - Golden Sunrise
Tomato - Marmande
Tomato - Sweet Olive
Tomato - Tigerella
Wild Rocket -
Cape Goosberry -
Cowslip -
Echinacea - Purpurea Magnus
Fennel -
Scabious - Paper Moon
Sunflower - Claret
Sunflower - Taiyo
Sweetpea - High Scent
Sweetpea - New Horizons Mix
Sweetpea - Early Fragrance Mix

oops, got two Sunrise by mistake and why did I get so many aubergines, when I've had no success this year ... got two packets of bella (Cucumber) as there are only 4 seeds in each packet (at a whopping £3.99 per packet full price)

Can't wait - how long to Spring !

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

... its gone mouldy and dropped off !

oh no, the change in the weather has taken its toll on my ONE and ONLY aubergine. The plant still looks healthy, but the flippin fruit has gone mouldy and dropped off. Think that might be it for this season unfortunately. The potting shed door is just ajar now, day and night, but suspect it'll be closed all the time soon.

The tomato plants are not looking their best at the moment either - one of the plants has developed grey mould in the main stem. All the plants have plenty of fruit, but some are dropping whilst still green. The outside tomatoes look much healthier, although they are half the size of the ones in the potting shed, but the fruit is much bigger, however every single one is still green ...

I shall christen my cooker tonight (FINALLY its connected - yipee) with one of my mammoth courgettes ... actually the chosen one is so big I'm not certain it'll fit in ... perhaps a recipe involving diced courgettes is called for !

Noticed that the beetroot that I sowed recently has popped through - I think I'll probably fleece it to give it a bit of protection from the rain, wind and also the colder weather.

Still haven't managed to get hold of any green manure seeds

Monday, 21 August 2006

If at first ...

Distraught that my first cordial attempt ended up as jelly, I have invested in a jam thermometer and tried again. Hmmm, seems 100degs was just about a fast simmer - not the rolling boil that I had going originally ! Second batch is now bottled and is still liquid - hurray. It tastes delicious.

Finally have a baby aubergine - one fruit from five plants, not bad 'eh ! Am hoping that now they've got the hang of it, they'll get a move on, although the season is progressing pretty quick.

Condensed my two onion beds into one, have a few stragglers that may benefit from another few weeks growing time. Dug the free bed over - looks so lovely.

Sweetcorn looks as if it could be ready any day now, although Nick next door thinks it'll be more like September.

Lifted the remaining pathetic pea plants that never recovered from the dratted pigeon attack. There was a stray potato plant in the middle of the pathetic peas and whilst lifting the potatoes I came across an .... EGG ... er, not small insect eggs, but a hen sized egg ! not quite sure what it was doing there - it certainly wasn't there when I dug the bed over at Easter.

Unfortunately my tactic of ignoring the courgettes has not worked as another 16 of differing sizes were demanding to be picked on Friday night. Intend to take them all to work - maybe that will be my new tactic.

Wish I could get my mint to grow, ended up buying a pot from the supermarket (it's so expensive), but the taste and smell was amazing - have been drinking Mint tea all weekend.

The plot is looking lovely at the minute.

Got my seed catalogue this morning from the Allotment shop and spent the afternoon deciding what to grow next year. Definitely intend to get some golden beetroot. Since discovering the taste and texture of freshly boiled beetroot, OH is almost addicted and his biggest concern is that we might run out - scattered the last of this year's seed (Boltardy) to keep him going over the next few months.

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

... dancing, dancing, gonna dance the night away ...

this is my other passion. As promised here's a piccy - this is us at Ryan & Jenny's Camp Savoy, we had such a great time dancing to Casey McGill and Blue 4 ... now if my days could be filled with lottie-ing and my nights with dancing I think I might just be in heaven ...

Monday, 14 August 2006

well I finally lifted my Pentland Javelin potatoes on Saturday. The foliage has been dying back for around 3 weeks and the slugs had already nibbled a couple, so I didn't want to leave them in too long. Am now the proud owner of 4 blue trays worth of different sized potatoes.

