Sunday, 24 March 2013

Some purchases

Despite the snow I was in desperate need of some pots of some kind to transplant my seedlings. As Mike was unable to drive the car onto the drive yesterday evening it had to be left on the road.

Nothing to worry about as we live in a quiet street, however it was conveniently parked for a quick getaway this morning.

Te He, I found my pots, actually I bought some cheap plastic windowsill propagators & some coir pots. I can space them nicely on the windowsills for the next few weeks or perhaps stick them in the greenhouse once the big defrost comes.

I also bought myself some seeds. I wanted some Dill seeds & also found Mignonette seeds which I have been after for ages, along with some Nemesia seeds. All are now in the propagator. I also found these reduced to £1.50
Now a pack of Melon seeds is £3.99 & I only have the space for a few. I was going to buy some plants. I also wanted some Alpine strawberries. Ideally I would like some of those fancy smanchy teeny tiny kiwi plants but I shall have a dabble with these. Also there is a bonus of some water melon. Now for £1.50 for the seeds, plastic propagator & soil I couldn't leave them there could I. Time will tell.

Any way more exciting purchases, while I bought the pots & seeds I also had Mike & his wallet with me & look what he bought.

For me I would like to add.

A strawberry tower which I think I can grow 32 strawberry plants in it. It is plastic look terracotta but it comes with a watering pipe & netting. Also a contraption which my runner beans can grow up in comfort & an obelisk for my tayberry which I planted in the fruit patch the other week.

Lots to look forward to.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Snow day

The veg garden yesterday morning. It has not stopped snowing since 10pm Thursday evening & the blinking stuff is still coming down now.

The front garden before Harry got his mitts on it & built Jim?? Jim is now covered by fresh snow

If all this snow & cold weather isn't going to help cull the slug population I don't know what will.
My lovely Blackbirds on the hunt for food. They have been well catered for along with the smaller birds. On my return from work yesterday evening Mike wished he had a camera to hand. As I climbed out of the car I stood in one place & exclaimed "I cant walk any further, I cant see my Tulips"! The blinking snow had covered them.

Enjoy your day

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Comfort eating

Just the thing for these cold spring days. Now Mike is not a confident cook so most of the cooking comes down to me. Nor is he a confident gardener or a trusted one come to that.

I rather like cooking. I treat it as  a sort of a stress release after work because believe me at times I finish work in rather stressed state. If cooking began with a G instead of C I would follow the three G's as my stress release. Gardening, Gooking & G&T. Never mind.

Last night our evening meal consisted of a quick meal of lighly fried scallops, mixed with rocket, linguine & sun dried tomato pesto. It takes about 20 mins from start to finish. Yesterday morning however I made the following. Minestrone & chilli.

The minestrone I make as follows -

Fry a large onion on a low heat until soft, add diced red/yellow pepper, courgette,celery & carrots. Also add a couple of crushed garlic cloves. Cook on a low heat for about 10 mins. Add salt & pepper & mixed herbs to taste. Pour in a box of passata, beans & a couple of stock cubes. Give it a stir & add a handful of soup pasta. I add water until it gets to the consistency I like. Bring to the boil & simmer. Just before serving I add some shredded cabbage/kale or spinach.

I make it quite often & we normally have it for lunch over two or three days. Mike has a bigger appetite than me so it tends to last for two days. This version contained kale, borlotti beans & courgettes frozen from last years harvest.

The chilli I make with quorn mince. For the life of me I cannot & will not eat mince unless I have minced the meat myself. Dreadful childhood memories of my mother's cooking has seen to that.

Similar set up to the soup - fry an onion with required veg & couple of chillies & garlic cloves. This one also included a dried smoked chilli which was rehydrated & chopped up. I then add some chopped chorizo, chilli powder, dried cumin, coriander & dried herbs. Add a tub of passata, kidney beans &  a splash of water along with a stock cube. I cook it on low for an hour & then  leave it until the next day. It tastes better that way. Served with either wedges, rice or corn bread. Sometimes all three. Just the thing on a cold spring day.

Enjoy your day

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

First day of spring

I had a lovely stroll around the garden this morning. It was rather cold & I looked very comical as I had Mikes dressing gown on & his trainers on my feet. I think I looked like a clown as his trainers are about 6 sizes to big for my tiny feet.

We are quite lucky living where we do. The garden is small but we are surrounded by fields so I get my wildlife fix by gazing over the garden fence or peering through my bedroom window.

Behind the garden fence is a thicket of brambles & all sorts of other weedy stuff. Soon the nettles will start growing & I will see the tops waving in the wind. Most of my neighbours cut down the nettles & brambles but I like to leave mine. The birds that visit the garden like to hide amongst them & it provides some extra food for them.

Talking of birds & the first day of spring I saw my first one collecting nesting material this morning.

The 2nd photo is part of the hedge that separates the fields. Most of the finches that visit the garden along with the dunnocks fly there once disturbed. The blackbird that visits has a nest in the bank below it & I'm hoping that the ditch that lies by the hedge was the breeding ground for my frog.

Enjoy your day

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A garden visitor

Mike is off work this week so I took the opportunity to have a garden clear up. Really I needed him to remove the pile of rubble he left on the patio but I used his digging skills instead.

We removed the netting from the brassica patch. A brave thing to do seeing as there is a huge flock of wood pigeons in the field behind the garden. It does look a lot neater though now the net is removed & the bed weeded.

