Monday, November 30

Final Entry in November's Diary

With the ground really wet and soggy after so much rain there isn’t really very much that we can do on the plot. Our footsteps are accompanied by a squelching noise wherever we tread. The best favour we can do for the soil and grass is to keep off.

At least a weekly visit to the plot is essential in order to gather some vegetables, pick any chrysanthemums and make sure the garlic in the plot greenhouse hasn’t dried out – although at the moment there seems little chance of that happening.

With little else to compete for attention the fatsia is producing its amazing flower stems and as usual I can’t resist taking a photograph - or two!

To visit to complete November diary click here

For this week's entry click here

Friday, November 27


Yesterday's visit to the plot and today's wander around the garden showed that many plants had not yet fully appreciated the time of year.


Lack of any severe frost to date and the fairly mild temperatures meant that even the rosemary was in flower. Also still showing a brave face were roses which were still producing buds, coreopsis, gaillardia, penstemon, cornflower, achillea and poached egg plants. Alpine and cultivated strawberries are still flowering and producing fruit but this isn't ripenening properly. Nasturtiums which tend to immediately disappear at the first sign of frosts are still managing to produce a few flowers.

Nemesia still sported flowers and the French marigolds and cosmos also had albeit small flowers.

For our weather diary click here

Wednesday, November 25

Welly Warmers!

Do you ever still have freezing cold feet in spite of wearing thick socks inside your wellies?

Just been doing a bit of browsing on the Internet and I came across these.

Has anyone tried them and can recommend that they work?

Trouble is that they start at large which I think would be too big for me!

Click here to read more on the Harrod Horticultural website

More gift ideas for gardeners can be found here and here

Monday, November 23

November diary has been updated

Just one visit to the plot this week, not really to do much work as again the weather hasn’t encouraged us to venture outdoors much. We have been lucky in that we haven’t suffered the flooding experienced by some areas but the strong winds make working outdoors an unattractive proposition. The rain has ensured that the soil is still too wet to work on.

Fortunately the only damage – if it can be called that – caused on the plot by the gales was the environmesh being blown off the carrots. We have so far escaped lightly. I just hope that isn’t tempting fate too much.

Click here for the latest diary entry and the larger version of our November photo album

Amazon have launched a pre Christmas Sale which closes on 4 December to browse click here

Sunday, November 22

Choosing garden buildings

I've recently added a couple of items on my "The School Vegetable Patch" website which may of be of more general interest to anyone thinking of buying a shed or greenhouse.

Click here for information on choosing a garden shed

Click here for information on choosing a greenhouse

Wednesday, November 18

Choosing fruit

I've just completed a page aimed at choosing fruit for a school plot on my School Vegetable Patch web site. Although aimed specifically at schools it may have some information of use to others.
To view click here

10% discount offered to our visitors!

Are offering a 10% discount on all their products - no code required as discount is automatically applied (prices are already very competitive) to anyone ordering from them after visiting any of my blogs or websites.
Victoriana Nursery Gardens offer a range of:

and lots more such as water gardening products, flower seeds and plants, hedging plants, books and magazines. Whether you wish too buy or not it is worth a browse!

Tuesday, November 17

Preparing for winter

In anticipation of keen frosts we cut down the remaining dahlias. We haven’t yet had a frost keen enough to kill the dahlia foliage. Testament to this are the two dahlias growing and still flowering on our weed heap. Click here for our weather details.

This year instead of leaving all the dahlias planted in the ground, most have been dug and placed in a heap. The tubers have been covered with straw to hopefully keep the frost out. A large sheet of black polythene covers the whole thing. This not only keeps out the rain but helps increase the temperature underneath. Click here for more.

Beetroot have also been dug and placed in between the rows of carrots which will be left in the ground until required. Like the dahlia tubers, these have been covered with straw. The environmesh that has protected the carrots from carrot fly has been left in place. We have stored carrots in this way for a few years now and it seems to work really well, however it is a first for the beetroot. Click here for more information.

Click here for the November diary update.

Monday, November 16

HELP! RHS website has been updated

The RHS have decided to update their website so links that I have created to their site may not lead to the required pages.

I am changing these as soon as I come across them but some are difficult to spot so please let me know if you find any bad links either on my blogs or websites so that I can deal with them.

