Thursday, 31 January 2013

I'm a Seedy penpal.

Last year I noticed on a blog (& I am ashamed to say I can't remember which one) something about being a Seedy penpal.

It is run by Carl Legge http://www.carllegge.com/ & there is so much information on his blog about lots of different things. Also there were ideas on preserving chillies which will be ideal for me later on this year. Also lots of different bread recipes. I will be having a go at sourdough bread.

It is run twice a year, the next one will be in July & you will find plenty of infomation on Carl's blog.

The idea is to swap approx 5 packets of seeds. You receive an email at the beginning of the swap. Contained in the email is a spread sheet. This spread sheet contains the details of the person that you will be sending seeds to. You then send an email to this person asking if they have any preferences also their address. Pop your selection in the post & send an email to say they are on the way.

Also on the spreadsheet you will see who is sending seeds to you. You await your email, give your likes/dislikes & wait for your package. All in all - good fun.

I have sent my email to the person I am sending seeds to & have had a response. I will be posting my package in the next few days. I will update you with the seed selection next week sometime.

I have also received my email from the person who is sending me seeds, I replied in mine that I have a small veg patch & I would like flowers for cutting & small flowers for edging my veg beds. I'm really looking forward to receiving my parcel. That will also be another post.

Enjoy your day all!


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Chillies

I have now hopefully purchased or sorted all of my veg seeds for growing this year, however there is always room for more! Mike being on his 5 day break from work (this happens around every 6-8 weeks I think) meant we were able to visit a number of garden centres. It also meant I spent a number of £'s. Why on earth are seeds so expensive. We also went kitchen unit viewing & had lunch. All I can say is Magnet have the most divine units, though budget wise (certainly after seed shopping) Wren seems more likely. Anyway!

I have made my first seed sowing of the year. Not for me but Mikes choice.
I give you Naga Jolokia! The worlds hottest chilli!


I mean really! What on earth am I meant to do with these. That blinking man will be death of me, or eating one of those chillies will be.

Back to more sensible chilli selections. My choices were Poblano & Padron. The Poblano I saw once on a River cottage programme being roasted whole, the seeds being removed & then the pepper being opened up put on a wrap & topped with a meat/veg mixture, rolled up fajita style. It is something I am eager to try.
The Padron is described as 'The tapas pepper', the description of them being fried in olive oil & sprinkled with salt sold it for me.
Also one of the Christmas presents Mike received from my sister was a grow your own Chillies pack. It contains 3 varieties of seed Anheim - mild, Cayenne - fiery & Habanero - extreme.

I would like to say a big thank you to Jo at http://jo-thegoodlife.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/blog-of-month-january.html
Jo has very kindly nominated my little blog as her blog of the month. It was a very sweet thing to do & she has said some very kind words.
I also hope to find the time to post my completed seed selection list at the top of my blog soon. 
Enjoy your day!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Seed post 2013 No2.

It is snowing here, last year we had none, in fact we tend to get very little, however it is sticking & I can see huge flakes swirling through the window.
A view from the sitting room window, a bit scrappy I know but that is quite a lot of snow for where I live. The youngest boys primary school seems to be the only one open in the county. I took a rather disappointed 11 year old to school this morning, he had wellies on his feet & his school shoes in his bag. He soon cheered up when he saw his friends & on the promise they behave the headmaster told them they may be able to build a snowman later on. I rather like the 'suck it up & move on mentality'. I have heard plenty of whinging parents saying that the school should be closed. My children have always been in the blessed position that we are able to provide for their every need. They have also been taught that if they are able to do something then they must. The boy is able to get to school, the school is open, case closed. Any way whinge over, well nearly Mike is a lorry driver & naturally has to drive in conditions like this, he is also quite happy to do so, however being sent to the other side of Birmingham to find that the load had been cancelled the previous day & then being sent back to North Wales to deliver elsewhere is a different matter. I shall rest easy tonight when is safe at home.

Right Seed post 2013 No2- Legumes.










I have had a good sort through my seeds & for such a small growing space I have a huge amount. In a bid to use what I have I will be restricting what I buy -

Broad bean - Meteor - I'm going to sow into pots in the greenhouse in February & plant out in April, yes I could sow them direct in the ground but I'm doing things a tad different this year.

