Veg Patch

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

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Broccoli For Dinner..

Finally after planting it on the 8th of February, my first lot of Broccoli is ready for the table. I have waited patiently and looked after it lovingly for months and I very nearly missed it. Yesterday after a couple of days away from the veg patch I went to carry out my daily inspection to discover that the first head, that I have photographed before, had started to flower... B**g$£r . 

I couldn't believe it all that effort and it was past its best. Jim in his truly understated style said "How many plants do you have" Me  "About 30" Him " Well we can chalk that one up to experience and don't let it happen again." You can't really argue with that logic can you? 

Anyway, Three head were saveable so here they are.



Not bad if I say so myself, so about 26 plants left to grow a nice head, and now these have been cut they should also grow some side shoots. 

So what else has been going on? well the oddly changing weather has caused most of my plants to grow in spurts. the sunshine of the last few days and the excess water means that my sprouts and carrots had got too tall for the enviromesh shelters they are hiding under. 



Sprouts first. Uncovered, there were some weeds to be dealt with.




The cabbages that were also under the mesh are doing very nicely. 

I had a rummage in my various boxes and found some more connectors for my lily poly tunnel pieces so as the mesh was wide enough I decided to add a third pole to the supports.


Its difficult to tell from this picture but these hoops are now about 3 feet high so that should be more than enough room. 15 minutes fighting the mesh and the addition of a large number of tent pegs, that I bought at our local camping shop, and the tunnel was recovered. 


Its a rather unusual shape now but it does the job, lets hope it can stand up to the high winds if they return. 

The carrots then got the same treatment. From this..


To this! I know this one is even stranger but I didn't have enough poles so I could only make every other hoop taller ! 



And the Broccoli and Kos I put under a plastic tunnel had also gone mad. 



Something has been having a little nibble. 



 This time I had nothing left to cover the Broccoli so it is left open to the elements and is taking its chances with all the birds and beasties.  I did have enough netting to cover the lettuce. 


Elsewhere in the garden, I dug the last two Duke of York potato plants. 


And harvested my first herbs from the Herb bed, Coriander and Chives. 




The Potato's have been very successful, Delicious. I can recommend them to anyone wanting to grow there own. I will be putting in two rows next year. 

The next crop is ready so watch out for the picture of the first Charlottes.

The animals are still happily coexisting. I put out some afternoon corn for the chickens yesterday and they were kind enough to share it with Gibson!


I'm not sure what mixed corn does to a dogs diet but he seemed to enjoy it! 


Finally we went for a walk around the Isle of Purbeck on Saturday. It was glorious and Old Harry Rocks looked great in the sunshine. 



Have a great week, we are just off now for a nice long walk with a pub lunch half way round.. Lovely. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The summers arrived.. Well this week !

Finally a good spell of sunshine. Everything outside seemed to sigh with relief on Monday. And with the arrival of the sun the plants all got down to the serious business of growing. 

Everything has put on lots of growth but still, apart from the very successful potatoes and the strawberries, nothing is ready to come indoors onto the plate.  The broccoli is so close. Another couple of days like this and we should be eating it. Sadly I have just watched the weather and it looks like normal rainy service will be resumed tonight!.

I have found myself, for the first time since we started the garden project, kicking my heals for something to do. I alluded in an earlier blog that patience is not one of my strongest points but its certainly out of my hands now. Its been too glorious to be inside, where there are plenty of things to be done, so I set about sorting out some bits and pieces that are purely ornamental. 

First was my Camellia. I have had two for about 20 years which have been growing in pots, as our previous home was on London Clay and no matter what you did, Camellias, Rhodies and the like just wouldn't grow. I had noticed here in the spring amazing arrays of the above mentioned plants in all the gardens around me, so it was time for the smaller of the two to make it into the ground! 

I noticed a couple of weeks ago, that both plants had Scale, so I have been treating them in readiness for planting. It took me a while to move around a few plants but I soon had a spot big enough for this one. 


It took two of us to wrestle it to the ground.


But no matter how hard we pulled we could not get it out of the pot. So drastic measures were called for, out came the power tools!  




