Tuesday, 29 May 2012

This should keep the vampires at bay!

A little disappointing, I harvested the garlic earlier as the leaves had started to turn yellow but had some rust disease and as I did not want to loose them so I thought I'd lift them. It is a little early by perhaps a month but I don't think they would have grown much more. The variety was Cristo, prior to planting these last October I had only planted a few cloves of shop bought garlic to try the previous year and it was not impressive. I will be looking to grow a different variety next year.

There were a few decent sized bulbs. I have laid them out in the summerhouse to dry out. As I had the camera out I took a wander round the garden and have some new photos to share.

The broad bean pods have doubled in size this past week

The fist lot of cabbages are filling out

not long now till we will be having these tasty potatoes
Another flower protruding from the rhubarb!
As you can see everything is growing quite well, still not much action going on in the greenhouse yet. The seeds sown last week will hopefully be through within the next week or two.

The girls only had an hour in the garden as I had been out for most of the day. I had to wrestle the garlic off Octavia! Who decided to go running off with a stalk of it in her beak. We had four eggs today for a change we had been only getting two or three so Octavia obviously done her bit today as there was a little white egg nestled in the nesting box.  There are all presently sitting in the run having a good preen.

It has been a rather dull and chilly day today and looks like we may be in for some rain tonight, which is good as the garden is rather dry and my water butts are standing empty again.

Well that is it from me for another day, I hope the sun has shone for you today x

Monday, 28 May 2012

A lazy day

It was another beautiful sunny hot day, and so I decided to have a lazy day of doing much of nothing! There is not much for me to do at the moment until things start growing and are ready to be planted out. I could of sorted and tidied up the summerhouse I suppose, but no it was far to hot to do that!

The girls have been on the loose in the garden, they keep making a beeline for the rhubarb so I have put something in front of it however they are such inquisitive little monkeys they won't stay away from it. They had a game of rugby with a snail earlier Dory won as usual, she makes a grab and runs like the clappers into the run and before the others realize what has happened she has already eaten it and looking for another one!

Dory on the run with her precious snail!

Matilda wondering what is indoors!
Octavia decimated one of my strawberry plants and promptly hopped onto the empty raised bed for a quick dust bath before I lifted her off! They are so funny especially when they run and when they want to get there even quicker it's part fly and a running landing! They are great to watch, I waste so much of my time just watching them.

Anyway I have wasted enough time today, so I better go and get dinner ready. I hope you have all had a great day/evening where ever you maybe. Before I go I just want to share this great tasting summer slurp! It's a family favorite and perfect for a hot summers day. Enjoy!
Iced Coffee Milkshake made with Camp Coffee


Sunday, 27 May 2012

Chickens let loose!

What a fantastic weekend weather wise it has been! Most of the weekend has been spent in the garden so the girls have been let out quite a lot. The patio is almost weed free too, which is most pleasing as it is a job I detest and often takes me hours to do.

I have finally managed to get the front garden sorted, I weeded both the flower beds. It was a bit tricky doing the central one as I had sown seeds and I was a bit unsure of what were weeds and what were seedlings. I have pulled out most of the weeds and left what I hope are the seedlings! As I had sown different varieties  in different sections I left what appeared to be the same specimens in and took out anything in each section that looked different. We shall soon see once they get a bit bigger and I shall then take a photo for you to see.

The front flowerbed had hundreds of Cosmos seedlings I removed all but four, which I have left to grow. I also planted out two Dahlia tubers from which I had grown from seed last year. I planted out some Foxglove, Canterbury Bells, Malopes and Sweet Williams. Hopefully in a month or so there will be a beautiful floral display.

I have had a bit of a tidy up and sort out in the back garden and placing out the grow-bags ready for the courgettes to be planted into. The stalks on the garlic is now starting to yellow and it will soon be ready to harvest. I'm looking forward to seeing how well this has grown as last year it did not do very well. I will hopefully get about twenty or so decent sized bulbs. Another month and it will be time to lift the over wintering onions ready to dry out. They look quite a bumper sized crop too with big thick stalks.

