Posts Tagged ‘organic’

Bursting out all over

Cripes, where did the time go?  Over a month since my last garden update and everything has gone bananas!  And these are almost the size of bananas……….

…….and growing at a rate of knots!!  These are the broad beans that I direct sowed last October.  They survived the winter and are about 4ft tall.  The larger pods are almost ready to pick, I tried one a week ago but the beans inside were still quite small.

This morning I have finally got around to planting my tomatoes into their growing bag.  It is a two sided patio bag and I have filled it with part homemade compost and part New Horizon organic peat-free.

In each half I have put 3 plants, one each of Gardener’s Delight, Moneymaker and a cherry plum called San Marzano 2.  All grown from seed, I’m happy with them at the moment, we’ll see how they produce!  The Tumbling Tom Yellow, I have also grown from seed and have put two plants in each of two large pots.  One of them already has a couple of flowers on it…

A couple of weeks ago  gave my step-dad one of each of the above 4 varieties and he is growing his in conventional grow bags so we shall see how his compare to mine as the weeks go by.

A few days ago i caught sparrows eating the leaves of my peas so we had to rig up a Heath Robinson style net using some canes, “BuildaBalls” and netting. There was much frustration from me as it kept falling over but in the end a bit of parcel tape and some clothes pegs were employed and at the moment it is still standing – just!

Thise are Meteor peas but I also sowed some Feltham First in a pot just outside the patio doors.  They aren’t growing as fast but there is already a flower.

The square foot patio bag is going great guns, and I’ve been cutting salad leaves from the front left square for over a week now.  The rainbow chard has really taken off too and everything else is catching up.  I have two types of kale, leeks, carrots, kai-lan, chard, asparagus peas and salad in there

I think there were some tomato seeds in the homemade compost I added as there are two rogue tomato plants coming up in the back right square amongst the kale!

The potatoes are doing well and were earthed up on Saturday, and the onions and garlic are swelling nicely.  One of the onions produced a tall flower spike but on advice from UK Veg Gardeners I cut it off as apparently onions that flower don’t store as well.

I am really pleased with the amount of blueberries on my two plants, but will need to net them soon to keep the birds (and dog!) off them

And finally the two non-veg beds.  In this one I just scattered some wildflower, cosmos, echinacea, and poppy seeds back in March.  I don’t know if anything is a flower or a weed at this point!!

And this one I call the Purple Patch because by pure coincidence I realise I have planted (mostly apart from the snowdrops and a white-ish lavender) all purple flowering plants – lavender, allium (which I seem to have cut out of the photo!) and a Japanese anenome.

Last but not least I bought a strawberry pot from Morrisons a couple of months back and a pack of 6 very tiny herb plants.  Since I planted them in the pot they are starting to get going

So that’s my garden round up for the beginning of June.  Hopefully the next post will be of my broad bean harvest!!

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Late November roundup

Yesterday I received two raspberry canes from a “free if you pay P&P” offer in Grow Your Own magazine.  Basically they sent me two sticks with roots on the bottom!  Anyway I’m not really sure where I want them to go but I obviously needed to get them in somewhere for now or they really would end up as just two dead sticks so I have put them in the veg bed against the fence.  One is called Polka which is an autumn fruiting variety, and the other is a summer fruiting Glen Ample.  I don’t know if I will get any fruit next year but we’ll see.

While I was outside I took a few photos of the late November veg patch

Overwintering veg

I got some of those FlexiBalls to build a low cage over the cabbages because I think the pigeons will start eyeing them up soon.  And also threw some organic wool slug pellets around them because something has already had a go.  These pellets are completely safe and made from the clinkers off a sheep’s bum! Nice!! They ponged a bit when I opened the bag. They are a good fertiliser too but whether they keep the slugs off is another matter.

Cabbages and new raspberry cane Glen Ample (back left)

There is a mystery with the garlic.  Quite a few of the organic Vallelado are coming up, but so far not one single shoot of the Solent Wight.  This is a photo of the onions with the garlic on the right, and the Polka raspberry at the back.

Onions, garlic and new raspberry cane Polka

These are my peas and broad beans, the peas are just starting to curl their little tendrils around the sticks

Peas (front) and broad beans (back)

And finally the sweet peas in pots in the growhouse

Sweet peas in growhouse

And that’s about it really.  I did have a quick look at the rhubarb and it looks like there might be a big shoot developing on the top of the crown.  I hope it doesn’t start growing yet.

