Friday, September 28, 2007

Very chilly here in the morning! I think I am going to look into putting out a bit of plastic covering for some of the things that are still quite small.
Took some waste to the compost heap and had a quick mooch before work, the last beans are covered in flowers and lo! little tiny beans! So soon be eating our last (and probably only decent) beans, as the first lot didn't work that well. There will also be parsnips and beets, tomatoes and radishes to pick tomorrow, maybe even a leek or two and cabbage to cut. might get a decent meal out of the garden even!!

A friend gave me a terrific link for origami instructions for making pots out of newspaper, just right for the seedlings in the spring.
Newspaper Pots

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Things are slowing down in the garden, it's that time.
Had the big (but relatively interesting) job on Saturday of cutting down teh sunflowers. OMG I didn't realize how HEAVY they were! Of course I was on foot so ended up lugging about 12 kilos of flowerheads back home, where I wrapped the heads in newspaper and hung them up to dry. The seeds are looking really promising, very big and plump. Now just have to figure out what to do with them!!
The raspberries are still giving as are the little tomatoes, so we ate some of those over the weekend.
The strawberry runners I planted are being watched carefully. Some seemed to be dying off, but on closer inspection they are giving a little green crown in the middle so I guess they have rooted after all. 3 or 4 seem dead though, but I have some more rooted runners that I found around the initial patch so I have some replacements for those. Next year should be mega strawberry year, yum yum. In fact I must say that I find the fruit growing the most satisfying thing of all.
I also planted those nice roses that my friend gave me, four in the ground and one in a big pot. Wait till spring now and see if they take. I tied up my one chrysanthemum which was very floppy, it is full of flower buds and should give a spectacular display (they are white double heads).
I think that pretty soon there will be other things, the Brussel sprouts are forming and so are the leeks, I have flowers all over the late french beans and the carrots and beets are swelling. The handful of peas I planted are now bizarrely doing well, while all the spring ones were disastrous. Strange.
It is all going to be maintenance from now on, get some fertilising material in (MUST find poo!!!), sow more green manure wherever there is a patch and cut down all the things that will die off over the next couple of weeks. Hopefully having the whole winter period to prepare this year will mean a better harvest next spring.
Next step - take some pics for you all :-)

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Friday, September 21, 2007

One of my friends from work has just moved into a new house, and she has lots of roses in the garden. Strangely enough, she doesn't want them!!! SO her dad went out and dug them all up and pruned them back and she brought them all naked-rooted into work for us all to share. I ended up taking 5!!! Dunno where I will put them!! I suppose I could plant one outside my shed... and the others in the flower beds? I might try one in a big pot outside my windowsill at home, but everything I plant at home seems to die so I am sceptical.
Anyway she says they are bushy varieties with red flowers, a nice surpise next spring. For now they are in a big plastic bag at the lottie with the roots in sand and I will plant them out tomorrow.
So thank you Elodie for that kind gesture.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Oh yes
And I forgot this: an old-fashioned gardening calendar, the Gard'ners Kalendure from 1683. Still as relevant now as then!! Just goes to show that nature doesn't change (perhaps it will need revising for global warming in a few years???)


Lovely sunny weekend, even went to the beach on Sunday (first and last time of the year I would say). Walked down to the lottie on Saturday with Smallest one, and found that my fork had been put back in my shed for me, thanks to the old fellows that found it.
So I could dig up a few carrots :-D
Mostly harvesting:
The rest seems to be getting on as well as possible. We had a great time pulling snails off the leeks and sprouts. rotten buggers. We pulled them off by hand and put them, in a bucket which Smallest One then took round the side of the shed, emptied and trampled on. Yeugh.
I weeded a fair bit, hoed, watered, think I might get some good late carrots and beets from the last sowings, they are coming on quite well.
The next task will be to harvest the sunflower seeds, it is about their time. And more green manure sowing to fill in all the gaps before the cold season.

Friday, September 14, 2007

It was bulk rubbish collection today and I scavenged an old shower screen. I am going to try and build a cold frame with it for the spring so I can start off my little cucumbers, pumpkins, melons, peppers etc without taking up all the space in the pantry!!
It is amazing what people chuck out.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

I heard something very funny on the radio that made me think of ... Allotment Lady!! A lady was talking about her chickens, and she said that she had named them during the elections so they are all called things like Nicolas (Sarkozy, the president) who apparently is an arrogant little rooster that crows at 5 am and has a large sexual appetite. ha ha Why Allotment Lady? because of all her chicken stories of course!!
I would like to have chickens but we aren't allowed on our lotties.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Made a lightning visit to the lottie this morning - it would appear that my fork has been found! Chucked into the field next door. But one of the other chaps has locked it up for safe keeping so I will have to wait to get it back. They are ordering us some new locks for the sheds.
I planted a nice bay tree/bush that my friend gave me (thank you Elodie!!). It would be good it if started off before the cold weather.
I pottered around, picked some ripe strawberries and raspberries that I am now scoffing for my breakfast, a few ripe tomatoes and a courgette. A nice little surprise harvest there.
I watered the new plantations. Some of the strawberries have wilted but some are in fine form. There are still some runners over in the ground, I have a few replacements if they don't all take.
I have radishes coming up and some new spinach.
The garden still is messy and unstructured but at least now it looks like a real garden, tended regularly, with healthy plants in it. It could do with a good weeding though, and a tidy up. Must do that on saturday.
Next big job - lay the proper paths! Yes I keep saying it but I want to do it before the bad weather sets in. Will have to collect cardboard for the occasion, and get out the linseed oil that is in the cellar to oil up the wooden slats to protect them a bit. Once I get started I expect it will be quick and it will make a world of difference to how the plot looks!!

