Veg Patch

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

Friday, 24 August 2012

Carrotastrophe!

Its official. I am never growing carrots again. I dont remember if I have mentioned it before but I dont actually like carrots much. If I have a choice of vegetables its definitley at the bottom end of my list. 

My carrot year has been pretty well documented. There was the first flush of excitement when they sprouted. 



Then the realisation that they were soon to come under attack and the efforts I took to make sure that didn't happen. 


Then the disappointment as I dug my first carrot.



Bu unknown to you , I had another row!! hidden away under enviromesh, ready a bit later than my first effort, so now it was time to dig them. 

The tunnel was a little bit weedy but I had high hopes. 


So out came the first. It was a lovely size and looked OK. 


Then I had a closer look. The air turned blue. Hope the neighbours weren't spying on me as usual.. It had a very neat hole in the top where it had been invaded by something.. 


So out came another


Same Problem. 


So I give up.  I refuse to waste any more precious space, growing something I don't like that much anyway, and is always going to be a target for those that do like them. 

Elsewhere in the garden things are looking great. Its going to be very Windy here over the winter. The sprouts are forming nicely.


And my Savoy Cabbage looks great. 


I planted a row of late Broad Beans a while back and they are growing well 


But despite being protected, my Purple Sprouting Broccoli has been devoured. I must have trapped something under the mesh, when I covered the plants and it has had a fine feast. 


And the last of my Kos, that we haven't managed to eat,have had got a bit out of control, so it was time for them to go in the compost. 



So thats it for the plants. 

This morning I wandered into the greenhouse, "Phew whats that awful smell." I thought something must have got in and hidden itself away to die. It was revolting. I searched everywhere, moved everything that was on the floor but couldn't find the source of the pungent aroma. It was very odd. During my search I had picked up a few bits of rubbish so I flicked open my greenhouse bin and the smell hit me full in the face.. I was gagging. And then suddenly it came to me. Three days ago I had dropped one of the chickens eggs on the floor in the greenhouse. I wiped up the mess with a bit of kitchen roll and dropped it all in the bin, meaning to take the bin bag with me when I left. My memory being what it is these days, I obviously didn't remove the bag and was now suffering the consequences. Oh well that has taught me two things. 

1. Be more careful with the newly laid eggs and

2. Dont forget to empty the bin. 

Gibson has had his usual fun week. He came and sat with us when we were taking some sun on the grass. 


And then he snuck off with my new gardening gloves when I wasn't looking, and had an afternoon snack.. 


Out and about this week we went on a group walk with a friend around Brockenhurst. We visited St Nicholas Church. What an amazing place. It has lots of interesting things in the Churchyard. The first thing you see in a huge Yew Tree.  The website for the church describes it as follows:-

Adjoining the church to the south-west is the Great Yew-Tree. Its girth, which was 15 feet in 1793 and over 18 feet in 1930, is now (at 5 feet from the ground) more than 20 feet. As the trunk is hollow the increase may be partly due to the spreading of the split sides of the trunk. Some of the branches reach out to a distance of 30 feet. Various reasons have been suggested for the planting of yew-trees in church-yards; to screen the church from the violence of the wind; to provide wood for long-bows, to shelter the assembling congregation; and to serve, by their funereal appearance, as an emblem of mortality.
The Yew was carbon dated in the mid 1980’s and a certificate stating that it is over 1,000 years old will be found on the wall by the font.

It was worth visiting just to see the tree, but as we walked deeper into the Churchyard we saw a very ornate gravestone dedicated to a man named Harry Brusher Mills, who apparently was a snake catcher. Click on his Name to find out more. 



Picture from http://www.southernlife.org.uk/brusher_mills.htm

And then finally most unexpectedly we rounded a corner and walked into a Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery.