Runner bean - Scarlet Emperor - I grew this variety last year & we had a huge crop, Mike would like to try  a white flowered runner bean, we shall see as I have these in stock. I only want 10 plants (don't laugh) so I don't really want to be buying anymore.

The photo on the right shows 'Yardlong beans' I have had them for quite a while, I'm going to give them try this year, just a few on a wigwam for a bit of fun. If they succeed all the well, if not, well I haven't lost any money.

Legumes to buy - I need a purple podded mange tout ' Shiraz' I believe it is called, when I say I need, really it means I want. I'm sure you understand.

Dwarf french beans - I may just stick to green but If the yardlong beans germinate I shall have a mix of yellow & purple. Whatever variety I find in the garden centre. They look pretty on the plot.

Right that's enough from me, enjoy your day all & stay safe.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Magazines

I am supposed to be working but am unable to connect to the office server & the lovely IT man who dialed into my laptop has now gone on his break.

Anyway I found a small pile of magazines tucked away in the bedroom. All gardening magazines, different titles & for some reason different years & months.
I'm trying to curb my enthusiasm for buying magazines. I do keep all of the ones I buy. I rather like looking back through them, in particular the ones from before we transferred the back garden into my little veg plot.I'm also swayed by the offers - the free seeds or a product free if you pay post & packing. You can get some good deals this way & it is something I take advantage of quite often.

I was sat there investigating further & I found this one from last year complete with seeds.
So really I've saved a bit of money because thats five less packets of seeds I need to buy.

To add to my collection I have -

Kohl rabi - Purple Vienna
Spinach - Matador
Fennel - Fino
Radicchio - Palla Rossa
Swiss Chard - Bright Lights

Enjoy your day


Monday, 14 January 2013

Onions!

There were plenty of bulbs of all description on offer at the garden centre yesterday. After selecting my seed potatoes I very nearly bought a bag of mixed dahlias.

 I was very well behaved & put them back. I'm trying to stop buying on impulse. I will be buying some tubers over the next few weeks but I want to have a good look at the selection & not be swayed by a bag with pretty colours.

I did bring up the possibility of growing some small onions to pickle. I told Mike that I was sure you could buy seeds so we both went off in different directions. When we met up I had a packet of seeds & Mike had found a bag of shallots.

I already have french shallot (fancy long ones)  in the garden & red onions, both were planted last autumn along with the garlic. I wasn't keen on growing more shallots due to space restrictions. However the picture on the packet looked like the shape of pickled onion I wanted. We bought both packets in the end, I prefer a small pickled onion & Mike likes a more traditional one.

The seeds will be sown in the garden & the shallots will be planted in some tubs. I may try some in long troughs & I will plant some by themselves in smaller tubs. Hopefully the bulbs will be able to multiply.

Hope you are all coping with the weather. No snow by me in fact after this mornings rain it is lovely & sunny outside. Take care & enjoy your day!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Seed post 2013 No1.

I was going to post my seed selections for this year all in one post. I have changed my mind.
 A) I am still nosing through seed catalogues &
 B) Mike has put the ones I have away somewhere & he is out watching football.

However I was taken out this morning to the local garden centre to see if the seed potatoes had arrived. They had a small selection in stock, not as many as last year though & I think I'm a tad early.

Anyway so far my potatoes for 2013 are -

First early to be harvested June/July I have Rocket & Vales Emerald.
Second early to be harvested July/September I have Charlotte & Bonnie.
Maincrop to be harvested August/September I have Rooster & King Edward.

They had no Golden Wonder, Pink Fir Apple or Anya in stock, so I will be go back next month to see if anymore have arrived. I don't know where I think I have the space for them.

Ten tubers of each apart from the Roosters, there are only five in the pack. They do make a lovely roast potato though.

Now because of my small plot I shall be growing all of my potatoes in tubs. The 1st & 2nd early varieties will be treated as either salad or new potatoes & grown in rectangular recycling tubs. I'm quite happy for these potatoes to stay small, so I will have two tubs of each. The maincrops will be grown in old dustbins, It gives the potatoes more space to grow larger so with luck I will have a few bakers this autumn. I also plan to attempt to store a few of the maincrops for Christmas lunch 2013. I'm sure that will be a fun post later on this year.

