Thursday, 16 September 2010

Lucky Lucky Me

Many thanks to Damo from Two Chances Veg Plot Blog who hosted a giveaway. I was one of the lucky winners and yesterday I received my prize of a £25 Lands' End voucher and three packets of Nasturtium seeds. I had hoped that I might get to spend the voucher on myself but I made the mistake of showing my twelve year old daughter the website and now she has other ideas. Actually there are some fab clothes on there for girls, I could spend the voucher over and over again on things for her. Thanks again, Damo, you can see that we'll have no trouble spending it.

It's that time of year again when the garden is in desperate need of tidying up. Many plants have finished flowering and stems are wilting and turning brown. I don't tidy the garden like I used to though. I now know how important it is to leave some of those stems and fallen leaves, no matter how unsightly they look, so that the beneficial insects have somewhere to overwinter. I keep meaning to make a bug hotel but another year has nearly passed and I still haven't done it. If I manage to keep the beneficial insects in the garden over winter, then they will hopefully stay and give me their help again next year.

I'm having another great year for beans. I'm still getting huge amounts of French and runner beans from my plants so I intend to freeze some for the winter months. How nice it is to have the taste of summer during those cold months.


  1. Dear Jo, Congratulations on winning such a great prize!

    I leave dead plants with seeds for the birds and places for the beneficial insects to hide. What is a bug hotel? I am intrigued.

    Enjoy your autumn season.
    Love, Pam x

  2. Congratulations on winning!
    I would also like to know what is a bug hotel. It sounds like something that I would like to build.

    Our French beans died long time ago. We have already started using frozen ones.

  3. Congratulations Jo. I love the things from Land's End and those nasturtium seeds will look lovely growing amongst your veggies.

    Btw, I still haven't sorted out the UK Veg Gardeners's link thingy! SO disorganised lately ...

    Just caught up on your post about Archie - what a rascal he is turning out to be - but a totally loveable one. That photo is classic!

    I'm being overtaken by runner beans - they are still flowering and producing. I've been giving loads away as we have more than enough for our needs and the freezer is getting full!!


  4. Congratulations Jo!

    So great that you got some seeds, and I'm sure your daughter will take good care of that voucher haha.
    I have been thinking about making a bug hotel too. I want to get some insects to come, is hard for them to notice my little balcony, so i want to give them all the incentive i can.

    hope you are great
    enjoy your beans!

  5. Well done! I've been doing some tidying up on the plot but will leave some areas alone for the wildlife over the winter.
    As you say it's been a really good year for beans. Flighty xx

  6. I like to make sure I have enough beans to last me through the winter and on to the start of the next picking season,,,,I do love my beans!!

    Congrats on winning the giveaway...have fun spending your voucher.

    Oh and as for the bug hotel......just pile some twigs up in a works great!!

  7. my hubby made a bug hotel out of all my old canes and made a little frame. It looks great on the fence! Well done on your win, enjoy spending your voucher :)

  8. Well done you! Off to the lottie shortly to pick yet more French beans :)

  9. I'm away from home at the moment so will have to wait til I'm back to send for my peize as I was a prizewinner too.

  10. I've been doing end-of-summer sorting in the garden too.

    I found several seven-spotted ladybirds (several days running) on my dying hollyhocks. I couldn't leave the plants as they were - they were all falling over (and at the front of the house) so I've cut them down and stacked them at the back of the bed. I'm hoping the ladybirds won't mind being horizontal for the winter instead of vertical.


  11. I've got lots of sunflowers on the allotment, Pam. I will leave all their seed heads for the birds over winter. A bug hotel can be made out of bamboo sticks or anything really which has holes in for insects to overwinter in. Straw can be added, and anything with little gaps. Different materials are good as they will attract a variety of insects. The hotel can be as large or small as you like. Hope this helps.

    I froze lots of my beans last night, Vrtlarica. There should be more to pick over the weekend. When I get round to making a bug hotel I will feature it on my blog so that you can see what it's like.

    A large bag of beans was sent to my mum's last night, Jeanne, and the rest were frozen. There's still lots more to come though, but I aren't complaining. Yes, Archie is a little rascal, but I can't be cross with him when he looks at me with those eyes.

    I think bug hotels are a great idea, ~fer, and it would be great on your balcony. Once you attract the insects they wouldn't want to leave.

    I've been surprised this year just how well the beans have done, Flighty. I thought with the dry weather we've experienced we might not get such a good crop. It's always a good idea to leave parts of the allotment untouched for the wildlife.

    There's lots of places already for the insects, Tanya, I just think that bug hotels look good. I love beans too. I'm making sure that I freeze plenty so I'm not without.

    I hope the insects appreciate your bug hotel, Amanda. They can be made as simple or elaborate as you like but canes are a good idea as they're hollow allowing the insects to climb inside.

    Hope you picked lots of beans, Anna. I'll be going down later on to do the same. I'm making sure that I'm well stocked up for winter.

    Congratulations on winning too, Green Lane Allotments. I'm sure we're both going to have lots of fun choosing what to spend the voucher on.

    I'm sure the ladybirds won't mind at all, Esther. I think you made a good compromise there. Some things do look a little too unsightly to be left, but they can still be cut and put out of the way for the insects to enjoy. I've seen lots of ladybirds around this year, certainly more than the last few years.

  12. Hi Jo, just catching up after several diversions! You have the best luck don't you! Well done and enjoy your prizes. This year I've deliberately planted to encourage bugs - sunflowers, calendula, nasturtiums, monarda, flowering herbs - and the patch has been buzzing all year with hoverflies, bees, ladybirds. No lacewings though, which is unusual. I always carefully move my ladybirds if I have to pull something up and will definitely be doing bug hotels and bird feeders this winter.

  13. Lucky, lucky you! I adore Lands End clothing! The best quality anywhere!

  14. Glad they arrived safely Jo. I spent most of yesterday clearing cornflowers, sweet peas, squash, pumpkins etc. That time of year I suppose, just wish I'd built my compost bins by now, another project I've been meaning to do. Well there's always next year!

  15. I certainly am lucky, Caro. I can't quite believe how many blog giveaways I've won. Don't forget to show us your bug hotels, I could do with some inspiration.

    I've never used Lands' End before, Matron, but I'm looking forward to spending the voucher. There's some lovely things on their site.

    Thanks again, Damo. You definitely need to get your compost bins built, just think of all that compost you could be making, not only saving you money but putting so much goodness back in to your veg beds too.

  16. The gardening year goes round so quickly. There's nowhere else that you realise that you're at the point where last year you said, 'I will do X next year' and you still haven't done it!

  17. It doesn't seem two minutes since I was sowing my tomato seeds at the start of the season, Linda. It won't be long before they've given up producing and the greenhouse will be shut down again for another year.


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