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Yesterday was quite a nice day here, we are in a sunny spell but unfortunately the temperature is now more autumnal than anything else. Oh well.
First surprise: the allotment site had been burgled! Lots of us (yes me included) had their sheds forced open. They seem to have nicked my fork, heaven knows what for. So I suppose I will have to buy another one, I can hardly claim insurance on a 10 quid fork can I?
Was more of a harvesting session in the garden. I picked:
So I felt quite a sense of achievement.
After that, my big task for the day: gathering up the strawberry runners and replanting a strawberry patch. In the end there were so many that I decided I needed to dig an entirely new bed, not just fanny around adding bits onto the existing one. In the end I planted 16 new strawberry plants! Not bad. On black plastic. That I extended well out to avoid weed contamination. So next season we should have a bumper crop of strawbs!
I get the impression that the weeds are coming to the end of their season. Which is good news, means a through tidy up of the plot will be possible pretty soon.
Other things are progressing: a few new courgettes have appeared, the cabbages are coming on splendidly as are the late carrots and beets. The green manure has sprouted, excellent news, and I can see signs of life in the seeds that were sown in the last fortnight.
On the downside:
The leeks have snails, must attend to that soon with a pair of gloves and a bucket (yeurk).
The lettuces have bolted.
The broccoli given to me by a neighbour doesn't look like broccoli, I think he has given me cow cabbage??? Oh well, I guess we will eat it anyway.
Ah the harvest is not really what I was expecting but I suppose that I was meant to consider this season as a learning experience so anything I get is bonus.

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ha ha for me who gets very confused over the names of various veg,e specially salad veg, found a good site:
The Cook's Thesaurus
I find it very confusing because I have to juggle with French names, UK names, Austalian names and American names. My brain hurts...


Yesterday was Monday and I had a day off. Not brilliant weather but at about 5 it brightened so the kids and I set off to the garden. We dug over the patch that I had covered (the former pea patch) and that was pretty easy, we pulled out some of the bindweed roots but of course it is too hard to get all of it out. We hauled the tarpaulin over to a new patch to kill the weeds, that will be the garlic patch in a few weeks time.
I dug, Smallest One was meant to be pulling out roots but she was actually pulling out worms and taking them down to the compost... Biggest one raked it over. They then went to pull the rocket seeds off the dried plants for me (but really it only caused squabbling, I will have to do more of it myself later in the week.)
Then we planted 2 rows of broad beans (a first timer there), the kids were surprised to see the beans when I opened the packet!!!
After that I put in some salad onions to overwinter, a row of red scarole lettuce (maybe it's called endive actually???) and a row of scarole lettuces for autumn/winter. Finally a little row of radishes, maybe we will get some of those if we are lucky.
[UPDATE!!!! that red thing I sowed is this:
click for pic]

The seeds I sowed in the summer are doing really well. I have dwarf beans that look ready to flower, carrots that seem to be working at last, a nice row of beets and more parsnips and the spinach is off to a flying start. I hoed a little bit but I had to hand weed some of it, teh hoeing was a bit scary for the seedlings.
I am also surprised by my raspberries. There are quite a few on the bush now waiting to ripen! It is Harvest, a late fruiter. Must get a couple of earlies next spring!!! I had thought that this being the first year I would get none. They are exquisite.
The physalis too is starting to ripen. The fruit "lanterns" start to dry on the bush and once they are papery you can harvest them. I was unfamiliar with it but it is terrific, I will make space for some more next year!!! :-D
I guess you could say that the autumn garden is shaping up better than the summer one...oh well, we can't help the weather can we???

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Well I feel like I have had a super productive week in the garden. On Friday evening I went to the local garden shop, it is a little nursery run by some older people and it has been established for a long time, and even though it is a bit more expensive than the chain stores, everything I bought from them has worked really well. They sold me my leeks and Brussel sprouts which are going great guns.
Anyway I let myself be tempted by some Milan wrinkly cabbages (with curly leaves!) and some landcress seeds and lo and behold they sold green manure!! in little bags, really cheap, 2 euros a bag of 250g. Phacelia and mustard. So I bought some of that too.
Saturday down to the lottie, pulled up the potato patch, what a disappointment, they were obviously poorly as I got about 3 kilos of spuds, probably more or less what I planted. Oh well, just have to manure a different patch and start that again in the spring. I fertilised that patch with my super organic pooey stuff (it's shop bought stuff made from seaweed, bird poo, some other stuff, anyway it's really powerful) and some of my own compost which is very nice looking now. Then planted the cabbages and sowed some of the green manure over the rest.
I then sowed a little row of this landcress, see what happens, I have never grown that before.
I harvested:
So that was quite a productive trip. But to be honest the harvest is really far from brilliant, last time I grew my own veg I would often come home with a boxful of various bits and bobs.

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