Sunday 30 January 2011

Growing green in the house!!

Not everybody has the pleasure of owning an fact their are many people who don't even have a balcony let alone a yard or a garden but this shouldn't deter from having a go at 'growing your own' if you really want to give it a try.

For most of those without the aid of outdoors they think of growing in windowsills and this is a great idea but you are limited on what you can grow and also have to turn your pots on a regular basis to stop your plants from leaning and straining to the light.. Sometimes this can be a chore to people but then others don't seems to mind so it' is entirely up to you...I have found that the best thing to grow on windowsills are herbs...they thrive well in the indoors humidity, are very pretty and add a wonderful aroma to your room...and also your cooking.

But there is another way to grow indoors!!!

seed sprouter
The seed sprouter!!!

Yep...if you want to give it a go then you can try sprouting your own's easy, nutritious and also great to do with the kids as the results come within less than a week. As you can see I have recently invested in a seed sprouter which I got for half price from Thompson and Morgan as I am a member of the allotments association but you don't need anything fancy to sprout your seeds...and you can even hide them inside a cupboard whilst they're sprouting if you don't want them hanging around on the counter.

snow peas
Snow peas.

So far I have tried out four different packets of seeds, snow peas, mung beans, alfalfa and a sandwich mix. We haven't wasted any at all although I wasn't so keen on the snow peas but my son loved them.


Now as I mentioned don't need a fancy sprouter and growing them is quick and easy...all you need is a jar, water and somewhere to stand them...the seeds need to first be soaked in water for a few hours although I have been leaving mine overnight and then drained and either left in a bowl or jar with holes in the lid. The seeds need to be rinsed twice daily which is easy with the sprouterr as you just dink the whole thing in water but if you grow them in a normal bowl then you can just pour them into a sieve and rinse under the tap....the seeds are usually ready to eat in a few days so it takes no longer than growing cress.

mung beans
Mung Beans.

Sprouting seeds do not need the presence of light and can in fact be grown inside a dark cupboard which gives them different tastes and textures than when grown in an airy room. As there is no compost there is no extra outlay of cost and no mess making ideal for those who want to grow something with there children or who live in apartments/flats. You can grow as little or as much as you want at any one time and you can mix your favourite seeds together and grow your favourite combination all in one go.

You can eat these raw or cooked in stir fries and casseroles so their is no limit to what you can use them for........and there are hundreds of different seeds that you can try!!

As you can see from above I have added a few of those I have tried already an i have loved being able to try all the different varieties so far an can't wait to start some more of this week.....and the best thing I have found is that even though it's still winter I am eating something totally fresh that I have grown myself which is making me just a little bit happier about having to wait for spring!!!


Wednesday 26 January 2011

Weather Watch Wednesday..week 4......26/01/11

Well the weather has been pretty much what you would expect for January.

Wet, cold, miserable, windy.

That pretty much sums up the week. We have had the odd bright spell and sometimes the temperature has been a quite mild at 7 degrees but mostly we have been looking at frosty nights and days and temperatures between -5 and 3 degrees centigrade.

I took my seed potatoes down to the shed at the allotment but I am hoping to get down there tomorrow and cover them in the knew sacks that I have bought just in case we get any more really cold weather as i don't want to lose them as I did the rest of my winter stock that I had stored

Today it's rained and we have had a biting easterly wind so I spent a productive day at home cleaning carpets and the house to keep me occupied.....still longing for the spring!!!


Tuesday 25 January 2011

A nice surprise on the plot...and a little telling off!!

So I managed to get down the allotment over the weekend and get the tubs emptied of the old compost...I added this straight to the compost bins to help make more compost over the year. I haven't had any benefit from these yet but as they only went into place last year i don't expect anything from them until at least next Spring.

That job done I then sorted out pots to make sure I had enough for the beans and corn I want to plant in case I needed to raid the re-cycling dump....that done I didn't really want to go home so I decided I would tackle the carrots that I hadn't managed to get out of the ground before the cold spell hit.

My carrots hadn't been protected by anything and I could see a few peeking through the top of the soil so resigned myself to digging them up and adding them to the compost imagine my surprise and delight when this is what I found......

over wintered carrots
Lovely jubbly carrots!!

