Monday, 29 June 2009

Vegetables also have 'siamese twins' !

This is a photo of my harvest on Friday and I have been watching with interest the growth of a 'Siamese' courgette. It had two flowers but grew on one stem and never separated, it looks very odd, has anyone else grown a Siamese veg ? I have yet to eat it so hopefully it will taste twice as nice !! speaking of courgettes ! they are coming fast and furious and I have three kinds- round Italian ones, yellow ones and normal green ones and now a Siamese one, quite what I will do with them all I have yet to figure out. We love them roasted, in soups and raw in salads, any other ideas anyone ??

Fridays harvest, Siamese courgette.

It's been far too hot for me to get much done on the lottie, I have gone up and pottered about and of course watered most days, especially the plants in the greenhouse, which are Aubergines, cucumbers, chillies (three types) tomatoes and peppers. It's hard work and a week ago I really had a moment where i felt like moving to an apartment with No garden and giving up the lottie, but the moment passed and thank goodness common sense prevailed and I love it all again.

The problem is we love to visit the grand-children every week and because of the distance it means staying over, so 2 days out of the week we are away and in this weather it's a worry for me about the watering. I now have a dear neighbour who will come over to my garden and water the plants and shrubs in tubs, and in return I gave him strawberries, broad beans and a bunch of sweet-peas, so we were both happy with this arrangement. The allotment is another issue, so I ask whoever is around to water for me and I do the same in return.
I haven't had time to visit all of the blogs I follow or the ones on my blog list, so I apologise to anyone who thinks Ive lost interest in their blog, but I'm sure everyone is so busy this time of year that they are in the same situation what with gardening and veg growing.

Below are a few photo's of the garden taken on Saturday, my lilies have flowered at last, I love them and wait in anticipation for the first flower every year.

Tea for two in the garden

Lemon grass growing bigger at last

I love these colours together

The cutting flower bed.

Lillies at last !!

Double nasturtion 'Darjeeling gold'

Inside the summerhouse.

Seaside mania.

My favourite colour Dahlia, grown from seed.

A very full mixed border.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

A good Allotment site link, I hope you find it useful.

Here is a link for a brilliant allotment site, I hope you all find it useful, it seems to cover lots of aspects including the 'History' of allotments.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

An update on the crops.

I have had quite a relaxing day for a change. I got up late (I wont say what time) but I went to bed extremely late last night, so I needed to catch up with my sleep. I had also fed my little grand-daughter throughout the previous night so my daughter-in-law could get a restful night, so I think I deserved a lie in.
The only thing about getting up late is that I can't wait to get out into the garden to see whats going on, does anyone else do this ? I think my neighbour must think I am a little eccentric (or crazy!) as there I was in my P.J's pottering around the garden, pulling up the odd weed, when he called out to say hello!
I went up to the allotment at about 6pm with the intention of just watering the greenhouse, but ending up staying for almost 2 hours. I was digging up marigolds from the herb bed and planting them elsewhere. There have grown enormous, goodness knows why, perhaps it's the' growmore' plant food, I have never seen such big marigolds.
The sweetcorn is looking very healthy with nice thick stalks and growing tall. The spinach beet (perpetual spinach) is delicious and never stops growing, it's great to pick it knowing that it will keep going. Delicious lightly steamed with baby broad beans.
The runner and french beans are growing well up the supports, and the raspberries have doubled in size since I put them in last year. I am very pleased with the onion growth, I was a bit unsure about growing them from seed, but they are trouble free and I would defiantly grow from seed as opposed to sets again next year.
I want to get an Asparagus bed going for next year, even if I have to forfeit potato space. I have been harvesting a neighbours plot for the asparagus., and it has been a real treat. They gave up the plot to move to one nearer their area and no-one has taken it over yet, so myself and a couple of others have been harvesting it. That is until it became really very badly infested with asparagus beetle, they are horrible little things.
The fact that the plot hasn't been given to someone from the very long waiting list is a disgrace, it's been empty now for around 2 months and there are over 100 people waiting for an allotment. Also it's unfair to the next person who takes it over as it is now full of weeds and badly overgrown. Had it been given straight away the new tenant would have had hardly any work to do other than do a plan then prepare the beds for planting. This is an issue that needs addressing all around the country.
Onions and munchkin squashes


Runner beans and French beans


Spinach Beet and Calendulas

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

I've had a photo published !

I was very surprised about a month ago to get an e-mail from the managing editor of 'Schmap Guides', ( I'd never heard of them before) -via 'Flikr' the photo sharing website, saying my photo (see below) taken in Regents Park, London, had been short listed for entry into their latest London Guide. I hadn't entered it ! they must trawl the website looking for suitable photo's (I guess).
Anyway I had to give my permission, I don't get paid anything, but the photograph has my name and a link to my Flikr photo collection, so a bit of recognition. Quite honestly, and I mean this sincerely, I really didn't think it was anything special, I mean obviously I liked the shot or I wouldn't have taken it, but just not special, but it obviously filled their need, so fine by me.

This week I got an e-mail to say it had been selected to go into the 7th edition of the London Schmap Guide.
Here is the link if you want to check out Schmap Guide and my photo.

Monday, 15 June 2009

'Art in the Garden'

All photographs taken on our visit to 'Sir Harold Hillier' Gardens , Romsey, Hampshire, England.
There is currently an 'Art in the gardens' exhibition on, these are some of them.

Stained glass humming bird tree hanging.

Pottery leaves, tree hanging

Fabulous carved wooden poppy seed heads.

