Sunday, February 15, 2009

Let's Sow

24/1 - Pepper Chilli Shake
Mum's Red Pepper
Chilli Cayenne
Chilli Jalapeno

26/1 - Sweet Peas

All germinated, some better than others.

Potted up the Valdor Lettuce and put outside in the newly clean greenhouse with The Sutton and Aquadulce Claudia broad beans. Instant death will probably follow even though they're under fleece.

Today's sowings:


Basil Lime
Gypsy Pepper
Pepper Padron


Outside in greenhouse:

Musselburgh leeks

Other activities:

Pruned Chilli Jalapeno from last year starting to put on new growth.

Finished pulling the carrots from the bath. Stuck them in a pot with the Best of All Swede pulled from the lottie today.

Washed the greenhouse yesterday with Jeyes fluid. Didn't bank of the fact that the hose spray head and Y fitting had both cracked in the cold weather. I think I got more water over me than anywhere else.

Ginger is doing b. all.

Amaryllis is one big long stalk. Hardly any leaves to talk about. Almost ready to bloom.

Snowdrops coming out in the front border, hellebores has been out for ages by the looks of it. Keep forgetting it's there. Loads of other bulbs poking their heads through.

Mum's witchazel not a prolific as I'd expected. Wonder if I should feed it ?

It feels good to be doing something at long last.


Monday, January 26, 2009

2009 - let the party begin !

Hola fellow plottees. As you may have seen from my other blog, the show is back on the road up at the lottie, so now it's the plot's turn.

I've really done nothing much since before I went down south for Dad, but nothing gets done by sitting on your erse, so I ventured out back this weekend.

Thinking about it, there is still plenty going on even without my help so let's have a quick catch up.

The home grown stock of garlic that I planted last autumn has failed in a momumental way to show at all. I refuse to accept that it just ain't happening so I'll watch carefully for anything green looking poking through the soil.

The rhubarb patch that I left still in full leaf last November, had disappeared to a bare square of soil by the time I got back. I was amazed that it had totally gone ! Nature at work is wonderful. The fruit bushes all look like dead twigs, which they may be for all I know. No doubt I'll find out in due course.

The strawberry runners that I'd potted up and left sitting on the bed have all put down roots where they sat. They'll get moved to the bed that something has been using as digging practice (cats I presume). I'll try not to think about what else they were doing while they were digging. I've now netted the area until I'm ready.

I took a load of cuttings of the geraniums before I left. Some have actually survived the frosts, not many it's true, but about half dozen or so. Not sure about the fuschias which look like the fruit bushes ... dead. The leeks in pots still look like spring onions but I am still pulling carrots from the bath.

I noticed yesterday that the honeysuckle is already in bud, and Mum's Witchazel is nicely in bloom. Spring bulbs are poking through in lots of pots, don't you just love it when they come back time and time again.

My good friend fuschia Bob gave me a sulphur candle for the greenhouse, which I'd been scared off using in previous years. But having lost all my chillies and peppers to some wee beasties last year, I decided to give it a shot. So having carefully taped up all the gaps that I could see, I lit the wick, placed the candle on the floor and backed out fast. A bit too fast and not looking where my bum was going, backed straight into the door and nearly took it off it's runners. Still, it eventually closed pretty tight and I promptly left the vicinity and fled up the lottie for a few hours.

Came back to find smoke pouring out of every crevice known to man (but obviously not to me). Thank goodness there was a pretty good breeze which was taking it away, but I was really concerned about the birdies and the adjacent hedge and my rosemary bush. I swiftly closed the living room curtains and pretended it all had nothing to do with me.

When I woke up yesterday morning, I fully expected to see a completely barren garden with a pile of expired birds in a heap but thankfully, they all appeared to have had more sense that me and stayed well away. The hedge and rosemary don't seem to have suffered any dire consequences, mind you, the effects might not have been immediate so I'll just do what I do best .... wait and see.

If the temperture rises above fingers fall off degrees, I might get out there today and give the g/h a good scrub with some good old Jeyes fluid.

The shed really needs a good sort out and there's a big pile of compost behind the shed that needs to be used.

I sowed some Lettuce Valdor which I know should have been sown earlier, but I'd really switched off totally and forgot what I had in the seed box. So I've sown some anyway and if they germinate and grow, then I'm off to a great start.

I kept one of the pepper plants from last year indoors and gave it a good old haircut. Already I think I can see tiny wee new shoots. Yet another experiment to moniter.

My two Spanish palms that Brian and Pat gave me seeds for are now a good 3' high, in pots, indoors. I'm really pleased with them, they seem to have thrived on neglect over the winter, and the bonsai tree that looked like the fuschias/fruit bushes when I got back, now is completely in full leaf again. Amazing what some water can do for a plant eh ? Mum and Dad's peace lily needs repotting but looks pretty good in the fireplace. I've turned it round though as it was a bit lopsided, growing towards the light of the french windows.

