Sunday 27 May 2012

Sun makes work pleasant at the allotment!!

So it has been a glorious weekend to be outside...although I have worked early mornings, evenings and where I can find the shade...I don't do burnt or heat-stroke!!

Lots got done and rather than blather on about it I will just post lots of pictures for you to look at.

Herbs and seedlings to be planted out
Lakritz and Wasabi waiting 
to join the herb bed.

Herbs and plants being hardened off ready to be planted out
Herbs and plants being hardened 
off ready to be planted out.

Salad food in pots around the greenhouse
Salad food in pots around 
the greenhouse.

Lettuces germintaing to be moveed to raised bed when big enough.
Iceberg, little gem, all year round lettuce.

a slection of quick growing cut and come again lettuce
Speedy salad leaves.
A selection of plants to stay in the greenhouse to bring a little earlier produce
 A selection of plants to stay in the 
greenhouse to bring a little earlier produce.

Parsnip germination has been a success with the second sowing.
Parsnip germination has been a success with the second sowing.

cabbages, Purple sprouting broccolii, calabrese, brussels
Brassicas growing well.

Saved seed from chillis of last year have germinsted well. Bell peppers too.
Chilli pepper and bell peppers.

Celeriac slow but steadily growing.
Celeriac slow but steadily growing.

Dwarf french, ying yang and purple spot beans all planted on the plot.
Selection of french beans.

Pumpkin, spaghettii squash, courgette, cucumber and gherkins.
The squash bed.

My new strawberry plants have some flowers already
My new strawberry plants 
have some flowers already.

Weeding, digging, cutting back lavender.
Front garden nice and tidy.    
Blogger seemed to want to do it's own thing tonight so sorry that the arrangements is a little 'hap-hazard'...but to be honest I am too tired to be bothered about it very much. Hope you have all had a great weekend too.


Friday 25 May 2012

Friday Forecast......25/05/12.....week 21

Summer arrived on Tuesday and the weather at the moment is glorious.

The sun has shone and there has been no rain which of course has it's good and bad points. The evenings have been as warm as the days of just last week.

Daytime high....26 degrees Celsius.

Night-time low ...13 degrees Celsius.

Although today was warm it has been quite breezy so not stifling hot...of course this makes people forget how strong the sun is and I should think quiet a few people are now walking about resembling beetroot!!

The weather looks set to stay warm for a while yet so I am hoping to get plenty done over the weekend down the allotment.

Hope you're all enjoying some nice summery weather too.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Tuesday tasters...erm...erm...erm....

OK so I have to be brutally honest and tell you that I have no tasters post for today...I had lots of ideas going round in my head...and then it happened...summer arrived today!!

Now this is the UK so we can't guarantee how long it will stay so I really didn't want to waste it so I went out in the garden and got some much needed tidying up done whilst Hubby mowed the lawns. Of course work cut my time short and I didn't get finished but I am hoping summer will last at least a couple of days.

I have just been and got a new lawn mower to try out...a flymo hover vac. My mower is so tall that I really struggle to use it and I thought this might be easier...anyone ever tried one?? I'm dubious about how well it will collect the grass.

Oh was supposed to be a 'tasters' about I just share one of my birthday presents with is a kitchen gadget so almost qualifies....

kitchen utensils magic bullet
The Magic Bullet.

So here it is and I am very excited about using it but haven't had chance so far...definitely by the weekend though. It isn't just a blender either....

drinks, sauces, dips, soups and more
Magic Bullet attachments.
It has lots of other attachments for chopping and making drinks and things...a recipe book comes with it to give you some ideas so I am sure I will be able to share something with you next week!!

Hope it lives up to my expectations!!

Enjoy the sun everyone!

Monday 21 May 2012

What I did today......

Well I didn't get down to the allotment at all but I did get in the garden for a few hours...not my garden but one where I work and I enjoy working there just as much as in my own...So today I started with this.....

A very weedy flower bed.
 And turned it into this......

