Archive for July, 2011

Today’s humble harvest

A few little things I picked today……..

I am totally converted to this “grow your own” thing, because of the taste.  Everything I have grown and eaten so far has been delicious.  The strawberries are sweet, the tomatoes are gorgeous and I don;t usually like eating raw tomatoes, and the one bean each we had the other day was lovely too.  Here are some of the spuds cooked ………

They went a bit fluffy when boiled but again the flavour was so much better than shop bought.

Spuds!!!

I have just harvested my patio potato bag.  I got 4 lbs of spuds from 5 seed potatoes.  I’m well pleased with that, just hope I can keep them ok for a couple of weeks.  I’ve put them in jute bags under the stairs in the dark but I’ll check them every couple of days.  Actually I think we are going to try a few tomorrow for dinner.

I got the patio growing bag and the five tubers free from a magazine called Grow Your Own – (just had to pay the postage) and I used normal multi purpose compost.  At the beginning of May I half filled the bag then put the tubers in and covered them with a layer of compost.  When the plants started to pop through the surface I covered them with more compost and kept doing that each time they came through until the bag was full.  Then apart from watering, they just did their own thing.  So these have grown in about 10 weeks.

I’m definitely doing spuds again next year when I have my proper veg patch, and will stagger the planting too so I have them ready at different times as I’m not totally confident in the storage side of things.

I’m thinking of putting something else in the bag now, seems a waste not to use the compost further.  But what???

Book review: The Complete Vegetable Grower

The Complete Vegetable Grower by John HarrisonThe Complete Vegetable Grower by John Harrison by John Harrison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a great book for beginner veggie growers like me. It covers everything you would need to know, from types of soil, what to plant where, watering etc to types of gardening tools and a month by month guide on what to prepare, sow or harvest at what time of year.
It isn’t overly technical, and probably wouldn’t add any knowledge for someone who has been growing veg for a while, but if you are just starting out it is really good.
Plenty of photographs and illustrations and very well presented. A good place to start.

View all my reviews

Mini spud!

Ok, so I’m impatient!  I just couldn’t resist a little rummage around in the potato sack yesterday.  I was just poking about when this little fella popped up…….

Cute eh?  I was really chuffed cos I’d imagined all that I’d get would be the shrivelled remains of the five seed potatoes I’d put in there in the first place.  Curiosity got the better of me this morning and this time I pulled out one about 4 times the size of that one, again not far down into the bag.  I’m going to leave the rest alone now for a couple of weeks.

 

 

Beans!

I have beans!! Albeit very small ones at the moment but they are there!  They just appeared seemingly overnight.

  

These are French beans that I bought at our local hardware shop when they were a couple of inches tall and planted up in a big pot on the patio.  I put 6 plants in and trained two up each of three bamboo canes.  Four of the plants seem to be doing well but the other two are struggling a bit.  But there are definitely beans!!

The potatoes are starting to die back now so I should be able to dig them out soon.  I am hoping to coincide this with my parents’ visit in a couple of weeks so we can all try them out – if there are any of course!

I picked up a great book at the library yesterday, The Complete Vegetable Grower by John Harrison.  It’s perfect for beginners like me.  I’ll review it when I’ve finished it.

Recycle your books

I have always been an avid reader.  I remember going to my primary school fair and choosing a copy of Worzel Gummidge and Saucy Nancy from the secondhand book stall.  The lady at the stall said that it would be a bit advanced for me to read but I asked my nan to buy it for me and took it home and devoured it.  I was probably about 7 at the time.

I’ve been reading ever since.  I do buy quite a few new books but I also buy second hand.  I can’t resist the bookshelves in charity shops, and there is a cute oldie-worldie second hand bookshop called Words & Music on the walls in Chester where I picked up a book recently that I had been looking for for ages as it was out of print.

I do like to hang onto books when I have read them but there comes a time when you have to cull them a little.  So what can you do with them?  Well you can donate them to charity shops, release them “into the wild” through Bookcrossingor you can use a site like GreenMetropolis.  On this UK based site you can list books you have for sale.  If another member of the site (free to join) wants one of your books you post it off to them and your account is credited by £3 for each book you sell.  You can also buy books, and all are priced at £3.75 no matter the size or condition of the book.  Postage is free for an average sized paperback but sellers can add a small amount extra to cover the postage on larger books.  For each book you sell or buy a 5p donation is made to The Woodland Trust.

