Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Wonderful Sungold tomatoes - first fruits

Week 27, Monday, 23rd June 2008

A lovely day today with lots of sunshine! Mom and I tasted the first Sungold tomatoes – boy were they good. There are lots of tomatoes on the plants both at home and on the greenhouse and even the cucumber plants seem to have stopped their sulking and have begun to romp away. Can’t wait for things to really get going. Seems strange that we have already had the Summer Solstice and we are now on our way to Autumn again. Yikes! Think that I will rather think about lots of lovely ripe tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, melons, etc.

Got the Job!

Week 26, Saturday, 21st June 2008

Well I got lovely news last night. I was offered a position that I was interested in and am so happy. I really need a change and a new challenge. My family and I have been really blessed over the last couple of weeks I am very thankful and count my blessings.

Despite me having an embroidery class at 14:00, Mom and I still managed to nip down to the lottie and drop all the composting dregs.

The lottie is really looking well with everything just going mad. The British corn that Rosie planted is starting to come up and the mange tout tepee is going bonkers! I picked another batch of mange tout which we can add to some vegetables at dinner. Also picked enough beetroot to make a meal and give the remaining ones place to start bulking up. The dahlias are starting to put on some good growth as are the cosmos – I must remember to head them next time I am down so that they can bush out some. Have been eating strawberries from the planter at home but not enough at one time to make a meal though. Will have to look at bulking my strawberry patch up on the lottie next year.

The greenhouse got a good watering and I refilled all the two litre bottles. All the bottles, bar one had emptied - so this time around I have not tightened the lids that much – I will see how that goes. All the bottles are vacuuming too much and it does not seem that enough air is getting in. Mom picked a huge bunch of sweetpeas and there are still tons on the tepee. Will try and get back next week-end to do some real work

Experimental Watering Bottle Tops

Week 26, Sunday, 15th June 2008

Managed to get down to the lottie for an hour and fitted the bottle tops for the watering bottles in the lottie greenhouse. This should save me time having to go out quite so regularly to water. Fingers crossed, that’s the general idea any way.

Everything is looking good on the lottie with the French beans starting to make their dash for freedom up the bean frame. No flowers yet, but patience. The gem squash and pumpkins are looking very good and we already have a couple of flowers on the Hubbard squash – can’t wait for harvesting. I might even enter one of my squash for the lottie summer competition on 9th August. The Ambo FE potatoes that were left in the ground by accident are flowering and I will have to dig them up soon. The label for the New International Kidney has got lost and I am not sure which row they are – it would seem that some of the labels have gone MIA all together. I have tried seeing the flowers but there is not one row that is obviously flowering profusely besides what I think are the new Sarpo’s I am trying this year. Maybe the flowering ones are the NIK’s with the wrong label on. Mmmm! Will go and investigate when next down there and have a bit of a dig around. We managed to forage a lovely huge bunch of sweet peas and some mange tout.

Jacquie's got wheels!

Week 25, Saturday, 14th June 2008

Went out to Sturminster Newton to fetch Jacquie’s car from Trevor and Tracey. Still think they are nuts going back to Zimbabwe with all the political unrest going on at the moment but hey – they are adults and should know what they are doing. Tracey did not even bother to put enough petrol in the tank and I am sure we just made the garage on fumes. It was quite a laugh when we got to the petrol station to fill up – we did not know what kind of petrol to put in. I must admit I felt quite foolish but in the end we decided to put in unleaded.

Got the House!

Week 25, Thursday, 12th June 2008

Mom and Jacquie got the house! Another one off the list now. They have accomplished so much over the six weeks they have been here it is amaxing when you sit down and actually take stock of the full picture.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Baby it hot, hot, hot

Week 25, Tuesday, 10th June 2008

26 Celsius and boy it’s hot!! Yesterday was also very hot and Ron popped up to the lottie and watered down the greenhouse and gave the whole lottie a good soaking. Hope this saves all my babies from frying. The kids all ended up spending the day at the beach and all came back with sunburns.

Once the sun went down last night (21:00), I suddenly got a burst of energy and ended up pruning the Rambling Rector who was again making a bid to take over the garden. Once I had tidying it up you can now suddenly see the Etoile Violette and the Niobe Clematis flowers much better. Unfortunately The President Clematis on the arbour is now past its best with only one flower hanging on. I think I will need to give it a good feed this week-end followed by a good soaking.

The Dicentra is now also almost past its best so also got a bit of a haircut. Once I had neatened it up I can now suddently see and use the walkway. The geraniums were starting to look a bit tatty so they also got a good scalping and already there are baby leaves just waiting to take their place. The hollyhocks have got a bit of rust but I have cleared up all the infected leaves and will need to check them regularly but in all they are now excellent, big plants and should make a lovely show later in the summer. The grapevine is also looking very healthy with lots of little bunches of grapes on - I will need to read up on maybe thinning out the vine so that we at least get some fruit this year.

