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Tuesday, 29 March 2011

The start of something good.

Now that Spring is officially here and the clocks have changed (so lighter nights), it feels like the start of something good. Lots of seeds have been planted and are now starting to appear and it feels really exciting. I've tried some leeks this year (first time) and I am so happy to see the little mites growing.
I can't believe that these tiny things are going to grow into leeks. I've got a section all ready for them in the raised bed. One of my friends also grew them in piping, as that encouraged them to be "whiter", so I think I'll have a go at that too. They used plastic piping. I've also heard that you can store them in sand afterwards (although I think I'm jumping ahead a little there!)

I've sown lots of flowers too, to use as companions, so that the pests will not be attracted to my veg. My favourite ones are marigolds, as they are such sunny characters. They are popping up a little too:

I like to plant them as a boarder on the edge of all my raised beds. 

I really must take another picture of my rhubarb for the blog too, as it's doing tremendously well. I had put 4 different pots on there (each larger than the other) and it still keeps growing. Yesterday, I put a massive bag type thing over it that I usually use when weeding - it was the only thing I could think of that was big enough. I'll upload a photo in the next couple of days.

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the blog - it's brilliant to get ideas / thoughts from others.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Sprout Tops

I spent some time yesterday clearing out some 'old' plants to make way for some new ones. I had a bed of brussel sprouts that I had eaten all the sprouts from but left the plants in the bed.

I was then able to use all the leaves from the sprouts tops in a similar way to cabbage. I've now cut it all up & frozen it in bags. Each bag has four portions in it, so will do us for a meal. I managed to fill 20 bags up yesterday, so that should keep us going for a while. Last night we had some cooked with leeks at tea-time. It's also good stir fried with some garlic.

Here's what it looked like on the chopping board -

It's good to use up parts of a vegetable that might otherwise be thrown away! I also composted the stalks of the sprouts, so it's all been put to good use.

All I need to do now is get on with planting the potatoes in the bed I took the sprouts from!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Rhubarb Forcing

Last year I planted some rhubarb. I heard that the first year, you should not use it, but let it die back down & then it will be better the year after. I was sooo tempted to cut some off (just one pie or crumble), but I didn't. I am pleased to say that this year it has come back (hopefully bigger & better than last year!).

Last week on Gardener's World, Monty Don talked about forcing rhubarb, so that's what I've decided to do. I have put a large pot over it & am awaiting the gloriously tasty stems! Here's what it looked like this week, before I covered it up.
I'll keep adding photos each time I have a sneaky look at it!

I'm in the right area for growing rhubarb, as only a few miles away from me is the Rhubarb Triangle in Wakefield, where they are famous for growing rhubarb indoors in sheds.

Friday, 18 March 2011

New plants on the way!

At least some of my plants think Spring is on its way. This year, I am trying to grow a tayberry. I've never had one before, but I think it is supposed to be a cross between a raspberry and a gooseberry (or is it a blackberry & a gooseberry)? I've often seen them when we've been on holiday to Hereford & always wanted to grow some. I ordered one last year and it's now sprouting!
I'm excited to see what it will be like - would be good to know if anyone has had them before. I guess you use them in the same way as blackberries etc?

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Born horticulturalist - Jo Thompson

Born horticulturalist - Jo Thompson

Love the sketch of the garden on here...

What a grey day!

 What a grey day! Misty again - this is how is looked when I took the dog out for a walk this morning.

Not great is it? Where are the lovely spring days?
It was wet & miserable. I usually let the dog off the lead, but kept him on it today, as I thought if I let him run about, I'll end up not being able to see him!

He still enjoyed it though, so that's all that matters! Fingers crossed for blue sky tomorrow!

If you go down to the woods today...

Spent yesterday afternoon helping out at local primary school. We were working on our woodland garden. Lots of jobs to do, so everyone was kept busy.

On Monday morning, the children made a hedgehog house from the wood I took in, so that's looking good.

The area is looking great - we have cleared lots of space & made a great winding path through there. There are a lot of old tree trunks, so we are going to make a round seating area using those  - should be a great outdoor learning area.