All the strawberry plants are in flower so we may get a crop from these after all. The potatoes are growing really well as are the broad beans which have thick pods now developing, however my broad bean plants are no where near the size of my neighbors. The peas have doubled in size since I planted them out and have not been munched by the snails, but I found a couple of snails nestled in the cabbages again which the girls enjoyed tossing around on the patio to break the shells then eating.

I emptied an old used grow-bag into the run earlier the girls had a great time scratching through and feasting on the bugs. They had a dust bath in my fruit border and have made a bit of a mess so I will have to go round with the broom to tidy it all up again. I gave everything a good soaking yesterday and as we are on a hosepipe ban I had to do it all with the watering can. It took me almost two hours to do. Tonight I have only got the greenhouse, the hanging baskets and the front garden to do, hopefully it will not take as long as yesterday!

It will not be long before I will be using my trug to collect my harvest, I better get it out and give it a bit of a clean as it has been sitting in the summerhouse for almost a year. To see a great collection of garden trugs visit:  http://www.squidoo.com/sharing-the-good-life-the-humble-garden-trug

And finally.....We are having a Bar-Be-Q with the new gas Bar-Be-Q that Jay spent the morning putting together, which actually went together rather well considering Jay usually has bits left over! I hope you have all had a great weekend x

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Is it the compost?

Yet another glorious hot day here in Suffolk. I went to the garden center earlier to purchase some more compost and some grow-bags and another bag of seed compost. Whilst there I started to wonder that perhaps it is the compost that I had been using that was the cause of my poor germination results.

In January I was using John Innes No1 seed compost which contains peat and for my second lot of sowing's I was using a peat free seed compost. The seeds sown in January done much better than my later sowing, which you can read the results in earlier postings. There is much debate over the use of peat and how gardeners should seek to use peat free alternatives. From my results the peat free alternatives do not appear to be much good if germination results are so poor. Not only were the results poor but the soil also grew mold on it unlike the John Innes. I have now purchased a bag of the compost that contains peat and I have sown some more courgette, pumpkin and squash seeds. I will keep you posted on my results.

I had a few hours in the garden and I planted out the leeks, and some cauliflowers. I have sown some more broccoli and brussel sprouts. I also bought two large planters today which I have potted the rest of the sweet peas in to, which I have put outside the front door.

The girls spent an enjoyable couple of hours out in the garden today, they squabbled over the three snails that they found. Matilda has dug a nice big hole next to the fence, her head was down and her bottom was up in the air, stones and dirt flying out from beneath her. Octavia went over to investigate and got a peck for being so nosey! Clyde does not care for the hot weather so he has been mooching around huffing and puffing looking for somewhere cool to lay and snooze where as Max on the other hand loves to lay in the full sun.

The wasps and bees have been out in force today so I have spent several minutes flapping and screaming running up and down the garden! They have the whole world to fly around in yet they always want to be in the same spot as I do!

And finally.....It has started to cool down a little so I am going to take the dogs for a walk. I hope you all have a pleasant day/evening where ever you maybe x

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Ants in my pants!

Phew!!! It's a scorcher! Not the best day to be playing around in the compost bins, they smelt awful and one was full of ants and also two huge and I mean huge slugs! I had ants crawling all over me and even though I love the garden I am not a lover of any bugs or garden critters what so ever. Anything that looks like a critter sends me off screaming down the garden!

The bins have finally been sorted one was nearly all usable compost and the other which is much larger was just a stinking mass of yuck! I turned it over into the now empty bin adding some grass cuttings and some chicken bedding. I will leave that one till the autumn, where hopefully it will then be usable compost.

the lush compost
I put the compost on two areas on the veg plot that are waiting to have vegetables planted in them. I also put some in the triangular raised bed where I am hoping to grow a pumpkin. They love the rich soil and hopefully I will get at least one good pumpkin so I can make that lush pumpkin jam.

The girls have been enjoying the sunshine and having dust baths. I have given the coop a scrub out as it is so warm. I probably have the cleanest chicken coop going! We had another three eggs today, Dory was clucking like mad when in the coop laying her egg, it must of been the big one!

Some of the pods on the broad beans
I cannot believe the difference so far in this years crops to last. I had the best ever crop of peas I had ever had last year and now this year is looking rather poor indeed. I have sown so many yet I only have about twenty five plants at most that may actually produce something. In fact the same could be said for many of my crops. Never mind We will just have to wait and see what develops.