The church website describes it as follows:-

On the east side of the central level of the cemetery are the graves of more than a hundred New Zealand, Indian and other soldiers who died in the field hospitals at Brockenhurst during and after the first World War.  By order of the Imperial War Graves Commission the original white wooden crosses were replaced in 1924 by engraved head-stones, and the impressive memorial cross was erected in 1927.

A very interesting walk rounded off with a very pleasant pub dinner.. 

Hope you all have a great week


Sunday, 19 August 2012

A very normal week

They dont happen here very often but after all of the things that have been going on lately this has just been a very plain normal boring week.. The garden seems to have sensed that as well and has been doing its best to cause me problems. 

Firstly I mentioned last time that my tomatoes had blight but thought I had saved a few.. I was wrong. I went out one morning to discover that overnight they once again had got into a terrible state, so there was nothing else to do but dig them all up and get rid of them at the tip. It was quite heartbreaking. I had spent months looking after them and now they were gone. 


and now only an empty space where they used to be.. 



I did have a success this week, only a tiny one but it was very nice. I finally picked my first home grown chilli


and used it in a pasta sauce



It wasn't that hot but it was very nice. Will have to find a more fiery variety for next year.  My green peppers have also had a bit of a growth spurt this week.


I planted my Seedy Penpal seeds last week and they have grown surprisingly quickly. In a week everything I planted has sprouted. 

The dwarf beans are growing rapidly



and all the winter brassicas are coming on nicely. I should be able to plant them out by the end of the month. I certainly have plenty of space for them now. 




I need to check when I can start digging my leeks. Its probably not for a while yet but they are getting to be a decent size. 


And my sprout plants now have little sprouts forming on the stalks. Couldn't get a picture through the netting so they will have to wait to make an appearance on here. 

The butternut squash are getting big, but some have started to rot and others are escaping from the bed. 



I planted far too many lettuce, so the ones we haven't got around to eating yet are starting to look rather odd, in fact they are really only good for the compost bin, thats a job for later.. 


My the leaves on my rhubarb which is only in its first year, have started to die. Does anyone know if this is supposed to happen or am I going to have to try and sort that out?


The leaning tower of Barton is in danger of falling over now as the weight of the sweet peas on it is huge..


The flowers in the beds are looking very pretty though


Another question, should I cut back the asparagus ferns of just let them die? 


In case you are wondering, I also planted some Cosmos in that bed, Asparagus doesn't flower .. Or at least I don't think it does.. 

So outside of the garden, we have been canoeing on the Beaulieu River this week with New Forest Activities to which we have a family link. we had a lovely evening on the water with a nice pub dinner. Gibson enjoyed it as well.. 


And Friday evening we went down to the beach at Lepe Country Park and so that we could watch the fireworks for the end of Cowes week on the Isle of Wight. It seemed a bit rude not to barbecue a few sausages whilst we were waiting. 


Actually reading this back, it wasn't such a normal week after all... 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

More Olympic Gardening ..

This week its been Olympic digging stuff up and Olympic Seed sending oh as well as a trip to, you guessed it, "The Olympic Park" . Before you start reading I also have to warn you that this is an Olympic size blog entry, so you may need to go and get a power drink before you start reading.. 

So starting at the beginning of the week, I left you with the news that I was finally going to make home grown tomato sauce. I did and it was wonderful. I was able to use my home grown shallots as well, sadly the chillies were not big enough last week, (Although they are now) so I had to use shop bought. I am not going to describe the process, I think the pictures speak for themselves. 








It was delicious and I have a few more red ones today so I am going to make some up and freeze it for another day. 

Now digging stuff up - My broccoli never came to much, we had a few heads but the weather didn't do it any favours at all, last week I noticed a strong smell of rotting veg near the broccoli bed and realised that the stems were now rotten and they had run to seed. 




The carrots in the same bed were also in a bit of a state. These were the ones that I had previously dug and found to suitable, only for the residents of Lilliput.




They did look pretty but, I had some purple sprouting broccoli that needed the space, so it was time to dig it up. So the broccoli went to the compost and the carrots were dug and put aside for the dog to eat, as they were no good for us. 





