Posts Tagged Gardening

Spring is springing

Or at least the seeds are springing up on my kitchen window sill. I have basil (2 varieties), sage, chives, mint, parsley and oregano. Only the lovage isn’t doing anything yet. My first tumbling tom has sprouted as well and I have poked in a clove of garlic that was trying to grow in the cupboard so I’ll have to see if that manages to come to anything.

The chillis and peppers are coming along well. I have aquired 3 more chillis from a friend, one each of 3 different varieties, so I could end up with a lot of chillis this year! We used one of last years chillis the other night and I’ve saved the seeds from that so I might sow some of those as well – It was quite hot but I don’t know the variety.

Other gardening activities include planting cougette, cucumber, plum tomato, squash, aubergine and dwarf runner bean seeds and lots of reading. I have finished The Edible Container Garden and only have a couple of chapters left of Square Foot Gardening. Both are good for gardening in the sort of spaces they cover. SFG is very prescriptive, but I do like the idea and will probably try and follow it at least to start with. It was the RHS 3 x 3m plots that made me consider veg gardening in the first place but I couldn’t find enough information on what plants, how many per square, when to plant and other details I wanted so this book suits me. It is very american – I’m going to be talking about zuccini before soon, and there is a lot of talk of last frost and first fall frost dates which I have found difficult to find out for the UK. Oh, and some of the ‘pests’ mentioned are unlikely to be found in a UK garden, but the principle should be fairly easy to convert. The one thing I don’t like is the excessive (in my opinion) use of peat, so I will be looking for an alterntive. The explanation on the website that the peat doesn’t need to be replaced still doesn’t sit well with me.

I just need to build my raised bed now – The wood is in the garage so hopefully I will have time to saw and hammer and paint and dig and things soon, yippee!

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New things for the garden

I have just purchased a hypericum inodorum bush, from of all places, pound land. Well I felt sorry for it, it is trying to grow shoots and has been kept in the dark so they are a bit pale, at least there is no doubt it is alive at the moment. Well for a pound I thought I’d risk it. Its going to go in the front garden now there is a bit more room after pruning the three huge cornus. Hopefully it will brighten up a fairly shady spot. It was only when I looked it up on the internet to see whether it would mind a bit of shade I found out hypericum is St Johns Wort, interesting, at least I though so.

I also bought 3 small hanging baskets I’m going to try herbs in, a half tray propagator and lid and a collapsable garden rubbish container. I wasn’t planning of buying any of these things today but never mind.

The chilli / pepper plants that have been potted up are all beginning to form there proper leaves, not that it will help me tell them apart. I still have quite a few to pot up so I think I over did the seeds a bit. Thats a lesson learnt for next year.

I also received this morning two new gardening books from Amazon, The Edible Container Garden: Fresh Food from Tiny Spaces and Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work. Both were reviewed on an episode of The Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast which I recommend if you are at all interested in gardening. I am listening to all the back episodes which, apart from having to keep checking what date they were recorded to see when ‘now’ is, are really interesting and cover a very wide range of topics. I haven’t had chance to read the books yet but I can’t wait to read them and get my veg garden up and growing.

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Mother’s Day

Yesterday was Mother’s Day in the UK and I got a lovely card and a planted hanging basket so that was really nice. The hanging basket is currently outside my kitchen window but will probably be moved outside the front door as soon as I can arrange for a bracket to be put up there.

I cooked sunday lunch for my parents and made my mum some rocky road after some hints were dropped. I’ll have to let you know whether they tasted ok. I did offer A one of the marshmallows while I was making them, and after eagerly trying it he pulled a really funny face and picked it out of hs mouth with his fingers and gave it back to me, lovely! So that’s the second thing he’s tried and doesn’t like, the other is ice cream. Funny child!

After lunch we attacked the three cornus bushes in the front garden. They were about 18ft high and hadn’t been pruned for several years. I also think that three is too many for the space, but I can’t do a lot about that. They are now cut right down and I have my fingers crossed they will shoot again, if not, I’ll replace them with something else. I do like cornus, just not ones that are threatening to shade the upstairs window.

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Tomorrow

Nothing special about tonights dinner, pasta with a quick sauce of roast chicken, red onion, cougette, orange pepper and pasatta, so I won’t talk about it.

However tomorrow I’m hoping to make kiwi fruit sorbet, I have too many fruits in the fridge, A doesn’t seem to be eating them at the moment and they are all going ripe at the same time, I also feel a need to give the ice cream maker some attention. I think today’s sunshine has gone to my head!

I am also hoping to plant some more seeds and maybe pot up the peppers and chillis. I think I have cougettes, aubergines, squash, tomatoes and a few herbs to sow so hopefully the weather will be good and I will have more luck with these than the herbs I tried in feb – out of 6 pots, 2 each of parsley, mint and sage, I have one pot of parsley. I am wondering if the pots were either over watered or dried out at some point as it is whole pots that have failed, but who knows. I will probably try again with the sage and mint, I have saved a few clear plastic trays now to use as mini seed covers so perhaps that would help. I’ll let you know how I get on.

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Things I’ve been up to

Unfortunatly this week I’ve been ill 😦 so haven’t done much cooking apart from the bare minimum. I did cook a rather nice (If I do say so myself) pea and bacon risotto, no bacon for me, on friday which resulted in three clean plates.No recipe, I just made it up as I went along. I used one of the new Knor stock pot things for the stock, rather than my usual marigold powder. Its a kind of gel instead of a powder and it did look like very concentrated home made stock but I don’t think I’ll buy any more once I’ve used this packet up as the taste wasn’t significantly different and it contains a lot more salt that the reduced salt marigold I usually use. One plus was there are 8 pots in the pack when I originally thought there was only 4.

Yesterday was my first tutorial / dayschool for my OU course S369, otherwise knows as The geological record of environmental change. Its really interesting although I am very behind already. The tutorial did give me a good overview of the bigger picture and explained some things I’d been struggling with. It also resparked my interest so hopefully the reading should go quicker as it has been taking me ages. The jump to level 3 seems quite large still, I’m not looking forward to the first TMA.

The tutorial was in Bristol and far more interesting than the tutorial itself, was the geocaching I did whilst there. See my log here for the full story. What’s geocaching? Well its a sort of treasure hunt using GPS receivers. Great fun and gets you outside and to all sorts of places you wouldn’t otherwise visit.

On the garden front, I haven’t been out there a lot but the daffs are now out and I the chilli and parsley seeds have started growing. I need to get on with the March seed sowings too. Unfortunatly the two white geraniums I planted out in pots caught the frost, I think, and are not looking happy so I might need to replace them with something else. We need to get a lawn mower soon, I can’t believe how fast the grass is growing.

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