Friday, 30 April 2010

did someone mention a plant sale ?

if you are in the area on Saturday 15 May, pop along to our plant sale ... I'll be the one in the corner with a paper bag over my head having a nervous breakdown ;)

Plant Sale 15 May 2010

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Guess who's been to give the pigeon cage the seal of approval !


Kinder managed not to fall in the pond, although he did dip a toe in, to test the temperature

kinder pond 2

He had a good chomp of my grass ... I may let him come again - he could be the official weed chomper :)

kinder at pond

Loki came to keep an eye on Kinder ...


They are both asleep now after their exciting adventure !

Sunday, 25 April 2010

I'm sure I used to have a life ..

Here are the plant sale seedlings in the shop greenhouse ... it's getting pretty crowded ... I wish we had a bit more sunshine, everything is so small:


Things are not germinating in the shop greenhouse, so I'm having to try and germinate everything in my glass greenhouse. If the plant sale is a success and if I manage knock down the brick greenhouse and if I manage to get my new greenhouse up and running then next year I might have a better chance ... that's a whole lot of IFs !!


It looks as though I am going to be engulfed by bindweed this season, it is popping up everywhere. I'm digging it up by the wheelbarrow full. Unfortunately it is coming from the hedges so it's really difficult to eradicate.


People keep telling me to use chemicals, but I really want to be organic, not least of all for my froggies, so I'll keep digging - weedkiller doesn't touch bindweed anyway in my opinion.


My peas looked like they were suffering with the heat so that and a combination of needing greenhouse space meant it was time for them to go out into the big wide world ... well under plastic cloches for at least. They are Greenshaft, so I must make some supports for them soon - and remember to give them some sort of protection from pigeons, I seem to recall they feasted last year, after the meeces had had their fill.



Despite the fun the foxes have had, digging up the seed beds, my carrot & beetroot seedlings are appearing ! Yeay. Need to make sure I keep them well watered now - OH soaked the plot yesterday, but it's been so dry that within half an hour the beds appeared totally dry again.


They are not quite in the straight lines that they once were and there are a few gaps that I'll need to fill in ..


My crab apple & brambly apple trees are budding up. The crab apple is a gorgeous colour:


Remember those newspaper fruit trees ! Here is the Gala apple ... looks promising so far:


Here is my fabulous new pigeon cage ... I need to get some pegs for the netting on a couple of sides and then it will be finished. It's a combination of bamboo canes, netting, zip ties & bulldog clips. My red cabbages, cauliflowers & broccoli are now in situ - I was going to give them a seaweed feed but the heavens opened, oh boy, did they open - so I beat a hasty retreat and headed for home ...


It was incredibly dark by the time I left and there were rivers running through the lottie !


Sunday, 18 April 2010

There may be trouble ahead ....

Look at my greenhouse ... it is bursting at the seams and then some. The shop greenhouse is also bursting at the seams and I've farmed out another 7 blue trays filled with beans to another greenhouse temporarily. Yes indeed, those blue trays are stacked .... we're still on plan A - germination ! I have no idea what plan B is once germination takes place. OMG ... breathe, breathe !


My cabbages, cauliflowers & broccoli have been braving the sun today ... I was toying with the idea of starting to harden them off, but having watched the TV tonight and seen all the frost that has been forecast next week I'm so pleased I didn't:

red cabbage

... and here is my secret weapon. Du-dur-durrr ! It's a pigeon cage :) Well actually it's a cage for my lovely brassicas and hopefully the flying rats won't be enjoying a buffet a la duck this year.


Here are the fabled Okra plants ... all destined for the plant sale, hopefully my fellow allotmenters will be up for a challenge !


These squashes are also destined for the plant sale. I spent Saturday potting them on amongst lots of other stuff:


This Queensland Blue is destined for my plot ... not sure yet where everything is going to go:


My Swiss Chard is looking lovely ... wonder if I'll like it ?

Swiss Chard

Wow, my first tray of sweetcorn has appeared ... not a meece in sight !


Here are my lovely peas ... again not a meece in sight. Hmmm, this season is going too well so far ...


After spending all day yesterday potting on and sowing and then another two hours this morning sowing in the Shop greenhouse, I'd run out of excuses and it was time to make a start on the jungle. It has taken around 4.5 hours to dig this tiny bit of earth - and that's the reasonably easy bit, ie, I've already cleared it twice, or was that three times, I've lost count. Let this be a lesson to all you newbies ... think, think THINK carefully about where to toss the weeds when you first clear your plot !


new bed

My rhubarb plants are finally looking like rhubarb and not some weird alien species:


The frogspawn has hatched and the pond is once again filled with wriggling little tadpoles:


King cup is looking lovely:


This is naught Kinder ... he is on top of the kitchen cupboards, worrying a poor fly up in the sky light. Eventually he did what all cats do and forgot where he was and jumped ... he had a very ungraceful landing !


Sunday, 11 April 2010

OMG, the plant sale is taking over my life ... spent three hours this morning pricking out seedlings & sowing new things. Three hours !!! and that was with help. Seems to be generating a bit of interest, so that's good - lots of people popping into the greenhouse to see what we're growing ... we've even started selling the red cabbage, cauliflowers & broccoli :) One chappie asked me whether we are selling our leeks by the 100 ... er, that'll be a no ! LOL. Why would any sane person want 100 leeks ;P

Once I'd had enough fun pricking out 300 cauliflowers it was time to visit my lottie. Sole aim of today was to plant my potatoes. Am very ashamed to say that my manure has come from B&Q ... again ! But needs must ...

So each potato got 2 spades of manure and some newspaper ... I've still not managed to get hold of any grass clippings ! I've planted 5 x Wilja, 10 x Charlotte & 10 x Cara. Got some Pink Fir Apple at home that still need to make it as far as the lottie.


