Monthly Archives: October 2010

RIP Bugpuss

Bagpuss August 1992 - October 2010

A few Sundays ago our family cat Bugpuss died; he was eighteen and up until the last week had been in mostly good health.

We got him when he was six weeks old, he was the same age as my youngest sister. He was born on one of the chicken farms my dad use to work on in an old car engine. My dad brought him home one evening after work in an iron box and he was a complete surprise (to us kids any way), we have had dogs since I was born but he was our first cat and I remember very clearly his arrival with us.

Baggy and Middles - 7th August 2010

A few evening before he died he had walked out in front of a car coming up the road, luckily the driver saw him and slowed down but he didn’t realise what had happened and just carried on across the road at a gentle walking pace.

After that we kept him in and then on the Sunday I think he had a stroke and then later he started fitting and lost consciousness and died a few hours later.

Autumn tasks

We took three lambs down for meat this morning, with another two booked in for next week. We have too many lambs for our own freezer this year, which is still full of mutton, pork and possible even some beef, so I have been busy on forums and local food groups finding buyers for this years meat.

We have bought a new ram this year, a Cotswold. Our old ram is, well, getting very old now.

Our new ram - 5th of October 2010

He has fitted in well with the other sheep and settled down straight away to being on a common. He is very much looks like one of this years Cotswold cross lambs and has joined one of the ‘gangs’ of lambs.

At the weekend we also sorted the goats out and moved them around so as they are all with the right males for next years kidding. A few weeks ago we got a call from the couple we sold the Jelly Bean Babies to a few years ago as because of an accident they were no longer able to keep them and so we have had them back.

Knightshade out on the green before moving him in with 'his girls' - 17th of October 2010

After getting the Jelly Beans they bought a lovely Anglo Nubian called Lilah who we are putting in kid as well. We are putting the Jelly Beans in kid as well and then finding them a new home together as we really don’t have room for them and I would like to keep ‘my pure breeds’, they will make someone very nice milkers.

Everything is very much feeling like autumn now, and starting to be about planning for next year.

Planning for next year

My first seed order has arrived for next year. I received the D.T Brown catalogue and as I have decided I need to grow more, or even just some, flowers next year I decided to order those along with a couple of new varieties and some seeds I can’t buy from The Real Seed Company later this year or at the start of next.

I bought Sweet peas – Singing the Blues and Horizon mixed, Cornflowers, Sweet William, Poached Egg Plant, Love in a Mist, Nemesia and lots of Sunflowers – Garden Statement, Ring of Fire and Earth Walker.

For eating I have bought some Cape Gooseberry – Golden Berry. Soya bean – Elena, Brukale – Petit Posy which is a new variety crossed between a Brussel Sprout and Kale and a climbing bean called Festival which is also a new variety and is like a runner bean that will stay on the plant for longer without becoming ‘old’. They also sent me a free trial seed Butterhead which is a lettuce.

I’m hoping to be much more organised with seed sowing next year (and everything else) especially with things like beans which I think have suffered from my lack of bed readiness for them, and then again from my refusal to water anything that was in and growing through the second spell of dry weather.

I only have room for four and a half more beds at the allotments and I am hoping I can have them finished by Christmas and be ready with a plan as to what is going where and when, although my crop rotation planning keeps being left for anything vaguely interesting as I have created a bit of a nightmare by mixing everything up so much this year. A rotation will also mean I know which beds, like the squash and bean beds, should be having all the manure heaped upon them over the winter months ready for a mammoth crop nexy year

The pick of the crop

I harvested my Boston Squash on Saturday. After being away for a night I started getting jumpy about a possible frost happening and losing them before the chance to try them.

Day of harvest - 2nd of October 2010

The plants have done well, all but one have produced a large squash and tried to carry on and produce more but these monsters seem to have taken all the energy and although other fruits have set they have started to rot on the plant before getting to full size or ripening.

