Tag Archives: strawberry

Alpine Strawberries

A tame Alpine strawberry plant before the explosion of runners - 22nd May 2011

A tame Alpine strawberry plant before the explosion of runners - 22nd May 2011

The Alpine strawberries in my garden seem to have exploded all of a sudden and are quickly taking over any earth their runners alight on.

I hate the thought of pulling up and composting strawberry plants, even Alpine ones so if anyone would like some plants for their own garden please let me know and I will happily post them in return for stamped SAE.

We also have far too much manure if anyone is in the area but it is a bit heavy to post!

Plant haul

Today it has not been nice, it’s been cold and raining all day. Not nice rain either, cold, wet, drizzly rain that starts every time you go out to try to do anything. Still the weather forecast has been storms and rain since Wednesday so we’ve had a fair run of good weather. It’s been nice as well to be indoors with all the stoves lit, yesterday morning I went and got a new chain for the chainsaw and my brother spent the afternoon cutting wood while me and my sisters fetched big arm full’s of wood to him and cleaned out both the woodburners and got them going. The house is full of a warm, fresh, smell now that you only get when you haven’t had the fires lit for a while and it sort of creeps through the house.

I’ve been trying to spent my time filling in goat registration forms but not very successfully, it’s not a hard job, I just keep getting distracted by looking up different goats pedigrees and chatting with my mother (who was only in the other room) on the internet. I also got a little bit distracted by the fact that now I have a computer with an internet connection in my room and I no longer need to fight my littlest sister for time on the internet, I can now use BBC iPlayer and look at lots of other interesting things without someone standing behind me saying “Poppy, you said you were just going to check your emails, and that’s not checking your emails!”

My brother gave up on trying to dig out the drain, that’s not really draining very well, and him and my dad started work on fitting the new Rayburn in the kitchen. After moving it into place work was halted by the need for olives, some sort of something for pipes, of a different size than we had so me and mother were sent of to Focus to find some.

They didn’t have any in the right size so work on the Rayburn was halted for the rest of the weekend, but they did have seeds, and reduced plants.

I bought seven pots of strawberries, all for 10p each, two thyme plants, one golden and one green for 49p each, four chilli plants for my sister and a load of pansy’s for my dad.

I also bought two packets of pea seeds, one verity to sow now for an early crop next year and the other packet to sow first thing in the spring, two packets each of Focus’s own brand carrot and beetroot seeds, for growing in tubes in the polytunnel over winter, a packet of parsnip seeds, to try in tubes in the polytunnel over winter to see how they do, and a packet of cabbage seeds for next year.

What do men know any way

Me sat on bed flipping through a gardening magazine: “shall I get the five free strawberry plants?”

Rhys laying on bed, unable to move with bad back: “I don’t know, what do you have to do to get them?”

Me: “Send them £3.95”

Rhys, starts with chock of laughter: “You are actually the kind of person to take part in a wonderful opportunity to send someone £35, aren’t you?”

Me: “only if they send me some nice plants free”

What does he know about anything any way! All he’s house plants were almost dead when I met him.

Catching up on the last couple of weeks

Well my wish was granted, I had the last two weekends off and both have had good weather. It’s been so nice to be able to be out doing things.

The last week or so has felt very strange, it’s been busy but is hasn’t necessarily felt like it was busy. Everything feels like it is slowing down for winter now.

The weekend before the one just gone was mostly spent re-doing the goat pen, putting up a new pallet fence and digging out the wet mud that’s built up over the last two wet summers. There’s now paving down over half of it and we’re going to try grass seeding the other half and see how it takes.

We also threw a surprise party for Rhys, it’s his 30th this year and even though his birthday isn’t until this week his party was last weekend as I couldn’t get the hall I wanted for this weekend. It was a good party, lots of his old friends came and he didn’t know a thing about it until me and him got to the hall. Keeping him out the way broke up the time on Saturday in a strange way, when I have time off I hate leaving home unless I really have too as I always have something that I want to be getting on with even if I’m not getting on with it, so we don’t normally go out together much, especially in the day, but it was a nice afternoon. We went and picked somethings from freecycle up and then had a picnic.

Sunday I had a cold and Rhys was hung over so not much work got done. I started cutting back all the caterpillar eaten purple sprouting and sprout plants and sprayed them with a mixture I made up from a recipe out of an old gardening book, boiled tobacco, to see how well it works. The plants have started growing back and I think they will come back but of course they are going to crop late. I’m still not daring to plant out the kale or spring cabbage just in case but I will have to do it this week really, there is only so much growing on they can do in pots and it always takes them a while to settle after re-potting. 

I got my strawberry plants; I had bought 50, not 30 like I thought from ebay. I can’t remember which day they arrived, or which day I potted most of them up but they are really nice plants all very well rooted and not at all dried out from being posted. The last few plants are in a bucket of water waiting for me to finish the job off. I started off by sorting all this year’s plants and runners out, I got 5 free plants from a magazine and they fruited well this year, even though they were left in the same bucket I had put them in ‘for the time being’ when I got them last autumn and they’ve produced some good strong runners. We’re going to have so many strawberries next year!