Now that I have cleared the beds a bit I will be able to plant out the dahlias, Rudbeckia and the Nocatina plants waiting in the wings into their final places for the Summer show.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Hanging baskets, hanging baskets everywhere

Week 25, Sunday, 8th June 2008

After church and lunch we finally got round to getting out all the paraphernalia to plant up our hanging baskets. Jacquline and I managed to get seven baskets planted up and hopefully they will give us months of lovely colour. They are now hanging in a cool place to allow them to recover for a few days before we put them into their final positions for summer. Must admit that they are looking very sorry for themselves and sulking somewhat!

Went and had a look at the prospective house for Mom, Jacquline and the kids and it is wonderful. It will fit them all in without a problem and there is so many cupboards and hidey holes they will not know what to do with themselves. There is also a lovely little front patio/garden area and although the back garden is overgrown with weeds and in desperate need of a little TLC we will whip it into submission quickly. It will be a lovely, private garden that they can sit in or even have a barbecue. Fingers crossed the owner decides to let up rent it! It has already been 6 weeks of indecision on his part and it quite frustrating.

Sweet peas, baby pumpkins and black fly

Week 24, Saturday, 7th June 2008

The weather was wonderful today and Mom, Rosemary and I managed to get down to the lottie at 11:30 after feeding the birds, watering the greenhouse and tomatoes at home.

First I tackled planting out the celery whilst rosemary planted out three rows of sweet corn. Then I planted out two rows of leeks so that we have some lovely soup this winter. Whilst we were doing this Mom tied all the French beans and sweet peas onto their respective frames. I then put straw down in the strawberry bed and netted the whole thing. Hope this will be enough deterrent for the birds to leave our strawberries alone. I then planted out about 6 more Violette cauliflowers. Not sure what the kids are going to make with purple cauliflowers.

I then tackled the plum tree and reduced the new growth to 2 – 3 pairs of leaves. I did not know that I could do this at this time of the year but my lottie neighbour said I must do it or else next year all the fruit will be too high for me to reach it! I then also cut off all the tips of the cherry tree that I could reach as the black fly this year is horrendous this year. I Must remember to bring down some washing up liquid next time to spray the spring sown broad beans as they are being desiccated by the black fly – despite having nasturtiums all around them.

There is no fruit on any of my trees this year except a couple of sickly looking cherries but after speaking to my lottie neighbours he says that he also does not have any fruit this year. I can’t believe that last year this time we were thinning the poor apple tree out as it was groaning under all the fruit.

I must keep a close check on the greenhouse that I do not get anything going in there – I dare not leave the door closed in this heat or else everything will frizzle. The first early potatoes have still not flowers and actually are not looking too well – unless Maureen weeded all the haulms away last week-end. The Ambo orphans that we missed last year have come up in the corn bed this year and are flowering their socks off – I will have a root around next week-end and see what treasures lie hidden.

The pumpkin that we planted onto the hot bed has romped away and there is already two little baby pumpkins formed. I have now removed the lace netting that was protecting them as they look strong enough to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at them.

We then picked all the peas and yellow mange tout and Mom even managed to get a whole bunch of wonderfully scented sweet peas for all her efforts.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Sweet Etoille Violette...

Week 24, Thursday, 5th June 2008

Saw the first Etoille Violette Clematis flowers amongst the Rambling Rector this morning – it looks beautiful. I really must get the camera out before all the flowers fade. The Niobe is also doing well and should burst into flower soon! The little rose that Geraldine gave me has not yet started flowering – cannot wait to see whether it is pink or white!

Found this lovely poem on a blog site (21st Century Housewife) - and think that I will make it my theme poem called “Dust if you must” - Dust if you must, But wouldn't it be better; To paint a picture or write a letter, Bake a cake or plant a seed, Ponder the difference between want and need?Dust if you must, But there's not much time, With rivers to swim and mountains to climb, Music to hear and books to read, Friends to cherish and life to lead.Dust if you must, But the world's out there, With the sun in your eyes, The wind in your hair, A flutter of snow, a shower of rain, This day will not come around again.Dust if you must, But bear in mind, Old age will come, And it's not kind. And when you go - and go you must, You, yourself, will make more dust!

Broad Beans and Blackbirds

Week 23 – Saturday, 31st May 2008

Saw 5 baby blackbirds which could not have fledged more than a couple of days ago on the bird feeder this morning.

Rosemary and I went to the Lottie whilst Jac’s tackled the washing. She starts her new job on Monday and is a bit apprehensive as it has been a couple of years since she was in the insurance industry. But she is tough and she’ll crack it with her eyes closed. I think that insurance is a bit like riding a bike – once you’ve done it you will never forget it.

