Saturday, 12 January 2008

2008 ... how did that happen !

I've only managed a few fleeting visits to the lottie recently, as I've been busy with a few things; moving house, messing about with my now written off car, illness, Christmas and currently the builders.

One of my Christmas presents was a lovely Victoria Plum Tree. Unfortunately it arrived when I was absolutely full of cold, so it sat in its packaging in the lounge for a few days. I finally managed to get to the lottie to plant it, but didn't really have the energy to do anything other than dig a hole and stick it in. It is looking good and I think I'll leave it where it is until next winter. I've started to save jam jars already !

My garlic and broadbeans have finally started to appear - they have been much slower than last season, so much so, that I was convinced that the mice must have eaten them.

This is the Cristo garlic, which is in the brick bed. They are all pretty much through now, but so far only one of the Germidor has appeared in the other bed.

Garlic copy

The beans in both the small bed and the green manure bed all look to have germinated. The ones in the green manure bed are slightly bigger than the others.

Broadbeans in green manure copy

This lovely, luscious looking grass is actually Rye. I didn't realise when I planted it that it stops other things growing. I might not have sown it if I'd known. Nick next door grew it last year as a soil improver, it left his bed beautiful and crumbly. I'm hoping it'll do the same for mine. He left it in for a full season, so if I do the same, I'll be a bed down.

Rye copy

Here are my leeks. They are a little better than last years I think, which is good considering that they stayed in 'holding pots' for so long. The look lovely and healthy - no sign of the rust that I had last year. I dug up four, for tea tonight, but we ended up having soup instead, so we'll have them tomorrow.

Leeks copy

I also cleared the carrot bath today. I've been very disappointed with it, but I do think it is down to 'operator error'. This season I intend to construct a fleece fence to see if they fare any better. Although they look pretty good, most of the carrots have carrot fly damage (at least thats what I assume it is). I used around half of them in tonights soup, which was delicious.

Carrots copy

The other ingredient in the soup was Jerusalem Artichokes. I've never had them before. They grow in the ground, similar to potatoes. I dug up one plant and had about 10 tubers, some big, some small. They reminded me of water chestnuts when I cut them up and I'm not sure that I can describe the flavour, but the soup was very, very nice. So far I've not noticed any of the, erm, side effects that people often talk about. I'm going to try some as chips too, as they are supposed to be superb.

Jerusalem Artichokes copy

The cauliflowers in the greenhouse are getting bigger. My quandry will be whether to try and move them during spring. I'm thinking that I probably will, as I'll be desperate for greenhouse space come spring / summer. Not spotted any more caterpillars, but the pot I planted up with runner beans has been raided by meeces.

Cauliflower copy

As an experiment in autumn I sowed some carrot seed. They germinated and have been steadily growing under a fleece cloche. Unfortunately the weeds are loving it too ! I didn't think they'd make it this far, so now I'm quite excited that I might have some reasonable carrots in Spring / early summer.

Carrots copy

baby carrot:
baby carrot copy

The red onions have been in for a couple of months now and I have to say they are looking a little sorry for themselves. So long as they make it through the winter I'll be pleased.

red onion copy

I gave the pond a little tender loving care today. The oxygenating weed is doing a fantastic job and the water is crysal clear, but the tiny piece that was thrown in originally has now almost taken over the pond. Advice on one of the lottie forums was to remove around half of it.

pond copy

The yellow flag iris needed a bit of a tidy up - I'm wondering if I'll need to split those next winter perhaps. They just about filled the basket when I first put it in.

yellow flag iris copy

The King Cup is bursting into life again, a sure sign Spring is on its way:

King Cup copy

The violas are still in full flower, they add a lovely splash of colour to the wild flower bed.

Viola copy

I'm not sure if these are late or early flowers. It was very cold here in December, with lots of hard frosts and even today there was frost on all of the beds and ice on the pond, but it still doesn't seem to have affected this Ox Eye Daisy.

Ox Eye daisy 2 copy

ox eye daisy copy

Although my drive to work is still in darkness, it definitely feels a little lighter to me in the mornings. Another good sign that Spring is on the way is the appearance of the daffodils. I also planted some aliums during autumn and they look as though they are pushing their way through the soil too.

Daffodils copy

This is one of my Lidl apple trees .. I THINK it is the crab apple, but I am ashamed to say I've forgotten which is which. I'm sure I took a photo of them when I bought them, I'll have to have a look. The tree is definitely bursting into life. I hope it is not too early. The other tree (and my new plum tree) is still dormant.

apple tree copy

I was thrilled to see that there is evidence of a new tennant on the lottie next door to me. A pallet fence and door have appeared and there is evidence of clearing and fires. They have an awful lot of work to do, but it is definitely looking good. I wonder whether it is Dennis, or whether its someone else. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they are very enthusiastic !

next doors lottie copy