Friday 19 July 2013


You may remember me telling you about the pot marigold seeds which my blog pal, Flighty, from Flighty's Plot sent me. He's dubbed them Flighty's Favourites and I can see why. He has such a lovely mix of colours around his plot, and this year he's recording as many of them on his blog as he can. Some of mine are now blooming so I thought I would show you the colours I've got so far. Each of these plants are so different from the other, though I can't choose a favourite between them. I wonder what other colours and variations I'll get.

Last year, I bought a tayberry plant. I've got every intention to plant it at the allotment and have even bought an arch for it to grow up, but it's still in it's pot at the moment. It hasn't prevented it from fruiting though, we've already had half a dozen jewel like berries from it with the promise of more to come. My daughter really likes them, as she does with most things, and Hubby does too. I have to say that I'm not a huge fan, though I'm not overkeen on raspberries either so it's no surprise. I'll stick to my favourite strawberries.

I'm hoping that the gorgeous weather we're having is going to continue for a while longer as we go on holiday for a fortnight tomorrow. We're going to one of our favourite places, Cornwall. We're staying at the same place as we did last year, a small site near Bude which houses eight lodges and two cottages, has four fishing lakes, an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts, games room and gym, amongst other things, and we really love it there. I've roped in family members to take care of the watering whilst we're away, so I'm hoping that everything survives. I've got some green tomatoes on my plants, though some fruit is still setting, but it would be lovely to come home and see some of the fruit starting to ripen. Something to look forward to.

Tuesday 16 July 2013

A Taste Of Spring In Summer

I always grow my spring onions in large plant pots. I can get quite a few growing in one pot and I harvest a few at a time. I like to have a few batches on the go at once so that I get a continuous supply over the summer months, and my dad is quite partial too so I ensure there's enough growing to go round. These are White Lisbon, a reliable variety which I always grow.

I've harvested the first of my potatoes which I'm growing in containers, Arran Pilot. There were a good number of nice sized potatoes which I was really pleased with. I shared the haul with my mum and dad, they don't have a garden anymore so I like to pass on some home grown veggies to them. They ate theirs in a salad and raved about the taste. I shall be having my first taste tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to.

We've received a letter from the council advising us that they're currently reviewing allotment provision in Leeds. They've proposed three different options which basically boils down to our rent increasing. At the moment the cost for an allotment in Leeds is £37 for a full plot, however, they're proposing to increase this to either £103.07 with concession holders paying £51.53 or £123.43 with concession holders paying £18.50 as they presently do. A third option would be, and I quote, to review the management arrangements to seek a third party operator for allotment provision who would determine pricing arrangements and meet all costs associated with provision. The consultation period has now come to an end, so it will be interesting to hear what decisions are made.

Thursday 11 July 2013

Lewisia For July

This year, I'm taking the late Geoff Hamilton's advice and visiting a nursery each month with a view to buying a plant which is in flower for my garden. Doing this should ensure that I have something blooming in my garden every month of the year.

The plants I choose for my garden are often beneficial for wildlife. I like to encourage bees and butterflies, so I choose plants which they, as well as I, will enjoy. This month, I've been a bit selfish and gone for a plant which doesn't mention bees or butterflies on it's information at all. Lewisia - Special Mix is a plant which I haven't come across before, and I thought it was so pretty that it was popped straight in to my basket.

It sounds like it's a plant which will go on flowering right the way through the season, so I'll get to enjoy it for some time, even if the bees and butterflies aren't so keen on it. It's a good job that I've got plenty of other plants in the garden for them to enjoy.

Tuesday 9 July 2013

A Mass Of Foliage

My potatoes look to be doing really well this year. If you look a few posts back, you will see how the potatoes, which I'm growing in containers, looked at the end of May. It didn't take long for the foliage to shoot up, and I have to say that it's looking really healthy. Of course, you can never tell what's happening underneath the soil until the contents are tipped out. The plants have started flowering, so I think it's time to find out what the harvest's like. This weekend is the date I've chosen for the first container to be upturned and I can't wait, I'm already imagining that first taste of home grown potato cooked in mint and smothered in butter. I've got twenty containers filled with potatoes so I should have a decent supply which will go on through summer, though I do share them with my parents now that they don't have a garden of their own.