I am currently reading a book a friend recommended to me called Cabbages & Roses Guide to Natural Housekeeping.  It’s amazing what you can do with a bit of Bicarb of Soda and some white vinegar!!  Haven’t tried any yet but will do soon.  It’s all much more eco-friendly than the cupboard full of poisons most people have in their houses.

Stopped reading and started doing

So for the last 4-5 months or so I have been buying magazines, reading books and generally learning about the theory of veg gardening.  Ok I’ve grown a few things in pots this summer but now I have a veg patch.  So it was time to stop reading and start doing!

I was a little bit wary of doing anything too physical as I haven’t really done any kind of exercise in years and wasn’t sure how it might affect by blood sugar levels (I have diabetes).  So I didn’t go mad.

First thing I did was move the growhouse from the kitchen, outside to the side of the shed.  I put a couple of bricks on the bottom shelf to give it a bit of weight until I can secure it to the shed itself.  It seems ok there.

Then I decided to spread my organic chicken manure pellets on the veg bed and work them in.  Phew-eeeeeee, no-one told me they stank so much but the clue is in the name I suppose. It is, after all, poo!!  I threw them on and then used my cultivator to rake them in really.  It was quite difficult as I had to reach over the fencing we put up to keep the dog off as I didn’t want to walk on the bed.  The soil has broken down a bit and is getting finer now.The sun was out and I was quite warm by the time I finished.

My Jiffy 7 discs came in the post so I thought I would put some seeds in and see what happened.  I decided to compare them against peat-free multipurpose in cardboard pots.  I’ve planted 4 pea seeds and 4 cabbage seeds in Jiffys (left) and 3 of each in the pots (right).  The Jiffys are quite fun when you add water and watch them swell up.

I really have no idea what I’m doing so who knows what is going to happen.  But guess where I have put them?

If any of this looks wrong to you, please tell me, ta!

My copy of All New Square Foot Gardening came today too, so back to the reading again I’m afraid.

 

 

Book review: Grow Organic

Grow Organic (Made With Care)Grow Organic by Garden Organic

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thought this book was excellent. It gives so much information in an easy to read format and I read it cover to cover like a novel! There are lots of full colour photos throughout.

Topics covered are soil, watering, weeds, plant health, gardening for wildlife, garden planning, herbaceous plants. growing vegetables, herbs, fruit and an A-Z of plant problems.

Great for beginner gardeners who don’t want to use nasty chemicals in their gardens and look after the natural environment, and also for established gardeners who would like to change their ways.

I also like the way the book is printed using sustainable paper sources, uses vegetable inks and has no unnecessary dust jacket.

I got this book out of the library but it is going to go on my wishlist for my own copy.

View all my reviews

Veg books

I got a couple of books from the library on Tuesday. ….Grow your own veg by Carol Klein and Grow Organic by Garden Organic. I’m enjoying the organic one at the moment as hopefully these are the principles I will try to use in my garden.

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Chocolate taste test

So last night we tasted the Seed & Bean, Nero & Bianco and Montezuma dark chocolate as a direct comparison so I didn’t include the Chilli flavoured bar.

It was all very scientific ;op .  Two squares of each bar on a plate and tasting a bit of each.  Of course I knew which was which but Colin didn’t so it was a blind tasting for him!

The results:  We both chose the same one as our favourite, which was the Nero & Bianco Organic Fairtrade Dark Chocolate Bar.  This one had the lowest cocoa content at 70% so that is probably what swung it.  It was slightly sweeter than the other two.  It is made in Italy and has no palm oil, no GM ingredients and is organic and fairtrade.  The beans are a mixture from the Dominican Republic, Peru and Ecuador.  £2.19 for 100g or £3 for two bars (200g).

Second was the Montezuma’s Organic Very Dark Chocolate with 73% cocoa content.  Again it is organic and although it doesn’t have the fairtrade symbol they claim it is “traded fairly”.  This one is made in the UK from beans from the Dominican Republic.  There was a very slight aftertaste of vanilla/coffee but this wasn’t unpleasant.  £2.39 for 100g

And finally, Seed & Bean Organic Extra Dark Chocolate.  This tasted the darkest although it was 72% because it had a slight bitter aftertaste.  Fairtrade, but although it is called organic there is nothing in the ingredient list to verify this.  Made in England from Dominican Republic beans.  £1.99 for 85g

A bit later on we tried a little bit of the Montezuma’s Organic Dark Chilli Chocolate and phew that has a good chilli hit!!  You couldn’t eat a lot of that in one go!!  Again a 73% coca content and £2.39 for 100g.

All prices quoted are from Planet Organic so may vary elsewhere.