Friday 31 December 2010

Reading Matter

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. My mum and dad came round for dinner on Christmas day, but apart from that it's been very quiet here. Amongst many wonderful presents were these books, some of them are reference books and a couple of them are people's personal experiences of allotment life. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in to them once everything is back to normal.

Earlier in the year, I won a £10 gift voucher to be spent at Thompson and Morgan which had to be spent by the end of the year. With time running out, I scoured the website yesterday and decided up on some everbearing strawberries, Flamenco. They were offering free delivery yesterday so I only had to pay £3.99 myself. These will hopefully extend the strawberry season next year. I just have to get a bed ready for them now.

We're having a quiet evening in tonight, through I'm sure we'll still be up when the new year dawns. I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope 2011 brings peace, happiness and health, and of course a good growing season.

Monday 20 December 2010

Arthur Bell

I have been looking for a yellow rose which can be grown in a container for some time now. On Saturday, we went to Homebase and found they were reducing many plants, as well as lots of other items. I was lucky enough to pick up this rose, Arthur Bell, which had started off at £9.99, then was reduced to £3.33 and was just being marked down to 50p as I passed by. The label states that it's a bush rose and can be grown in a container. It's a repeat flowering rose and is strongly scented. I thought the sales were supposed to start after Christmas but I don't seem to have done too badly here, a 95% reduction.

I'd just like to thank everyone who pops by my blog. I'm so lucky that I have many regular readers who comment often and who I class as friends, but there are many more readers who never leave a comment. Every visit and comment is very much appreciated. I'd like to wish all of you a wonderful Christmas and a healthy, happy and prosperous 2011, and here's to a successful growing season too.

Monday 13 December 2010

No Spuds For Christmas

I eventually managed to get back in to my greenhouse after the door had been frozen shut, but I wish I hadn't bothered after seeing the scene which greeted me. Let's just say that there won't be any home grown potatoes on our plates on Christmas day. The even more annoying thing is that I had bought these potatoes especially for later planting, they were delivered around July time. Last year I saved some seed potatoes from the ones planted in spring. I kept them in the salad drawer in the fridge until it was time to plant them later in the year and they grew fine, producing enough potatoes for our Christmas dinner. I now know that the risk doesn't justify the cost of buying extra especially for later planting, I'll either do as I did last year and save some from the spring batch, or else plant some of the potatoes which the spring sowing produces. I won't give up though, I'll definitely try again.

We managed a trip to the allotment yesterday, though there wasn't much we could do. The snow has melted and I expected the ground to be very boggy, but I'm pleased to report that the drainage pipe which hubby installed earlier in the year seems to be working as there wasn't as much water about as I expected. The chard has definitely been taken by the frost, it's completely blackened, but the curly kale and cavolo de nero is still looking good. There's also some purple sprouting broccoli and spring greens which seem to be doing ok.

Today, the mercury has risen to a whopping three degrees, but by the end of the week we're expecting more snow. Let's hope we don't get as much as we've just got rid of.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

Icy Pond

Yet another post about the weather, which seems to be dominating this blog at the moment. My little pond is completely frozen. The ice is so thick that I'm unable to break it, even though the sun has appeared this afternoon, it's rays aren't strong enough to even melt the snow. This morning, I tried to check on the plants which I'm overwintering in my greenhouse but I couldn't get in as the door had frozen shut. I don't heat my greenhouse, but protect the plants inside with fleece. Somehow, I don't think that it will be enough this year, I don't hold out much hope for my Christmas potatoes.

It's a few weeks now since I've been to the allotment. There isn't a lot growing there at the moment so I'm not particularly worried, but I'll probably take a trip down with hubby at the weekend just to check on things.

On a brighter note, my Orchid is now back in bloom again. I've been really successful with this Orchid so far, chopping off the flower spike at ground level when the blooms fade, which prompts it to grow a new spike and flower again. It's been in bloom for the last two Christmas's and it looks like it will still be in bloom for Christmas this year.

Friday 3 December 2010

Hanging Around

The snow is still hanging around, though we only had a small flurry yesterday and it hasn't snowed since. The temperature is set to plummet even further so it's highly unlikely that it will melt any time soon. The kids were sent home from school at 1.30 on Monday and they haven't been back since, much to their delight. Instead there's been sledging, snowballing and a few wintery dog walks, though we haven't ventured too far as Archie cries when his paws get cold. We've been advised to check the school website over the weekend to see if it will be open on Monday or not.

I've been really thankful that I bought some walking boots earlier in the year. I thought they would be good for dog walking, but also for wearing on the allotment. I have to say, they're fantastic for the snow. I always find that Wellington Boots make my feet cold, even when they've got those sock liners in them. My walking boots keep my feet toasty warm, the only problem is that the snow is so deep that it comes above the walking boots. I just make sure that I wear long socks and tuck my jeans in to them.

I mentioned in my last post that hubby had spotted a greenfinch in the garden over the weekend. Feeding the birds regularly seems to be paying off as I spotted a wren on Wednesday, something else which I've never seen in the garden before. I also saw a robin feeding from one of the seed holders yesterday. Robins are usually ground feeders so it's unusual to see them feeding this way. I suppose it's a case of needs must in this weather.
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