Lifted the remaining shallots and garlic, the additional growing time they've had has made quite a difference and they are definitely my biggest - intend planting next years as soon as I've found some 'sets'.

Counted my courgettes at the weekend (why not), after giving 4 to the next door neighbours ("no, really, do take them, yes - all of them") had 34 left - sigh. Made Tim's courgette bread - that got rid of 5, OH used another 2 for tea, so only 27 more to go !!! Noticed another 6 ready to pick - ignored them, its going to my new tactic - shall just walk straight past them.

OH filled all the water butts up, which were absolutely empty. We only water the plants in the potting shed (tomatoes, peppers, cucumber and aubergines) every 2-3 days, so this is only the third time we've had to fill the butts. The rest of the plants are having to endure Sahara conditions, but they seem to be doing quite well all in all, although we finally seem to be getting some rain.

Currently have 7 pumpkins, none of them are huge, but OH is suitably impressed. Had our first roasted Turks Turbin on Friday - very yummy. The butternuts are looking h-u-g-e, by the time they've ripened I think I'll need help carrying them home.

Had our first roasted tomato sauce on Saturday - with allotment shallots, garlic and basil, accompanied by panfried potatoes with garlic and sage. Gorgeous.

Picked about 10lb of blackberries last week and having spent hours looking at recipes, settled on blackberry and apple jam. The house was filled with the most delicious smell and now have two medium kilner jars and 2 jam jars of lovely jam. Wanted to make some blackberry jam too, but OH insists I've already made more than we'll eat in a year, so settled for some blackberry cordial. It was very easy to make, but I haven't got a thermometer yet (mum, OH - take note, here is a Christmas hint) so it was difficult to judge whether it was boiling at 100◦C or higher. After 5 mins of boiling, cooled it slightly and then bottled. There was a tiny bit left, so I sampled it, in the spirit of quality control of course. Tastes just like Ribena, wow, its so nice. Later, when it had cooled, OH started to hover around - decided to pour himself a glass, unscrewed the top, tipped bottle up ... and found cordial had set into jelly !!!!! After a bit of shaking and muttering, he was able to get some liquid (although very gloopy) cordial into a glass. Sigh, will try again - it still looks / tastes fab, just difficult to get it out of the beautiful, but VERY narrow necked bottle its in.

Have another 2lb in the fridge waiting for a decision ... wonder if you can combine them with courgettes ...

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Here's my herb path. I grew some sweetpeas up the arch in the hope of gaining some shade, but unfortunately they went to seed whilst I was travelling .. must try harder next year. My lovely blue bench came from the freecycle network, but I don't think it will make it through our wet winter as its in pretty poor condition - I can sit on it, but only carefully !

My sweet potatoes look to be doing quite well - they've certainly had lots of sunshine recently, so I have high expectations - my sweet potato and aubergine curry recipe is ready and waiting ..

My Okra plant suffered a little whilst I was away and looks to have dropped most of its leaves and 2 of its 3 'pods'.

But on the positive side, its last remaining pod is about to flower which is quite exciting .. will definitely try harder next year.

Hopefully by next year the greenhouse will be in place - we've been collecting slabs to use as a base for the frame to rest on, but I still need to clear the ground where it will be sited and then we still have the ardious task of dismantling it, transporting it and reassembling it. I think I'll fill it with Okra, cucumbers and aubergines.

I'm thinking of putting a green manure into the onion beds, which are both just about empty now - will probably grow mustard.

Popped up to the the lottie last night to give it a quick water and found MORE courgettes waiting for me - cut over 10 (sigh, what am I going to do with them) - discussed special courgette growing aids with my neighbour such as encasing with black plastic, treating to a lovely drink of weedkiller ... am very tempted to try.

Whilst I was there it rained (hurray) and the blackberries in the lane looked so lovely, glistening and sparkling, that I collected loads and then went home to make apple and blackberry crumble - the house smelt delicious.