Sunday, 21 April 2013

Potatoes Finally Going In

Finally there was a turn in the weather last week and we got a few drills of potatoes in, three more to go and we can move on to getting the rest of the beds ready.

My Sister is visiting from the States so we put her to work too :)


Lemon Trees From Seed

I thought I'd have a go at growing a lemon tree from seed.  I'm not expecting to have lemons anytime soon but I can't resist an experiment.

I dried off some seeds and peeled the outer husk off
 Then I put them onto some damp kitchen roll and placed them into a plastic bag and left them to sprout.
 Put them into some pots of compost and put those into a homemade propagater.
 And I am now the proud owner of these little beauties...
 You can't really tell from this photo but they have the most amazing glossy leaves.


Thursday, 28 March 2013

New Furniture

Thanks to a lovely man on Freecycle, we have upgraded our allotment patio furniture from this...
To this...
How very posh we feel.  I do worry that there will be more sitting and less digging though.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Here we go again :)

Thursday was a beautiful day, very cold but the sun was shining and the sky was blue so we headed down to the allotment on a mission to start dismantling the 4ft high "raised bed" that's been in the way for about 5yrs now.

When we got our plot, the first thing we done was level some ground to build the greenhouse and we piled up the soil up at the side of the gate.  There was nowhere else to put it as we hadn't dug over any of the bedsBeing new to this allotment lark we decided the only thing we could possibly do was build a box around the pile and grow strawberries in it.

Every year since then we have meant to pull it down and use the soil in an area that has been stripped of topsoil but alas never got around to it.

Thanks to VC and her crazy 52 week challenge, we got started on it, didn't get as much done as I'd have liked but a start it is.

  We did save each nail and piece of wood as we went along and that is my excuse.

The garlic I planted back in October has just popped it's head through the soil and I don't think anything could have cheered me up right now as much as it did...
...until Ginger popped her head around the fence looking for some food...
 She is one of 5 allotment cats that visit us.  I thought they just loved us but no, turns out they visit everyone on site and my allotment neighbours all have a catfood stash too  :)

I finally got around to planting up my pear tree that has been sitting in my cellar since before christmas.  The 4ft raised bed is sitting on the ground where I want to plant it so it is in a big pot for this year and I'll get it into it's final position next winter.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My new seedling grow box

This year i'm going up market, window ledges will be only half full (I hope)

OH made me a grow box for my seedlings, we used an old computer cupboard and fitted it out with a fluorescent light and some reflective material that i'll probably replace as it's not as effective as white paint, so i've heard.

This is the computer cupboard
  First job was to take the shelving out of it.
 It looked so much bigger when the shelves were out.
 Next job was to wire up the fluorescent light, we used the cable cut from an extention cable we had lying around
 And tested to make sure it was working
 It was then fixed to the top of the cupboard and some white coated hardboard fixed to the back of it.
 We then lined it with some reflective material

 Looking at it, i'm not convinced that it will adequately house all the seedlings that normally reside on my window ledges but I will cram in what I can :)


Sunday, 6 January 2013

Welcome to 2013

Happy new year to you all, I hope this year hits you with plenty potatoes, tons of tomatos and buckets of beetroots.

Yesterday I sowed my first seeds of the year, some basil for the window ledge.  It has given me the bug so tomorrow I'm going to make a start on some early tomatoes, chilli and spring onion, I love this time of year :)  

I made some cranberry sauce at the beginning of the week with some cranberries that my Stepdaughter brought me when she visited from Ireland after Christmas.  When I was washing the berries, I remembered a post on the grapevine talking about saving cranberry seeds from the fruit.  So I couldn't resist giving it a go and threw a few berries into a jar.

I strained out the fruit today and was left with a small bundle of seeds

 They are drying out on a plate and I'll pop them into the fridge for a few weeks for stratification.

The forecast for Wednesday and Thursday looks good, dry but cold so hopefully we'll get to the plot and start clearing out the greenhouse.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Seems like such a long time since I've updated.

Well, here I am, better late than never eh :)

Things here have been pretty chaotic since early September, when my Dad finally got home from hospital having spent 3 months in the Spinal Unit.  He broke his neck back in early June and sadly is now Quadriplegic, we care for him full time but now have a fairly good routine going that allows us to be on call and spend a few hours at home.

With everything that has been going on along with all the terrible weather this year, I really didn't expect much from the plot but we actually didn't do too bad at all. 

Successes were potatoes, cabbage, onion, garlic, broccoli, sprouts, turnip, lemongrass, beetroot, spinach, lettuce, all the herbs except parsley and lemonbalm, borlotti beans, broad beans, the strawberries done well but as I didn't get around to netting them, the wildlife feasted on them to their hearts were contented.

Failures were the french beans, celery, courgettes, apples, plums and cauliflowers.

The tomatoes had mixed results, some didn't produce at all and others did, the star of the show was Striped Roman, I loved them.  There arn't many seeds in them, they are really meaty but I did manage to save a couple of seeds for next year.

The celeriac is still in the ground, I don't know what to expect from them.

For my birthday in November, I got a Presto 23 quart Pressure Canner and accessories.  I've wanted one of these for ages so that I can make meals at harvest time with my produce, soups stews etc and can them for eating over the winter.  This will hopefully free up some much needed space in my small chest freezer.

I've been practicing with it, only doing small amounts at a time, which works well as i've made a few mistakes.
Here is what i've made so far
I've got the jars stored out in my dingy old cellar and it looks awful so OH and I have started clearing it out (what was I thinking this close to xmas)

I've also been busy making yogurt, this is some vanilla yogurt I made the other night, one of my best yet, really thick and creamy.
 I also had a go at making some homemade liquid laundry detergent and I love it, it was so easy to make.  I made 22lts (5 gallons) for £1.45.
I seriously need to read up on digital photography, my photos are terrible, if anyone out there knows a good website, please let me know.