Wednesday, May 15

Making friends




Monday, May 13

Dashing between showers

The allotment didn’t see much action last week.

We managed an afternoon there, when I managed to clear one of the beds that had been home to one lot of overwintered brassicas. The weed control fabric used there was moved to the bed that will house the next lot of brassicas to be planted.
The other brassica bed is due for clearance this week and so no brassica harvest for us for a while.

Whilst I was busy with that job, Martyn strimmed all the grass paths. The grass at least will be enjoying the cooler, wet weather conditions

So far we have escaped any frost damage. The Casablanca potatoes had pushed through the earthing up and so it was just as well that the temperature didn't fall as low as was forecast. The Casablancas in the plot greenhouse are growing very quickly. We just hope that the top growth is replicated by action beneath.
As we couldn't do much outside, we did what many gardeners resort to at such time and visited garden centres with the inevitable outcome.
Most of our physical gardening was done at home where we could dash in and out avoiding the showers or sow seeds and prick out seedlings in the garden greenhouse. 
The seedlings have been covered nightly with layers of fleece in order to offer some protection against falling temperatures.
The peach tree is still loaded with immature fruits despite it having shed some already. Soon we will have to bite the bullet and remove some fruitlets as the tree can't possibly cope with so many fruits.

The greenhouse was given a general tidy and is filling up quickly. Some plants such as the dahlias are desperate to decamp outdoors.
Martyn posted a video tour of inside the garden greenhouse here if you'd like a closer look around

We made good progress on the ‘new’ garden bed which I intend to post about in more detail shortly. Much of it involved either moving plants that had outgrown their tubs into open ground or planting out some of our garden centre purchases. Some of our acquisitions were planted in our small pebble bed.
We managed another meagre harvest. The second overwintering brassica bed yielded it’s final harvest, namely a couple of cauliflowers. These were just on the point of spoiling but were still fine for cooking.
Of course the rhubarb didn’t let us down.



This week I am embarrassingly linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres where lots of other gardeners describe harvests that put ours to shame.


By the way, thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started.


Wednesday, May 8

Busy bees








Monday, May 6

Winter makes a comeback

I continued to plant up our new strawberry bed last week as some of the plants just wouldn't hang on in the cold frame any longer.
There are still a few plants waiting in the cold frame but, after the forecast of frosty nights to come, we decided to leave the remaining plants in the relative protection.

We spent an afternoon last week preparing for the onslaught of winter - not quite as desperately as shown in the episode of a current TV programme but with just as much urgency..

Unaware of the frosty welcome, quite a few of our open ground planted potatoes had pushed through the soil. If the frost touched the young leaves they would shrivel and, although experience tells us that the plants would recover, we wanted to try to avoid the setback in growth that this would cause.

The bed of the earliest planted potatoes were not planted though weed control fabric and so we hoped that earthing up the soil over the new leaves would offer them sufficient protection.

We had some straw that had been used to protect the carrot bed over winter, so we covered the next most advanced potatoes with most of that.  The remaining potatoes were less advanced with only the odd shoots pushing through the soil so we used the remaining straw more sparingly and when the straw ran out we used some dry material from the compost bins.

We also wanted to try and avoid the flowers on the newly planted strawberry bed from being frosted so we decided to cover the bed with a double layer of enviromesh. Enviromesh isn't expected to offer much protection against frost but we are hoping that it helped. It certainly was better than nothing.
Another candidate for protection was the newly planted out kiwi berry - Issia. You may remember that soon after planting frost burned and shriveled all it's leaves. New leaf buds had just started to develop and so we decided to cover that too with a double layer of enviromesh.
Everything else was left to fend for itself. I'm sure that the newly emerging peas will have survived.
We did have cold weather at the end of last week but the temperatures didn't fall quite as low as predicted so hopefully not too much damage will  have been done.

We hope to get to the allotment this afternoon so we will see!