That's right...some wonderfully smelling and decidedly large wonderful looking carrots....okay so some are a funny shape but I really don't care if my carrots aren't straight...the smell and colour is wonderful. These have obviously been frozen and thawed a few times over the last couple of months so i have scrubbed, peeled sliced and frozen them and I will use them for mashing and soups or stews and things.I am delighted that they weren't all devastated in the terrible weather we had!!

So where did the telling off come from?? Well myself actually...a mental telling off from me to me!! You see I think I have been rather neglectful of my blog over the winter months....I don't really know why as I have lots of posts trolling round in my tiny little head and I don't know whether it's down to sheer laziness....the fact that I lost the plot....(Ha Ha) or just the fact that my 'mojo' went away for a little while and I didn't feel like writing but I promise to be getting on with things more and up to speed with all the posts I have before the spring planting is started...I think maybe doing this will also give me a little focus as I have got seriously itchy feet to get sowing under way and I know that it's way too early to start....i wonder if Hubby would consider moving to a country where there is no winter?!?!?!?!......No to be honest I don't want that at all but i feel like i might actually be a real 'allotmenter' this year as i am organized and I have my plot as I want it which has made me really eager to get on with things....or maybe it's just that I'm more organized this year than I ever have been so I had so much to get done last year that I didn't have time to moan about the long winter???

Oh god now I'm waffling on like a raving lunatic...oh well I guess that's' winter for you

winter cabbage

On the plus side...when Hubby decided he wanted 'cabbage' with his dinner toady i felt immensely proud to be able to poddle off down the plot and pluck one out of the ground...I guess all isn't lost yet....there are still a few pickings and I think some leek soup may be in order too!!!

Oh and incidentally I am 'site of the week' over at Nature Centre Magazine. It's a great site some of you may have seen but if you don't know it go and check it out as there is lots of great information and some lovely down-loadable wallpapers too.


Friday 21 January 2011

A couple of hours well spent on the allotment!!

Well I managed to get down the allotment for a couple of hours this afternoon and although it was VERY cold the sun was bright in the sky and the air was still making it lovely to be outside.

I originally went down to empty out all the old compost from the tubs of last year but it was so cold that they were all frozen solid so that job wasn't accomplished today.

I did get the cauliflower patch sorted and all those that had been devastated by the harsh weather were unearthed and put in the composter and the lettuces in the greenhouse were sorted too. I lost a couple of those but for the most they are in pretty good shape and I just removed a few of the limp outer leaves so that the hearts would benefit.

I saw Dave up the plot and when I was last chatting to him I had talked about getting a couple of raised beds..the reason for them will be revealed in another post but I mention them now as some plot holders have handed back their allotment this year and so what was there is up for grabs at the minute so he took me down and I acquired to sturdy portable raised beds which is just what I was after as I don't want beds that will be fixed in one place. Dave got some great fence stakes and we also found some chairs by the container which Dave had and an umbrella stand which I got for my umbrella this summer.

So all in all it was a great day, I got a little work done, saved myself some money and enjoyed the fresh air...I think I feel a bit like Craig over at


Wednesday 19 January 2011

Weather watch Wednesday week 3 2011...a short visit to the plot..and some new purchases!!

Well first the weather...IT'S COLD!!!!!!!!

OK it's not actually that bad...last week we managed to get up to double fingers and those temperatures hung around up until the weekend but with them came the winds of 60-80 m.p.h. and the rains so although it was warm and we had the heating off for a few days it was not at all nice to go outside.

Monday the winds dies and the rain disappeared and the skies cleared...but also the temperatures dipped. We have had frosts the last three nights and temperatures are only getting just above freezing at around 3 degrees...but it's nice to see what colour the sky is again and I can handle the cold if the sky stays clear and I get to see the sun!!

winter sky
A lovely winter sun and sky.

garden supplies
My Thompson and Morgan purchases...some sturdy potato bags, some net bags and a paper potter. You can also see squeezed on the end some seed potatoes bought ready and waiting!!

salad troughs
My 'Homebase' bargain...knocked down a quarter in price so I got 4 for the price of 1...very happy with these and can't wait to get my salad stuff growing in them!

salad growing area
And my troughs put in place.

I am mostly happy with the way this looks now and I think I have enough to grow all my salad bits in. I am not going to have any of my salad, (except beetroot) growing in the ground this year as I feel this way it will be much easier to harvest and resow...I got the troughs for things like baby carrots and radish....I'm very excited about how it's all coming together. I have a few more in the greenhouse that I can add if I wish but for now I will see how it goes...I like my little salad patch that I have created and it's also something the kids can really help with without getting to messy if we don't have much time to spend on the allotment.