I have sown a couple more courgettes as I only have two that have germinated and survived and I have also sown another pumpkin and another squash in the hope that they actually appear. If these fail I will give up and purchase small plants from the garden center.

And finally.... That is it from me for today, I am in need of a shower. I hope you are all enjoying the sunshine wherever you may be x

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Hurrah..... the sun has got his hat on!

It has been fantastic weather today and was not too bad yesterday either, the forecast for the rest of the week is pretty good too! Yesterday was taken up with house cleaning and I had my mum and dad round for the day today. We sat on the decking and had an enjoyable lunch in the sunshine after we had taken the dogs for a long walk.

It is the first time we had actually used the new table and chairs we bought last summer for the garden. The summer was non existent last year so the table and chairs never got used. It was lovely to be able to sit in the garden and enjoy it for a change.

With the warm weather things are really starting to grow, the broad beans that were sown in November are full of pods. The snails have left the peas alone thankfully and the cabbages are starting to fill out. The sweet peas are starting to grow and cling to their supports, soon I will be able to enjoy their sweet smelling aroma.

The girls have been enjoying their time out in the garden, Max loves to play football, however this is not a good idea when you have chickens running and pecking round the garden at their leisure! Max has great ball control but Bell got in the way and the ball rolled into her, she was not amused and Clyde went scampering off indoors even though he was not the culprit. Dory followed me up the garden where she spied the lush cabbages through the wire fence, I soon took her back down before she got any ideas!

I have the whole day to spend in the garden tomorrow so I am looking forward to that. Those compost bins will be sorted out tomorrow as will some more seed sowing.  I watered the container plants today and one of the water butts is now standing empty. Perhaps we could have some night rain.....

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Pea-ing around!

Not much gardening got done today as other things got in the way. However I did get the peas planted out. I was going to plant them out in rows and  put in two posts with chicken wire running in between. But Jay had taken out the van along with his tools and I needed the wire cutters. As I wanted to get it done today I made wigwams using bamboo canes instead.

I was quite surprised at how dry and hard the ground is with all the rain we had, it seems like it has evaporated into thin air! It was solid. As you can see the peas at the front of the picture which were planted in the winter  have all but disappeared, what was left has been eaten by the blooming snails. I have sprinkled down a few slug pellets, something that I do not like to use, however as I don't want these to succumb to the same fate. I am hoping to collect some more hair from the hair dressers this week, which I shall then use as a mulch around the peas.

I had a bag of hair which I used to mulch round the cabbages as when I took a look today I found several snails nestled in there, which the girls enjoyed chasing each other for. For more information on mulching:

I cleaned the girls out today while they had a wander round the garden, Max was keeping an eye on them making sure they did not wander to far and would round them up near the run. A Labrador chicken dog! I wonder.... a new category at the local agriculture show! Clyde just sat on the step taking it all in. When I went out this morning to let the girls out of the coop, I had forgotten to take the scraps with me, I came back to the house and all the girls were following me as I had forgot to shut the gate, they were all standing outside by the back door, and then as I came back out they all came running behind me back to the run for their goodies. It sure is a funny sight with them running along.

I had to give all the vegetables that are growing in pots and containers a good soaking earlier as they were quite dry, seemed strange standing out there watering as it has been a while since it has needed to be done.

And finally..... I hope you have all had a great weekend, I would also like to say a big hello and welcome to all the new visitors x

A wild Great tit

My husband and his friend Terry were fishing yesterday when this bird took a liking to Terry and landed on him. I thought you might like to see it. Gardening antics to be updated later on today x

Friday, 18 May 2012

Spring sprung a leak, what is summer going to do?

Well today started off very nice however it has now turned rather dull and looks as if a storm is on the way. After the awful spring and the very wet weather I am beginning to wonder what sort of summer we are going to get, if any! Will all this hard work of germinating seeds and getting veg beds ready all have been in vain or will it be bumper crops? As usual we will have to wait and see what mother nature throws at us and try and do the best we can.

