Saturday, 10 November 2007
We carved our home-grown pumpkin for Halloween and have saved a number of seeds ready for planting next year. All the plum, apple, chilli and pepper seeds Katie carefully planted for indoor growing haven't done a thing! She's going to try olive seeds now. What has grown well is an Aloe Vera Katie picked up for 50p from the "honesty box" soon after we moved here. Katie has taken all the new shoots to make about five or six new plants which she's hoping to sell for a bit of pocket money.
I've sown some "over winter" spring onions in one of the pots rather than put them straight into the ground. This is because the "plot" won't get so much light and sun during the winter months and I can lug (with help) a large pot around the garden to get the warmest spot. Today I noticed little shoots are appearing - always a nice sight.
Friday, 19 October 2007
Peppers aren't liking the lack of warmth either. I have about two that are doing well and growing quickly and remain consistently green, the others are either dropping off like flies (mouldy) or their growth has completely stopped.
First batch of the carrots have been completely pulled now - we finished them last Sunday for lunch with my parents who came for a visit. The other tub is more-or-less ready for digging into now.
Ben and I had a nose around the garden centre earlier this week and picked up a couple of packets of veggie seeds + a freebie thrown in. We also bought some onion sets - a bargain at 90p from Wilkinsons! One of the packs is for spring onions that can be sown over winter, so we've set half of those in the big tub that had the first batch of carrots and placed it in direct sunlight (as suggested). We're also growing a couple of spring onion ends reserved from cooking a chinese the other day! They're on the kitchen windowsill and growing great guns! Katie has planted a couple of Bramley apple pips, a plum stone and left over pepper seeds (again from cooking) - but nothing has materialised from them yet.
Wednesday, 10 October 2007
We all know how bad bananas are for over-ripening other fruits in the fruit bowl, well by placing green tomatoes next to the bananas they ripen ultra quick!
Everything's doing well. With all the rain we've had recently and now the return of warmer weather the lettuces have had a growth spurt.
Pumpkin came away from it's stork so it's now being stored in the coolest room, the lobby, waiting for Halloween. It's really heavy, much bigger than our last home grown one, and has quickly turned a beautiful Autumn orange.
Monday, 1 October 2007
The wet weather, however, has done wonders for the lettuce which are blooming nicely and the pumpkin which has stopped growing, I believe, and is now turning a wonderful autumn orange.
Peppers continue to grow longer and a tiny bit fatter. Having not grown these before, and having purchased these as tiny plants from a local grower, I don't know how big they are supposed to get. I've had to pull off a few that have gone bad so I guess I'll just have to watch and see.
We continue to pull our first lot of carrots. As we thin them out this way, the remaining carrots are having a chance to grow much bigger in the soil. They are a joy to eat, and we're all pretty proud of them. I'll probably continue to grow our carrots in pots from now on. The ones sown in the ground have not done at all well - we still only have two small bundles of carrot leaves!
These cold evenings (most of which I've spent in front of the open fire) have been great for browsing the seed catalogues and reading much needed growing tips in some of the veggie books I have. The best one I can recommend so far was given to me by my b-i-l and s-i-l; "Grow your own Veg" by Carol Klein - easy to follow and nicely written. So, I'm planning on getting some onion sets to sow over winter - I'll let you know how I get on.
Wednesday, 19 September 2007
My lovely neighbour, once he'd finished preparing the plot for me, had also sowed two rows of lettuce lifted from his own garden to kick start our veggie site. They started off doing fabulously, with much needed frequent watering they were growing great guns, but unfortunately the ducks that visit us regularly suddenly took notice and ate the lot one night as we slept! My neighbour (I'll call him Mr. P. from now on) suggested I pulled the stumps out, rake over the area and start again. He very kindly pulled a few more of his own lettuces to replant in my garden and they are now doing fine. I also kept back three or four of the eaten ones, put them in pots of compost to see what would happen. Amazingly they began to grow again so I've put those in the ground to and get a full row of young lettuce enjoying a duck free life (Mr. P. put up plastic netting by the gate to stop any wandering feather friends).
To also deter other animals and birds, I've added a length of string, attached to sticks at either end of the plot, to hold a couple of unwanted CDs. The brightness and spinning action in the wind should keep off the predators, although the visiting cat seems to enjoy playing with them!
On the securing side. The tomatoes planted outside the conservatory kitchen are ladden with fruits, most are still green, but I've picked a few beautiful red ones from deep inside the bushes. I've had to add many more canes to try and keep them from flopping to the ground, they are so heavy. After a lot of har work the winds over night had made most of then slip back down their canes. I'm just hoping their natural supports won't get damaged in this bout of windy weather. I can't really support them any more than I have already.
The two pepper bushes are finally turning into, well, peppers! Sorry, but I get excited at seeing the fruits of, what seems like, very easy labour. Peppers, as advised by the chap I'd bought them from (locally) are very simple to grow and so far he's right. Once in a while (more at the beginnings of it's growing life), I'd use a tomato feed when watering (as I have done with the tomatoes and pumpkin too), but other than that, they have fended for themselves and seem very sturdy again the wind (although I have supported them now, just as a precaution).
Sunday, 9 September 2007
End of July, I sowed some carrot seeds that had been lurking around for a couple of years. Sell-by date said this September, so I knew they'd be OK. I was told by my knowledgeable neighbour that the end of July was the best time to plant carrots as the dreaded carrot fly is no longer around. Having seen on TV a year or so ago that carrots do quite well in very large pots, I sowed my first batch like this. A few weeks later I sowed the rest in another large pot. Last week, my neighbour suggested I start pulling the first lot, randomly rather than from the same section of soil. First feeling around the tops of the carrot to make sure they are a fairly decent (but still small) size before having a slight tug! These are delicious "Trevor 1" carrots (from a DIY store as I recall), and have made fabulous salad carrots, so full of flavour.