Saturday, 31 May 2008

Filling up nicely ...

Wow, these are my Globe Artichokes, they are enormous.

Globe Artichokes copy

Today I have been busy in the glass greenhouse. I bought a couple of bags of manure (from B&Q, so no idea how good it will be) and added one to the greenhouse borders and then planted up my tomatoes: 3 x Roma, 2 x Sweet Olive Plum, 1 x Marmande, 1 x SunGold and 1 x very small Tigerella. I've got lots of lovely strong and healthy plants remaining in the pottingshed, but have no idea what variety they are. I've been trying to match the shape and shade of the leaves, but I can't tell for sure what they are. I've moved the Mizuna seedlings to the right hand side of the greenhouse and planted two of my melons at the left hand side.

Greenhouse copy

Melon copy

Ken sent some surplus plants over the fence this afternoon - 2 x beefsteak tomatoes, 1 x plum tomato, 12 swedes and 10 beetroots. Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth I made a little space in the leek bed. Jenny also gave me a couple of tomatoes, 1 x Brandy Wine and 1 x Shirley, which is huge and already in flower. The greenhouse is almost full, so not sure where I'll put them yet:

SwedeBeetroot copy

Ken has been admiring my carrot bath. The support has suffered another set back. Because I didn't get any new staples and finish the barrier, it has been blown around by the wind and I've had to take it down. So back to the drawing board. Ken thinks I'll be OK for a couple of weeks. He suggested putting fleece across the bath, but that's what I did last year and not enough rain got through. Hmm, I need to get my thinking cap on (or go to Staples and buy some ... staples). I'm liking the straight lines:

Carrots2 copy

I just flippin finished weeding these carrots ... honestly sometimes I wish my camera was not so good.
Carrots copy

Phew, the beans have finally started to germinate ... my biggest problem now is that I forgot to label them and I'm not sure I can remember which are which LOL ! I still need to fix the supports and banish the stray potatoes:

Beanz copy

bean copy

The peas have reached the second support, I think I need to add a third soon. No sign of any flowers yet, but surely they can't be far off:

pEAS copy

Here is my seond attempt at Bella Cucumbers. So far so good ...
BellaCucumber copy

Two of the courgettes have pulled themselves around after the frost and are definitely growing again, but the other three don't look so good. I think I'll definitely lose at least one of them. Jenny said she has loads of spares if I need more. The Vales Emerald are looking very healthy, just a little bit of 'frost burn' left on the tips:

courgettes copy

ValesEmerald copy

Here is the first of my strawberries ... they look very promising so far:

strawberries copy

Could this be the first Crabapple making a shy appearance. I want to make some Crabapple Jelly, so I hope so:

Crabapple copy

Last years Phacelia keeps popping up. Once this years has burst into flower, I'm going to turn these plants in ... so the bees need to make the most of them:

beePhacelia copy

I love giant poppies, but haven't been very successful at growing them yet. Here is my latest attempt. I wonder if I am starting them too late in the season.

PoppySeedlings copy

I have no idea what this is, but its in the wild flower garden and I can't wait for it to flower, its huge:

wildflower copy

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Jack Frost

Jack Frost paid a visit to the lottie last week. I think we had two nights of frost and very low day time temperatures. Unfortunately my lovely courgette plants have been burnt and my Vales Emerald Potatoes have also been caught. The potatoes will grow through it and I think two of my courgettes are definitely OK (they have new leaves appearing), but I'm not sure about the other three courgettes. I'll need to keep my eye on them. I have some photos somewhere showing the 'burnt' foliage.

We've really suffered with the elements this week - frost, low temperatures, terrible wind, fog and now today we've had torrential rain. This is the result for my broadies:

broadbeans copy

Fortunately my seedlings are doing very well (touch wood). All three lines of salad have popped through the surface. This is the Oriental mix:

Oriental Salad copy

and here are my baby beetroots:

Beetroot copy

I'm going to plant up my melon at the weekend. I'm going to plant one in the glass greenhouse .. or maybe two:

Melon copy

In the potting shed, I've finally got some beans - canelloni & borlotti (I think!):

beans copy

The bean poles outside have not fared very well in the strong winds this week and I'll need to do some repairs. No sign yet of the beans that I direct sowed, but I appear to have missed several potatoes, which are popping up all over the bean bed.

My sweetcorn is looking really good, but I think it needs another couple of weeks inside before I plant it out.

Sweetcorn copy

I think I'll give the squashes another week inside too - they're not going to do much outside anyway if the temperature doesn't pick up. I've run out of manure, so I think I'll have to buy some from a garden centre over the weekend .. I really can't face barrowing a tractor trailor load just yet. Maybe in the autumn.