The purple sprouting broccoli then took its place.





So that was them in, elsewhere things are still growing.. Finally I have butternut squash



And my second attempt at peas have appeared, the first lot were rubbish. 


My winter potato collection is also now in. 


Sadly though Blight has struck again. I lost my potato foliage to it and it started on my tomatoes but I thought I had got all the affected leaves off, After a trip to London and 24 hours away from the plot, it took hold again. Thursday I was sad to see that a lot of my Sungold variety were blighted but the Alicante wasn't anywhere near as bad. 



I had to pull out 4 plants and the remainder all had large number of leaves cut off, so lets wait to see if I have saved them. They look a bit odd now and the bed looks empty.




Thankfully it hasn't got in the greenhouse so those plants are still flourishing. 

There are lots of flowers out now as well. I planted them randomly amongst the veg and they look very pretty



Seeds next. I have mentioned a scheme called SeedyPenpals before and this week saw the first round of seed swapping. The basic premise is that twice a year, I swap seeds with a like minded person somewhere else in the Uk or Europe, and then blog about the subsequent successes or failures. The spreadsheet arrived and I found I was to send seeds to a Lady called Clare in Devon and to receive seeds from Solly in Sussex. They both write blogs so If you click on their name you will go to them. Solly's video of the cutting of his Giant Cabbage is a masterpiece and not to be missed (Typed with tongue in cheek) An entertaining round of tweets and emails later and postmen in the south of England were carrying our bounty in their sacks. 

My seeds from Solly arrived very promptly. 


He suggested as it was a bit late in the year, that I planted the dwarf beans in the greenhouse.. Good Idea, so out I went and in they went. 



The pack was marked and put away.


And an entry added in my planting Diary. I don't think I have mentioned this before. I write down everything I plant, when it starts to grow, when I pick it and what it tastes like. This should help me next year to plan my planting better. 


He also sent me Silver Chard, Cavalo Nero, Spinach, Chioggia Beets, and various cabbage and greens. These were all planted in seed trays to get them going in the greenhouse before I plant them out. 



Now what did I send, Well Clare told me she had an allotment and a Balcony and she liked herbs and any veg, so I tried to pick stuff that she can plant now. I sent, Basil, Rocket, Spinach, Broad Beans, and Japanese Onions. and for a bit of colour, some Bird of Paradise that I got in Madiera and some wild Lupin seeds that I picked from the plants on our beach earlier this year. 




They were packed up and with a note from me are currently in the post and hopefully arriving with her this morning. 

Now time for the obligatory pet picture. The chickens were enjoying a few strawberries on the lawn and Gibson was determined to get his paws on them, The chickens though, were not having any of it and they defended their strawberries valiantly .. No fruit for the Puppy.. 



And finally, Our weekly trip somewhere this week was to London. More specifically Stratford. Of the 50 tickets I applied for in the Olympic draw, the only ones we were lucky enough to get were for the Athletics on the evening of the 8th of August. So the morning dawned, raining on the south coast and we set off on our adventure. 2 hours in the car, then and 1 hour on the tube and we finally arrived at Stratford. 


I think you will have heard lots of descriptions of the Park and the Atmosphere on the Tv and they are all right.. having spent 30 years commuting into London I was amazed at how well organised it all was and how easy it was to get on the tube. It was wonderful, everyone smiled, no one pushed or hurried!! 

The park was beautiful with lovely gardens. 



We wandered around for a while then headed to the stadium.


Our seats were almost on the roof, but we had an amazing view. 



So much happend, too much to describe, but the highlight was seeing the 200 metres mens semi-finals with Ussain Bolt.. wow, he looked like he was out for a sunday stroll. (Not quite as easy in the final though)  



We headed back South happy and wondering if we can save up to go to Rio!! 

Well thats it, sorry its been a bit long, but we have had a very special week.. hope you enjoyed sharing it with me.