Monday, April 26, 2010

It's enough to put you off your lunch!

Each day we have our lunch in the conservatory - at varying times.
And every single day, come rain or shine, Gozzie flies up and watches us eat it!

It's not as though she is even hungry - she is just curious - and a scrounger hoping that there might be left overs for her.

It has now got to the point where they are all trying to get in on the act and they sit in the pots underneath the window.

Of course I blame Patrick - as he always gives them any grains of rice in the saucepan after a meal
ditto anything else healthy.   They hear the scrape of his chair on the tiles and all rush to the back door trying to be first in the queue.  Then jump up and down and squeak like excited children then, all run wild chasing whatever it is he throws out.  He is a real tease and throws some in all different directions
Sometimes it might just be just a few grains of rice, or fat off the bacon, or diced up raw skin off the fish - it's not exactly a feast!

They are so well trained now that at 4.30pm on the dot each day, they come and wait by the back door - or my studio door - or wherever I happen to be - for their supper.

If it is not forthcoming they start 'shouting' at me - they are so funny.  Poppy the little red Sebright is the loudest of them all!
All eight of them sit and watch me to go to the feed bin and get out the container
Then run helter skelter in front of me - and dash in their run after their evening meal of Garvo.

Then I lock them in the run for the night!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Seed planting frenzy!

It's Sunday and it's raining, raining, raining - and when I went out to let the chooks out first thing this morning, I just had to stop and soak up my favourite 'smell' - rain in dry ground.   That wonderful warmth rising from the ground, the warm rain hammering down, the starched garden sighing with relief and joy - you can almost feel the soil soaking it all up and the plants slooping it up through their parched veins.

And wouldn't you just know it - I went out and watered those plants which were dried out and in urgent need of a drink.  The pot plants, and all the newly planted cuttings and strawberries and veggies - in the garden.  But not up the allotment - that's left to nature - and I am so glad that last time I was up there I 'scalped' the lawns when I mowed.  The weeds will start with a vengence now though!

This will bore you - so no need to read it - it's for my information only really - cos I keep losing my lists.

I have been sowing seeds and this is a good way to remember the varieties

Climbing bean borlotto - Fire Tongue

 And Climbing bean - Goldfield

Onion - Summer Isle - bunching summer onions

Courgette - 3 varieties, dark green, yellow and pale green - long ones
Courgette - du rond - green and yellow

Pole beans - Eden (green) and Goldfield (yellow) lovely wavy ones
There are more trays of pots I didn't photograph as my camera batteries went flat.

Swiss chard beet - Bright lights
Pumpkin - Jack be Little

The mixes salads I planted during the week are appearing already - it never ceases to amaze me, the sheer wonder of how all the plants grow - from tiny seeds, to seedlings, to plants, to food!

I have also got to plant

Carrot - Mignon and Atlas
Pea - Sugar Snow
Salad leaves - speedy mix
Bush beans - Red Splendido and Yellow Cresco
And plenty more!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Stepford Wife - only for a day

I have been such a good Stepford wife today - I spring cleaned the bungalow - and apart from cooking a great lunch - which I always do - I made big inroads into the 30 eggs that my lovely bantams have provided.

I made two rhubarb crumbles with stalks from my garden, and I made 24 really big muffin sized fairy cakes - a dozen of which I have frozen or else we will be rolly pollys as they are so tempting - chocolate and morello cherries.

After going up the allotment yesterday, I did manage to fit in a bit of seed sowing

Pot marigolds, courgettes - several varieties.

Mixed salads (my list is in the lean-to so I will have to add the varieties another time.)
I also started off some begonia tubers a week ago.  They didn't look very 'lively' but I can see that they are sprouting
They do look weird
I only had one little geranium that survived the winter in my cold lean-too - so I have potted it on and hope to take cuttings from it later.

And tomorrow I hope to plant some of these seeds
I love bright colourful veggies - can you tell?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Allotment Diary - Me 29hrs. He 26hrs.

Well - we managed to get three and a half hours up the allotment today - but not much to show for it!   Things take so much longer than you anticipate.

        Remember this from just over a week ago?
We spent hours clearing out the bonfire area, distributing the ashes, and starting afresh.  We had this pile in the photo left over - plus more we had accumulated.

But look at it now - it's all been burnt and cleaned up.

We haven't had any rain - so the soil has turned to dust up there as usual.  But (it's hard to see in the bright sunshine) I have removed the nets and trays that were covering the onions and shallots, as despite the dry weather, they seem to have grown and put down roots.

I don't water my plants up the allotment, they have to fend for themselves.

The broad bean plants seem to be managing.  I have found through past experience, that once you start watering them - they expect it - and often do not do as well as those plants managing without a drink.

Ok, I know, I have mowed the paths to within an inch of their lives - well scalped them would be more accurate.  The lawns grow so fast, that I decided to scalp them so that they last a week or so before I have to do them again.
The cuttings I have emptied onto the rows of potatoes as mulch.

