Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Gardening Gift Bonanza!!

Christmas has been and gone and its now only 363 shopping days until the next one!! This year by way of a change, when I was asked by relatives, what I would like as a gift, I was able to say "Something for the garden please" . Now I know that sounds vague, but they have all visited and have some Idea about what I am doing. I hoped they would come up with some good ideas. 

I was not disappointed. 

First box opened was this

An extremely handy heated waterproof pad to germinate my seeds on. And then the next parcel was this great Mushroom Growing Kit.

Jim was also in receipt of garden gifts. He got a very nifty pair of garden clogs. 

And finally from my lovely niece, this great egg storage box. 

Gibson thoroughly enjoyed his first christmas and he also got lots of gifts.. 

This sort of sums it up !!

I hope you all got great gifts. The best one I have heard about so far is one of my gardening friends, who got two sheep! She does live on a farm though. I don't think the neighbours would be impressed if I had a couple in the garden. 

Still no gardening news to report. The hens are considering entering the trials for the commonwealth games swimming events. They are getting better by the day. I think they will be as relieved as me when it finally stops raining. 

I have though cleaned and tidied the greenhouse in preparation for the seed growing which I will be starting on 1st January 2013. So hopefully not long before my vegetable growing adventures start again. 

Happy New Year and don't bother making any resolutions because you know you wont keep them . 

Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy Solstice..

Well I have been waiting all morning and it would appear the Mayan's were wrong. Nothing has happened, the world hasn't ended and all is good. 

In fact today is the Winter Solstice and that is great news. The sun is shining, I have just been to the shops and everyone is smiling, all is right in my little part of the world. 

So with no news at all from my rather wet and soggy garden, I just thought I would put on this quick post to wish all of you a very happy holidays from Gibson..

Saturday, 15 December 2012

WInter - Well its almost on its way out!!

That may seem a little optimistic, but I have always been a glass half full type. Its only 6 days until the shortest day of the year. December 21st marks the day when we get the least light, that means on December 22nd the evenings will once again, very slowly, start to get lighter, and the mornings wont be quite so gloomy. 

One up side to the longer hours of darkness means I have been getting a bit of a lay in, both the dog and the chickens have been sleeping later as it is still dark. Now they will begin to get me up earlier, but you know , I really dont mind. 

Thats because the increase in light means things will once again start to grow. 

I have great plans for my little plot this next season. With the help and advice of lots of people I have met online through this blog, and various other gardening sources, I have been hatching my plans. 

I need to sit and write a proper list of things I will be growing in the beds. Two things I shall not bother with again are Carrots and Parsnips. The disaster that was my carrots, is well documented in previous entries, and my parsnips are still in the ground and still taste of absolutely nothing!! 

Chillies seem to be quite high on my list this year. I am very partial to them, and had some limited success. I have accepted a challenge from one friend, to plant on 1/1/13 and see who gets the first chilli. I have also joined a chilli trial another friend is running. I got a nice envelope in the post yesterday containing this.. 

Five little envelopes with three seeds in each. It looks like I shall have to take a bit of care not to mix them up. Not knowing what type of chilli they are is quite exciting, and I know I will probably bore you to death over the next 6 months with tales of my chillies.

My other project is my ongoing attempt to get a wildflower bank growing next to our stream. I sowed Yellow Rattle seed at the end of the summer as the first job, so watch this space ..  

Elsewhere in the garden all is very very quiet. I am still harvesting leeks, cabbage and Sprouts but thats all.. 

In my last blog I mentioned we were going on another of our adventures. We had a beautiful walk around a place a called Hengistbury Head. The beach there is home to some of the most expensive beach huts in the UK. In the summer we wouldn't dream of going anywhere near this place as it is usually packed. But on a crisp december day, we were the only people there.. 

It is a beautiful spot and unusually you are allowed to sleep in these huts. Thats why this was a headline last summer Beach Hut makes national news

Well thats about it for now, thought I had better just put on a quick update .. 

Christmas is fast approaching so here are a couple of festive pictures of the Christmas cake and door wreath I made and our Christmas Tree. To all of you that celebrate.. Happy Christmas, and to those of you that don't.. Happy Holidays. 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Its December so it time for Sprouts!

The few things I have left growing in the plot have been tested this week. We finally had a frost. Not a very hard one, but hopefully enough to give my errant parsnips a bit of flavour. It also meant that we could finally sample the Brussel Sprouts. 

I planted them months ago, and they have been slowly growing and taunting me with there lovely little sprouts. So it was time to give them a try. 

Out I went and picked the plant with the biggest on it. A few minutes later, and they were in the trug and back in the kitchen.

A quick peel and they were ready to be steamed. 

They were absolutely delicious. We had them with some chicken and mashed potatoes. I have literally hundreds ready to be eaten, so we shall be enjoying them for some time. I have promised a few to friends for Christmas. 