Grannies bonnet, foxglove, cowslip
A flower bed.
Now doesn't that look so much better??
I think the photos are a little out of focus but I was very pleased with what I got done.
Weather is supposed to pick up tomorrow and heat and sun are supposed to visit my neighbourhood...I guess only time will tell!!!

Sunday 20 May 2012

Allotment, Weather, Birthday Presents and Freebies

So I missed the weather post...and I haven't posted in a while but to be honest not much has been happening.

 The weather has been cool and showery all week and then it started to rain for real Friday night and went all into Saturday which put paid to getting anything done down the allotment.

I had a birthday today...I was VERY YOUNG!! I also got some really nice gifts, one of those wa a seed storage box which means I have gone from storing seeds like this......

Bad way to store seeds
Not the best seed storage in the world..but it has worked to some extent for the last few years.

To storing them like this......

Seed storage with plenty of space
Now my seeds will be happy and I know exactly what I have.

I got more manure from my cousin today so I did take that up to the allotment and that is when I sorted out my seeds, I'm sure you can imagine that  I smelt delightful for my

Daily Mirrir free seeds

My free seeds from the Daily Mirror finally arrived so that was kind of exciting, I have also received some from 'Birdseye' which are in very cool packets.(although I now can't find the photos but I will be sure to take some more for you)...I have a few more codes to sort out for the 'Birdseye' seeds too. .

rare seeds, broccoli raab, radicchio

Two packets of the seeds I haevn't heard of before, Broccoli 'raab' and Radicchio so I will be looking forward to giving these a go. The rest are all seeds I am familiar with and I will probably be saving these for  sowing next year. Most of the seeds came from Fothergills but a few packets were from Suttons. I have used both before and been happy with their germination rate.

That's all for right now but I promise to catch up with all my favourite blogs over the next couple of days and hope to find some time to update you on what's going on in the greenhouse and what other 'gardeny' bits I got for my Birthday too.

Hope you have all enjoyed your weekend. 

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Tuesday Tasters...Sweet and Spicy Stir-fry.(Recipe)

My Hubby loves stir fry...and I don't mind making them as they are quick, simple, and nutritious so here's one we enjoyed this week.

meat, tomatoes, mushrooms garlic and chilli all go into the wok with some olive oil

First the meat, tomatoes, mushrooms garlic and chilli all go into the wok with some olive oil and fry off nicely until the meet is cooked through.
mange-tout and baby-corn and par boil

Whilst that is going on I chop the mange-tout and baby-corn and par boil it for a while in a saucepan before adding it to the wok.
 let it fry for a further 5 minutes to let the flavours blend.

Once softened I then add the vegetables to the wok. This is the point I decide what else to add to flavour it and this time I used some honey, cayenne pepper and a dash of English mustard then let it fry for a further 5 minutes to let the flavours blend.
bean-sprouts just 50 penceLastly I add the bean-sprouts, I like these to be nice and crunchy so they are literlly tossed in until they are warmed through. I often grow my own in my sprouter but these were bought for just 50 pence in Morrisons.
a quick easy meal packed with plenty of healthy things
And there you have it...a quick easy meal packed with plenty of healthy things!!

Sunday 13 May 2012

Allotment tasks completed!!!

So much has been accomplished this weekend at the allotment that I just don't know where to begin....and right now I am very tired so I think it will be a short (ish) post....but with the fatigue comes great happiness in the amount that I got done down the allotment in the glorious weather we have had this weekend...that's right people...not a single drop of rain has fell from the sky in TWO WHOLE DAYS!!!!!!!

Herb plants; Sage, Thyme, Peppermint, Catmint, Chives, Oregano
Herb Plants
Well first of all lets talk about the picture above which is the only picture I have as my phone was on low battery and my camera batteries died so I can't show you wonderful pictures today just this one!!
Above are some of the herb plants that I have growing at the allotment and these are some that I have split and potted up to take to work tomorrow morning where they are going to plant them into their sensory garden for the children. There is Peppermint, Catmint, Chives, Oregano, Thyme and Sage. I think this is a good start for them.