Just got my Lingonberry bushes to go in when they finally arrive and my mushroom spores to set when I can get some....anyone got any ideas for the mushroom spores?? I would like to grow Shitake and Oyster...and maybe some other more exotic ones too.

There was one more purchase I made...but that's for another post!


Tuesday 18 January 2011

Not much to say........

Well this was originally going to be a great post and it's not that I don't have anything to say, just not much an the allotment side of things and certainly not on the gardening improvements.

I have finally receievd my Thompson and Morgan order which I placed through the allotment association so got a nice discount, but the lamp bulb in the room has just gone so I will tell you more about my purchases when I can replace it and see better to put the photos up.

Today was a nice day but household chores and work were calling so I am praying that tommorrow will be a repeat of the same weather so that I can get up the plot for a while...if only to get out in the fresh air...I think that is one of the things I miss so much about this time of year...with nothing to do as such there is no reason to be out there in the cold.

Well I have got plenty done today and even found some time to catch up on my favourite blogs but now I am weary so I think I will curl up with my book and call it night.

Oh and by the way, this post was written on my new laptop, (well my Hubby's hand me down anyway) and I am still getting to grips with it and the fact that it doesn't highlight any spelling errors so please forgive any bad spelling/grammar!!


Friday 14 January 2011

Prizes through the post!!

I won another blog competition over at dykesedgeallotment before Christmas and received my prize through the post today. I have to admit for feeling quite guilty as this is this second time I have won a competition with this blog....secretly pleased though too.

Check out my prize...and go check out Craig s blog too!!

seeds prize
I've come to appreciate the fact that you can never have too many seeds and I am looking forward to adding these to my stash!!


Thursday 13 January 2011

Weather watch Wednesday week 2 2011...erm...on a Thursday?!?!?! I know it is really quite bad to already be late with a post when it is only week two but I had an unexpected visitor last night and so didn't get chance to post.

The weather has warmed up and we have reached dou
ble figures...only just but I will take whatever I can get.

With the warmth has also come the rain and some winds which is a little unfortunate but it has been nice not to have to put on six layers just to wal
k out the door.

I don't know if the warmth is here to stay but I did make the most of it and the short dry spell we had yesterday afternoon by taking a quick visit to the allotment.

I found some good and bad points and got a couple of jobs completed which I was very pleased about.

Enjoy progress in pictures!! :-)

runner bean manure trenchFirst job was to dig a trench and fill with manure ready for the runner beans later in the year. Very hard work with the soil being so wet...but I was nice and warm at the end of it!!

winter cabbagesA quick perusal showed that my winter cabbages had held their own well throughout the cold spell.

sprouting broccoliUnfortunately the same can't be said for the sprouting broccoli so I am keeping my fingers crossed that at least a few of these plants pull through ok.

cranberru bush
Last job of the day was to plant my Cranberry bushes. I had two which I got planted out, they were due to arrive in November but were held off being sent due to the cold weather and came just last week. Small but very healthy looking specimens!!


Sunday 9 January 2011

Mumpkin update.

Well first of all for anyone new who may be reading my blog you will find out what a 'mumpkin' is here.

Okay, now that's out of the way there will be no confusion for anyone and I can get on with telling you all about it.
Unfortunately there isn't really much to tell. As you know from the outside the 'mumpkin' was the size and shape of a marrow but with the colouring of a pumpkin.

I was kind of thinking it would resemble more of a marrow than anything and that was where I went seriously wrong.

My marrows have always lasted me several months once harvested and as the skin on the 'mumpkin' was thick and solid like the marrows I thought the same for this wonderfully weird fruit but when I did finally get around cutting into it we got that strange 'poof' noise and a little cloud of dusty stuff. I have to say that was the precise moment I stopped doing anything with it.

The flesh inside was stingy like the marrow but orange like the pumpkin but i will never know what it tastes like as I decided it was probably best to ditch it. The seeds inside had already started to deteriorate so I didn't get to save any of these either and with all the crossed characteristics I'm not entirely sure what would have been the best thing to do with it anyway!!

So there you go on the 'mumpkin'....sorry you didn't to get to fiend out what the taste resembled but maybe the same thing will happen again this year....I think I am probably more disappointed than you about not getting to try the new hybrid though.