Sunday, November 15

The will to survive and grow is strong

Last year we replanted our dahlias. Some tubers were huge and were spilt, some looked to be dead and were placed on the compost. Somehow a couple of tubers must have ended up on the pile we keep for weeds.Even after some cold nights and a little frost these are still flowering.

Wednesday, November 11

Government response to e-petition on reinstatement of aminopyralid licence?

The short government response to the above e-petition can be read here
The e-petition accumulated 2,665 signatures see here
For those of you still unaware of the problem with contaminated manure please click here

If you have any further problems with suspected contaminated manure you must inform the CRD and DOW.
Please let me know too so we can keep an eye on things

So what exactly do you do with 10 medlars?

We didn't really fancy eating them raw as they didn't look very appetising - what rotted fruit would? After careful consideration and much browsing of the Internet we decided to make medlar and apple jelly.

So this:

became this

For the full story click here

Tuesday, November 10

Medlars bletted?

I think that most of our medlars have now bletted. They have turned a darker colour and are soft - but dare we eat them? More about our attempts at growing medlars here.

A new month and it seems like an entirely different country. Autumn now seems to be heading inexorably towards winter as posts in our weather blog show.

It was really just a flying visit to the plot to harvest a few vegetables and make sure plants in the greenhouse had sufficient water. We didn’t even stop for coffee which must have been a first. There is still a bit of weeding that needs to be done but the pull to be outside wasn’t as strong this week.

Click here for the first instalment of our November diary

Monday, November 9

Fungi Expert Needed

I've always found fungi interesting even though I have never really known much about them. I basically understand the lifecycle but have no expertise whatsoever in identification.

Today after a week away from the plot we spent the afternoon there and I now have a puzzle to solve which is where the fungi expert would come in.

I took a photo of some fungi growing in the grass - it's just the sort of thing I tend to do. About a couple of hours later I noticed that the 'umbrellas' had changed colour and had a bluish tinge. Maybe a sign that if you eat one in a couple of hours your will be very ill or worse.

Can anyone solve the mystery for me and identify the chameleon fungi pictured below. The before is at the top and the after is underneath!

If by some good luck I actually manage to attract a fungi expert then to make best use of such good fortune I have posted some photos below of other fungi spotted on the plot.

Of the photos below - the top one actually looked a little like a shitake before it contorted into the shape shown. It was growing on an old slice of tree trunk.

The one above was growing at the base of the slice of tree trunk and the one below was also on a dead bit of tree trunk.

The one above almost looks like a mushroom.

The one below is cheating a little as I photographed it a few years ago at Harewood but have always thought it was particularly beautiful. It was another one making use of an old piece of dead tree trunk.

Click on any of the images to view a larger version.

Sunday, November 8

If you can't beat them ...

Visiting garden centres last week it became apparent that attention had turned from gardening to more seasonal concerns. I also received a couple of gardening magazines this week that also were in an early seasonal mood. As the weather today has been miserable I was spurred on to join them and have created a couple of web pages giving suggestions for gifts for gardeners in particular but not exclusively.

For anyone interested, (just in case for some reason you may shortly be buying gifts), they can be accessed here and here. Other ideas can be accessed from our shopping pages here.

And I haven't even mentioned the dreaded C word!!!

Saturday, November 7

Offers too late for us

Don't you just love it when people do special offers after you have paid the full price? Thompson and Morgan are offering a 25% discount off their selected range of mushrooms.  Ours were planted in October!


Click here to read more about this offer from Thompson & Morgan

T & M have more special offers here

Thanks for the award Promise to pass it on when I have the chance to browse 

Monday, November 2

Good Gourd!

Just one visit to the plot this week and really more of the same, the mantra at the moment is clear, weed, tidy and burn with little watering in the greenhouse, where the garlic is growing quickly and chrysanthemums producing lots of flower, thrown in for good measure.

We still haven’t had a frost to either sweeten the parsnips or knock back the dahlias so this week half of the dahlias have been cut down and removed along with the ornamental gourds that were growing amongst them. The gourds have been very prolific with some looking exactly like an edible squash variety but we won’t be risking eating any. Dahlia tops have been piled on the compost heap but the question now is what to do with several dozen ornamental gourds?

To read the complete entry for the last week in our October diary click here

To read about how the weather has affected us this week visit our new weather blog here