Archive for the ‘general-gardening’ Category

Kitchen table nursery

This is the state of my kitchen table, covered with all my little seedlings growing away.

I have patio doors there so it is the place with the most light.  On there I have 4 types of tomato, 4 types of bean, rainbow chard, sweet peppers, 2 types of leek, 2 types of lettuce, butternut squash, peas, sweet peas, sunflowers, basil and cress.  The beans are way too early and will probably get chucked except the dwarf ones which are actually starting to flower!  The tomatoes got a little bit scorched when I put them out in the sun but have made a stirling recovery and I think they are going to be ok.  I’m a bit scared to put them out into the mini plastic greenhouse as they might all die and I’d be left with nothing.

I bought the packet of cress seeds in Morrisons, but it doesn’t look like the cress I’m used to…..these are like little umbrellas

I tasted some and it was quite peppery.

A lovely member of my local knititng group very kindly gave me some terracotta pots last week as she is moving away and can’t take everything with her.  I got quite a haul and am very grateful….thanks Sarah!

I ordered a few more seeds yesterday from MoreVeg who sell small quantities for 50p, cos I don’t need many.  I’ve got a couple of different squashes coming, some alpine strawberries and asparagus peas (and a few others, ahem!).  My veg patch is going to be absolutely heaving in the height of the growing season!!

In the next few days I shall be sowing some nasturtiums and pot marigold seeds which Flighty kindly sent me to use as companion plants and attract insects, and hopefully getting the rest of my seed potatoes into the ground as their chits are getting rather long now.  Looks like it is going to be warming up a bit again at the weekend although it could be a bit damp.

I shall also be going to The Chester Food & Drink Festival this weekend.  We go every year and my favourite bit is the lunchtime hog roast,  yum!  On Sunday, Eaton Hall is open to the public for the day so depending on the weather we may go along to that.  We went at the end of the summer last year so it will be interesting to see the difference at this time of year.

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Quick catchup

Wow, what amazing weather we are having.  I’ve taken advantage by having a good tidy up of the veg patch and got rid of as many weeds as I can.  Unfortunately there is bindweed popping up around the edge and the tulips have firmly established amongst the onions!

In my beginner’s eagerness I thought the tomato and bean seedlings on my kitchen table would like a bit of sunshine and put them outside during the day on Saturday & Sunday.  But they have gone all pale and some of the leaves have wilted.  I’m thinking that although it was supposedly something like 20 degrees out there, that there was a cool breeze that they didn’t like.  I’m hoping they will recover otherwise it’s back to square one!  Lesson learned: don’t be too keen!!!

I have a small flowerbed next to the shed……

….into which I put my free* lavenders, a Japanese Anemone, and some bulbs in the autumn.  I had a grand total of 2 snowdrops come up but in the last couple of days I have 2 yellow fritillaries and this lovely one…..

A few weeks ago I received my 3 free* asparagus crowns, and am growing them in a patio bag which came with them.  I keep having to top it up because this stubborn fellow keeps making a bid for freedom…..

Although it is very tempting to cut it and eat it, I’m not allowed to have any for at least a couple of years!  I’m am really going to have to learn some patience in this ‘grow your own’ game.

(* = free if you pay P&P in various magazine offers)

Tuesday tiddlers

Hee hee, tiny little leeks sown last Thursday

I tidied up the herb containers outside today, and then transferred the tomato seedlings into bigger pots.  These are recycled cups from the water dispenser at work.

And we won’t mention the triffids

Someone didn’t double dig……….

My veg patch was created last September after the garden was wrecked during house renovations.  Where the patch is, it used to be just a garden border with a scraggy old Forsythia and basically encroaching grass.  In my eagerness to get growing edibles, I planted away after adding a bit of compost and chicken pellets.