Besides getting these sorted for the school I also managed to get the stove in the allotment shop working and plant out the runner-beans and beetroot which were started off in the greenhouse and I have been hardening off for the last week

I got the spinach and swiss chard sown directly into the ground in this years brassica bed and I helped my new allotment neighbours put up their new shed.

I also got all of the salad pots around the greenhouse filled with fresh compost and sown with a variety of leaves, carrots, radish, beetroot, parsley, dill, tarragon and spring onions.

I hoed around some of the onions and dug up some wonderful leeks which were planted last year.

I moved the dwarf beans, spaghetti squash and pumpkins out f the greenhouse to the cold frame to start hardening them off ready for planting out next weekend.

So that is the weekends accomplishments at the allotment and I feel so much better knowing that it has all been done.

I am also happy to say that the squash seeds I re-sowed last weekend have already started to germinate. No sign of the peppers yet but I live in hope. My babycorn are doing really well but the sweetcorn are a little sparse on the ground at the minutes so I will have to keep a close eye on them just in case I need to sow some more in a week or so, I have never had such a low germination rate with my sweetcorn but we eat and enjoy it for too much for me not to have a good crop of it.

The celeriac seem to have come to a stand still bit I am persevering with them. No sign of any parsnip yet, after such a great crop last year I had higher hopes but I guess only time will tell.

All the brassicas seem to be doing nicely though not many brussels have germinated so I  may sow a few more.

I had some visitors of the feathered variety whilst I was sorting seed in the greenhouse today as-well, two blue tits and a sparrow perched on the guttering of the greenhouse roof watching me and pecking at the glass before walking over the roof and then flying off to the was lovely to see them so close...shame my camera had died!!

So that's the lot from I think I will go and sleep for a while. Hope the weather was as nice for everyone else too.

Oh and Happy Mothers Day to all my Readers from U.S.A.

Friday 11 May 2012

Friday Forecast......11/05/12......week 19.

Well the weather has been pretty unsettled this week but on the plus side it hasn't rained continually!!

Temperatures have ranged between 8 and 18 degrees during the day and haven't dropped below about 3 degrees in the evening so luckily we haven't had any frosts.

We have seen at least a little rain every day since Sunday but this has come in fits and starts and in between the showers we have even seen some sunshine and blue sky!!

The wind has been quite gusty the last few days but apparently according to the weather man this is going to die down tonight and we are going to have a dry and relatively calm weekend.

I'm hoping they are right so I can get some work done in the garden and allotment...but I won't hold my breath over it.

Hope you all have a good weekend and some good weather too!!

Sunday 6 May 2012

Sunshine...warmth...and NO RAIN!!!!!!!

Well for the first time since Easter we actually go through a WHOLE day without any rain at all so i am very impressed...and not only did it not rain but it was also quite warm so I managed to get some work done down the allotment in quite pleasant conditions!

Although we had some rain Friday and Saturday it was light  and so the standing water has finally drained down into the ground and left the soil workable if still a little heavy.

I figured I would just give a bit of a picture post today as I am really tired's not overly exciting but I am very happy with what I got done today!!

Allotment neighbours

Kate was down the allotment too today...mainly re-sowing seeds that hadn't germinated...lots of other plotters were taking advantage of the good weather too!! (Yes the photo is the wrong way but apparently this is the way blogger liked it!!
potatoes all over the allotment

I weeded a little around the onions...mainly getting out potatoes that were growing...I'm amazed how many are coming up in the old potato patch...I don't think I left this many in...maybe the potato fairy visited the last time I had finished the digging!!
freshly dug allotment

I managed to get in some carrots and turnips today...I didn't bother to water them in as they really didn't need just keep my fingers crossed for a good germination rate!!
Potaotes and allotments

Some of the potatoes in the actual potato bed of 2012 are starting to show themselves...not many yet but enough to make me hopeful that they haven't rotted away underground with all the recent rain!

The strawberries finally got out of their temporary home and into the ground on the allotment so now my strawberry patch is ready to start doing it's thing!!

