Monday, 24 December 2012

Very pleased with myself ... I've managed to make a holly & ivy wreath for my front door :)

 Hope you all enjoy the holiday season x

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Well despite natures best efforts the allotment hasn't quite blown away yet

What a grey and miserable weekend - here is the view from our upper garden, looking out towards the cemetry & church and then the moors of Door & Totley beyond. In the foreground you can see some of the allotments

The drainpipe peas are looking super - they seem quite happy hanging off our railings, overlooking the lower garden. Not quite decided whether to plant into the beds, or keep in the drainpipes through the winter. I'm a bit worried about their roots freezing in so little soil. Will see if the weather picks up next weekend and try to make decision.

Beans are all present and correct thank goodness. 

Here they are under their pigeon / squirrel proof cages, next to the garlic.

Here is naughty cat no. 3. He always follows me down to the allotment and appears to have discovered that the greenhouse is a warm spot to shelter

My artichokes were being chomped by something, not sure what, so I've moved them to a different bed. I'll be gutted if they don't survive.

I'm disappointed with the progress my onions have made - they were planted early Oct from memory, but it's taken them all this time to make an appearance. The peas are due to go at the end of this bed, but I wonder if it's in a cold spot ? Vic was going to cover the bed in polythene (over his waterpipe hoops) - am thinking this might not be such a bad idea.

The Jerusalem Artichoke bed is looking very sad. The JA's are tiny and not very many of them, possibly as they were left in from the season before. Between me and Vic we've cleared about half the bed.

Vic's crab apples look like bedazzling jewels - he a second variety which is a rich ruby red. Hope he is making some crab apple jelly - they're too good to waste

I forgot to get a photo of the leaf mold store, drat ! It's nearly full - I managed to persuade some of my neighbours to bag up their leaves for me hahah - they probably think I'm a nutter running up and down the street with black bags full of leaves :D

Now I have a question - in the summer I bought an 'olive' tree under the presumption that I would be able to eat the olives, should they ripen. So I tried one a couple of weeks ago and it was about the worst thing I've ever tried (well apart from OH's red rice, but I can't bring myself to recant that tale, I'd need therapy ... again). So are they decorative only and not edible ? Or is it just that they need a long time to ripen ?

I think the only thing in flower at the moment in the garden is the hebe. It has been chopped and chopped this year and still needs some attention in the spring - but just shows how resilient they can be. Hope it survives the winter.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Beautiful weekend, blue skies, lovely winter sunshine ...

...  lets not think about what's ahead !

After much debating I've decided to take the plunge and plant my broadies out in the big wide world.

They are lushiously green and about 4" high ... they've survived the frosts so far, but have had the protection of the house.  Hope I didn't make a bad decision.  The pigeons were gathering as I marked out my bed ... I could hear the dratted things salivating.  I'm relying on Vic's fabulous chicken wire type cage thingy to keep my broadies safe !!!!

Monday, 12 November 2012

awsome day out :)

We had a wonderful day out visiting an otter & owl sanctuary - amazing to get so close to wild animals.  We arrived at feeding time - the little yellow chicks were a little grim, at least they were dead.  There were Asian, European & giant Amazon otters. 

All were incredibly playful and the sizes varied quite considerably.

There was a lovely herd of fallow deer - two of them had been hand reared, so you were able to get quite close - very bambi :)

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Here comes autumn

Standing outside our house there is the sensation of it snowing as the leaves from the street trees rain down on us - autumn is in full swing, so I've been out and about collecting bags of leaves for the leaf mold store - Vic has also been out sweeping the streets and it's about half full so far :)

Just one broad bean left to germinate, they are growing well and have lovely roots developing. They'll be big enough to transplate to bigger pots in a couple of weeks. I can't decide whether to plant them out into the bed ahead of winter, or keep them in pots ...

Some of my early peas are looking fantastic, but I've had sporadic germination which is a bit strange. One drainpipe is completely germinated, but the other two have germinated at each end, but not in the middle. I'm not sure whether something has been nibbling or whether they are just taking a while to pop through. I'm going to transplant them to the bed in a couple of weeks and tuck them up with some protection to keep them safe

Here are the lovely Peru 'Chinese lanterns'

The Hydranger in the lower garden has an amazing array of flowers in different colours and shapes - is this normal ? I'm having second thoughts now about removing it completely ... maybe I'll give it a very hard prune instead.

The Welsh poppies are having a resurgence and adding some welcome colour to our slab of concrete in the upper garden area

The two acers in the front garden have their winter palette colours - the green one is transformed and looks as though it is on fire ... but the leaves are dropping fast, so it won't be long until we are enjoying their structural branches - Tom, the guy who planted up the garden, was an amazingly skilled planter. We've enjoyed year round colour along with a succession of interesting plants and textures.

The Japanese anenomies have just about finished flowering, they've had an amazing season - I will definitely be trying to split the tubers :)

The front garden also has some beautiful little cyclamen nodding in the sunshine, the pink ones have just replaced the white ones:

I've planted up one of the china sinks with succulents

Not so keen on the dying tree that is attached to the property next door, but the fir cones are pretty ... will have to think about how I can use them in my Christmas door decoration ... did someone say Christmas !!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

oooo sunshine !!

What a great weekend - brilliant sunshine, beautiful blue sky and not a cloud in sight :)

My peas are coming along nicely - two drainpipes are fully pea'd and the third one is almost fully up. Thirteen broad beans have already germinated :) The temperature is dropping pretty quickly here and overnight frost is becoming a real risk.

