Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cute newt

There were lots of newts, all very busy - but my camera has quite a delay so I kept missing them by about thirty seconds. This is the only photo that I managed to get with a newt in shot. The others were all of random pieces of plant and empty stretches of water.

I only went up to pick a bit of spinach really!

Happy gardening (and newt sighting)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cutting the grass

I keep forgetting to take the camera. Today it was a real shame, the sun was out and half of the allotment looks pretty good. The other half is a work in progress! Talking of the other half, J should be arriving back from Amsterdam in about an hour but I don't suppose he'll make it home until eightish so I'm in a quandary about making him any supper. Or not. Hmm.

We did our first grass cutting of the year at the weekend. J on the strimmer and me with the shears. Teamwork. We've got a lot of grass on our allotment, a large patch around the old tree where nothing much grows, all round the edge of the pond and all the paths between the beds - and they all have to be strimmed. The ground is far too uneven to mow with the push mower that I keep at home for the pocket handkerchief sized lawn, so some years ago we bought a petrol strimmer. It's hard work using it but the results are great. Maybe we'll be able to have a barbecue round the tree for my birthday again this year. I love decorating the tree and putting up bunting for when all my friends come to enjoy the party. I do hope I remember the camera then.

The weather's certainly looking up. 21 C with a light warm breeze and I ended up in just a vest (well, not just a vest) as I put in two more rows of carrots and another of spring onions. I'm putting them next to each other to confuse the carrot fly. I also put in a tiddly little row of beetroot and made a bird scarer with canes, string and old CD's to put over the newly planted out broad beans. Useful things, old CD's, lovely and shiny, the light bounces off them and dances around over the patch you're protecting. I think the light moving around scares the birds better than the actual CD's.

When I leave to go home, it's always with the thought of the next thing I want to do. Next time I must find a space for the parsnip seeds. I nearly put some in the other day but it was so windy that when I poured my tea from my flask to my cup it missed because it flew out horizontally, so I didn't think it was a good day to sow parsnip seeds which weigh virtually nothing. They'd have gone everywhere! I've used up that space now, with the carrots and onions so I'll have to find another one.

Happy gardening (and grass cutting)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Invisible gardening

I planted another tray of beans today, in brilliant sunshine again. They’ve got ever so slightly too leggy waiting for me to get them into the ground so I hope they’ll be ok. It’s quite windy tonight (I can hear my garden wind chimes clanging away like anything) and I don’t want them to break.

I also applied the manure compost round the raspberries as I’d planned and even had time to take the black plastic off the strawberries, put lots of compost and Growmore around the roots and the put all the plastic back again. It’s one of those jobs that actually take quite a long time and when you’ve finished everything looks the same as before you started, so J wasn’t terribly impressed when he arrived and found me swigging tea having apparently not started yet!

I was tempted to stay longer than a few hours but I’m really busy this weekend and anyway, I didn’t want to miss Dr Who! How sad is that? Maybe I’ll have an hour tomorrow too. First, I’ve got to finish painting Roo’s ceiling and make sure his curtain pole goes up again. It’s taken a week to redecorate his room and we need to get it finished so he can get on and do some revision. He’s been having a very lazy time of it, sifting slowly through all his old stuff deciding what to take to the charity shop and what to keep, but the holiday’s nearly over now. Back to the AS level grindstone!

Happy gardening (and revising)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Good news about the raspberries

Today was the first time for ages that I've been to the allotment. I'm always saying that, aren't I? No wonder I always feel there's so many things I need to get on with when I'm up there! No time for chillin'!

I took a tray of broad beans and some lettuce seedlings with me and popped those in. The ground was surprisingly dry. If we don't get rain over the next few days I shall have to start watering. Plenty of water in the pond though. Sometimes in the summer we have to add bucketloads to make sure our frogs and newts have got enough to keep cool. The pic shows the pond with marsh marigolds and new rosy leaves emerging from the water lily.

Today's triumph is that the sticks I planted in the autumn have turned into raspberries. Hurray! I weeded all round them and plan to give them some yummy manure compost round their roots next time I go. The main source of food for my plants is manure compost, home made compost and Growmore but I've used a liquid seaweed feed in the past that's very good too. I also grow comfrey which I either add to the compost or make into a different liquid feed by steeping it in a bucket of water for a month or so.

The sun was hot, factor 15 hot, but I didn't have any with me so I probably added to my general leatheryness today. I must remember to put a tube of sun cream in the bag. That'll definitely make it rain! Not that I'm supersticious, you understand!

The leeks are at their peak now so I pulled a few more to take home. I also picked spinach, purple sprouting broccoli and lots of rhubarb. I'm going down to Somerset tomorrow to see my parents and I always try to take some of our own produce with me. I look a bit bonkers on the train sitting clutching a basket of vegetables but what the heck....

Happy gardening