Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Garden photos and veggie update

The garden this year is looking good. Perhaps it's the extra long and cold winter, but the roses are really blooming and everything just looks lush and full of life.


The section of ground directly to the side of the kitchen conservatory was just a glorified plant dumping ground last year! A place to put plants that didn't have a suitable place elsewhere to grow. At the beginning of the year I thought this area would be ideal for a herb garden, but now, seeing how beautiful my "dumping ground" is, I'm tempted to have my herbs elsewhere. I had a little gap with nothing growing and some left over tomato plants, so the two seem to go very well together.

cottage garden style + a line of tomatoes

The actual veg plot is finally doing its thing. It's taken its time though with the bad start to the year and I know I'm not the only veggie grower to notice a difference with the produce this year.
This photo shows the peas (I finally managed to grow a successful second crop - took three attempts), a couple of lines of parsnips still at the very baby stage and raised bed in the background with chilli and spring onions. Both bags of free seed potatoes did well - both now harvested and thoroughly enjoyed! Also in the plot are two rows of garlic, which have been extremely disappointing (so far all very tiny), two rows each of spring onions and leeks.


Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Goodbye Gina


Sad news - we lost Gina, our ex-Tesco Finest hen last week. She'll be missed that's for sure. Full of cheeky character and never one to miss a fallen crumb, scooting at full pelt across the garden at the sight of the tiniest piece of biscuit!

I remember during the winter asking on one of the hen forums for some advice about her rather purple comb. The messages back weren't that promising and I was half expecting her to not survive the bitter weather. However, she was a tough little cookie and perked up once Spring came our way. Leg mites posed the next problem which I thought we'd got sorted fairly sharpish. She hadn't laid eggs for over a year and people said she was probably quite old. Well her time ran out but I was so pleased to have been able, just two days before it happened, to have that final very big cuddle before letting her loose on any fallen crumbs around the garden table.

Friday, 14 May 2010

I'm back ... it's been a while!

Guess what - wonderful news - the purple sprouting broccoli finally decided to sprout! I couldn't believe my eyes when, a couple of weeks ago whilst weeding the veggie bed, I noticed tiny little purple broc heads appearing on the three plants. According to the seed packet, this should have happened in February! It didn't take long for the little heads to become bigger and I started to pick them once I noticed the chickens taking an interest. With the first lot of heads picked, they've now started to produce more - yippee.
2010 - purple sprouting broccoli

Other sowing and growing news:

2010 - chilli
The kitchen once again has turned into a greenhouse. We have lots and lots of pots of baby chilli plants lining one long shelf, together with some tomato plants (ready to be moved into bigger pots).
2010 - tomato

The first batch of mini peas have been moved to their home outside. Sadly only one seed from the second batch decided to produce anything resembling a pea-plant. A third batch have been sown today so fingers crossed. Peas were our best crop last year and I'm hoping for double the amount this summer.

Sunday, 28 March 2010


The weather has been lovely these last few days, so spring-like and so needed after our long, long winter.

This afternoon gave me my first opportunity this year to get out into the garden and potter. I have a couple of projects to get on with, other than vegetable sowing. Firstly I've started clearing the cottage garden patch in front of the conservatory as I'd like this to become a herb garden. It attracts the sun all day long so it should do well. Secondly, all the pretty cottage plants and bulbs will need to be moved to other places around the garden and these places generally need a good weeding ready for their new arrivals. That'll keep me busy!

Today I've sown eight chilli seeds which will germinate on the conservatory windowsill, all being well. Over the next few weeks I'll be sowing leeks, peas and tomatoes as well as the free potatoes from the Potato Council. I also need to put in some canes for the peas - hoping to do double the amount this year and skip the runners.

Snow apparently is forecast for this week, so most of this may be put on hold, we'll have to see.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

2010 here we come!

Actually, veggies for 2010 started on 12th December. I've just been too lazy to update the blog. Actually, that's not true, I was thinking about forgetting this blog, surely it'll just be a repeat of last year. Then I thought about it and realised the reason for veggie blogging is purely to help me keep track of the best times to start the seed process, do the garden chores, to harvest a crop and of course any additional wonderful veggie or outdoor thing that may happen during the year that's different to the last!!

So, I'll kick off by saying the garlic is neatly sowed in two strips along both lengths of the plot. Doing a rotation thing is quite difficult I find as there's only certain veggies I want to grown and eat each year and three of them are all from the onion family! Anyway, I think this is a new spot for them; it may overlap a little from last year but who's being picky ah!?

I've gone for Taylors Garlic Marco and have planted the lot (that's an awful lot - 3 large bulbs in a small plot). We're still enjoying last year's garlic so hopefully we'll have double the bulbs this time next year.

The plot has been under a blanket of snow since before Christmas. At this time of year that area doesn't get much, if any, sun so it's taking its time to budge and this afternoon the snow has started to fall again. I've no idea if the garlic will survive, but seeing as how they need to be sown by the end of December, I'd imagine they're pretty hardy.

The only other veg in my plot is the winter broccoli that was planted in the summer, eaten by the caterpillars except for two leggie green things. They're still big and green and I'm reluctant to dig them up incase sometime in the not too distant future broccoli decides to appear!

Other fab news this week, Georgie our bantam, has laid her first egg of the year! Both hens stopped producting probably around the end of Autumn so this egg was a welcome sight.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Bringing in the harvest

Have been clearing the veggie plot of its remaining takings before an early frost takes it all from us!

The more you pick, the more you get it seems in alot of cases. I've taken in loads more beans and tomatoes since taking this picture. I find the beans are best picked young and not too long, otherwise you are a bit stringy when eaten.

The sweetcorn stepped a tiny bit further to successful this year compared to last. Out of the six planted, all but one have produced a single corn, although sadly only one of those we've been able to eat as the others just aren't getting the warmth to ripen fully. The one we tried though was amazing - I'd never tasted corn so fresh and sweet - nothing like the stuff we buy in the shops!

Another planting year done, I guess it's nearly time to start all over again, starting with the garlic!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Veggie update (August)

It feels like I've let things slip alittle, or perhaps it's just that the veg are ticking along nicely and don't really need my help too much (apart from constant watering of the indoor chillies and tomatoes), and I did spend an afternoon this week weeding like mad (but I took the photos before I'd done this - doh!).

Lots of lots of chilli. Paul is using the green and the red ones to make his hot, spicy pickled chillies - a hit with the family last year.

Sweetcorn - all six are doing OK, but all are very small - like last year, I'm not expecting much!

Oh my goodness, look at those weeds! Look at the purple sprouting broc too - not alot left is there? At least we've had a garden full of happy caterpillars and butterflies.

The outdoor tomato plants are full of fruit and a couple have ripened this last week. Need more warmth and sun.

Cute threesome of pumpkins - a litte early, not sure if they'll keep until Halloween. Growing fruit and veg is certainly a learning curve.

Peas have finished now but we have a huge crop of beans and dwarf beans. If they're not picked regularly, they become stringy when cooked. With still more flowers coming out every day I guess there'll be a lot more picking to do, which we all enjoy doing.

"Yum" sums up this photo - pickings from indoors and outdoors.