Wednesday 29 June 2011

Cherry cherry

This is the third year that I've had my Stella cherry tree. In it's first year I got the grand sum of one cherry from it, though it was utterly delicious. Last year three cherries ripened but the birds got to them before I did so I missed out. This year the tree has started producing much better and this was my first haul from it at the weekend. The cherries don't quite fill a teacup, but there were twenty ripe cherries with lots more still to ripen on the tree. I'm really pleased that I've netted the tree otherwise there'd be no cherries to pick, I saw a magpie trying to poke his beak through the netting this morning to get to the ripe fruits.

The mange tout which I picked at the weekend were delicious. I've never grown them before, in fact it's not something I buy either, but we came across them whilst eating out and hubby asked me to grow them. I couldn't say no, he's only started eating veg since I've had my allotment so I'm only too pleased to take requests from him. Everyone seemed to enjoy them so it's definitely something I'll be growing again. I'm looking forward to the Kent Blue starting to produce as they're supposed to be very tasty.

Hubby finished weeding the onion bed for me, so with one less job to do this week I should have time to get the leeks planted out. I always start my leeks off in plantpots, lots of seedlings to one pot, then separate them when it's time to plant them out. It's always worked fine this way for me. I intend to have more things to harvest over winter this year, so I also need to think about what needs sowing.

Sunday 26 June 2011

Dinner's Sorted

We don't very often have a Sunday dinner. I don't like spending Sunday in the kitchen when everyone's home, so we have roasts midweek instead. Tomorrow we're having roast beef and Yorkshire puddings, so whilst we were at the allotment today I picked the first of the mange tout to go with it. The purple ones are Stephens and the green are Robinson, and the seeds were kindly sent to me by another blogger. Strictly speaking, I believe they're actually peas, but they can be eaten as mange tout. I'm looking forward to trying them. When we got home from the allotment I pulled up the first of the carrots which have grown in a container. These are Paris Market 5, a stumpy round carrot which are ideal for growing in containers as they don't have long roots. I decided to go the whole hog and emptied out the first of the potato containers. These are Arran Pilot and I'm quite pleased with the amount I've got from one container, especially as they've only been growing for just over ten weeks. I'm sure our Monday roast will be delicious with these accompaniments.

The weather has been gorgeous today so we spent some time at the allotment. I've finally got the dwarf French beans planted out, along with the courgettes, squash, pumpkin and marrow, though I didn't quite finish weeding the onion bed. It was far too hot for weeding so that will have to wait until this coming week.

Going to the allotment was a real family event today. Not only did my son and daughter come with us, but we took Archie with us for the first time. He was really good and sat on his rug whilst we got on with everything. Pop over to my Through The Keyhole blog to see what my son found whilst picking strawberries.

Friday 24 June 2011

Weedy Plot

I managed to get to the plot on Monday afternoon as planned, but just look at the weeds which greeted me. I found time to weed some of the onion bed whilst I was there, but I'm hoping to get the rest of it done this weekend. I haven't seen a weather forcast yet so I hope it's going to be fine. My shallots look to be splitting nicely though, there should be a decent harvest.

I got my climbing beans and runner beans planted out against their wigwams, but the dwarf beans are still in the garden awaiting their turn. That's another job I really have to do this weekend. The courgettes are also still in their pots, even though they've started flowering, so they'll be going out too.

I've got quite a few cherries on the tree which are looking nearly ripe. I threw some netting over to stop the birds from feasting on them and it's certainly paid off, so I'm looking forward to tasting the first of them this weekend, perhaps it'll be a little treat after my plot visit.

Monday 20 June 2011

Slug On My McKana

I've found loads of these horrible little slugs on lots of my plants this last week. The rain has brought them out of hiding and now I'm finding them all over the place. This one is on my Aquilegia McKana Hybrid. I grew this from seed and forgot all about it until I found it languishing in a pot, so I popped it in to the border and it's now flowering. It's always exciting when a plant grown from a mixed packet of seeds comes in to flower. Until that time you've no idea what colour it's going to be. I'm quite happy with this one, though I do still prefer the purple Auilegia Vulgaris which has been in my border a couple of years. I hasten to add that the slug was removed and disposed of.

I didn't manage to get to the allotment at all this weekend due to other commitments, so I'm hoping to get up there this afternoon. It's high time my beans were planted out. The wigwams are already in place so it's only a matter of planting them around the base. I've also got my dwarf beans still in pots so I'll get them planted out too.

My tomatoes are growing well since they were potted on in to their final pots. They really need tying in to their canes again but hubby has gone off to work with the twine in his car, so that job will have to wait until later.