The M-I-L gave me an Amaryllis which had already started to grow in it's box, that's now begun to turn green since it's had a bit of light. Loads of stuff in pots round the side of the house and the front border all need attention, may do a bit of weeding and clearing today once the frost disappears.

and there was me thinking this would be a one line entry. ha ! underestimated again.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winding up for the winter

Well what a year. Nothing to do with crop failures, but the personal front has been nothing short of tragic.

We lost Mum in February, her mum - my Nan in August and then on 11/11 we lost my Dad.

So I'm sitting here in Sidcup once again, planning a funeral and thinking back a year ...... if we knew then what we know now, I'd have given up before I even started.

So this winter is going to be very quiet. The lottie had been pretty nearly put to bed a month ago, just a wee bit of tidying up to do when I get home.

I'd cleared out the g/h on the plot before I left too and deposited all the spent compost in various raised beds at the lottie. The soil levels are rising steadily.

I'm even going to have to start a blog for the Sidcup plot and I've got a fair size garden, room for a few raised beds and already got a greenhouse in place which doesn't need much apart from a good old wash.

So folks, I truely hope you've had a better year than me and mine. Look forward to seeing you all in the Spring when hopefully my life will be back under control and I will have a masterplan for the three plots !

Take care of yourselves and have a Happy Christmas !

RIP Dad, no more 3 putting now eh ? ...... "Yeah yeah yeah"

Ron Bryer

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A month in 60 seconds

Great weather for the majority of the last month which is very odd. OH now settled in the big smoke has been getting mainly rain where as I have been getting mainly sun ! Most satisfying.

In no particular order:

Rhubarb going great guns. Can get one more useful size pull.
Tatties looking fine and lots of growth. "Earthed up" as much as I can given the room constraints which is basically chucking sieved compost lumps at them.
Witchhazel in full leaf now and going bananas. Mum's looking after it well.
Nearly killed the christmas tree by not watering, so now I've got this spindly brown thing with green shoots at the end.
Forsythia cuttings looking nicely settled in.
Love-in-the-mist taken well.
Courgettes have produced one bloom which had a tiny bump, but not managed to get to fruit stage yet.
Pansies nowhere near as prolific as up the lottie.
Petunias going bananas, need constant water checking.
Clematis x 3 should really get a move on.
Various marigolds potted on for the greenhouse, with some still waiting to go up the lottie. Not as many succumbed to Mr Sluggy this year, the pellets are helping.
Finally got rid of the perpetual spinach and replaced it with cauliflowers in that bed. One had bit the dust, or something bit it !
Strawberries are fruiting nicely. Nothing to eat yet but showing great promise. Have cut a couple of runners off already. Surely that's a bit early for runners or do they send them out at any time ?
Magpies have discovered the fat balls which is a shame (beautiful villains). Lots of wee grey feathers found by the bird table. Methinks Mr Cat or Magpie got more than the fat ball that day.
Lilies are all waiting to burst their buds. No sign of the lily beetle which Dad is suffering from darn sarf. Glad they haven't found my stash yet. No doubt they will do in time.
Fruit trees all a bit disappointing. A way to go yet but only a handful of fruit on each of the many different varieties: blueberry, red currant, black currant, gooseberry ........
Carrots in buckets, bit sparce after they first got cooked, but hopefully i'll get some decent size ones. Thinned the four rows in the bath and covered them back up with fleece. Leeks seedlings in same bath could probably do with pricking out, but as I've not decided where to put them, they can stay put for a bit.
Sweetpeas down the side of the fruit tunnel are climbing up it fairly well although lack of direct sun may account for the lack of explosion that I would have expected by now. still got some seedlings to plant out. will take them up the lottie. Got some perpetual sweetpea seedlings still in 3" pots. could put them over the lottie arch but they just don't look big enough yet.
Moved bird box for next year. Gave it a good wash out and have put it on the front of the shed. Am going to some ivy to plant above it to give it some shade.
Baby great tit visited today with ma or pa. flapping it's wings like crazy. The birdies are coming back in general although the two nests the blackbirds built in the hedge appear to have bitten the dust before getting to fledgling status - them pesky magpies again no doubt.
Got brave with the electric hedge cutter and done as much of the hedge at the bottom of the garden as i could without reaching too far. Me up a ladder with a dangerous machine is ... well... dangerous. Must move the compost bins before i can get into the corner.

In the greenhouse, the tomatoes are looking good. Totem is flowering all over the place, no signs of setting yet though. Sub arctic plenty really does not like heat and goes all wilty on hot bright days, recovering when it gets cooler in the evening. May bring them out onto the deck now we've no chance of frost. Gardener's Delight are behind the other two. No flowers yet.

chillies and peppers have suffered some pretty serious damage. Can't see anything but something's been attacking them. Mutant scrunched up leaves and black dotty marks on the original full size leaves. I'm thinking spider mite, but just can't see anything. Am spraying with washing up liquid to see if they'll recover. Shame cos they have got a few buds and were going really well. Think it's time for a sulphur candle in the autumn. Although I had a clean out, I never had time to give the g/h a deep clean this spring. Think i'm suffering from that.