Squash copy

Finally, here are my peas, they are a little bedraggled with the wind and the rain, but still looking good ... be just my luck that they end up with pea moth .... Lookey at my lovely supports :)

pEAS copy

Monday, 19 May 2008

Un-identified Foreign Objects

What the heck are these. I scraped out the last of the manure to plant up my potatoes (oh yes, they are finally in) and spotted these luminous fellas. I thought they were shrimp at first (until I engaged brain). Up close, they are shaped exactly like wasps, only a bright orange / pink colour with tiny black dots for eyes. They were about the length of my finger nail. Not knowing whether they are goodies or meanies, I threw them back into the empty manure store

wierd things copy

Here are the potatoes, nicely tucked up in their new bed. I planted 10 of Kestrel (yes, I know its a bit late) and 20 (I think!) of King Edward. My Vales Emerald are just to the left of the photograph.

potatoes copy

I've planted out my courgettes, two at the end of the beetroot / salad bed and three in front of the bean bed. I hope I have not been too keen, as it seems we may have had a frost here last night. I meant to cover them with fleece, but forgot. Oh well, I'll see how they fared at the weekend.

courgettes copy

I couldn't resist any longer and finally pulled a couple of the carrots that were sown last November. They are very pale, but I'm not sure if that was the variety (which I've long forgotten), or if its because there has not been enough sunshine. They have a very delicate flavour and smell much more strongly than they taste. They are also slightly chewy.

Carrots copy

The plants in the wildflower garden are huge and there is some interesting foliage appearing:

wildflowers copy

First I had dandelions, then I had clocks, now I have lots of stalks. Everywhere I look, there are little seeds floating along on the wind. I think next season my beds will be covered in dandelions:

clock copy

I think these are Ladybird eggs, as a few minutes before I took the photograph, there was a Ladybird on the wall:

ladybirdeggs copy

The privet at the end of the lottie has doubled in size, but as I set about chopping it down, I realised that there is a nest concealed within the branches. Fortunately it appears to be empty, it seems quite big, so I don't think it belonged to my little Robin:

Nest copy

Last years Ox Eye Daisys are huge, I may need to think about thinning them next year, otherwise they'll engulf everything else:

OxEyeDaisy copy

I found an interesting visitor on the raspberry leaves. I need to get my bug book out to try and identify him.

bug copy

... and finally, perhaps I've gone mad ... this is indeed grass and it has been potted up ! Our cat and kitten are absolutely obsessed with little pots of grass. They cuddle it, play with it, pounce on it, eat it, sit next to it, sleep with it, squirm around it ... you name it in fact. Whenever the pot of grass goes for watering, we all have to go - they are so excited by it. The first thing they do in the morning is go and give the grass a kiss !

kittiegrass copy

Wednesday, 14 May 2008


Finally I've tackled the raspberry bed and removed all of the weeds. Quite a few new canes have appeared, so I've replanted them and put a path in between ... OH will be very pleased when he visits next time:

Raspberrybed1 copy

I've made a bit of progress on the weeds at the end of the plot, but there is still a bit to go. It does look better though. With a bit of effort hopefully I'll have cleared it by the end of the weekend ... which is good 'cos my tatties still need planting ! Most people will be eating theirs by the time I get mine in:

raspberrybed copy

This is my plum tree, I'm a bit worried about it and am hoping that the recent frost has damaged it, rather than it being something more serious .. I might write to Blackburn's to seek advice from them. It doesn't look as though I'll be getting any plums this year. The second photo is of the bits that have died.

plum1 copy
plum copy

My list is going quite well so far - I've even managed to stake the brambly apple tree. No sign of blossom yet, but hopefully it'll burst into flower soon. The crabapple blossom is almost finished.

Whilst moving some stuff around, I uncovered a little voles nest, its empty, so either the little babies have left or it was a backup nest.

volenest copy

Last job of the night was to water my peas and the beetroot bed.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Monday ...

Well I've had quite a productive evening, I've managed to sow one third of a bed with beetroot - Detroit 2 and Detroit 6 somethingorother:

Beetroot copy

I've also managed to stake the peas for the very first time since I've had my lottie ... I feel it going to be a really good year for my peas, they look fab :)

peabed copy

Pea copy

I've been rounding up my spare strawberries, some are now settled into the glass greenhouse and the others have gone into the bed in front of the glass greenhouse.

strawberries copy

Stuff in the potting shed is really coming along - I've potted on 40 Marigolds and so far they are faring much better than last year (the meeces ate most of them last year):

Marigold copy

this is some Fennel that has self seeded in the glass greenhouse - I'm not sure when to harvest it though ...

fennel copy

I've also got lots of tiny Mizuna seedlings and what looks to be 99,000 baby tomato seedlings:

Mizuna copy

Here are the Jerusalem Artichokes that I didn't get around to harvesting this winter ... I'm going to be overrun with them this year !

Jerusalem Artichokes copy

My thyme is looking really pretty at the moment:

Thyme copy