Monday, 31 December 2012

Onwards & upwards.

Should 2013 prove to be as wet as 2012 I know I shall have a good crop of fruit. Which is probably why when nosing through my seed catalogues my eyes are drawn to the fruit pages.

Indeed I should like the space for a mulberry & a walnut tree. It isn't going to happen. I do however have my eye on a patio quince & medlar. I even have the spot for them so really its a done deal. I am still looking at apple & pear trees & am debating because of space restrictions a family tree of each. I do have the option of cordons but I really would like a yellow cherry tree, if I train it as fan shape I would have the space. Just about!

Anway less of my greed. I am sat at my dining room table & through the french doors I can see part of my veg patch & the field & trees beyond. It paints a lovely picture doesn't it. However the chaos before the french doors is what you don't see. The table has seed packets scattered all over it , my sewing machine ( Christmas present from Mike) as yet unused. He did though take me to a fabric shop yesterday to enable me to buy a stash of fabrics. My view of the dining room also contains a large Christmas tree due to be taken down, Mikes mountain bike, ( which if he doesn't move soon he will be in trouble) & his welsh rugby top over a chair. Also on the table with my seed catalogues are -
My gardening book for 2013 & my lovely new diary.
I am busy making plans, more seed catalogues have just come through the post. I really need to move myself & make some mushroom pies for lunch.

I shan't dwell to much on the failures of 2012. I shall learn from my mistakes. I will not be sowing autumn sown potatoes at the height of the blight season. Next year they shall be sown in the greenhouse in safety.
My bird feeding station will be moved. I have no leeks as the area was soon smothered with seedlings from the dropped bird seed. The leeks were pulled up by mistake when trying to weed the area.

Never mind I have a healthy looking brasscia patch & my fruit trees & bushes are also looking good. I have a bit more space for more vegetable plants. So all is good.

Mike is showing a slight interest for the veg plot. He would like to try some white flowered runner beans & some white beetroot he has seen. There will be a medley of beetroot next year then as I have the normal purple seeds in stock & I would like to try the yellow ones.

The rhubarb will be moved shortly. I have two options of where to put it. With having a small plot it sounds rather decadent to have an option. I will then have the space for a small ( & I mean small) wildelife pond & a small patch of comfrey.

In one of the seed catalogues there are comfrey plants for sale & I rather like the thought of making my own plant food.

I hope you have a great night tonight, we are going to Mikes brothers to spend the new year (evening) as I'm in work tomorrow. Mike wont be drinking as he will be driving ( & I get a lift to work tomorrow). I have my grey sparkly dress ready. Not as glamorous as it sounds its knitted & covered in sequins. But it is lovely & stretchy as I am knocking on 40 I need some comfort after the buffet. We did have a giggle yesterday as Mikes sister in-law sent a message asking what does Joanne like in her gin apart from more gin. I'm really not as much of a dreadful old lush as I sound.

 All the best & heres to a great growing season whether it be wet or dry.

Sorry just an edit, I just want to thank you all for following or reading my little blog. You have all been so kind. xx

I still want some chickens!! Enjoy your day!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

The new year ahead!

I have just been for a stroll around the garden. It was a last minute thought so I didn't have a camera or phone on me to take any photographs. I wanted to check the greenhouse really & as all was well there a small garden stroll beckoned.

It is quite warm out today, wet but warm. It was quite exciting to see the fruit trees & bushes bare. It also gave me a reminder to cut back the Autumn fruiting raspberries & the hyssop next month. I am really looking forward to next year when they start growing again & start sprouting leaves & fruit.

I was back in work on boxing day, I could if I wished worked from home but I like this time of year in the office, its quite fun with everyone in a good festive mood. I am also working New years day, so my new year garden resolutions will be posted on Monday.

I have won this diary from http://jo-thegoodlife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/im-giving-away-year.html, Isn't it beautiful it will be filled with many many plans for 2013.

Talking of plans for New year Mike has found the stash of seeds we bought a while back. He also pointed out by having two greenhouses, a propagator & numerous seed catalogues it may be wiser to sow my own seeds than order the veg garden I wanted from rocket gardens.I can see his point, also the offer of a couple of new fruit trees if I saw sense may yet sway me.

Anyway we shall see. I hope you all had a great Christmas & as always enjoy your day!


Sunday, 23 December 2012

Merry Christmas.

Later on today Mike & I will be digging up parsnips for Christmas lunch. In all reality it may be tomorrow morning.

They look healthy enough & I hope we get a good harvest as I really do not want to do a supermarket battle tomorrow.

I missed the boat this year for sloe gin, I did however bottle some of my blackcurrants in gin to make Cassis.

Yesterday morning after removing the leaves I added to the mix, I whizzed up the gin & blackcurrants & strained the mixture into a saucepan. The saucepan all ready contained 300g of sugar & 150 mls of water. Press the squished blackcurrants in the sieve to get the maximum amount of liquid out. Simmer the mixture until syrupy & then transfer to sterilised containers.