So why not have a rummage through your unwanted books and see if you can make a few pennies whilst also helping The Woodland Trust.  It’s heartbreaking to see books  just thrown away.

More Hip Than Hippie podcast

If you have any leanings at all towards a greener lifestyle but don’t want to be a rampant eco-warrior, have a listen to More Hip Than Hippie podcast.  Dori and Val are based in Chico, California and produce a (roughly) fortnightly eco-podcast.  They have been going since 2005 so there are almost 300 episodes in the back catalogue (which I am slowly working my way through) but you can start wherever you like.  I usually listen to the latest one when it comes out and then listen to previous episodes in between.

It is a light hearted podcast which deals with serious ecological issues ranging from cutting down on the use of plastic, to biodeisel & hybrid cars, to chemical free ways to clean your home.  They also test a beer and a chocolate each week!!  They also try to answer questions posed by listeners each episode and there is also a bit of banter regarding their personal lives.

The content is predominantly US based but is very relevant wherever you live! I’ve learned quite a lot from this podcast and will probably refer to it during future posts.  There is a permanent link in the blogroll list on the right so you can easily find it once this post moves down off the page.

 

A different kind of garden pest

This is our dog, looking cute and innocent………

She isn’t!

I have a strawberry container, one of those with the holes in so the strawberry plants hang down.  The birds had a go at it when the fruits started ripening so I wrapped it in mesh to keep them off.  Then one day I stepped out onto the patio and caught the dog red handed munching the strawberries through the mesh!!

The strawberry container went up on the table.

A couple of days ago there were some green tomatoes on the patio.  I thought they’d fallen off when I was mooching around on the plant, but on closer inspection of them and the ripe ones on the plant, I discovered TEETH MARKS!!  From large DOG SIZED teeth.

The tomatoes are now in the corner with a lattice panel across them blocking her out!!

I thought all I had to worry about were greenfly and slugs!!  Obviously not.

Hey, check out this vegetable market(warning: it’s a video with sound).  Maybe I could sell a few extra tomatoes there??  Incredible!!

First tomatoes

I’ll do a post about starting the garden soon but just for this morning I want to show you my tomato plant.   Back in May in a flurry of excitement about growing stuff, we went to the garden centre to get some plants.  As I am a bit of a penny-pincher I went for the biggest tomato plant for the least money and got a tumbler.  I’m sure it had a label on it when I bought it but it is long gone.  So I planted it in a patio bag and waited for the lovely juicy tomatoes.

Flowers came and eventually we started to see little tomatoes coming.  They got bigger and then the first one started to change colour from green to a greeny-yellow, then to a stronger yellow and then…………..it stayed yellow.  We hadn’t had much sun so I left it there for over two weeks to ripen to red but nothing happened.  It just went a richer shade of yellow.

Last weekend I picked it as it was softening, and ate it.  It was sweet, juicy and delicious.  Turns out it is a yellow variety!!  Sadly I don’t know the name of it to make a note for next year.

Yellow tomatoes!!

There are loads more little green tomatoes on the plant and also masses of flowers on it, if they all produce toms we are going to have a glut!

Potential tomatoes

 

Newbie gardener but not newbie blogger

Welcome to Me and 2 Veg.  After some health scares in our house over the last few years I am trying to be more “green” and chemical-free and one of the things I’m having a go at is “growing my own” veg.  I’ve started small this year because I have absolutely no idea what I am doing.

I’ve started this blog to show my successes and failures along the way, and to catalogue them for myself so I know what not to do next time.

We recently had an extension added to our house and the garden got a bit trashed in the process (not that it was anything wonderful before!) so basically I am going to be starting from scratch again.  I do have a lovely patio now, and that is where I have started this year, with some veg and herbs in containers.

Hopefully this won’t just be a blog about gardening but also about other “green” issues, eg cutting down on chemicals and plastic etc.

I hope you enjoy reading it and if you have come over from my other blog Knitsamadworld, then please say hello in the comments.  If you got here randomly, feel free to say hello too!!

Thanks, Donna