I worked with a group of children on a mosaic - we collected stones of all shapes & sizes, cleaned them up & then painted them in really bright colours. Should be ready to put the mosaic together next week.

The woodland garden is already starting to look bright, as the daffodils are out in force & look wonderful.

The children really enjoyed themselves & it was a great way to spend the afternoon.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

End of month view, Feb 2011

End of month view, Feb 2011

Lovely pics on here.

Getting ready for the woodland garden.

We have taken quite a bit of wood into school this morning. We will be using it this afternoon, when we start making a hedgehog house for our woodland garden.

The children have already started to help cut some of the wood up and we will be going into the woods today to start work.

We are also looking to create a mosaic in the woodland garden today, from stones that we find there.

Looks like a busy day!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Two Plant-Related Children’s Books

Two Plant-Related Children’s Books

Woodland garden

I volunteer at a local school & am helping them to create a woodland garden. This week, we have been planning a few things:
  • how to make a hedgehog house
  • how to make a mosaic from stones
  • how to decorate the fences
  • how to make the pond area safe for children

Early days yet, but I just collected up some wood suitable for outdoor use (my husband is a joiner, so we always have lots of spare wood!). Delivered to school this morning. I think we'll have enough wood to make some bird boxes too. We need to find some more out about what food to give the hedgehog (I tink cat food is OK?). We also heard that rather than put straw in the house, you should put shredded paper, so we're going to borrow the shredder from the school office to gather lots.

The children are really excited about it all.

May the North wind blow!

Thought I'd do a bit more planting up yesterday in the Greenhouse, but had not expected such a strong wind! It was terrible, I felt like I was Dorothy from Kanvas, about to be taken to the Land of Oz.

It must have been warmer, because windows in there had opened (there was some sun). But, it just 'felt' so cold, I didn't stay there for long.

I watered all the newly planted seeds, did some weeding and made a quick exit indoors!  What a softie!

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Here's a couple of pics of my dog Mischief - we go out walking in the fields each day and this is him one day last summer:

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Reasons to be Cheerful . . .

Reasons to be Cheerful . . .

Just found this great blog from Suttons!

it's c c c cold even in the greenhouse today

Have spent a few hours in the greenhouse today and let me tell you, it was cold even in there.

Nice to see some things I planted around 3 weeks ago growing though - the leeks are just coming up, as are the marigolds too. Planted some lobelia seeds, but nothing showing there yet.

Have managed to get  a few things planted today:

  • trailing lobelia
  • salvia
  • sweet peas (these will go with my runner beans to encourage bees)
I also have an olive tree that I planted into the raised bed in my greenhouse today.

I grew some pak choi in the greenhouse over winter & now I have loads of it ready - am going to have to try to find a few recipes on what to do with it!

Have come inside to get a bit warmer with a cup of tea, although no rest for the wicked as I have to now go out & walk the dog - brrr!!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

brill innocent voucher worth £1.99

Just got a brilliantr voucher worth £1.99 from the Innocent people. All I had to do was sign up for their newletter - innocent drinks

Can't wait to try it - it's a 900ml carafe.

Eeek it's a mouse!

I have a lovely little black cat - Liquorice. Here's what he looked like as a kitten:

He's now two years old, but still little and kitten like.

He has a dual personality - he's lovely, cute and purrs for you to stroke him; then the next minute he'll bite you! But we love him very much.

Unfortunately, he's also very good at catching mice. Why unfortunately? Well, because he catches them & then brings them home for us - usually alive!

I am one of those people who is terrfied of mice, so I do not look forward to this.

Yesterday, I was just finishing my lunch and I heard him come back in through the cat flap in the kitchen. The next minute I heard a noise like a squeeky ball. I came to investigate and lo and behold there's a mouse running round being chased by Liquorice. I quickly shut the kitchen door, my heart pounding!

I was going out, so I could leave them both in there, but I had to lock the back door first. So, the softy that I am, I put my wellies on (do mice really run up your trouser legs?) and quickly locked in then left. At this point, Liquorice had the mouse cornered under the radiator.

When I arrived home, a couple of hours later, the mouse was no longer. I have told Liquorice not to bring any more home today, but who knows, will have to wait and see.