I had a busy couple hours in the garden earlier. I filled up the potato bags, now all I have to do is water, feed and wait. It's surprising how much soil those bags need. I do recycle most of the soil by either adding it to the raised beds or vegetable plot and the rest I pile up at the end of the garden an use it to refill the holes the chickens dig or reuse it by adding some new compost and feed to it and use it for pot and container growing.

I weeded the the veg plot, and there were lots and lots of weeds, I now have an aching back! The girls had a feast when I gave them a pile of weeds to rummage through. Their coop is next to the veg plot and they all stand on the ladder watching and clucking at me through the trellis as they know what is coming to them once I have done, they are funny little things.

We had two eggs today and I also filled in the two holes they had been busy digging. I let them out for a wonder and they are getting more inquisitive and are venturing further. Clyde decided to come out and have a sniff around them which sent them all in a flap, he then mooched off indoors again, happy that he had caused mayhem!

Jobs for tomorrow include potting up the herbs, sowing seeds and sorting out the compost bins if the weather stays fine.

And finally.....I'd like to say a big welcome to my new follower and to all my new viewers I hope you enjoy reading my blog as much as I do writing it. I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend and that the sun shines for you all x

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Frozen toes and an itchy nose....

I woke up to another lovely dry somewhat sunny day, I hope this is going to continue! My toes and feet were rather cold still today and my nose is peeling, hence the itchy nose! I had a fairly productive day out in the garden and potting shed today. I found half a bag of compost and half a bag of seed compost under the table in the summerhouse, I really must tidy up in there!

I potted up all of the flower seedlings that were ready, but I had used up all the seedling compost so I was unable to do the herbs or plant anymore seeds. I had enough compost to top up five of the potato bags, so it looks like a trip to the garden center tomorrow to be able to do the others.

I ventured into the little plastic greenhouse only to find a snail had demolished  twenty four Cosmos seedlings. These were doing quite well too, all that was left was a tray of soil, damn pesky snails! They had not touched the French Marigolds so I moved these to the large greenhouse before they find these and eat them too.

As it was a sunny dry day it was perfect for scrubbing out the chicken coop. I took out all the removable parts and brushed off any muck on the interior of the coop and nesting boxes. I then liberally sprayed with a Smite solution and scrubbed all the other parts too. I left it all in the sun to dry whilst I took the dogs for a walk. I had a good inspection to make sure that there were no red mites lurking and thankfully I could not see any. I suffered a bad infestation of these last year when I went on holiday for two weeks and it took a few weeks to eradicate them. I have written an article on how to treat an infestation of red mite which you can access through this link  Treating red mite in the chicken coop

The girls had their wander around the garden again today, Clyde kept his distance today and was watching them whilst laying on the door step looking rather wary! We had two eggs today, and I found another in my coat pocket which was from yesterday which I had forgotten about, but I had broken it, so I had a rather soggy pocket! The girls had a feast of rice, burnt toast and some salad this morning and then this afternoon munched through a purple sprouting broccoli that had gone to seed. They all went to bed quite content I should think.

My neighbor has cut his grass and left a big bag of grass cuttings by the gate, at some point over the weekend I will sort out the compost bins as it has been too wet of late to do this job. Hopefully there will be some lush compost at the bottom of the bins that I can put on the veg plot before planting out any more greens or beans.

As promised I have managed to get the photos onto the computer. Unfortunately the one of the vegetable plots on holiday have not come out very clear, these were taken whist we were travelling and it is hard to make out what it is.

You can just make out the rows of vegetables


 Top left is the first early potatoes and top right is some of the seedlings I potted up. Bottom left is the onions  that were planted in March and bottom right is the cabbages the ones at the back were planted out in January I think and the little ones were planted out about a month ago and were uncovered yesterday, hence why they look a little droopy!

And finally..... Still lots to do in the garden tomorrow so it's of to bed for me shortly, I hope you all had a good day and look forward to posting my ramblings tomorrow x

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

back to the wet and soggy UK

After spending four days relaxing in wall to wall sunshine in Portugal it was disappointing to come home to the rain and thunder again. This morning I woke up to a glorious day and was out in the garden early this morning to tackle the ever growing weeds. I can't believe how much everything has grown in just a few days.