Now I don't have pictures of the hole we dug. I say we, because I started it, but the ground was too heavy for me the deeper it got so Jim took over. I declared it big enough, so we lined up the plant and tried it, Of course, it was nowhere near big enough. The debate that followed went something like this. Jim "Did you measure the pot" me "No why" Jim Because then you would know how big a hole to dig" Me "I didn't think of that!" Jim - Much tutting heading up the garden to get tape measure. ! 


Anyway much digging later and another inspection by me and the hole was again declared big enough. 


This time it fit in perfectly. 


And very nice it looks too. I will post some pictures next Spring, If I haven't bored you all to death with my blog by then..


That job done it was time for a trip to the garden centre. I wanted to get some seed to plant in the gaps that I hope will soon be appearing in the beds. I was looking specifically for stuff that can overwinter or can be planted late and be ready before the frosts arrive. 


The choice was a bit limited but I ended up with some late Spinach, Broad Beans, Japanese Onions and Swede. Our diet may be a bit odd this winter!


I then wandered into the section with all the silly bits and pieces. I am always drawn to this area because it makes me smile. This time I bought things.


They advertise some silly colourful bouncing insects on sticks as bird scarers. I don't think my resident wood pigeons are scared of anything but I bought 3 because I thought they were amusing. They are now bouncing around in my salad beds. 








I know they won't scare anything but I like them, They make me smile. I then bought something a bit (Not much) classier to put in a bed nearer the house so I can see it from the Kitchen and Lounge windows. This one bobs up and down in the breeze. 





A bit of general tidying up followed. I cleaned away all the weeds around the water butts and planted some left over flowers, A Penstamon and some Nasturtium





When we put the one of the butts in, I failed to notice, as it was winter , that there was a dahlia planted in the ground where I put the butt. It has come up anyway between the butt and the sentry box and looks very nice.



Here are a few other flowering plants around the allotment.





The animals are enjoying the sunshine. The chickens right to roam has been restored, the plants are now all established and they are enjoying getting in under all the big shrubs. As you walk down the garden you can hear contented clucking coming from under a variety of plants. Even the Chickens have started to pose for the camera. As usual its Margot! 



Gisbon is his usual self. 




Thats it for this entry. Not much about vegetables but maybe next time, I will have cut my first broccoli stalk. Cross everything for me please..

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Its a Red Letter/Spud Day..

Very exciting news. The Duke of York Potatoes are ready and edible.. 

On 6th March I planted my 10 tiny Duke of York seed potato's. They were supposed to take 10 weeks to be ready. After the allotted time had passed, I sought some advice as the plants had not flowered. By this week I was beginning to think they never would and as you saw in the previous post they were no longer looking at their best. 

So on Monday morning between rain shower I went and had a little dig around under one of the plants. There were definitely potato's there so I covered them over and decided to wait for the flowers. 

Now patience is as they say a virtue.. I am not Virtuous, so Tuesday morning, once again dodging showers I decided it was time to dig a couple up and see what they were like.





 Two nice little muddy spuds were quickly dug up, they were a little larger than golf balls. 


And then given a wash and brush up. 


Peeled


Boiled 



Seasoned and a bit of butter added


Mashed


And served


Delicious


 Three small forkfuls each but my first attempt at growing potatoes is declared successful.


So this morning It was down to the patch again and this time with a lot more gusto I dug up two plants and recovered all of these.. 


We have just had them for dinner. I can get used to eating my own food very quickly. I never knew I would get so much pleasure and pride in growing my own.. If you haven't done so, give it a try, Ladies its better even than buying a new pair of shoes, and those that know how many pairs I have, realise that's a pretty big statement from me! 


Finally as they haven't appeared in my last couple of blogs,  a few quick snaps of the animals taken in our few brief hours of sunshine this afternoon. 


Margot was standing like this for ages, don't know why.


Babs and Geri were very comfortable under a bush. 


And Gibson was busy posing as usual.



Finally wishing you all happy sunny weekend ( I Wish, have you seen the weather forecast!)