I decided to tackle the alpine strawberry bed this weekend as the various self seeded flowers have finally finished flowering. The bed has some blackberries which in theory are trained up against the stone wall that borders the bed, but in reality they're sprawling over the bed. Initially I thought the strawberries just needed thinning but it soon became apparent that the bed was riddled with those old favourites, creeping buttercup & bindweed, grrrrr.

here's the after shot !

It has now had a thorough dig over and I've tamed the blackberries. Access to the fruit has been tricky this year, so I've added a couple of paving slabs along the back of the bed.

I've now got a lovely square of clear earth to plant up next year - maybe my sweetcorn will go there :)

There are still around 50 alpine strawberry plants to be moved - for now they are heeled into a bed to keep them alive until I find somewhere for them to go permanently.

Kittie no. 4, Fergal, obviously thinks she is a herb, as she has taken up residence in the herb box - it was hard to admonish her, as she does look so pretty :)

Here is naughty kittie no. 3 practising his second favourite activity - lolling around in the sun.  He loves following us around the lottie - I'm not sure he's going to shape up into much of an apprentice though...

Sunday, 30 September 2012

at this rate there won't be anything to do in Spring !

The Douce Provence early peas that I planted up into drainpipes a couple of weeks ago are finally just poking through the soil. The drainpipes are suspended from the metal railings lining my garden wall, to try and keep them out of harms way. My biggest problem so far has been the incessant rain that the UK is currently enjoying. The drainpipes don't have any caps on the ends, so at least the rain is draining away. So far so good - hopefully they'll stay safe from the meeces ... actually I think my cats will see to that. They have turned into trained assassins every since we moved and there is now a weekly line up of little bodies :( I'm hoping word spreads and the meeces find somewhere safer to live soon.

Douce Provence early peas:

Sweet Peas:

This weekend I went home to Whitby to visit my folks and we had a trip out to Reighton Nursery in Humnanby, Scarborough. I finally got a bottle of liquid seaweed feed - quite a difficult thing to find in Sheffield ! I also got some plants for the garden: a lovely purple honeysuckle - looks like it's first year and a beautiful white clematis called 'Henri' (a nod to OH's stepdad whom we lost during my early allotment days), some beautiful purple 'Verbena', a lovely silver succulent and something called 'dancing butterflies', which is a very pretty and delicate little thing. Apparently it may need some protection over winter. I also got some onion sets - 25 Radar (white) and 25 Electric Red and they are now nestled into bed no. 1.

"Dancing Butterflies":

There is a bit of space left at the end of the bed for the Broad Beans, Bunyards Exhibition, that I sowed last week. No sign of them yet but hopefully not long :)

My globe artichokes are looking superb, despite the little leaf burrowing bug. They are filling out nicely.

My leeks are safely tucked up under their metal 'cages' and it appears that the culprit was most likely naughty kittie no. 3, as all leeks are now thriving ! He came to watch me plant my onion sets earlier, wonder if I'll need to protect those next ! Something has dug up and eaten some of the garlic - a squirrel maybe ?? they are now also under metal cage protection LOL courtesy of Vic :)

Naughty kittie no. 3 ... loving the allotments as suspected

So season prep is going pretty well so far ! Off to look at the seed sites now to see what else I can sow before winter :)

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Autumn is here

It's very hard to dial down my impatience to get started, having missed a whole season and so the garlic that was planted just a couple of weeks ago is just starting to appear :)

My baby leeks are starting to thicken - although a few have disappeared ! I'm investigating the culprit ... there are three suspects:

1. the super fat pigeons
2. kittie no. 3
3. bloody slugs

I've narrowed it down to no. 2 & no. 3. I've developed a cunning plan to narrow it further and they are now encased in a chicken wire cage. Beat that kittie !

This weekend I've planted two enormous elephant garlic cloves. I've never grown them before and the chappie I bought them from has told me that they need a lot more feed than normal garlic. I paid £2 per clove (blimey) and was disappointed to realise that one of them was soft and mouldy on one side - won't have an opportunity to take it back to the food festival, so will have to cross my fingers instead. I meant to take a photo but forgot - the cloves were as big as the palm of my hand ! Need to order some seaweed feed now.

I've also got some globe artichokes on the go. I've potted them on and transferred them to the plot, where they appear to have some leaf mining insect :( Hopefully they'll 'grow out of it' - will have to google and see what natural remedies there are.

Last week I sowed some sweetpeas and today I've been busy setting off my 1st early peas !! I've never been this organised LOL. Yes it is a little early for my first early peas ;) but the packet says October and we are only a week away. Next weekend I'll be setting off my broadbeans :0

Vic's cabbages, which were battered by the slugs & caterpillars last month are starting to look a bit better as they are maturing

This is one of the raspberry patches. Vic has been told that the soil is too fertile, so the plants have just thrown up lots of green growth and no fruit. He's recommended that we dig them out, so that's one of my autumn jobs.

This is the jerusalem artichoke bed - it wasn't dug out last year, so we think it will have lots of very small roots. You might be wondering where the plant tops are - they're in the magnificent compost heap !

I think these must be Golden Delicious or a similar apple - the trees are miniature and there is so much fruit that it's falling off

Another apple tree - not sure of the variety. I think I'll have to start reading up on grease bands and the like

There are also three crab apple trees on the plot

 I've been on watering duties for Vic's tomatoes for the last 2 weeks. The leaves are looking a little mildewy, but the fruits are doing well

 He's got quite a few different varieties - none that I've grown before

plum tomatoes

 The ice plant is just colouring up

and the bees are sucking up the last of the summer nectar

The plot has lots of flowers

Vic's hops are looking very pretty - not sure if there will be enough for a brew tho !