Parsley needs potting up before it bolts. 3 x basil in pots looking good.

Cherry tree has nice green fruit. Wonder who will get to them first once they're ripened !

Bonsai tree isn't dead yet and seems to like sitting in a constant half inch of cooled boiled water. Before I have my first morning cuppa i poor whatever's left in the kettle in it's oven dish that is handily the same shape as the bonsai pot ! I keep trimming and clipping and it's looking OK actually.

Am always out of time though, and everything is a bit of an effort this year - hence no daily pics or blog updates. Could do better !

Now for the lottie blog .... ta ta for now.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Weird old day

The OH moves darn sarf today. Dull and overcast outside, bit like my mood.

Still, I found these pics to cheer me up.

Gonna be a weird one.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Suffice to say, I've been busy

All those New Year's Resolutions about "thou shalt keep the diaries and the blogs up to date" have kinda taken a back seat to "doing".

But I have:
  • a couple of flowers on my strawbs in the raised beds under fleece
  • put in the tatties
  • built a shade/fruit house from two rose arches and debris netting (got to think of a way to keep out the birdies (if they ever come back to me) but let in the bees)
  • moved the carrot bath into the bashed g/h to become a chilli/pepper bed when the time comes
  • planted up 6 hanging baskets in a blue/white/purple theme
  • started moving the lilies to the deck
  • moved the Sub Arctic Plenty and Totem toms to the fixed g/h but looking at them this morning, think they needed their fleece jackets on last night (why oh why do I believe the weather forecast temps)
  • tidied up Mum's pansies
  • look with awe at Mum's witch hazel that is now in new leaf
  • brought the clematis to the deck
  • put the courgettes in fixed g/h
  • not eaten one bit of the perpetual spinach despite there being tonnes (may not bother again next year - I mean if he doesn't like it ... what's the point)
  • got turnips/sweetcorn/peas/marigolds/sweet peas/beetroot/nasturtiums/kohl rabi/love in the mist/radishes/3 x varieties basil/parsley in between both g/h
  • been looking at the rhubarb thinking "should I pull now or wait a bit"
  • got a sore wrist from trimming the lawn edge (another reason to hate lawns)
  • sown 2 varieties of runners and 2 of dwarf beans (currently in the propogaters)
  • planted up the lavender cuttings I took at some stage in the past
  • ditto rosemary (although I don't know why as my mummy rosemary bush is still coming on nicely)
  • been looking at the cherry blossom and thinking "maybe this year if the absent birdies don't get there first"
  • am concerned that the magpies have already found this year's black birds nest - there was an awful fight out there yesterday
  • been putting out food for the birdies in the hope that they'll come back eventually. No chance of blue tits nesting again this year although there have been a couple of visitors to the garden. Will move the box next year and see if it's just in the wrong position.
  • have seen a couple of bees (and wasps grrrrrrrrrrr) and the occasional slug (usually first thing in the morning when it's half way across the office window - yeuch !
  • given up waiting for the compost bins to do their trick and bought in a load of shop bought on Saturday
  • cut the yellow tulips for indoors as they look so lovely and bright and sunny. I left the orange ones outside but they're gorgeous too.
  • potted up the chillis/peppers but have kept them inside for the time being.
Having spent all this weekend out there, am going up to the lottie today to see how everything's doing up there.

Why can't life be one long bank holiday ?


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Closing of a chapter

Finally we were able to say goodbye to Mum on Wednesday of this week. It has been a long time coming and very emotional.

So now the wagon train is packing up and about to head north again. We had two major family birthdays this week, my 50th on Thursday and Dad's 80th yesterday which were both very enjoyable, but now it's time to think about returning home. Naturally, the day we have chosen, is also the day sleet/snow is forecast ! Just luvverly !

The sub arctic toms are growing steadily away, being turned every couple of hours so they get the light equally all round. One more sub arctic, the tardy one, to pot up before we leave. 4 Totem have now germinated, but don't appear to be as far advanced as the SAT even though they were sown on the same day. 4/5 Gypsy peppers finally made it through and really do need potting on quite quickly but that will oop north.

Mum's Love-In-The-Mist have germinated nicely now, pretty evenly across the tray. All the broad beans could really do with being in the ground now, but they're looking pretty good so at least I'll have something to plant out in the allotment when I get up there.

Oh, I forgot to say ................ I've given up the evil weed ! No, silly, not mare's tail ..... I stopped smoking on 19th March, day of mum's funeral and day before my 50th. Seemed like a reasonable day to pick ! Not doing bad so far, bit of a struggle this morning though, so just off to find my patches !

Watch that wind out there, looks pretty blowy today.