Saturday 29 June 2013

Tackling the garden.

Well it's been a busy week, there have been some ups and downs but now things seem quite calm and I am pleased with what I managed to accomplish over the course of the week.

I got all of the garden sorted. Tomatoes went into pots, lawns were cut, beds were weeded and flower plants were put in...All that is left to tackle is treating the wood on the shed as just lately the rain soaks in more than it runs away...maybe a job for tomorrow!!

Enjoy the pictures.

The flowers are a mixture and planted in blocks to enhance each set as they come through. There is a nice variety of marigolds, messy's petunias, lobelia, tagetes, godetia, lupins and dahlias. I'm sure there are a few more in there as-well but I can't for the life of me remember what. I decided after much deliberation to just grass the old patch in the front lawn where the bird table used to be and this is filling in nicely. Since first moving the bird table I have now added a frame round it and put some weed membrane underneath and I am slowly filling it with pebble/stones as I dig them out of the garden as this makes it easier to weed out any seed the birds drop that starts to grow. My best find was my Kiwi Issai. I though it had died over the winter but it has come back fighting this year so I am hopeful that in the future I will have some lovely fruits to harvest. So that's the garden complete for the summer. Now it will be just some light weeding and lawn cutting which will be nice and least that's the theory anyway!

Thursday 27 June 2013

Coincidence or cure????

Well I have been really busy the last couple of days and it was 10pm before I got finished last night which is why I didn't get to post.

The thing is it occurred to me whilst laid on the sofa watching a bit of T.V. before bed that my hay-fever hadn't bothered me at all yesterday, I asked hubby how his had been and he said really bad yet i had had no sneezing, runny nose, headaches, blocked ears or congestion.

Of course the night before I had been over to Jez's hives and had that wonderful honey....could it really be true...could local honey be that effective for hay-fever??

They say honey helps, but you have to have local honey for it to work, and that isn't just from the same county but rather within a 3 mile radius so that the bees are collecting within your area.

I guess the only way to know for sure would be to get some more of Jez's honey...until then it is only guess work. Today my hay-fever has been back again...but apparently a teaspoon of local honey a day will help greatly. If Jez's honey really was what helped so much then I really can't wait to get my hives!!

Well that's all for now..I am right now giving myself a well deserved drink so I will catch up with you all tomorrow, respond to comments and show you exactly what I was up to until sunset!!

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Bee Business......

So I did get down the plot this morning and got some much needed weeding done but there is still plenty left to do.

The suns has shone all day and the temperatures have been nice and the wind has died down...this of course made it perfect weather for inspecting bee hives.

As luck would have it Jez who was one of the tutors on the course rang me just as I finished work and said he was going over to his hives and would I like to go so of course I jumped at the chance.

Jez's hives have expanded from the three he had when we did the open apiary visit to eight with the swarms he has caught over the season. Today we were re-housing one of the swarms from a nucleus which they had filled into s full hive. We went through and slowly replaced the comb they had drawn into the hive and i got my first look at a real live queen which we also captured and then after I wimped out Jez marked in red for the colour of the year.

i took my camera with me but with all that was going on I forgot to take any photos...maybe next time.

It was great to go out to the hives again and just makes me want my bees even more. Jez did say today that he is quite happy to bring one of his hives over for me to look after whilst I get sorted to get my own sorted out next year,...this has given me more incentive than ever to get the land sorted so I will be doubling my efforts form now on.

The best thing about the evening was when Jez scooped some comb off from the nucleus hive which the bees had started to build and fill with honey within the feeding chamber and I got to suck the honey out of it and eat some of the wax doesn't get much better or purer than that!!

Will catch you all up on my allotment antics tomorrow!!

Sunday 23 June 2013

Windy,wet,wet...oh and Strawberries!!!

So the title sums up the weather over the weekend. It was either wet, windy or a combination of both.

That meant no work done on the allotment and so the weeds continue to thrive.

Went to water the greenhouse today though and also......

Lovely fresh strawberries.
Lovely fresh strawberries.
Picked my first strawberries of the year. the taste is wonderful and there was enough here fir us, my parent and my Mum's friend. Not bad for first pickings and believe me there are plenty more where those came from....I feel some cooking coming along!!!

Friday 21 June 2013

Lots to write..but just too tired!!

It's been a bit of a hectic week and to be honest I'm kind of cream crackered so don't want to sit here and write very much.

Instead I thought today I would just show some cool sky pictures which I took a week ago whilst up the allotment.
Stormy skies
Stormy Skies.......

Sunshine to the north-east
With a promise beyond.
The two photos were actually taken just moments the stormy one looking towards the south-west and the sunny one looking towards the north-east. I always think what an amazing thing the sky can be.

21st of June today which is the longest day for us here in the UK, this means that after today the days will start to get shorter...and yet so far we have had very little warmth.

Oh well, the sun is out at the moment so maybe we will get the benefit of the longest day this year!

I'm hoping for some dry weather this weekend so I can get some much needed weeding done!!

Tuesday 18 June 2013

A little bit fruity.....