Friday 17 June 2011

Blog Award

It's always nice to receive awards for my blog, so I'd like to thank Bluebell from At Home In The Country for bestowing the Kreativ Blogger Award up on me.

I'm supposed to reveal ten things about me which you don't already know, but I've done so many of these in the past that I feel you all know me so well already. Therefore, I'm going to break the rules and not reveal anything today, however, if you really want to read ten random facts about me, a trawl through my past posts will reveal all.

Another rule I'm going to break is how many blogs I pass the award on to. I gather that I should give the award to ten blogs, but being the rebel that I am, I'm going to nominate only one.

So, without further ado, I'd like to pass the award on to Louisa at The Really Good Life. Her blog has the tag line Where growing, frugality & good living come together. Do take a look at her blog as I'm sure you'll enjoy it.

My thanks go again to Bluebell for this award, I'm truly grateful.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Ready To Flower

We spent Sunday morning moving everything out of the greenhouse so that I could get my tomatoes potted in their final pots and moved in to their final positions. As you can see, the plants are just starting to flower so it really was time that this job was done. I've got two plants each of three varieties - Tangella, San Marzano and Gardener's Delight, and I can just manage to fit these in my small 6 foot by 4 foot greenhouse. Six plants provide enough tomatoes for us as there's only me who eats them. My son will occasionally pop a sun warmed cherry tomato in his mouth, but that's about it. They don't know what they're missing.

I had intended to spend Sunday afternoon at the allotment, but the weather had other ideas. It started raining at lunch time and didn't stop all day. It was quite heavy at times so it will have given everything a much needed watering, including the weeds, I bet it's a jungle when I do get down there now.

As well as the tomatoes coming in to flower, there's a couple of flowers on my pepper plants and the first of the courgettes is just about to bloom too. Roll on the harvests.

Friday 10 June 2011

A Stella Haul Of Cherries?

This is the third year that I've had my cherry tree. It's a Stella, which is a dessert cherry and self fertile. Two years ago it produced one cherry, which was delicious. I was hoping for better things last year but it still only produced three cherries, which the birds got before I had the chance. Things are looking up this year. The tree is covered in green cherries, and as you can see, they're just starting to ripen. I shall drape some netting over the tree soon to prevent the birds from taking them.

I shall be turfing out all the plants which are still residing in the greenhouse this weekend. My tomato plants are starting to flower so it's time that they were set in to their final positions. I think tomatoes are still my favourite thing to grow. I love watching every stage of their growth, from sowing the seed to popping the first sun warmed fruit in to my mouth. My greenhouse is only small, four foot by six foot, so there's little else I can fit in it over the summer months other than my tomato plants, though I'll find some room for my peppers.

It looks like a couple of my courgette plants are going to come in to flower soon as they've got plenty of buds on them. I'm growing a variety, Firenze, which is ideal for containers as it produces high yields of small courgettes throughout summer. I have kept this variety in the garden, but have another two varieties for the allotment. I can see me being overrun with courgettes this year but I don't mind as I love them.

Sunday 5 June 2011

A Thug

I didn't get round to sowing any sweet peas this year. I always intend to start some off in autumn but I don't think I've ever managed it yet. Spring comes and I think to myself, oh well, there's still time, but this year I didn't even manage that. I love having sweet peas in the house as they smell gorgeous, and it's the one plant in the garden which I don't mind cutting because the more you pick, the more flowers are produced. I'm not totally without sweet peas though as a couple of years ago, hubby's uncle gifted me a cutting from his perennial sweet pea plant. I planted it in my border thinking it would look lovely climbing up an obelisk. I totally underestimated the strength and vigour of this plant. I've never yet had a nice display from it. It scrambles madly up the obelisk pulling it over in it's haste, and I find new bits of plant popping up all over the border. The flowers are very pretty, as you can see, but I really have to rethink it's position for next year as it's spoiling my whole border.

I intended to spend quite a bit of time at the allotment over the last week, but with it being half term, and nice weather to boot, my plans were thwarted. Instead, we had some lovely days out, and by the time we got home each day it was too late to do anything else. You can read about our days out, including a trip to Roundhay Park where the Leeds City Council Chelsea gardens are on display, on my Through The Keyhole blog. We managed to spend some time at the allotment yesterday and today and I've finally got my maincrop potatoes - Maris Piper in the ground as well as most of my brassicas.

The onion bed was covered in weeds when I got to the allotment yesterday, so my first job was to set to and get it sorted out. I started by pulling up all the more established weeds, and then ran a hoe over the smaller weeds. It looked a bit messy afterwards, but when I got there today the bed had settled again and it looked very neat and tidy. No doubt they'll all be back again by next week.
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