I made two &  half bottles worth. At the front of the picture you can see my sample Kir Royale. A dash of my home made Cassis in the bottom of a glass topped up with some Prosecco. Oh my, it was divine. I will certainly be making this again next year.

             The turkey is being brined a la Nigella style as I type.

Also a photo of my Christmas eve entertainment. I will be watching the Snowman & the snow dog on the + channel as Mike wants to watch Merlin. So just a few treats to take me through.
I hope you all have a great Christmas, I have had a great time with my little blog & I truly appreciate everyone who took the time to comment or give help. See  you in the new year, or before maybe.



Tuesday, 18 December 2012

2013

I am making plans for next year, as I'm sure many of you are. I have yet to buy a diary, & there is a lovely giveaway at http://jo-thegoodlife.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/im-giving-away-year.html so hopefully I may win. If not it will be a trip into town.

There will be the exploits of my compost bin building to look forward to. There will not be any power tools involved Mike has told me. I gave him my book to look at, the one with the plans in. He will be helping, I knew he wouldn't be able to stop himself.  I hadn't looked at the book for a couple of years, its funny how time makes you forget things. It was quite a shock when I found the page I wanted. I seemed to recall detailed instructions. This is all I have.

To help me next year I will be using a book called Practical Gardening and Food Production in Pictures. I have posted about it before. It really is a lovely old fashioned book, towards the end of the book there are pages dealing with tasks to perform for the relevent month.

 I am reading the section on January with great interest. Enjoy your day!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Compost bins.

Looking ahead to next year. I want to replace my compost bins. I have three basic black plastic compost bins. They do the job very well. Its just that - they are not pretty to look at.

I really want the wooden ones that look like beehives. There are lots of places that sell them & if I wanted just one I would probably buy one. However, I want three or four, as generous as Mike is I really cant see him spending several hundred pounds on wooden beehive compost bins for me to paint & stencil.

With having a small garden I want things to look nice, earlier on in the year I removed the old asparagus patch. It is a narrow strip that seperates the greenhouses & fruit trees. The compost bins will be moved there in the spring & as they will be in full view they need to look nice.

I remembered about a book I have http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Hamiltons-Cottage-Gardens-Hamilton/dp/0563383488

In the book are a selection of projects to complete. One of them being a wooden beehive compost bin. Come this spring I shall be armed with Mikes work bench, tools & some wood. Wish me luck.

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Blimey its cold outside!

I'm sure I posted a while back that very little snow falls where I live & that it rarely gets very frosty. I would now like to take away those words as we have been in a grip of frost for the past 3 days. It has been far to cold for the frost to defrost & more layers seem to be added each morning. In fact I had to invest in a hat to protect my nearly elderly head. It is  a lovely thing with a bobble on top & does its job very well. I thank god every day for its creation.

The frost has made my brassicas collapse, I do hope they recover. Up until this morning they had been looking very healthy. My first attempt at growing PSB resulted in small plants with very little pickings. After taking the time to prepare the ground I was looking forward to harvesting next year.

I have had a lovely couple of days of perusing through the photographsI took of the garden this year. It is making me quite eager now for some warmer weather to start planting again. It is a terrible thing this gardening lark, always wishing time away. My plans for Christmas Eve apart from partaking in a snowball or two & the Snowman on tv are a few gardening magazines. I shall be out buying a few on the 24th. Tee-Hee.

Talking about Christmas -

Big Tree!

Little Tree!



I planted my garlic, red onions & shallots quite a few weeks ago now. The red onions & shallots seem to be sprouting well. However there seems to be a bare patch of earth where the garlic is. Anyone else with similar problems please? Its been a couple of years since growing garlic & I am sure it had sprouted before winter had set in.
Enjoy your day!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Family.

My week hasn't included any gardening. Apart from reading the odd gardening magazine. It has been far to cold outside. I will be dragging myself to the large greenhouse to water some plants though this morning.

It has however included attending a taster session with some guide dogs. My dad is registered blind & I help to look after him, I can't begin to tell you how fun that can be with working full time & having my own family to look after.

Anyway off  we went to meet the guide dogs. It was so much fun & I truly didn't appreciate just how much goes into training these dogs & the commitment needed by the eventual owner. It proved to be very interesting.

My dad is now in his 70's & is a small spindly man. My eleven year old is nearly as tall as his grandad. In fact it really is like looking after another child. A fact I felt more on Thursday when trying to encourage him to listen & take part. A link, should anyone be interested. http://www.guidedogs.org.uk/ The dog my dad practised with had earned over £3,000,000 for the association. Dempsey was a demonstration dog & had also been to the palace to meet the queen.

My interest in gardening came from my dad & I have his old gardening books. His interest came from his dad. My grandad used to win the same village gardening competition year after year when he was alive. I am sure he would woefully shake his head at my haphazard gardening skill, but I just grow for fun.

Rocket gardens http://www.rocketgardens.co.uk/showdetails.asp?id=763 had an offer on this week. That lovely constant garden I wanted had 20% off & I missed it. I am checking me email box each day now just incase another offer comes through. Wish me luck. Enjoy your day all.