I'm off now to put my potatoes away. I shall set them out for sprouting over the next few weeks & hope to have them planted by the end of March.

With Mikes project on the go finding a dust free sprouting place should prove fun. Enjoy your day!



Thursday, 10 January 2013

Blinking cold!

It is blinking cold here. I can't get warm at all. Thank god I can put my heating on as required & not have a worry about paying the bill. BG will be doing well out of me this month I tell you. Well out of Mike really, being a manly man he pays all the bills.

 Talking of manly men I have finally agreed for the dividing wall between the kitchen & dining room to be knocked down & to have a kitchen diner. I think thats the word. Anyway it means I have a house full of dust & will do for many months to come as Mike is a perfectionist & will be taking his time. He does however know his limits & will be using a professional plasterer & electrician to do the bits that he can't.

Manly man in action! Wine glass was mine!
Anyway back to this mainly gardening blog of mine. Sunday, depending on the weather I will be planting my bargain bulbs. I say depending on the weather because if it stays as cold as this & the weather reports come true my bags of compost will be frozen.


I will take a proper look at the garden on Sunday as I noticed the tulip bulbs I planted last year have started to poke their way out of the ground. Should I get a good show the bed will be christened the Tulip walk. Just for the spring mind. In the summer it shall be re named The bedding plant on offer at the garden centre walk.

This weekend I shall be mainly making a last minute list from my seed catalogues & trying to escape from the dust. I shall also be posting my seed selections for this years growing. Enjoy your evening!

Monday, 7 January 2013

A bargain. Maybe?

Last week we had to visit the supermarket, I had my dad with his white stick linked on my arm trying to steer him in the right direction. The main reason for our visit - my dad wanted a door mat he had heard advertised on the tv. Mike had a basket for the few bits we wanted for the fridge.

Now I wasn't looking in the direction of the little boxes but somehow the yellow sticker caught my eye.
I sent Mike over to investigate further as I struggled on with my dad. Mike caught up with us with eight of the boxes in the basket.

Now for 10p per box I don't mind losing 80p if they fail. I was debating on chucking them in the ground now but on further discussion I'm going to keep them in a suitable place for planting later on in the year. In pots mostly I think. I'm sure they called out to me. Enjoy your day!

Saturday, 5 January 2013

January

According to my old 'Practical gardening & food production in pictures' book, which will now be known as PG  for short, there are a number of jobs for me to complete this month.




I would like to have a more productive plot this year & there is nothing wrong with some good old fashioned advice.
January work
Turn over vacant soil, add lime if your gound needs it, spread manure during frosts, order seeds.

" Apart from the usual seeds, make a note to try out one or two new or unusual varieties-Golden Wonder potato for flavour, alpine strawberries, or the Paramount suger pea. A practical novelty or two will give additional interest to your garden. "

Now I am trying to limit my seed buying this year. I have most of what I need in stock & with having a small plot, a limit to where I can put the plants. I have decided to limit myself to one new variety in each of the following Fruit, Vegeatble, Salad , Flower & Potato.

Fruit - I have seen some alpine strawberries in red & yellow, I thought they would look nice planted around the apple trees I have in half barrels.

Vegetable - I think I would like to try some purple podded mange-tout, I will be cutting down the amount of runner beans we grow. They are so prolific anyway. I will be growing the runner beans & purple mange tout up wigwams.

Salad & flowers - are still undecided, though practical novelty it will be.

Potato - I tend to stick to early potatoes as due to space restrictions I grow them in tubs, however when I first started to dabble in growing my own, I grew a few maincrop ones in a dustbin with great success. I buy the small packets of seed potatoes from the garden centre now, they stock bags with approx ten in each which is ample for my needs as I like to have a few varieties. Should they have 'Golden Wonder' that will be my maincrop of choice, if not it will be one suitable for roasting or baking.

That is my little garden post for today, the eldest has gone back to uni, the youngest is in his bedroom & from the sounds of it raking lego across his carpet & Mike is fishing. Little old me is sat here on the laptop working & blogging at the same time. (With The Good Life on the tv)

Enjoy your day!