Finally got the table out of the greenhouse- after nearly having to dismantle the whole thing with a penknife. We finally managed to get it manoeuvred out without too much damage to the tomatoes, the greenhouse or ourselves – thank goodness!

I then gave the tomatoes a firm beating down cutting out all the laterals that seem to appear overnight and staking them. Had to move three aubergines as the tomatoes had begun to crowd them out altogether. Also planted out the last three scotch bonnets and melons (after cutting the ends of 2 litre bottles off them) and placing them around the plants. Hopefully this and a liberal sprinkling of slug pellets and fingers crossed they will romp away. I re-sowed two cucumber plants as the ones I grew earlier were looking worse for wear. I have put it in though, planting it quite deeply and hoping that the damaged stem will shoot roots and romp away. I will hopefully move one back to the greenhouse at home once it has established itself.

Rosemary weeded all the grass and weeds on the side of the greenhouse which was starting to block the light into it and we laid some old weed suppressing membrane which hopefully will keep the weeds down a bit. She then planted out all the cosmos seedlings into the dahlia bed so we should have lots of lovely colour this year and lots for the vases.

I finally got the winter brassica and spinach bed weeded and turned over! Must admit the task looked quite daunting but I soldiered on and in no time and after a bit of a slog I had cleared it. Despite having kept the mint in containers last year, some of the roots had escaped and were making a bid for supremacy in the future corn bed.

We got the autumn sown broad beans picked and finally managed to pull all the winter manure that we had let flower in a clump. Was rather surprised at the good yield especially when remembering that the beans were quite pot bound when I planted them out way back when and never expected anything from them. Not a huge meal by any means, but served with mixed vegetables for tomorrows dinner will be great. Everyone will at least be able to taste what broad beans taste like. The bumble bees were still visiting the green manure flowers on the compost heap when we left. The spring sown broad beans are flowering and starting to set nicely.

The Hubbard squash we planted in the hotbox is looking pretty happy despite all the rain and all the squash plants seem to have made the transplanting. Yummy lots of lovely squash this autumn!! The peas Maureen and I resowed are coming up very well and the first batch is ready for picking. Byron’s jobs next time he is down at the lottie! If we just keep picking, shelling and freezing then eventually we will have enough to cook and serve at dinner for 9!

Managed to get 2 big bags of topsoil and 3 grow bags from the lottie shop so we can now finally plant up our hanging baskets for the summer.

All the gooseberries’ have disappeared – there were definitely a few a couple of weeks ago and I still thought that I must check whether they needed thinning. It was either the pigeons or rabbits. No sure which. That will teach me to net them when I net the currants! The Tayberry is recovering and has put on some new growth so fingers crossed it will grow big and strong and give us Tayberries.

My neighbour came over and gave me 6 sweet potato plants. I was really pleased with them because I only managed to grow one plant this year. I need to get some big containers and pop them in quite soon. Will place a wigwam structure over the pot so that they can scramble up as they are members of the morning glory family. That reminds me, I have a couple of morning glory plants that I need to put into their final planting positions for the summer.

The plum and apple tree despite having blossom earlier this year has produced no fruit whatsoever. My neighbour says that they had the same thing happen on their lottie. So it would seem that this year there is going to be very little fruit. The Bramley seedling and the apricot tree have some good growth this year but I do not think that I will be getting much fruit from it this year. My neighbour came and showed me that I need to shorten my plum tree’s laterals to 2 – 3 leaf buds. The cherry tree seems to have a lot of black fly so will need to give it a good trim when next on the plot. Also need to pinch out the tops of the spring sown dwarf broad beans.

Week 22, Saturday, 24th May 2008

Lots of salad leaves for picking at home, and the spring sown broad beans are starting to set. The autumn ones are fattening up nicely and should be ready soon. Looks like a very good crop of blackcurrants on the way, and first flowers on new potatoes, squashes and pumpkins romping away, tomato flowers all over the place with lots of little tomatoes forming.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Week 24, Wednesday, 4th June 2008

Spent a while in the greenhouse at home and did some housekeeping with the tomatoes. I swear that you turn your back and they make a dash for freedom. But lots of tomatoes’ flowers in sight.

Got the last of the tomatoes (Black Japanese Trifle and Italian Beefsteak) in the green house, re-potted into their final big pots and put onto the back patio until they are a bit established. After that I will move them out to the front where they can get baked by the sun and give us lots of lovely tomatoes. Also got the tumbling tomatoes planted out into a hanging basket with the surviving French marigolds. Must plant out the dahlias in the back bed and stake them before they get root bound and too big.

Week 24, Wednesday, 4th June 2008

Despite the last fortnight being pretty wet and soggy, June is finally here! - not long until the longest day now (21st); garden is going great guns, with poor Ron having to mow the lawn almost every week – not only at home but on the lottie as well. There is lots of wildlife about doing their thing, huge amount of flowers in the garden, everything being as it should.