Our harvest last week was miniscule.
30 April
The cauliflower and small cabbage above made up our total usable harvest. We did cut another cabbage later in the week.
2 May
Unfortunately as I peeled back each layer of leaves it became apparent that all this was good for was the compost heap.

I guess this week's harvest will be limited to rhubarb so it's a good job that we have peas, green beans and red cabbage in the freezer to tide us over.



This week I am embarrassingly linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres


By the way, thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started.



Wednesday, May 1

April in Pictures














Monday, April 29

Cauliflowers coming out of our ears

The week before last we planted our first lot of broad (fava) beans and sowed our first lot of peas and I wrote that I would post about this later.

If you pop over to our vlog, I have posted videos of planting the broad beans  and sowing our peas. If you watch the videos you will notice that we are rather cavalier in our approach to planting and sowing.

As is usually recommended we sow two bean seeds to a cell, but then we part company with the recommended technique. If, as is usually the case, both seeds germinate we don't discard one of the seedlings but plant both as if it was just one plant.
It seems a sin to reject one of the seedlings when it has done its best to germinate, and we haven't found that planting the two seedling together affects their growth. Of course those leaves don't remain perfect for long as the weevils move in almost immediately as the telltale notches indicate.
Fortunately, as long as the beans grow away at a reasonable rate the weevils only spoil things aesthetically and don't affect the harvest.

As for peas we buy a large bag of peas and scatter the seeds liberally in a shallow trench. Some would say this is overkill but it works for us. There are plenty of seeds to share with any hungry wildlife and we usually have a good harvest - oh why did I tempt fate by saying that?
Only last year a fellow plot holder asked how it was that we had such a lush row of peas. Our attitude is that the only right way to garden, is the way that works for you and these methods have served us well over the years. 

Last week we planted the last of our seed potatoes. These were left overs from earlier planting, and the intention was to use them up. We had  some Nadine, one or two Winston and, as the tubers were small, quite a few Osprey.
It's a good feeling to complete potato planting. The first lot of Rocket and Casablanca planted in open ground are just starting to push through and the container planted potatoes in the greenhouse are growing quickly.

I also planted some All Year Round cauliflowers to fill up the brassica bed started earlier.

Sowing is now well underway and our sowing and planting list is growing far too quickly to list everything here.

On the allotment more beds have been prepared and the grass paths cut. 
This was managed before the weather turned unfriendly at the weekend. The winds will no doubt have shaken the apple and quince blossom to the ground but hopefully some fruit will have set.
I've mentioned previously that we are rejuvenating an area of our garden and so we have bought a small clematis and a couple of cornus to add to the bed.
I'm hoping that one cornus will develop red stems and the other yellow but one thing that I am unsure of is, should I cut them back or has this already been done?

If you're interested in taking a walk around our garden, I've posted a video here

We have managed some harvesting. The overwintered cauliflowers are producing heads and although some were fairly small they were starting to blow and needed cutting.
23 April
 Some of the cauliflower went into a turkey and cauliflower bake.
26 April
 Although the PSB is starting to flower, I managed to pick enough for a helping.

The overwintered cabbages are also starting to look rather shabby, but I managed to get enough from the specimen above to make a batch of coleslaw.
When I was sorting out the cabbage patch, I came across these twins but they lived for another day. 

At the moment a weekly harvest isn't complete without featuring rhubarb.

28 April
Some of our clumps of rhubarb are becoming crowded so, Martyn split some and  planted up a new bed.



This week I am linking to harvest Monday hosted on 

Dave's blog Our Happy Acres


By the way, thanks to those who responded to my invitation to make a comment. I appreciate you taking the trouble to say hello. I know I get lots of visitors who never comment and I'd love to know who you are - unlike the annoying spammers who can't seem to grasp that their comments go straight into my spam folder and never see the light of day.

You don't have to have your own blog in order to join in conversations. It may seem that everyone who comments knows one another but bloggers always welcome new commenters, after all that is how we all started.