Also managed to get in the cabbage seedling that I was given a couple of weeks ago. These have been hardened off well so now I hope that they survive. They are a summer cabbage but I don't know which variety.

So that was today's I sit here and write about it I can't imagine why it took me 4 hours...although I did also help Kate out and till some of her ground for her...though I have to admit it wasn't a large area she wanted doing.

Yesterday I went down and re-sowed some parsnips, butter-nut squash, courgettes, cucumbers, bell peppers and chilli peppers as none of these had germinated...hoping to get better luck this time.

Well that's what I have managed to get done so far this weekend...if the weather is nice tomorrow I will get a bit more done as it's bank holiday so I'm not at work tomorrow afternoon...if not I can be content that I haven't wasted the good weather!!

Saturday 5 May 2012

What has been happening down the allotment then???

Well to be honest not much.

The weather has remained wet although we did get one dry day last Monday but I didn't get chance to get to the allotment which is just typical.

Still cold.

birds nest with eggs

pot dump out of use...birds nesting
 Pot dump was put out of Use by a bird nesting in it. It was a pair of Robins and you can clearly see the eggs in the top photo. However today on checking we found that the nest was empty which was such a pity. It did mean however that we could sort through the 'pot recycling centre'. Why do people feel the need to use it as a rubbish bin?!?!?!
pear tree and robins

On other news I did manage to get the broad beans in a while ago.. I only just managed to miss a complete soaking whilst I was trying to get them planted....the root system on them was nice and strong.

broad beans in the allotment
Wonky Runner beans!!
As you can see the line isn't very straight and they aren't spaced very evenly but to be honest I was just thankful to get them planted out before they died from lack of soil. No matter how wonky the line is the plants look healthy and it's nice to see a bit of green on the allotment!!

 On another note my strawberry plants finally arrived. They were a bargain offer and all look very healthy.

strawberry runners
Strawberry plants

However they are currently planted up in the greenhouse...Why?... you ask
waterlogged ground at the allotment

Simply because this is the sate of the allotment right now. There is standing water on a lot of the bare ground and I know that if I try to plant them out then I will end up in an unholy mess and also probably sink up to my ankles...hoping to get at least a couple of dry days...or even just light rain to improve conditions enough so that I can actually get them planted outside..until that time they will have to be happy planted in a little box in the greenhouse!!

Well that's really all I've got right now....Been busy up the allotment today but only in the greenhouse and I didn't take any photos so I will leave that for another post tomorrow...just in case it's still raining...if not then maybe I can actually get some real allotment work done!!

Tuesday 1 May 2012

Tuesday Tasters....drying herbs

Fresh dired thyme
Fresh Thyme drying in the kitchen.

Just a quickie today but I felt after such a long absence I should post something and I haven't had time to do the cooking I wanted so today it's quite simply how I dry my herbs!!

I have tried in the past stringing them up in the rafters of the shed but this never worked very well as they would get knocked about by peoples heads and if we had a few damp days then drying just didn't occur and in the end I would end up with herbs going black and becoming unusable.

So now I just cut some off....bind round the stems with string and hang under a shelf in the kitchen. The kitchen has a lovely aroma whilst they are drying and they are always on hand when i want them for my cooking.

I have fresh herb patches both in the garden at home and also at the allotment but with the rains we have been having lately I decided to get some cut and indoors rather than getting a soaking...however i only normally dry them over the winter period when I know growth is going to die back until the following spring.

I also dry my chillis just like this but actually thread their stems onto a piece of cotton using a needle.

Not as tasty as fresh cut herbs but so much nicer than those bought in a jar in the shops...and a lot cheaper too!!

I didn't do a forecast this past week but to be honest there wasn't much to write...RAIN about sums it up for us and we have flood warnings EVERYWHERE in our County...this is certainly the wettest drought I have ever encountered...they keep telling us that the hosepipe ban is still enforced...but seriously who is going to be outside using one anyway!!

I have managed to get a bit done down the allotment but I will catch you all up on what's been going on and provide some photos tomorrow.