I planted onions, garlic, broad beans, peas, cabbages and a couple of raspberry canes.  I did NOT plant these………

By “these” I mean the clump of things on the right.  It would appear that the very dormant tulip bulbs that haven’t shown their faces for years have decided that they will make an appearance right in the middle of my onion patch.  There are a couple coming up among the peas too!  There are quite a few little bunches popping up as you can see here……

I pulled one out from among the peas (the peas are coming out this week anyway as they are not doing well and I’m going to re-sow) and it is quite a healthy looking bulb…….

So what do I do?  If I dig them out will it disturb my developing onions?  If I leave them in will they take all the goodness away from the onions?  I think this is a question for the UK Veg gardeners forum!!

How quickly do daffodils grow?  Yesterday in the park with the dog I spotted a couple in flower, today there were dozens of them, seemingly popping up overnight.  They are the little mini ones and were very bright and cheery.

Dunham Massey

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to win a free family pass for any National Trust property from Emma at Alternative Kitchen Garden.  So as it was a lovely bright day on Saturday we decided to go over to Dunham Massey, somewhere we had never been before.

Unfortunately the buildings are closed at this time of the year but we did get to visit the grounds and the winter garden.

Part of the grounds are a large deer park but it seems some of the deer are quite tame and like to lounge around near the old gardeners’ cottages.

 

The moat has a huge collection of water birds, mostly Canada Geese

This is the house itself, I would have liked to have had a look inside

And then into the winter garden where there were some lovely autumn colours on display

There was a small orangery which had two small veg beds in front of it.  These were being cleared to save the grass around them, as the wet ground was being worn down by people walking around the edges.  There were some impressive veggies left in them though including very bright red chard and (as you can see by the scale indicator – Mr Veg’s hand!) some large cabbages.

These seed pods are from a lily which I didn’t write down the name of (- doh!) which only flowers after 7 years and then only once ever!  It was at least 10 ft tall.

And finally in the fallen leaves of the woodland was a bed of tiny cyclamen.  There were hundreds of them.  I remember my mum always having an indoor one around Christmas and never knew they actually grew outdoors.

First frost

Woke up this morning to the first frost of the year.  And it was quite a heavy one.

All my fledgling veggies seem to have survived but the broad beans were drooping a bit

They should pick up later though because the sun is out and melting the frost quite rapidly.  My acer is a beautiful colour in the sunlight

and the last of the Gaillardia flowers are putting up a fight

State of Mind

I’m a little concerned about my state of mind – I think they call it “obsession”!!  I am thinking about growing veg all the time, I’m reading about it – I’m even dreaming about it at night!!  I’m buying little bits and pieces all the time and am now convinced my little garden veg bed is nowhere near big enough and that it’s time to think about an allotment!  And I’ve not even really grown anything yet.

Yes I grew potatoes in a patio bag, tomatoes and French beans in containers and quite a few herbs this summer.  But now I have  a veg bed I have onions – white and red, two types of garlic, peas, broad beans and cabbages all in for overwintering.  My turnips are starting to swell nicely in their patio bag.  I’ve decided on my French and runner beans for the spring and am deciding on how many potato tubers to get.  I want carrots, leeks, tomatoes, salads, squash, and kale next year but the bed is already half full.

When I was at uni I studied zoology, animals all the way, plants didn’t do anything!  Now I’ve completely switched.  At least plants stay where you put them, they don’t wander all over the place (unless dragged there by an animal).  And they grow a lot.  How does a tiny seed have enough stuff in it to become a radish let alone a whopping great big cabbage or a massive handful of green beans??  If you stopped to think about it too long you’d go doolally.

I’m excited and concerned all at the same time.  Excited when things start to pop up through the soil, concerned when I discover something has nibbled them – like my tiny pea plants today.  I don’t know if what I’m doing is right – basically I’m winging it to be honest.

I bought a rhubarb crown today.  I have no idea where I’m going to plant it, or even if it is alive – it just looks like a dead stump at the moment.  I put my cabbage collars on and made some kind of cover for the nibbled peas.

I need to go out and walk the dog, but I’ll be listening to the Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast while I’m doing it!!