Tuesday, 8 December 2009

'Tis the season to be busy!

Now my son is at school I suddenly have a whole lot more to remember. When he started school in September, the list was short and easy to remember...fruit, drink, book bag. Check! As Christmas approaches the list grows...fruit, drink, book bag, entries for various competitions, money for events & photos & handmade cards, costume for school play. Check, I think!

Well today I feel like a mummy fail :( I knew it was the school play dress rehearsal. He had his costume. But I didn't bring his 'home clothes'. In my defence, they didn't tell me to, but most mums had brought extras (are they 'experienced' at this sort of thing?!). So the poor lad has to endure standing in his vest and trousers for an hour with a silky cloak round him. And of course, the cloak is too big for him because I measured it while he was wearing a jumper.

Of course, I will 'know' for next year. And when my daughter starts school in a few years' time I will be one of those 'experienced' mums who turns up randomly with extra 'home clothes'. :)

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Gardening projects

There's something about an empty piece of ground that just screams "Cultivate me!". And I can't resist. Last week, I sowed some early carrots, winter salads, and broad beans, and this week I saw that they are just poking through the soil.

I have divided my onion sets between the veg patch and the garden next to the herbs, so we'll see which do best. I also planted my garlic this week, a little early, but I couldn't wait! I broke up one bulb and planted the cloves in pots, and the second bulb I put in the garden next to the raspberry bushes. The ground is still quite warm so they should be OK, let's just hope for some cold spells soon so the cloves develop into bulbs.

After dealing with the veg patch I turned my attention to some dying conifers we planted many years ago. There are two in some lovely square Japanese-style pots. My husband and I wanted to replace them so I decided to buy some Acers to mirror the Japanese feel. I found two lovely specimens at Arcade Nursery in Arlesey. Once repotted I finished them off with some purple alpine slate.

My final project this week was to prepare pots of bulbs for Christmas presents, an idea I got from Alys from Gardeners' World. Now, I don't know if they will be in flower by December 25th but I will do my best! I bought some fragrant Crocus bulbs and potted seven to a pot, finishing again with some purple alpine slate. I have done three pots, which are now stored in my makeshift coldframe (aka the wheelbarrow!). I'll bring them in at the beginning of December to stimulate growth. Fingers crossed it works!

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Welcome to my blog

This is a good example of how organised I am. My first post is about vegetables and my second post is a welcome to my blog.

Anyway, welcome to my blog! I hope you enjoy reading about my attempts at veg growing, as well as my thoughts on Formula 1 (always a good source of gossip), what's happening with my kids, and anything that annoys me during the day.

Veg Review

I've just spent a few hours in my garden, pulling up weeds and dying veg plants, deadheading flowers, and cutting back perennials. I always look forward to this time of year, I can't wait to get outside and tidy up ready for winter. I probably start a bit early, but that is me all over, I love to plan ahead and organise.

My exertions got me thinking about the successes I've had in the garden this year, in particular veg and fruit, and the disasters too! What what do I want to grow again, grow more of, or not bother with?

I had great success with spring greens and broad beans, despite the snowy weather in January! Early carrots were plentiful too. Late Spring saw the first strawberries that kept coming for a month and were yummy! Early roots included more carrots and some beetroot. The red onions were superb but I just didn't plant enough sets, and the garlic bulbs dried out really well (and are still hanging in my kitchen). Salad leaves come along in waves (some weeks I have too many, others I need to buy in); I think I'd prefer hearting lettuces. Finally, the whole family 'enjoyed' a glut of courgettes, tomatoes, and French beans.

I was disappointed with my pea crop, I only ever had enough for one proper dinner, they just weren't plentiful. The brassicas were decimated by caterpillars early on and never recovered (although I enjoyed one small cauliflower!). The sprouts do look like they will do OK though, unless they get nibbled... Radishes were awful (like rocks) and later beetroots were woody (not enough water I think). The courgettes ended earlier than they might have because they got powdery mildew.

The sweetcorn also didn't do as well as they might have, I planted them according to the Three Sisters system (courgettes, beans, and sweetcorn). The courgettes and beans grew too quickly and swamped the sweetcorn so they didn't get much light, so now they are rather short plants. Some haven't flowered at all. I'm also not sure that the female flowers will have been pollinated because the beans were so dense. Anyway, that's a lesson for me!

So for next year, I am already thinking about sowing my first lot of broad beans and spring greens, plus some all-season carrots and more salad leaves. I'm not going to grow radish, cauliflower, or chard at all. I'll sow fewer courgette plants to try and avoid the gluts and mildew, and I'll sow fewer beans, but at intervals, to avoid gluts. Sweetcorn will get their own little area with the courgettes (new-style Two Sisters approach!). I'll try broccoli and sprouts again but under a proper netted cover. And I am going to grow loads of peas in my front garden so they get lots of space and sunlight! I'm looking forward to loads of strawberries and raspberries. I might even try potatoes in containers. I regretted not sowing more onions, so I will put more sets in, and sow salad onions later.

I also intend to water more, feed more, and keep on top of pests. Here's hoping.
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