Veg Patch

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

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Vegetable Porn, Flowers and Wheels

I will start this blog with a warning. This is not an X Rated post but something rather odd happened recently.

A couple of days after my last post, in which I wrote about my chillies and specifically one which from now on will be known only as Peter, the traffic to my blog jumped by huge numbers. As a blogger you like to know if anyone is actually reading what you write, so it is possible to see how many people are reading and how they found the blog. 

Amazed at the numbers of people I clicked on the rather normal sounding website link, that they were all finding me from. GOOD GRIEF!!! my screen filled with ladies doing all sorts of strange things. I quickly closed the page and went to make a strong cup of tea. 

What on earth was going on, then it dawned on me, somehow, the fancy internet search engines, that index my blog had decided, that because of the proper name of my chilli, I was a porn site, and somehow they were directing people who wanted to see what I had just seen to my blog. 

And then I started to laugh, imagining lots of teenage boys quietly hiding away in bedrooms all over the world plucking up the courage to look at porn, and what did they get, my garden, complete with hens, and puppies. I hope that the blog appealed to some of them, and they are now more interested in gardens than Porn.. Not much hope of that !! 

So back to the garden.

I have always loved flowers and have spent a huge amount of money over the years buying them. I have read loads of other peoples blogs in the last year and realised that It would be very simple to grow my own flowers as well as vegetables. So this year I decided to give up one of my beds to them. 

I have told you about the seeds I bought in previous posts and having planted them out, now was the time to thin them . There is nothing more sad than having to thin out and sometimes throw away plants you have grown. 

The seedlings were growing nicely in regimentally (well almost) straight rows, now the bed needed to be a bit more random. 

I plucked up the courage and started to thin and relocate as many plants as I could

I now have a bed very full of flower seedlings. They should put on a lovely display and I will no longer be spending huge amounts of money on cut flowers. 

I have also planted some in pots and placed them on one of my recycled cable tables. 

I do have a flower out already on the patch. My chives have flowered. We have been eating lots of them, but they are just growing quicker than we can eat them. The flowers are very pretty.. 

I finally got around to moving the staging out of the greenhouse and have planted all of my growbags. The plants have responded with lots of growth. 

I have succeeded in growing my first ever cucumber. Its very exciting.. tiny but growing by the day

And then on to Wheels!! As part of our quest to live the Good Life, Jim and I have invested in a classic car. I have mentioned it previously and delivery is now getting ever nearer. It is currently in France undergoing a complete restoration. The car, a TR6 comes with its original steel wheels but we both had a hankering for some very fancy wire wheels. So we invested in a set, very expensive but worth it. 

The spinners in the centre are beautiful. I cant wait to see them on the car. Of course they needed tyres, so today they have been to Vintage Tyres at Buealieu. And they now look like this. 

So the TR6 arrives within a month. But those of you who have known me for lots of years will remember that I have owned a sports car before. In 1981 I bought myself a rather tatty little MG Midget. I loved it and Jim and I had some wonderful adventures in her. 

She was sold in 1984 to pay the deposit on a house. I often wondered what had happened to her, and buying the TR6 spurred me to action . With the help of the MG owners club, I was able to discover that she is still a much loved little MG Midget, living in Surrey. One major change in a restoration done on her 10 years or so ago , she is now white. 

Hopefully over the summer, the current owners are going to bring her down to see us. 

Well thats all for now, and if you are one of my new readers, who joined after my last post, this is a much healthier way to spend your days!! 

Saturday, 18 May 2013

How does my garden grow - Rapidly!

So after months of crap weather and waiting and waiting for the right temperatures to plant things out, its a busy time getting everything in. Plants are popping up all over. Some are appearing when I had given up hope of them actually growing. I am learning that Patience is definitely a major part of being a good gardener. 

So now the race is on to get everything in before it gets too leggy. Or needs potting on again!

First the chilli's. I mentioned back in the depths of winter, that along with a group of other people I met through Twitter, we were having a chilli trial. I was sent three seeds of five varieties to grow. There were a lot of failures. The ones known as Number 1, 2 and 4 were a complete failure, but the 3 and 5 plants are romping along. 

They are now in very large pots and in flower. 

Lets hope they produce lots of nice hot fruits. My other chilli plants, Dorset Naga, Habanero and Peters Penis are doing well but are not as big as these varieties. 

SeedyPenpal news next. Rebecca sent me something called an asparagus pea. I thought they were flowers until I looked them up, Apparently they grow a pea that literally tastes like asparagus. The interesting thing about them is the leaves. They are a really pretty shape and I have noticed when I go to close up the greenhouse in the evenings, the leaves all close up. I assume I have to train them like normal peas but they are a long way off that. 