I moved the rhubarb at the weekend. The plants were huge last year & took over the fruit bed. When they died back over winter I found a small gooseberry bush. The branches looked bleached as the rhubarb leaves had hidden it from the sun.

Anyway I had a small patch right at the back of the fruit bed. I was hoping for a pond there but needs must. I thought I would only have space for two of the rhubarb plants but happily I could fit in all three & there was enough space for a small pond.

Whilst viewing my work yesterday afternoon I thought I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. In a small pacth of weeds & grass by the fence I saw this -
Can you see him/her? I was so excited. I knew we had to build a small pond straight away. As the under gardener won't let me spend anymore money on the garden this month I had to have a good look round the garden to see what I could use instead.

It is not ideal but it does the job. & it needed to fit the space I had. I found an old square tub, Mike dug the hole for me & put the tub in place. We found a few rocks to place around.
I may be allowed out at the weekend to buy a few more rocks & some small pond plants. Under strict supervision of course. We placed a piece of wood in the pond as a climbing aid if needed.

Enjoy your day

Saturday, 16 March 2013

A new bay tree

After clearing out my dads conservatory the other week I was able to take away the spoils. I now have lots of new tubs for growing tomatoes, chillies, sweet peppers & aubergines. These will be kept in the greenhouse.

The nicest pot however is one I have been after for a while. Many many years ago my dad bought this terracotta pot. It used to live in the back garden & contained a fuchia. Over time the fuchia died & the pot remained empty.

Not long after I started my veg patch my dad was inspired to grow a few things of his own. The terracotta pot became his cucumber pot. It lived in his conservatory & one plant would produce over 50 cucumbers.

Now due to his blindness he has given up on veg growing & I shall be keeping him supplied with tomatoes & runner beans. I have finally been given his terracotta pot.

I wanted something special to plant in it. Something long lasting. On a peruse around the local garden centre Mike spotted the bay trees. We bought a smaller specimen with a view to training it somehow.

The paving slabs will be moved shortly & more slate chippings will be purchased. I shall be placing the pot right in the centre.

Enjoy your day

Friday, 15 March 2013

Ready steady go

Lots of lovely seedlings on the go. Both in the house & greenhouse. Such a lovely time of the year. Full of optimism.

I am being rather ruthless this year. Once the seedlings have sprouted I have been transplanting only the amount I require to grow on. The remaining have been dispatched to the compost bin. That is if I haven't nibbled on them first.

Enjoy your day

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Busy buzzy bumblebees

Well that is what I'm hoping for this year. I love bees, I love watching them buzzing around the flowers gathering nectar. Such lovely little creatures.

A few years ago before the veg plot was conceived we had in the garden a bumblebee nest. I could sit there for hours watching the bees flying in & out. Over time the entrance has become blocked so no more have nested since.

To ensure an adequate supply of bees this summer both for me to watch & my lovely little veg plants & fruit trees to be pollinated I have invested some of my hard earned cash into some bee friendly seeds.

Not just any bee friendly seeds, no! In a concious effort to trace what I now buy I placed an order over at Higgledy Garden for some of these Bee friendly seeds.

What a lovely package I received through the post. A selection of seeds packaged in compostable brown paper envelopes, along with some bonus seeds & a hand written note.

Higgledy garden is a lovely funny quaint site. Full of flower seeds & from May I believe they also sell home grown cut flowers. The nice old fashioned kind that I like. No doubt I will be pointing Mike in the direction of the site then.

Also there is an extra bonus to my new seeds - they are ideal for cutting too. I shall be pinching some for the house when the time comes.

Enjoy your day

Monday, 11 March 2013

Little seedlings

Not very good photographs but they were sneakily took yesterday morning before I was frogmarched back into the house.

The above photographs are of my radish & mixed salad leaves which are in the small greenhouse. My hopes of an early harvest appear to be closer. 

The danger of self diagnosis resulted in my 'flu' was actually pneumonia. A course of nearly completed steroids & antibiotics seems to have shifted it.

I was eager to get back into the garden but as Mike was on guard duty after my escape yesterday  there was no chance. However I was happy to curl up on the sofa with my mothers day gifts which included James Wong's Homegrown Revolution. Ohhhh it is a fab book. Lots of ideas to try something different. Along with chocolates, a cookbook & slippers I had a lovely day. Topped off with Mike cooking a lunch of roast beef etc in all it was very relaxing.

The week before I became ill I received in the post some marigold seeds from Mike Rogers at flightys plot. It was a lovely gesture to receive some home saved seeds from another gardener. I shall be sowing them around my fruit trees. I can't wait for summer now.

Happy sowing & hope you all have a good day!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A catch up

I have lots of lovely things to blog about but since last week I have been suffering from flu & a chest infection. Not life threatening I know but it has really knocked me for six.

Mike has started his kitchen renovation project. I put the aching feeling in my joints down to packing & moving lots of stuff. The sore throat down to the cloud of dust as Mike gleefully knocked the dividing wall between the kitchen & dining room down.The rest of my symptoms soon caught up. It is only now that I have felt able to log on to my blog.

The old kitchen which is actually my working space now as Mike is back in work. It will be a very long project I fear.

I will be back to blogging soon as I really have got oodles to tell you including - seeds in the post, fruit trees planted, new garden purchases & seedlings coming through. Hope you are all well!