A car full; we had to put the back seats up to get them home and that is my hand on the largest squash - 7th of October 2010

Last night we tried the first one, I picked the second smallest up by its stalk which was a big mistake as it fell straight off and so was picked first for using up as it won’t store well. We had it roasted with rosemary and it was very nice!

There is still plenty left for tonight’s dinner. I am planning on making a creamy soup which will use some of the rest up and tomorrow we shall have to think of something else.

One meal down, a few more to go - 7th of October 2010

They are all far to big to weigh using any of the scales we have, 5kg being the heaviest, but this one weight over 8kg after being seeded and halved.

Definitely one to grow again next year.

A visit to Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens

Well, last week I went and visited the Eden Project which was amazing and I will post more about soon but first I thought I should write about my visit to Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens earlier last month.      

The glasshouse in "Vegetable Way" - 11th of September 2010

I went with middle-younger-sister when they were open to the public for free as part of Heritage Open Days and we both agreed that we were glad we hadn’t paid to get in which sounds like a very negative way to start as we did enjoy the day.      

The Biodynamic Garden - 11th of September 2010

The site is split into lots of different garden areas my favourite being the Biodynamic Garden, it is their newest garden and already they are seeing a difference in the crop yields from it. The garden is enclosed with a wall that looks like it could be made of straw bales which makes it feel warmer than the other areas, not that it was a cold day.      

I have known about Biodynamics for a little while now but not really understand what it was until mother had it explained to her on a course “Biodynamics is about waking the soil up and reminding it to look after itself” was a very simple description that has clicked with both of us and we have since been out and bought a ‘Biodynamic Preparation‘ for the garden and I think I will (again) try to stick to a moon sowing and planting calendar for next year – but this time using a biodynamic one.    

'All Muck & Magic' TV Garden - 11th September 2010

The other garden that I like was called the ‘All Muck & Magic’ TV Garden. It was the first garden that was made on the site and is the size of an average garden in Coventry, which is about half the size of one of my allotment plots!! And I have three of them!    

In spite of this it felt like a nice little space and had everything packed in – vegetables, flowers, a pond, a seating area and even a (very) mini greenhouse. I’m not so sure it would have felt so peaceful if there was someone else’s garden either side and either a road or another garden at the end but I am very used to having plenty of space around me even in a big house full.    

The garden was made as part of a TV series, each week they made a different corner of it and the garden was named after the television series.  

We got there just in time for one of the guided tours and in one of the gardens (I think it was the compost garden) they showed us an experiment they have been running with leaf mould, green manures and a control bed. Each year they have added more leaf mould to the leaf mould bed, green manure to the green manure bed and nothing to the control bed. The leaf mould bed has out done the other beds year after year and with a rotation of different crops. Very interesting stuff, especially given where we live and that we seem to have a valuable resource each year that goes completely unused. I think this autumn we shall be making some leaf litter bins and gathering up what leaves the goats and sheep don’t eat ready for next year.  

Low Maintenance Landscape - 11th September 2010

Another area was the “Low Maintenance Landscape” which is a form of gardening they use in public places in Germany and is now starting to be used in the UK.  

Plants are picked that are hardy, offer different levels of cover, flower for long periods and have attractive seed heads. Only one day a year of care is needed and that day is spent cutting everything down in winter ready for regrowth in the spring, no watering or feeding is needed throughout the year. 

R

11th of September 2010

 Garden Organic also run the Heritage Seed Library and there is an interesting looking seed saving room inside and some information about the law around selling seeds. In the 1970s legislation was passed making it illegal to sell seed from plants or varieties that were not registered on either the National List or the European Common Catalogue. Seed companies are charged for registering seeds on these lists and it is thought, although exact figures are not known, that over 2000 varieties have been lost in just the 40 years since the legislation was passed. 

The Heritage Seed Library and companies like the Real Seed Company play an important part in keeping unlisted varieties going.

A wet and windy morning

There are some ups to weather like todays; warm and wet. 

Ink caps - 3rd of October 2010

 

Turning a little to the left - 3rd October 2010

 

And standing back for a look - 3rd October 2010