We spread all the ash we had piled up around the gooseberries
Which are looking jolly healthy, with signs that it might be a good year for fruit from them
I am hoping for a good crop of Jostaberries this year too.   I still get a buzz knowing that I grew all my fruit bushes from little cuttings no bigger than 6 inches.  And I have given so many away too.
It does look dry doesn't it - but it'll soon perk up when we get some rain
The redcurrants, blackcurrants, and loganberry are in full leaf too
And the raspberries in the foreground are just coming into leaf
I got many barrow loads of grass cuttings, so piled them on the rows of potatoes up this end.  A pesky rabbit had been scratching at one row and nibbled on one of my seed potatoes!

Not much to show for three and a half hours work is it.  But my plot is 250ft long and 33ft wide and there are lots of paths and lawn to mow.  But mowing it all is so much quicker than having to weed or dig it over, so I am glad that I sowed all the paths - it was worth the effort.

Will be taking a break from the allotment until after the weekend - I have seeds to sow!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just pottering around

I have to stay out of the sun - as much as I possibly can - so as we have had a lot of it,  I haven't been up the allotment since my last post.

Saturday I did spring clean Peckingham Palace again
It doesn't take long!

I took a few photos around the garden

The polyanthus have clumped up nicely and have a lovely perfume and they have self sown themselves all around the garden

The wild primroses are fabulous, and there are lots of smaller clumps seeded seeded in the gravel which I think I will move when they have finished flowering

Have  you seen snowdrops this tall before?

I bought a few plants 'in the green' years ago and this one is thriving.  It looks like a giant snowdrop and appears later - when the daffodils are out and it is in all its glory now.

Not much much to post about - but I am hoping to do some seed planting in the shade this week

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Allotment Diary - Me 25.5hrs. He 23hrs.

We worked up the allotment on Sunday and today.

(Well I did most of the work on Sunday as the Patrick, myself, and Geoff were trying to get the lawn mower started - in the end we gave up and Patrick took it to a friend of ours in another village - and left it there to be fixed.  When he tried it yesterday it started first time!  Wouldn't you just know it - so our friend serviced it anyway, and we collected it today, so were up there early.)
Sunday I dug over this bed, put in the raised beds, and planted some broad beans.  Today I finished off the job and planted some more seeds at the end.

Today I mowed all the paths - and I so wish I had taken a before photo.

It looks a bit pale on the left as it was a bit long and I had to go over it three times with the mower on different height settings - on the right of the photo is where it s longer - and greener.

I got Patrick to clear out the bonfire corner.  He has had so many in the 'special' corner, that the incinerator was about 2ft off the ground with all the ash underneath it.  Plus he had just piled on all the stuff over the winter - so you can see, bossy me has made him clear it all out.

I actually helped him quite a lot.  The piles of ash he has piled between the gooseberry bushes, as per my instructions - well he is the under-gardener so needs guidance!   I'll spread it all out around them - it will make a super mulch and will also enrich the soil.  I piled the grass cuttings on top of the rows of potatoes - again as a mulch to keep the frost off - and to keep the weeds down.

The comfrey is looking good and floushing - it's early this year.  These were just little cuttings last year which I moved from the plot I gave up at the bottom of this one.

It is looking lovely and neat and I have got it all under control.  The covered area I am going to keep covered all year, as I am growing more veggies at home as I have to keep out of the sun

Oh and just before we left I put up a gate - still got to finish it, and it's a bit 'Heath Robinson' but it keeps the rabbits out.

My next job will be to mow the lawns at the top end, dig a pit and fill it with well rotted manure in readiness for the climbing beans - and start sowing seeds at home!

Oh and I picked some rhubarb, and froze it, and made a rhubarb sponge pudding!

No wonder I feel so tired - but so very happy at my achievements

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Allotment Diary - Me 19. He 19. Eggs too many to keep count!

I was determined to get the rest of the potatoes in today - but first....
The pigeons have been tugging at my onions and shallots

It looks ugly - but I just had to cover some of them up to protect them until they can get their little roots secure into the ground - so it's only temporary

The earlies we planted are tucked in safely, and the fruit bushes behind them have all greened up.

I have planted Romana on this spare piece of ground in the fruit cage

Patrick had dug out the weeds at the top and the rest of the area I had covered over for two years
So I ran the rotorvator over it  to loosen it up and then dug trenches and added lots of well rotted manure

Romano was planted in the fruit area and in here

Last year in here I grew sunflowers along the fence,
Courgettes, and squash.  Climbing beans and green manured any gaps

On the right I am still using up leeks and parsnips

I dug over this bed which held the pumpkins so it's really rich with manure - and planted one of my favourite main crop potatoes - Cara - which we are still eating now at home.

We hope to return tomorrow to mow the lawns and paths, and I have some little broad bean plants ready to go out too.