As for work on the allotment...well it's still been a no go. The weather was bright and dry yesterday and I had every intention of going and making a start but just as I was getting ready to leave (and yes I was getting ready to leave and not laid upstairs on the bed thinking, 'Oh 5 minuted with my book won't hurt!') the doorbell rang and there stood a couple of unexpected visitors who we were delighted to see. They came totally prepared and so right now are sat on my room floor playing monopoly with the other kids and we had a lovely evening watching movies.


So I don't think I will be getting to the allotment today either even though again it is dry and bright...although there are some gusty winds which are very cold so I don't think I mind too

Good thing about the weather though...after what seems like months I finally have some washing on the line........and you can't beat that lovely fresh smell of line dried washing...oh the little things!!

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend!!


Friday 7 January 2011

Working on the allotment?????....not a chance!!

Well I had big plans for today...get the rest of the manure moved and then get stuck in down the allotment starting some 'real' work.

I got up to a dark (obviously seeings how it was 6:00am) day which was dry and quite mild so things were looking good.

By 7:50am it was drizzling rain...not a problem, I can handle that I thought.

By 8:10 am it was POURING with rain....not feeling so great about going out now I thought to myself.

By 9:00am......HUGE,HUGE,HUGE (I hope you have caught on that they were big!) snow flakes coming down thick and fast.

Sod going to the plot...I'll stay in for the day and knit...after all I really don't think anyone is going to steal the manure from my front garden!!

Fingers crossed that tomorrow will be better!


Wednesday 5 January 2011

Weather watch Wednesday week 1 2011....and this years first plot visit!!

Well that is the second time in 5 days I have written the date correctly so I am feeling very impressed with myself.. :-)

mended wellingtonsJust thought I would share my newly repaired wellies with do remember me telling you about my 'little accident' with the cultivator don't you??

So to the weather....well the thaw has continued and for a couple of days we actually got some bright dry weather but that then followed with rain and then
yesterday some more snow. The snow didn't last for long though and today it has been dark and miserable with rain for the better part of the day.

The temp has been as high as 6 degrees at some points over the last week and no lower than -1 so that is a major improvement.

Also had some winds today, not too bad at just 20-25m.p.h. with gusts of around 30-40 m.p.h. so nothing extreme or damaging.

The forecast for the end of the week is saying snow s
o I'm hoping they have got that wrong as I hope the colder temperatures they are predicting are wrong too, I guess only time will tell.

I managed to get down the allotment for a few hours on Sunday afternoon. It was one of those rare dry days and it was quite pleasant out. My cousin had delivered me quite a bit of manure which needed sorting and although I didn't quite managed to get it all moved I got about 2/3rds of it accomplished before I ran out of daylight.

pig manureI know I keep telling you I will stop sharing my photos of 'poo' with you but you have to admit what and impressive amount this is for two pigs...and this was only half the load!!

I also had a chance to check on the spuds but I totally lost those to the elements and they were oozing out of the bottom of the sacks since the thaw so into the composter they went.

putrid potatoesAnd finally, the putrid potatoes, both the King Edwards and the Desiree were the same so I shall be re-thinking storage for next year.

That really was about all i had time to do with the days still being so short but I am hoping that Friday will be a dry day again so I can get the rest of the manure moved and maybe a little sorting done.

My leeks and winter brassicas seemed to have fared the weather quite well with only a few wilting leaves and I have only lost two of my hothouse lettuces which I was really surprised about. My broad beans and garlic have also stood their ground well through the cold snap and I am hopeful that I will have plenty of produce from them in the spring.

The cauliflower that were ready to pick however aren't looking so great so I will hopefully get a good look at these over the weekend and lift the good and discard the bad.

With the Christmas and New Year over normal life and work again resumes and I am sure we are all getting back into our daily routines once again, oh well, at least us 'Brits' have an extra bank holiday to look forward to this year!!


Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year to you all....

Well just a very quick post as I am way too tired to write much. Celebrated with family last night and lost drastically at cards but also had a lovely meal.

Today friends and Family were in abundance and we had a wonderful roast at my parents then made a buffet tea and invited everyone to our house.

Late nights and early mornings with plenty of entertaining takes it out of you so a quiet night is looked forward to and I will see you all tomorrow.

Hope you have all had a good start to the new year and I wish all my readers good luck and much happiness for 2011.