You may remember that Hubby bought me a half standard rose, The Birthday Rose, as an early birthday present last year when my local nursery was closing down and all their stock was reduced to half price. It's blooming away at the moment, but there's a problem, it's covered in Black Spot. I'm no expert on roses, and even though I try not to use chemicals at all when I garden, I think the only course of action for this disease is to spray. I really need to do a bit more research first because, as I say, I don't know much about roses and their diseases, but I'm hoping to get to the garden centre this week to see what remedies they have to offer.

What gorgeous weather we're having at the moment. It's less than a couple of weeks now until we go on holiday so I hope it can hang on so that we get some sunshine whilst we're away. We're going to Cornwall so it would be lovely to have some nice weather whilst we're there.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Blog Of The Month - July

This year, I'm dedicating one post each month to Blog Of The Month. This is where I feature a blog I'm enjoying reading. Some blogs will be new to me, others may be blogs I've been reading for a while. I hope that by doing this, I can introduce some of my readers to other, interesting blogs, though I know that some of you will already read the blogs I feature.

CJ has been writing her Above The River blog since March of this year, and it's a blog I'm thoroughly enjoying reading as there's a bit of everything in it.

CJ lives in a small market town in South Gloucestershire with her other half and their three sons. The River Severn isn't far away from where they live, in fact, it can be seen from the upstairs windows of their house, as well as from many of the places they visit, some of which are along its banks. As I'm sure you will have guessed, this is the inspiration for the name of the blog.

The blog is a mixture of gardening, CJ has an allotment which she took on last year, trips out, wildlife, parenting and day to day life. It's written with humour and is a wonderful read.

Do pop across if you're not already familiar with CJ's blog, you won't be disappointed. Don't forget to tell her that I sent you.

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Has Beans

I've tasted the first of this year's broad beans. You may remember that the seeds were sown last autumn and the plants were overwintered in the cold greenhouse. I'd hoped to get them planted out at the allotment much sooner than they were, but due to the cold start to the year, they languished in their pots longer than I wanted them to. The plants rallied round once they got their roots in to the soil, and were flowering quite early in the year. I think overwintering the plants in the greenhouse was a good idea, and had I got the plants in the ground sooner, I believe I'd have had a much earlier harvest. As it is, the harvest was delayed yet again due to the fact that the allotment has been neglected recently. My dad was taken in to hospital and has undergone surgery, he's home now but will have to go back again soon, so we've been back and forth to the hospital, also running errands for my mum, and this on top of all the other family commitments which came up in June left us with little time for the allotment. When we did manage to sneak some time for a plot visit, we came across comedy sized broad bean pods. The broad beans inside were past their best, but we managed to time it right to pick the next batch at prime time, and there's plenty more to come yet so I really need to keep an eye on them now. Last year was the first time that I've grown broad beans, and I liked them enough to grow them again this year. I've now decided that I won't bother growing them next year. It's not that I don't like them, it's just that I prefer other types of beans more, so I'd rather dedicate the space to them.

I'm hoping that I manage to grow some decent sweetcorn this year. I used to grow sweetcorn in containers in the garden before I had the allotment, and the plants were always healthy and provided nicely filled cobs. I haven't managed to grow a decent cob since I've had the allotment. I got the plants transplanted a few weeks ago and they look to be doing well so far, but it's a waiting game now. Some years, the plants have been stunted, but they're growing nice and tall this year so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I get some decent cobs.

I've planted some squash in the same bed as the sweetcorn. Crown Prince and Sunburst are in this bed and Queensland Blue in another bed. The three sisters planting method is where you grow sweetcorn, squash and beans together in the same bed. I don't have any beans growing in that bed, so I suppose it's a two sister bed, though the sweetcorn and squash aren't growing together exactly, the sweetcorn has been planted in a block formation and the squash has been planted at the other end of the bed. It should give the plants plenty of room to sprawl. I didn't have much luck with my squash last year either, so I hope they do better for me this year too.
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