During the week I’ve carried on with freezing courgettes, the plants still have plenty of fruit coming on them and, touch wood, the sweetcorn should be done soon as well. The chickens have started getting on the bed (the old muck heap bed) and seem to like the mystery squash plant that’s on there, I don’t think it’s going to manage to fruit. My bucket of Christmas carrots are doing really well, it looks quite impressive.

I’m going to sow some more carrots in buckets and start them off in the poly tennel, they should over winter in there alright. I’ve been picking a few runner beans as well, the plants went in really late, at the time that other plants put in at the right time started fruiting but they are doing well and still have plenty of flowers on. The bees seem to like them as well.

On Friday I had arranged to go and see a male goat, I need to get a new one this year as my last year kid is ready to breed from this year, but what sounded like a much better one for me came up, so after pottering in the garden, I finished cutting back the sprouting plants and did some weeding, I went to see my half sister and helped her start putting up her poly tennel. It was a really nice afternoon.

On Saturday me, mother, middle-sister and my brothers girlfriend went on a puppet making workshop which was really good fun, then we came home and I ended spending ages washing up, not the normal day-to-day washing up but emptying the cutlery draw and cleaning that out and the plate racks.

 

And on Sunday, this is very exciting, I got my new stud male goat, Kniteshade. He’s gorgeous. A few years ago I saw a male who I really liked call Holdbrook Ghost, his farther, Fungus was breed champion and also nice but I really liked Ghost. I never stood a chance of getting him though has he was exported to a herd in Holland (or somewhere like that) not long after I had ‘found’ him. When I bought my last male, the breeder that I got him from also had Fungus. I bought a female from him that was put in kid to him, Fuscia, but she started to kidded over a weekend when it snowed, we knew something was wrong with her but we weren’t 100% sure she was kidding. We called the vet but they had just called all the vets back in as the snow was getting worse. We did all the things they suggested, including give her lots of sweet black tea to drink which she now loves and will do anything to drink if you go near her with a cup, but she wasn’t ‘open’ at all so we hoped that one of the kids was just laying in odd way and she was uncomfortable. A few days later she started to kid properly and pushing, but again was having problems and after me, mother and middle-sister had done all we could (me and my sister have been kidding and lambing since we were little and my mother has for even longer) the vet was called again and after a lot of trying delivered three massive male kids, all dead. The vet said that two of the kids had tried to come out at the same time, one over the top of another, and got very stuck. They were all very pretty but none of them were like Ghost. Any way, Ghost is the grand-father of Knitshade, and his great-grand-farther is the half brother of my first goat who I lost during foot-and-mouth. So not only is he gorgeous, I would have had him just for his breeding even if he didn’t look as good as he does.

(Photo of Knitshade taken from his breeders website)

Look at the camera, now smile!

This is the photo my middle-sister took of me with my basket full of courgettes at the weekend, all harvested just minutes earlier from the ‘muck heap’ garden. I’ve never been keen on having ‘look at the camera’ photos taken, no matter how real your smile might be they always seem to have a fake ‘oh-my-god’ look about them.

The real point of the photo is the courgettes, other than the few potatoes that I’ve still digging up they’re the only produce being harvested from the veg garden. The purple sprouting, brussel sprouts and kale have all been caterpillared badly, I’m hoping that they will make a come back but that is going to take some time. I still have some kale and spring cabbage plants waiting to go out but I haven’t dared risk them yet, it wouldn’t take a day for them to get eaten with the amount of caterpillars still around. I took all the tomato plants out at the weekend as well; we haven’t had any fruit from them but they have been left pretty much to get on with it and seem to have blight and too many side shoots to have produced anything and what little fruit were on the plants were very small and turning a brown colour. Next year I’m going to grow bush types, then maybe they will fruit better just being left with out having the side shoots taken off and staking. I’ve already bought 100 yellow Tumbling Tom seeds from ebay and am looking for some red seeds as well. There is also a container tomato called ‘Garden Pearl’ which I’d like to grow as well.

On the plus side though we have had a few fair sized onions from the old spring onions I put in last year, we get old waste veg sacks from one of the local green grocers for the goats and often there are old bunches of spring onions in them. I only put them in to break up all the brassica plants to avoid cub root getting in but they’ve done well. They need eating now as they only have thin skins so won’t go through the winter. My free magazine-give-away strawberry plants are producing lots of runners as well, so that will mean extra fruit next year. I need to re-pot the older plants now as they still haven’t moved from the old bucket I put them in ‘for the time being’ when they arrived. The boxes that had potatoes in are coming in handy for potting things up and on, it’s turned the manure that they were grown in into really nice soil.

It’s a strange time of year really, there are still things that need doing in the garden but most of them are planning and preparing for next year jobs. Everything has started winding down a bit as well, the nights are drawing in and there is hardly anytime for good weather left, I’m still ready to get going and waiting for summer to happen and it’s already been and gone really!