Wednesday, March 22

Looking very dashing

Tuesday, March 21

Garden greenhouse update - a summary

In the comments on yesterday's post quite a few people expressed surprise that we were picking rhubarb so early and asked what the secret was.

No secret - as with many other plants there are early and late varieties of rhubarb. The clump that we are picking at the moment is an early variety. Martyn has posted about our rhubarb on his post today on this page.

Monday, March 20

Daffodils and rhubarb

Thursday 16 March
We managed to find a few sprigs of purple sprouting broccoli - PSB and a few leaves of kale. Most people seem to be having a bit of a glut with PSB but for us it is a delicacy. A couple of years ago we fell out of love with these two as they always seemed to fall foul of whitefly infestation which made harvesting and preparation for cooking unpleasant. We covered brassicas with enviromesh last season which seems to have kept the whitefly at bay and this has provided the impetus to try harder with them this year.
We just have one patch of daffodils on the plot that are grown for cutting and last week they decided to burst into bloom. The problem is that all the flowers have decided to open at once so our house is now filled with daffodil perfume.
Sunday 19 March
The Brussels sprout have done really well this year but I think last week's pickings will be the last. There are some small sprouts at the top of plants but I can't see them amounting to much.

Like the PSB and kale, the winter cabbage hasn't really performed well, however, some small cabbages are almost ready. We picked a small Savoy type - Traviata - last week.

At least at this time of year the rhubarb can be relied on to provide us with something to pick.

I'm linking this post to Harvest Monday over at Dave's blog 

Sunday, March 19

Plot update - a summary

Friday, March 17

Pollination without the buzz.

In our garden greenhouse are three large tubs each containing a fruit tree. They are a peach - Avalon Pride, an apricot - Flavourcot and a nectarine - Fantasia.
The tubs containing the trees were originally outdoors but after the first year, when we managed two delicious fruits from the peach tree, the peach and nectarine were so badly affected by peach leaf curl that they didn't manage a single fruit.
The apricot was unaffected by this problem but it generally flowers very early and so it seemed that it would be a good idea to move that indoors to to offer some protection.
This year all three trees are flowering at the same time. Last year the apricot was covered in flowers and produced a decent amount of fruit.
This year it has only a couple of small sprigs of flowers.
On the other hand the peach and nectarine are loaded with flower. The larger lovely pink flowers of the nectarine dominate the group.

The peach flowers are more delicate and less showy but viewed close up you can appreciate their beauty.

As the trees are indoors and often the greenhouse door is closed at this time of year, added to which the weather may not be conducive to encouraging insect pollinators to be out and about, I am giving nature a helping hand - literally.
Using a soft paintbrush I am trying to mimic bee action by gently brushing the pollen from one flower to another. The peach and nectarine have far too many flowers for me to make sure that I brush every flower but I am trying to visit as many flowers as possible.

One day when I was busy with my pretend bee a bumble bee joined me so maybe she will have dealt with the flowers that I missed.

I've added a short narrated video of my attempts at hand pollination. It's about two minutes long. I know some people enjoy watching videos and other don't so I am trying to cater for everyone and also get to play with video editing.  Does everyone sound weird when their voices are recorded? I should credit my cameraman, Martyn.

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Wednesday, March 15

March on the plot (and one of our wildlife projects),


Monday, March 13

Surprise, surprise

For one reason or another it was a week since our last visit to the plot and so we were a little surprised to find that we had four cauliflowers ready for cutting. To be honest the heads were a little beyond ready but not so far that they were really spoiled.
We then thought that we would try our luck with the PSB. We were not very optimistic as the plants hadn't grown very well. Our pessimism was well found as there was only one very small spear which to add insult to injury had already been browsed by a slug. There were a few tiny spears to come so maybe we will manage a small helping.
We picked the single spear anyway and added it to the cauliflowers. We would only have a tiny taste but that was better than nothing
Our early rhubarb was far more productive.
Martyn picked a few stems to bring home.
Just for a change I have put together a short video of our harvest.
Martyn put together a more comprehensive film showing Saturday's plot activity which can be viewed on his blog here.

Meanwhile back in the garden our mini daffodils are now providing a colourful display.

There are four different varieties of daffodil in the front garden that usually flower at slightly different times. This year three of the varieties, some small tulips and crocuses are flowering together and providing a lovely display.

The daffodils around the bird bath are in flower too. 

I'm linking this post to Harvest Monday over at Dave's blog 

Now  digression especially for anyone living in the Wakefield area. 
Waiting for an allotment?
I've been to our plot today at Green Lane in Horbury and it seems a few people have either given up or are going to give up their plot. As far as I am aware there is no waiting list so it may be worth giving the allotments' officer a ring and seeing if a plot is available or going on the waiting list for when those clearing their plots give official notice

Copyright: Original post from Our Plot at Green Lane Allotments author S Garrett

Sunday, March 12

Lady in Red - Photography

After our recent visit to Hodsock Priory, I was browsing through the many photographs that I had taken when I came across this one.

My eye was drawn to a red object in the background.

Closer inspection revealed the red object to be a woman wearing a red coat.

I found that even though the object was only a very small part of the photograph its placing and colour for me made it dominant and so the lady in red just had to go.

Fortunately using Lightroom this is relatively straight forward. Near the top of the Lightroom side panel is where the appropriate tools are to be found.

Let's look closer.

I needed the spot removal tool - shown as a circle with an arrow leading from it and I needed to set this to the clone mode.

Using the mouse I could then 'paint' over the figure.

Once I had covered the figure in white I released the mouse button and the computer made a best guess in choosing a patch of the photograph with which to replace the figure. You can just about make out the area chosen which is a patch of grass.

This wasn't a successful choice but fortunately I can over-rule the selection by dragging the replacement area by holding the mouse pointer over the black spot.

Now the finished photo looks like this.

I think it is an improvement. Here is a before and after.

Click the image below to enlarge

Cheating? If I had noticed the figure standing there at the time I would have waited for her to move away so would have ended up with this shot anyway wouldn't I?