Ceramic Tree hangings

Stone sheep

Stained Glass garden ornaments.

Sculpted girl in the rushes.

Pottery flowers.

A stained glass bumble bee.

Peacock made from wire mesh.

Mother Nature's 'art work'
sunlight dappled on beautiful leaves,
the leaves were a stunning shiny bronzy purple colour.

I hope you enjoy this Art work and if it's possible for you to visit yourself I would recommend it as it's a fabulous day out.

Yesterdays Harvest,and a visit to Hilliers Gardens

Yesterday I worked for about 3 hours on the allotment. I went up in the late afternoon as it was far too hot to do anything earlier in the day. I weeded, deadheaded flowers, tied up the broad-beans which have grown so tall that they are bending over.
I dug up lots of early potatoes (swift) there were enough for the whole week for the two of us, that was from 3 plants. I picked lots of spinach beet, it's delicious steamed. I pulled a few carrots, but they aren't really ready yet as they were very small and forked. I guess I should have made sure all the stones were out of the bed I sowed them in, still they were so tasty!
I am getting impatient for the broad-beans, so I picked the biggest ones and got a small harvest of very tasty young beans, all steamed together for our dinner, very yummy ! makes it all worthwhile !

Today was again too hot for me to work on the plot, so we went to visit 'Sir Harold Hillier Gardens'. It's not far from where we live, about half an hour away in the car. I don't know why we haven't been before as it's an amazing place, and if you are interested in trees it's a paradise as there are so many species of trees there. I personally am not into trees as such, I love them and our world would be a sad place without them, but I don't feel the need to know about the varieties, or their habits, I just enjoy being amongst them.
We walked for 3 hours and still didn't cover all of it, so we will go back again very soon. I took lots of photo's as there was an 'art in the garden' exhibition with various sculpted pieces and wood and glass exhibits as well, I will post some soon.
Then we went up to the lottie to water, and I planted out my pumpkins and a couple more squashes. I still have lots of leeks, brussel sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli to find room for as they are all getting on now and need to go in ASAP.

Yesterdays harvest

Spinach beet, baby carrots & young broad beans.

Swift potatoes

Delphinium in my garden. The best they have ever been.
I think it could be the comfrey tea I'm feeding them!

Flowers from Sir Harold Hillier Garden's, Romsey,Hampshire.
The Poppies were beautiful

Friday, 12 June 2009

Two little reasons I haven't blogged for a week.

And here they are, the grand-children. Bertie and Florence.
I took these photo's on Thursday and it was very difficult getting Bertie to sit with his sister.

We are back now and worked on the plot this afternoon. I weeded the onion , sweetcorn and the cabbage/kale beds. We raised the netting on the cabbages as the pigeons are getting clever at sitting on the netting and stretching it so it dips and then they can peck away at my goodies.

We came home from the lottie with a bag of dark green Italian Kale, short curly Kale, a few broad beans ( I couldn't wait any longer!) and a big parsnip. They were all delicious I steamed the Kale & beans and roasted the parsnip and we had it with roast chicken and roast potatoes, Mmmmm ! plus a lovely bunch of sweet-peas and sweet willliam, they smelt and looked beautiful.

A quick snap before Bertie demanded to be let loose.

Florence was a real poser today.

Happy to pose on his own.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

The vegetables.

I worked mainly in the greenhouse today. I potted on the pepper plants and chillies ('hot stuff' & pyramid) The aubergines are growing well and I am trying not to over water them and not getting their leaves too wet as apparently they don't like this. I intend putting them outside at the end of June, and hopefully I will get bigger fruits than I did last year.

The courgettes are flowering and the round Italian ones are starting to get little fruits. The runner beans and French beans are going well and climbing up the poles. The bolliti beans are being a bit slow, but they went in late so hopefully they will suddenly take off. I have been mulching them all with comfrey leaves and grass cuttings.

The munchkin squashes seem to like where I have planted them and starting to produce the first flowers. I have masses of strawberries waiting to ripen and the raspberries are bushing out at an amazing rate. I still have to plant out the broccoli and brussel sprouts and more squashes and pumpkins, but have yet to allocate a spot for them.
I think the potatoes will be ready to dig up next week, I am going to have a poke around in the soil tomorow to see how big they are.

The rhubarb doesn't seem as big and healthy as last year, I need to look up what to feed it with.

Spinach beet, and to the left Mizuna.

Dark green Italian Kale.

The main Onion bed. The small raised bed by the compost bin is also onions.

Sweet-peas, sweet williams and cosmos.

Broad beans, not quite big enough to harvest yet.

In this raised bed is mainly peas (kelveden wonder) and some garlic, and beetroot.

Friday, 5 June 2009

The Dahlias are beautiful.

The Dahlias on the lottie are in flower and I love them. It has been worth all the trouble of caring for them since sowing the seeds. I now have lots of flowers growing on the plot in between the vegetables as well as in separate beds, and it is looking very colourful.
All the vegetables are coming on well and I should be harvesting, broad beans, peas and kale very soon. I am already picking the spinach beet, mizuna and the cabbage which is from last winters sowing. I will post photo's of the veg tomorrow.
Yesterday I planted some Pak Choi but when I checked it today something had pulled some of them out of the ground and some leaves were eaten. I think it was probably pigeons, they must have tugged on them whilst munching the leaves which made them come out of the soil. Oh well ! some you win and some you lose.
The lottie flower bed.

Dahlias, Pansies and Fennel

Cosmos, Altriplex and Cerinthe.