Once the potatoes were safely tucked up I had a quick look in the greenhouse. Can you believe those peas I sowed earlier in the week - was it Wednesday maybe - have already germinated ! Look at these ... and not a mouse in sight :)


I also pricked out some more tomatoes - they are terribly small, they'd better get a move on. Also potted on some Crown Prince Squashes - the roots / plants look splendid.

Brings my week's holiday to a nice close ... back to being a weekend gardener for me now.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

sigh ... the Easter hols are almost over :(

I've managed to dig over three of my remaining beds - just one more to go. I'm not in a rush to clear it though, as I think I will need to sacrifice it for the new greenhouse.


In the greenhouse I've sown my peas, borlotti beans, courgettes, sweetcorn and melons. Oh, I've also sown some more cat grass, ironically the mice ate the last lot ! My Queensland Blue squashes have germinated along with a couple of Acorn & Winter Festival. Two tiny African Marigolds have appeared ... another week and I'll be overrun. The Okra has appeared ... wonder if I'll manage to get it to flower again:


The greenhouse is now bursting at the seams and just to add to the fun, I noticed that several of the greenhouse strawberries are in flower :)


I've sown some beetroot, parsnips and 4 varieties of carrots outside - although the flippin' foxes have been having a party overnight - I suspect I'll have to resow some of the lines ... if I can find them again !

The garlic is pushing through the soil and the red onions are beginning to show signs of life too:



There is loads of frogspawn in the pond - most of it has little wriggling tadpoles, it won't be long before the pond is full of them



I don't seem to have as many froggies this year:



Jobs still to do:

- make pigeon proof cage (have got some wood & mesh)
- get manure and plant potatoes !
- knock down brick greenhouse
- erect & glaze new greenhouse (should only take a couple of hours ;) )
- dig over the dormant jungle


I've also been busy on the homefront. We had our horrid backyard landscaped late last year - here are the plants we bought in October - we did wonder whether we'd fit them all into the car - we had a bit of a Dr Who & the Tardis moment ... OH is pulling the trolley - can you see him !


I ordered a tonne of topsoil last year, but we needed about another 3/4 of a tonne to fill the railway sleeper planters. I've planted some golden bamboo, an enormous green varigated phormium, a small black phormium (you would not believe how much it cost), a standard bay, some grasses (that the cats appear to have eaten) and a lovely ecalyptus tree and bought the japonica back from the lottie. As some of them are thugs, I will need to keep my eye on them. Here is our (almost finished) city garden:


The slate is Chinese, it looks gorgeous after it's rained - our landscapers have recommended that we seal it in the summer with some special wet look varnish.


It looks lovely, but I'm pretty tired now, it's been a long week !

I also became an Auntie this week ! Here is my lovely new niece, she is a little poorly, but hopefully she will soon be well enough to go home. She is just two days old in the picture with her daddy (my brother - maybe I won't tell him he is achieving world fame on my blog haha). She is beautiful ... not that I'm biased :)

Phobe Rose & Mark

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter Progress

Well that's the left side of the lottie completely dug over now :) The foxes are having a great time dancing and digging up the freshly turned soil.


I've now got 10 clear / working beds and the strawberry beds are a bit tidier too. I've got red onions in the top (brick bed) and garlic in the third bed - I only planted it on a whim last week ... I went to use some and it was growing, so I thought I'd chance it. Not expecting great things but hopefully I'll be rewarded with something in the summer.


Fortunately the recent snow didn't make it to the lottie and despite how cold it's been, things are really starting to get going again. My comfrey is looking very healthy ... I'll have to make some soup soon :)


This is my blackcurrant ... I don't think I can use the term bush yet, it's still a bit of a twig ! Not had any fruit off it ... yet


The indoor strawberries are looking very healthy and I'm sure I can see the beginning of flowers arriving


The outdoor ones are waking up too:


Something strange is happening to my rhubarb ... I have one green plant:


... and one purple plant !!! The third one is a mixture of both. Not enough to crop yet - it's very slow.


In the greenhouse my seedlings are growing nicely - apologies for the lack of focusing ... I had to borrow OH's camera and it's a bit beyond me :)

These are my Roma Tomatoes:


Here are my musselbrough leeks - first time I've grown my own from seed - they're so easy, not sure why I've not tried them before !


These are my Swiss Chard - one set are yellow and the other are red ... already they're very striking (well in the flesh they are)


These little fella's are my cauliflowers


and here are my red cabbage. A job for this week should be to make a pigeon proof cage ... must try and remember !

red cabbage

This may be the last time I see my lupin if last season is anything to go by. Hope it flowers this year.


I'm growing these on for a friend at work, lavender always looks lovely in terracotta pots


These giant sunflowers (well they might be eventually haha) are for the plant sale.


The daffodils are in full flower and the Forget-me-nots have just started to flower


OH took a photo of this wasp a few weeks ago, which appeared to have died in a terracotta plant pot, but when I looked today it had moved ! I thought maybe my eyes were deceiving me, so I blew on it - eek ... it's little tentacle thingies started twitching, then it woke up and started buzzing around - he's huge !!! Fortunately I remembered to open the door so he could fly out ... hope he finds something to eat.


Here's what's still to do. Shouldn't take me too long to dig over the four beds at the top of the lottie


... but oh my, I'm really not very enthusiastic about getting on with this end ! It'll be the third time I've dug over the area next to the pond.


I can't decide whether I have the energy to shift a tonne of manure so haven't arranged any yet .. but maybe I should just have it delivered then I'll have to find the energy ... I need to plant my potatoes PDQ, hmmm, I can hear some of you saying - wasn't she just digging some up last week. Ahem.