Nothing much else is going on that I haven't already reported, so here are a few pictures of the frost on the plants. I love how it makes them look. 

Not everything has suffered though. My brave little Antirrhinum are still happily flowering. (They are in the shelter of the house) 

These come from seeds I originally bought at The Lost Gardens of Heligan about 10 years ago. I keep as many seeds as I can each year and don't think I will ever have to buy them again. 

I have also taken a lot of cutting from my Penstemon. They have taken very well, so I should have lots of them next year as well. 

Once the frost has cleared, the sun came out and so the hens took the opportunity of a nice dust bath under a yucca plant. 

They were closely supervised by the ever present Gibson. 

Well thats it. It looks like tomorrow is going to be a nice day. Cold but clear, so we shall be off on one of our adventures. Watch out for pictures next week. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Is it raining?

Thats the first thought that has popped into my head every day since my last blog entry. Most mornings the answer sadly, has been Yes.. For those of you that dont live in the UK, our obsession with the weather is currently reaching epic proportions. It wont stop raining! and not just drizzle or the odd shower. Its torrential. So gardening hasn't been top of the list of things I have been able to do for the last couple of weeks. 

Today though, a glimmer of sunshine meant I was quickly outside for a proper inspection and to give the poor chickens house a clean, as I havent been able to do it properly for a while. 

I noticed the other day that Fat Bob and Big Dave the resident pigeons had been snacking on my brussel sprout tops. So I had to throw a couple of nets over them again to try and stop them. 

Luckily they are not interested in the sprouts themselves which at getting to be a nice size, If there is a frost later this week, as predicted, that will finish them off nicely and we can start eating them. 

Hopefully that will also add some flavour to my parsnips, which have now lost all of their greenery and are looking a bit of a mess. 

The Japanese Onions I planted a while back are trying to grow, but I dont think the rain is doing them any good, they have been stuck at this size for weeks. 

The broad beans are trying hard though.. There are now a number of promising sized pods on the plants and loads more flowers. 

Leeks and cabbages are still thriving and are gradually being eaten, but thats about it for the plants. 

I noticed a week or so ago that a rat or mouse was trying to dig under the henhouse and into the run. I filled in a couple of the holes and tunnels they dug, but they keep appearing. I dont want them in the run so today at the farm shop I purchased a nice big rat trap. 

I have some experience with these, as our last garden had a nest under a dead tree. I became very adept at disposing of crushed rats. So it didnt take long to set this one up with some nice tempting peanut butter. Hopefully by next week I can report the problem solve. Don't worry I wont post pictures!! 

And thats it. Brief but I thought I better post something as it has been a while. 

Gibson is up to all his usual things. Here he is enjoying a frozen banana this afternoon in the garden. 

And a couple of nights ago, on the beach in some wild weather, watching the foam from the sea flying into the air.

Finally, even though its November and horrible, the WInter Jasmine by my kitchen window is in full bloom, and makes for something cheerful to look at, whilst I do the dishes.. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The quiet months.

The periods between blogs are becoming longer as the days get shorter, and there is not a lot to report from my vegetable patch at the moment. 

I have had a couple of first's this week though. Finally I have harvested some of my winter vegetables. Savoy cabbage and leeks to be exact .

They were both planted when the garden was at its early stage of development and I have watched them grow over the summer, wondering if they would ever make it to the table. They have suffered slug attack and far to much water but seem to have survived nicely. 

A family lunch on sunday meant a quick inspection earlier in the week to see if I could use them. The answer was a resounding yes, so early sunday morning I was in the veg patch armed with my sharp gardening knife and my trug. 

I picked a suitable sized cabbage

And cut it free from the bed. a quick trim of some of the older leaves was also needed. 

Next was the leeks. 

I picked the 6 largest in order to let the others keep growing. 

They were all then popped in the trug for the trip up the garden

And after a lot of washing were prepared ready for lunch

They were delicious , even nicer as they were from my own garden. 

Nothing else much to tell you from the veg garden. My Japanese onions that I planted from seed a few weeks ago, are just poking above ground but are far to tiny to take a picture of. The sprouts look like they will be ready for the pot in  a couple of weeks, and there has still not been a ground frost, so the parsnips remain in the ground. 

A couple of our visitors from last winter have reappeared over this last week. 

The squirrel was nicking the bird food..

and the egret was taking some sunshine on the fence. 

Gibson is fully recovered from his surgery and back on top form. On saturday we went back to his breeders with 3 of his 7 brothers and his mum and uncle and a couple of other guest dogs.. What followed was an hour of total mayhem, but they all seemed to enjoy it and we did manage to get them to sit down for a couple of photos.

Gibson is far right. 

The daschund was called Dudley and he stood up for himself very well amongst this lot. 

and finally I have had an article, I submitted to the Thompson and Morgan website published there. Its about my first year as a new gardener. You can see it here

It is different to anything on this blog.. and on that note time to get on with my day. Hope you all have a great week