I shall let you know how they are doing. 

Everything else is in varying stages of getting into the ground. The four different squash were all outgrowing the tray so they were next in. 

I bought a courgette plant this year that apparently grows upwards and can be trained. I thought this might prevent the fruits rotting as they lay on the soil. Of course once again this meant another bamboo and string construction 

Lets hope its strong enough to support three plants. The remaining varieties went in next to the Peas. Vegetable Spaghetti, Pumpkins and Butternut squash.

Beans next, a row alongside the leeks with more to follow , although I may be out of space 

I also did a bit of companion planting in this bed and popped in some Nasturtiums. 

Then on to the salad bed. The radishes I planted in pots in the greenhouse were getting very bushy so a lot of tedious pricking out later they were in. 

I have planted more seeds in the gap you can see and the net is to keep Bob and Dave the pigeons from eating them . 

I now have five very healthy looking rows of potatoes. Hopefully we will be blight free this year as they are all Sarpo varieties. 

The first two greenhouse grow bags are in with 3 more to follow

Tomatoes in the back bag

Aubergines and Habanero in the front. 

The Asparagus is starting to go to flower. Its such a shame to let this happen but next year it will be eaten. Leaving for two years has allowed the crowns to become established so they should provide lots of spears, when we start cutting them. 

This is how its all looking at the moment

So thats it for the Vegetables. 

The animals are all on good form

And my lovely old camellia has settled into its new spot beautifully. 

Thats all for now, next time I will hopefully be able to write about my new cut flower bed. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A May planting frenzy

Finally its warm enough to start putting stuff in the raised beds. I have spent many happy hours this last week outside pottering, planting, weeding and building more string and bamboo construction.

The Great Wall of Barton was in need of something growing over it. My peas were rapidly outgrowing the pots they were in, so it was time to put them in. But there was one thing worrying me. Slugs. As Gibson is now allowed into the vegetable garden, I didn't want to put pellets down as without a doubt he would eat them. So after some research I decided to try something called Nematodes. 

Basically they are roundworms and if they are in the soil in big enough quantities they will eat the slugs. So I have signed up for a summer long supply of this product.

The packet contained 12 million roundworm larvae which I was required to mix with water and water in to the beds. It also said to do it in the evening, This meant it needed storing for a while. The label on the pack was pretty clear. 

So I popped it in the fridge. Jim was a little surprised that I was storing 12 million worms next to the cheese, but it was only for a few hours and it was very well sealed. 

They were watered in that evening and then I had to wait a few days for them to grow before I could plant. 

Back to the peas. They were ready a raring to go 

Didn't take long to plant them. 

Next was the Mange Tout. I spent a few hours with the string and bamboo and made another frame. This time it was in a large pot, as I don't have enough space for them to be in a raised bed

And then the brassicas. These are the plants that come under attack the most, from Birds, Slugs and Butterflies, so some serious protection was needed. 

Sprouts and Savoy Cabbage were wrapped up in this bed, which took hours to construct. 

The final things to go in this week are my first alicante tomatoes. Last year, the greenhouse ones were brilliant but those outside suffered badly from blight, so I have decided to only plant in the greenhouse this year. This means I am going to have to take out some of the staging, which is currently covered in plants, so at the moment, I can only get a few in.

Thats it for planting, now some digging up. I am also trying to turn the bank of the stream that runs along our boundary, into a wildflower bed. I saw lots of this growing. It wasn't there last year, so I was hopeful that some of the thousands of seeds I have thrown around had taken. I posted a quick picture on twitter to find out what it was, to my dismay the answer was Ragwort. 

For those that don't know, it is an invasive weed which is toxic to horses. it also spreads very rapidly. I therefore spent a lot of time digging out all the plants. There are still lots of small ones, I am leaving until they get a bit bigger and easier to get out. So long as they don't flower, I should be able to get rid of it. 

And finally something that is ready to eat. Rhubarb. The crowns are growing like mad, after the flowers were cut off. I cut some !! 

I decided to use a recipe I had been directed towards on the BBC Good Food website . Rhubarb Crumble Muffins use the link and make them, they are wonderful

The garden is alive with the sound of birds singing and this little chap was a bit brave, he flew in the Greenhouse to pinch some of the hens corn. Jim rescued him, but after he had taken this brilliant photo. 

It was a busy weekend for Gibson. Saturday was our local May Fayre and they had a dog show. We entered him in Most Handsome Male and Best Puppy. He came Second in the first class  and Third in the second. He was pretty pleased with his haul of rosettes. 

and then on Sunday we went to the New Forest Spring Fair. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed it very much. A nice lunch of Hog Roast and beer was enjoyed by all of us (Well not the beer for Gibson) 

Thats it for now. Have a great week .