Monthly Archives: May 2011

Front garden

This weekend has been busy and, mostly, very productive. I have signed up for the village open gardens at the beginning of July and so with a favourable moon day (fruit) and a final idea of what I wanted to do I’ve spent some time planting out and sorting things out.

The front garden is mostly concert steps leading up to a patio area, where all my seedlings are currently, and a sort of raised bed which has some old shrubs in and very poor soil. I’m still not sure what to do with the shrubbed area but have been collecting buckets and boxes for the rest of it.

Alpine strawberrys ripening in front of the house - 22nd May 2011

Alpine strawberries ripening in front of the house - 22nd May 2011

 I bought home lots of wooden fruit creates when I was working at festival earlier in the month and have lined them with cardboard, filled them with pony poo and put them along the wall before planting them up with dwarf french beans and bush courgettes;

Bean box - 22nd of May 2011
Bean box – 22nd of May 2011
Courgette boxes - 22nd of May 2011

Courgette boxes - 22nd of May 2011

I have lined the top of the wall with grow bags, in the top of photo above, which  are filled with ever-bearing strawberry plants and patty pan squashes 

Ever-bearing strawberries - 22nd of May 2011

Ever-bearing strawberries - 22nd of May 2011

I have planters with more strawberries and salads up one side of the steps

Strawberry and salad planters - 22nd of May 2011

Strawberry and salad planters - 22nd of May 2011

And potato planters, planted with Rocket and Kestrel, along the other

Potato planter - 22nd May 2011

Potato planter - 22nd May 2011

And along the patio, as well as all the trays of seedlings, I have cucumbers, salad and a Passion Fruit along with lots of hanging baskets which Rhys put up for me whilst he was on holiday!

More photos on my Flicker

Mostly of things growing

It feels like I haven’t blogged in a long time but really it is just a week or so. So much is happening at the moment and at the same time nothing at all…

The weather has made it feel like we should be in the depths of summer but really it is still only spring and only just time to sow many things. My patio is filled with trays and pots of differing plants and plantlets at different stages of growth and the heat seems to have had a knock on effect in growth even with the tiny little plants which are watered every other day or some; they have shot up since the recent rain started.

Work at the allotment seems to have been on hold for a while for no really reason but last weekend I finally managed to start making an impact, even though it is only one that I will notice. Still the sea of green that my allotment has turned into has pleased me;

Allotment; before the weekend - 7th May 2011

Allotment; before the weekend - 7th May 2011Allotment; after the weekend - 8th May 2011

 Above the allotments on Saturday and then below the allotments on Sunday evening

Allotment; after the weekend - 8th May 2011

Allotment; after the weekend - 8th May 2011

It is so healthy looking. Ok it looks unloved and unruly and has been making my heart sink a little when I walk in through the gates but if you look probably, and maybe screw your eyes up just enough so as the nettles aren’t instantly identifiable as nettles, it is a little slice of green and lushness in amongst old pasture land. This plot down from mine is a path away and has been vacant and uncared for since the beginning of winter;

Next allotment over (with my potato bed in front)

Next allotment over (with my potato bed in front)

There is such a difference in the two, even covered in weeds there are still pickings to be had on my plots; wild salad leaves and nettles.

Rainbow over stormy skies - 8th May 2011

Rainbow over stormy skies - 8th May 2011

I am pleased with the difference my no-dig system is having too, I can tell the difference between the top layer of soil, which is dark, crumbly and lovely to handle, to that underneath which is clay like and until this weekend one dry lump. Oh, and the worms!! In one of the gardening books mother was given for her birthday there is a soil fertility test; if you have 4 worms in a spades depths of soil then you are working with good stuff, I have loads morn then that!

At home the  back garden defies me. It is in two parts; part a is a dry, dusty and old bonfire heap, part b is covered in brambles, ivy and bind weed. I want to level the bottom part off to have somewhere we can sit out and then have my greenhouse and vegetable beds higher up… It is going to take hard work and some time to get it to that stage. I have bought some chickens home to clear the weeds and they are doing their job ok. If all I get done this year is a few veg beds for winter ‘stuff’ back there I will be happy.

The front garden, which is mostly concerted over, now has a final plan to it for this year since I had an inspired day during the week. I had a sort of idea of what I wanted it to be and had been collecting bits and piece as I saw them, mostly about to be thrown away. Now it is all laided out and just needs to be planted up with the right things on the right day. Hopefully it is going to be beautiful, and I know it is going to be productive.

Nettle soup

Especially for Shaz from Our Front Plot

Nettles - 2nd May 2011

Nettles - 2nd May 2011

Ingredients: 2 onions, chopped. 1 potato, peeled and diced. A bunch of freshly picked nettle tips, washed and roughly chopped. 1 vegetable stock cube, onion and celery seed, mixed herbs and a little butter and oil.

Method: Fry the onions on a low heat in the oil a long with the onion and celery seed and mixed herbs. When the onions are soft and just starting to brown add the nettles and enough butter to stop them sticking to the pan and cook until soft and well mixed. Add the potato and cook whilst stirring to stop the potato sticking to the pan. Add water and a stock cube and bring to the boil and then allow to simmer for 5 – 10 minutes. Whiz in a blender and serve.

A Day in the Month – May 2011

FOR TODAY

Outside… It is just dark, I have just come back from shutting in the chickens and put the milk bottles out for the morning

I am thinking or plotting… Work tomorrow, more seed sowing, cleaning out goat sheds… The normal really

From the kitchen… This morning I made nettle and potato soup before work, after daring someone I work with to try something with nettles in (he doesn’t eat vegetables) everyone seemed to like it

I am wearing… Work clothes, custard and all

I am thankful for… Space

I am creating… Hopefully some order, although that is always an ongoing project

I am going… To bed in a minute

I am reading… The Gardener’s Year by Karel Carek. Poetry for gardeners

Here is a picture I want to sharing and why… This is the hedge next to where I was working today, as part of International Sunflower Guerrilla Gardening Day soaked sunflower seeds have been scattered all along here. Not sure how well it will work but if even a few come up I’ll be happy

Guerrilla Gardening - 1st May 2011

Guerrilla Gardening - 1st May 2011