I can never bare to thin out any of the seedlings that are technically too small when I am potting things on and so at the end of each ‘potting on’ I end up with a tiddler-pot;
Spring greens tiddler-pot - 20th April 2011
I can be more than a little bit of a magpie when it comes to things to do with gardening; in the past this has been mostly seeds and plants but today it has been all about plant pots.
A few weeks ago there was an item in the local transition newsletter about recycling used plant pots and a message that someone had starting taking the used ones from one of the local garden centres as there are no recycling facilities locally and the company that they come from don’t want them back and to cut a long story short I collected a sack of them on the way back from work today.
I carried on to the ‘recycling center’ (or tip as I have always known it) to drop off some sacks of paper waste and other bits and as we were chucking the stuff into the different skips a man appeared with an arm load of perfectly useable plant pots so I piled up “I can make use of those if you don’t want them” so into the back of the van those and the other trailer load he had bought with him went!
I haven’t manage to spend as much time on the allotment or garden as I’d have wanted this month but things have been happening slowly.
There are beetroot, peas and half the potatoes (International Kidney) in at the allotment, and lots of tidying, measuring up and marking out that needs doing.
Allotment; taken from the 'plot' end - 28th March 2011
In my garden I have lavender and strawberries, more strawberries in a strawberry planter, a herb window box with chives, mint and parsley and black currant and raspberries in pots. I need about a day to tackle the back garden and get rid of the brambles and ivy that are covering most of it but I have found a massive rhubarb plant – it’s such a shame I haven’t found a way of cooking rhubarb that I like!
Lots of time has been spent on seed sowing, mostly as it is a ‘gardening’ job I can do indoors after work when it is dark so I have lots of salad, kale, cabbage, sweet-peas, leeks, cauliflowers, purple sprouting and sunflowers (just) popping their heads above the compost and am waiting for dwarf peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, chillies, dwarf beans, parsnips, hollyhocks, basil, mint (several kinds) coriander, parsley and spinach to show signs of life.
Today it rained for the first time in a few weeks; the warm weather has been very welcome but a bit of rain with hopefully set everything off growing again and put some shape in this year.
This week has been grey… Grey and busy; busy at work, busy at home, busy moving. There is just an endless list and I am not feeling very organised, or completely well.
I have a new home for the Jelly Beanies, well hopefully I have. They were meant to go on Saturday, and a few times since but for busy-life reasons they are still here. At home everyone’s sheds are in need of cleaning out, plus a shed we use as a sort of ‘over-spill’ housing which naughty doesn’t get cleaned out as it is normally used in a rush but we want to bring the cows home so it has to be done before they move in.
All the cleaning out does mean that the allotment is getting a generous manuring, and I almost have a plan for them now. Part of my plan includes not sowing or planting anything excluding garlic until March 1st, when I told Rhys this he asked how I was going to survived. Until then I am getting organised, I need to finished manuring and covering those beds that are still left, add some boarders to those on plot one, buy some pens that don’t come off of the plant labels (done last night) and finally, and really finally after all the other bits are done, buy the very few packets of seeds I need for this year and seed potatoes. I think I am also going to treat myself and the new house to some large terracotta pots for growing salad and tomatoes on the patio
During the wet weather this weekend I’ve sat down and gone through the potato seed catalogue and decided what I think is going to be best to grow next year. Potatoes are very much a staple food here, but even so I did go a little over board with my seed potato buying this year and, partly as a result of having too many to plant and them going out too late, we got a very poor harvest.
Next year I have decided to scale back on potatoes but still have a go. I’ve picked out one for each type; first early, second early, etc.
For the first early I am going to try Mimi again, even though we didn’t get a single one this year I would still like to give them another go. They are a dwarf variety and meant to do very well in tubes but the tubes I had didn’t seem to have enough drainage and so kept flooding and becoming waterlogged. Next year I am going to try growing all the potatoes in tyres on the allotment so this won’t be a problem, unless we geta LOT of rain.
For the second early I’ve chosen Charlottes, I know we like this variety and even though it is a salad potato when it is available in the shops we use it for all sorts. They also seem a reasonably popular variety so I hope this means that they do well.
For the early main I have picked Maris Piper, Rhys requested that we had one ‘Maris’ in the selection as he likes floury potatoes, so here we have it. Also as with Charlottes, it is a variety that we’ve heard of and indeed have had several sacks of this year alone so hopefully should do well.
And finally, for the main I’ve chosen Druid, which according to the catalogue has ‘huge yeilds’ and is ‘ideal for the organic grower’ because of its resistence. I don’t really think of us, or the way that we grow food at home, as organic growers but I suppose we do.
I’ve already started a bed on the allotment for potatoes, one of the new beds has been lined with cardboard then a layer of manure and now I am adding old tyres with more manure in ready for the spring.
Ok, this weekend are my first two days off the past two weeks, and I’m really glad of them. There is only so much you can get done in the evenings once you get in for work, just making sure I’m got enough clean work clothes (work and ‘animal’ clothes are something you have to have here) when it’s raining on and off all the time is almost a full time job. We don’t have a tumble dryer.
Any way. Milk is the other big job at the moment. Milking is taking about 45 min – 1 hour, youngest-sister and Mother are doing that, and then collecting the cream, bottling milk and then sorting that days milk is also taking up the best part of an hour. And now we’ve Had to start making cheese, it was starting to make itself really. Before we’ve only really made soft ‘cream’ cheese but this weekend I got the cheese press out and had a got at using that, and it makes REAL cheese! It even looks like real cheese, very posh real cheese in fact.
So Saturday was spent making cheese and cleaning the kitchen and then we had lasagne, with loads of veg either from the local farm shop or from the garden (the nettles came from the garden) homemade pasta, I was layering the pasta on as Rhys rolled it, with homemade cheese in the sauce and on top. It tasted really good.
It was a really nice relaxing day.
Sunday I spent mostly in the garden, when it wasn’t raining, weeding and I harvested the garlic and put the bean plants out. The sprouts and purple sprouting have caterpillars so I’ve feed as many of them as possible to the chickens, and a white butterfly I caught which the chick went mad for.
Posted in Day-to-day, Food, garden, home grown food, Homemade
Tagged cheese, cows, garden, gardening, garlic, Homemade, milk, rain, weeding
Spent a nice day pottery and re-covering from yesterday (‘the wedding’) today.
Did some gardening and odd little jobs, and I feel like I’ve got something done. I hate days when I don’t feel like I have got anything done, normally because the day job has gotten in the way, but today I had a rest and still managed to end the day feeling good about it.