I managed to weed both the raised beds and the fruit border, even though the sun was shining it was bitterly cold, especially after being in a totally different climate for the past four days which makes it feel even colder. I had to come in after an hour as I could no longer feel my fingers! I can't weed with gloves on as I find they get in the way and are too bulky. Hopefully tomorrow will be another dry day so I can weed the veg plot.

I need to get to the garden center as I have run out of soil for the potato bags and they need topping up again. The first earlies have grown quite a bit and a few more weeks and we shall be having fresh potatoes for dinner! I uncovered the second lot of cabbages today as they had also grown quite big and were getting squashed in the plastic bottle cloches. The onions that I planted out in March are almost as big as the ones I planted out last November.

Something has been attacking my peas that I planted out in the veg plot, it is either slugs or snails as you can see the silver trail they leave behind. I got some more hair from the hairdressers so I shall be putting this round the base of the peas as a deterrent from those pests! I have been taking the peas in and out of the greenhouse to harden off, they can be planted out at the end of the week.

I shall be sowing french dwarf beans, White Lady runner beans, pumpkin and squash seeds this week. The pumpkin and squash seeds did not germinate so I shall try again. Another tomato plant has come through so I have enough of those now. The gardeners delight tomatoes germinated the best and are the stronger looking of the three varieties. Only two Roma and one Alicante  germinated. However we should still get a good crop from these, that is as long as the blight does not attack again like last year.

Whilst in Portugal I tasted some pumpkin jam and my it was very tasty. I'm hoping for at least two good sized pumpkins this year so I can have a go at making it. I will have to search for a recipe first. We had the jam served with cheese and also with toast for breakfast.

Whilst we were traveling through Portugal to get to our hotel we passed lots of gardens which had vegetable plots and also allotments. They have already got their runner beans in as all you could really see clearly were the bamboo wigwams and cane supports for the beans. I have got a couple of photos which I shall try and post on here tomorrow as I can't seem to upload them at present. I will also take some photos around the garden tomorrow and post those too so you can see how much everything has grown.

I have been letting the girls out every evening, Matilda was flapping and clucking yesterday as Clyde decided to go and have a sniff and lifted her up with his big nose from behind! She was not impressed one bit and was quite indignant with her flapping and clucking! It was quite funny as Clyde bolted indoors and Matilda was strutting round the patio still grumbling about the intrusion. They have been quite consistent with the egg laying we have almost two dozen to eat, so it is scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast.

I have rather a busy day tomorrow I have several trays of flowers that need pricking out and potting up as well as all the herbs. I will have to get some more seedling compost as I have almost ran out of it. I also want to get the rest of the weeding done and hopefully give the girls coop a good scrub. Fingers crossed for a warm sunny day tomorrow!

And finally.....I hope you have not missed my rambling too much and hope you will continue with me on my gardening journey. May you all have an enjoyable day/evening x

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

I won!

Well I am in shock! I went to my emails this morning and I had won a water butt! I entered a competition with our local water company who are running a monthly draw last month. I am not usually lucky in draws so I am very happy. It will be delivered in 28 days time, it will probably have stopped raining by then!

We had quite a fine dry day yesterday so I managed to get a bit of weeding done. I harvested some more rhubarb, this will probably be the last for a while as I don't want to strip the plant. it had also grown another two flowers which have been removed.  I'm hoping to get an hour out there later today. I am away for the weekend so I have lots to do before I go, this we be the last post until next week.

I also cleaned out them mucky girls yesterday, we had a bumper four eggs and one was again nestled in the poop tray! I let them out of the run for twenty minutes yesterday, it is the first time I have let them have a wander round the garden. They did not go far and went quite easily back into the run. As I have vegetables growing all round the garden and not sectioned off and they will attack anything that is green! And I don't want them munching through everything, I am going to try and let them out every evening and see how it goes.

I purchased some melon seeds at the weekend, I thought as I have the big greenhouse I would have a go at growing them. I have a water melon, Sugar Baby, which is a sweet smallish melon and melon Charentais which is a small sweet melon with orange flesh. I'll sow these later today and keep you posted.

And finally.....I hope you all have a great week whatever you may be doing and I'll be back next week x

Monday, 7 May 2012

Another wet bank holiday

Well it has been typical bank holiday weather, a total washout! However this morning it was dry and the sun came out, so we all piled into the car and drove to Flatford  Mill also know as Constable Country, where John Constable's many famous painting's were done to walk along the swollen river Stour. The banks and surrounding fields were very swamp like. I was alright as I had on my wellies and had great fun stomping through it all as did the dogs, they had a great time splashing and scooting about in the water and mud.

Though the weather has not been warm things are starting to grow quite well in the greenhouse. I have been hardening the peas of this week so they will be ready to go out later on this week. I really need to do some weeding as they seem to be growing very well with all this rain.

The girls have been their busy usual selves running in and out of cover from the rain and once it stops coming out into the run to have a good flap about. I have got to start their worming course tomorrow as it has been six months since the last lot of treatment. As their coop and run are always situated in the same place it is recommended that they should be wormed.

Well that is it from me, hopefully I will have more to tell you about the garden next week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend x

Friday, 4 May 2012

Strange things!

Another dull and dreary day for us and not a lot doing either. I have harvested some more rhubarb and froze it for use later. I spent an hour pricking out and potting up some flowers and re-potted a couple of tomatoes. Talking of tomatoes take a look at this

My friend grew these last year, they are she thinks Shirley Hybrid tomatoes. Three seeds were planted all at the same time and were all looked after the same and yet only one of the plants produced this strange looking tomato. She said they were the best tasting tomatoes she had ever had, and you know you can't beat the aroma or taste of a home grown tomato!

The girls have been rather quite since they had their big bowl of scraps this morning, I went out earlier and now know why they have been so quiet, yes you have guessed it another great big hole! Matilda has been busy hopping up and down catching flies and Octavia has dug the hole because she is absolutely filthy! She is like a naughty mischievous child.

And finally..... I have to go back out and wrap everything up against the expected frost tonight. I hope you all have an enjoyable weekend x

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Just a peek!

It has been another miserable day weather wise here again today. Another day of no gardening so I took some photos to share with you so you can at least see what is growing!

As you can see the rhubarb Has grown quite a lot and more is ready for the picking. I don't know why this one is blurred but it is the gooseberry bush.

The strawberry plants I planted last week and the first early potatoes that are growing out of the bags. A frost has been forecast for the coming weekend so I will have to get out the fleece to cover everything again.

second pea sowing's
Wind battered cabbages

assorted toms and chilies

I managed to clean out the coop today, we had three eggs, one had rolled out of the nesting box and was on the poop tray, I think the girls fancied a game of football! All the girls have muddy feet and beaks, they look a right rabble!

I'm hoping to have an hour or two in the summerhouse tomorrow to do some potting up and a couple of the tomatoes need re-potting too. I am also going to plant up a trough with some more sweet peas and then plant the rest against the trellis behind the coop on the vegetable plot in the hope that it will attract the bees.

The compost bins could do with sorting out, if the day stays dry that will be another job I can do. I think a root through the seed box is also in order to see what can be sown.

Well that is it from me for another day. Enjoy the rest of your evening/day x

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

A fishy tale!

Well I have not got a lot to report regarding the garden. We have had showers on and off and the ground is far to wet to work with. Everything that is in the ground outside is growing well with all the rain, the first lot of potatoes have grow out of the top of the bags and the others have been filled up with more soil. The strawberry plants are growing quite well and producing flowers, however I have not seen any bees to help with pollination. I think the strawberries are going to be very scarce this year, hopefully things will start to improve soon.

The girls are still wallowing in the swamp, they had cake this morning, as you can imagine it did not hang about for long. We had three eggs yesterday and two today, thankfully this awful weather does not seem to be affecting them too much. Octavia has a permanent black streak down her front where she keeps digging in the mud.

As you know it was my husbands fortieth birthday yesterday and over the weekend I had made him a cake. He loves his fishing so the cake had to be something to do with fishing. It had taken me most of the weekend to do but it was worth it.

Thankfully he liked it.

And finally..... I'd like to say a big welcome to my new viewers from Finland and Germany and thank you to everyone for your continued support x

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...