Well no fruit is ready for the picking yet but it is certainly present this year and I am hoping for some good will see in  the photos I have been playing around with the camera a bit trying to get better close up shots. I am quite pleased with how well these have turned out and will be trying to get some more ‘close up’ shots in the future.

Victoria Plum Tree
Victoria Plum Tree

Sunburst Cherry Tree ( I think)
Sunburst Cherry Tree ( I think).

Conference Pear Tree.
Conference Pear

Bramley Apple Tree.
Bramley Apple Tree.

Elspan Apple Tree.
Elspan Apple.
I am pleased with the amount of fruit that I have set on the trees, now I just have to hope we don't get any nasty winds that blow it off before it ripens. I don't know why the 'Elspan Apple' is so far behind the rest, but the fact that there was quite a bit of blossom has me hopeful. The only tree I don't have a photo of is the Apricot, which has no fruit at all set, and I don't recall it having any blossom either. I think I am most surprised about the Cherry tree as it was only planted last year. 

Another tree I don't have a photo of is My Mum's Plum tree. She has a Victoria Plum tree in the garden, which has been there for as long as I can remember and has set so much fruit this year we are wondering what to do. A photo really wouldn't be able to show you but I might see if I can play around with the camcorder and get it up-loaded to my blog, honestly I have never seen anything like it on any tree before and I am intrigued to know if any of you may have seen a tree somewhere so heavily laden with fruit.

Sunday 16 June 2013

Proudly posting Potatoes!!! (spuds)

So as you have probably realised i didn't manage a post a day but it's only been a couple of days since my last post and I have managed to keep up with everyone else so i think I am doing quite well.

Today has been dry but I have been doing some much needed cleaning so haven't been out in the garden or allotment. Yesterday and Friday were again a mixture of sun and heavy downloads but I managed to get some things done so do have some things to tell you.

You have probably already guessed that today my potatoes are going to be the star of the show!!

King Edward main crop potatoes
King Edward main crop potatoes.
So above are my Main crop potatoes of choice and as is usual for me they are King Edwards. They are by far my favourite potato to eat and this is the reason I choose to grow them. I have four rows in and these have already been earthed up. I'm not sure that earthing up helps much with the yield. I didn't see much difference last year but then again it wasn't a great year. The main benefit I find from earthing up is that if the tops die off before you manage to get them all harvested then you still know where to dig so I have decided that for the little effort it takes it is a good thing to do. Another thing I have noticed and you can look at the difference between the two photos...there are far less weeds in the 'hilled' potatoes.

I bought some new potatoes to plant this year too. My readers of old will remember the extensive research I put into growing my new potatoes last year but for any newcomers if you want to check out the post you can find it here.

oes 'Nicola' and some french variety, oh and a few swift and charlotte
New Potatoes..'Nicola'.
So with all that research this year I have planted 'Nicola' for my New potatoes and those were the two varieties that I bought. However the allotment being as it is people have spares and things get passed around and I hate to see anything g to waste so I also have a French variety of new potato in that were given to me by allotment neighbours, I have no idea what the variety is but they have a purplish skin. Then I also have just a few tubers of Swift and Charlotte in as another plot holder had a few too many and I had about half a row to fill. If the yield isn't great I won't mind as they were free. The fact that there aren't too many means that if they aren't my favourite texture wise I won't mind that either.

I did manage to get the new potatoes 'hilled' up over the weekend so they are now all good to go!!

Also a few points about potatoes I think I need to write to give myself some reminders of the 'what not to do's' in the future, and maybe stop any of you making the same mistakes I did!!

You may recall that I didn't get all the potatoes dug up last year. Due to weather the main crop wasn't great and I just left them in the ground. Probably pure laziness on my part more than anything but the decision was made. I then thought I would dig them early this year...but the day's ran into weeks and before I knew what was happening the potatoes were staring to grow again for a second year. 

I seriously thought about leaving them there...but this was not the potatoes bed this year but the root bed and I needed the room so I bit the bullet and started to dig. 

Well what do you suppose I found??

Potatoes..and plenty of them!! Despite my few plants I dug last year that were very poor and slug damaged it is now obvious to me that this was not the case on all of the potatoes. The problem was that as they had started to grow again and were no good for eating. Plus by digging them up I know that so many potatoes so close together would not have given me good crops at all.

So ...lesson learnt. Make sure I dig my potatoes  up all the way along and don't be presumptuous!!

Thursday 13 June 2013

Not quite what I planned.......

Well today I planned on writing a post something more along the allotment know the kind of thing, plants, seedlings, germination, weeds!! Anything of that sort really.

But then.......

Torrential rain!!
Torrential rain!!
 It really was quite horrific and coming down at such a force neither the gutters or drains could cope with it and everywhere started to flood.....including.....

flooded garden
My Carport
 So that put paid to the idea of visiting the allotment with the camera. I don't really know until I get to the allotment again whether it gave the plants a good soaking or a good battering. Fingers crossed that it's the former. Here's hoping for a little bit of a dryer day tomorrow!!

Wednesday 12 June 2013

Easy Sherbet Recipe.

Okay so this isn't really sherbet but  a lovely quick and simple frozen dessert recipe. I actually first heard about it over at  Living the Gourmet so feel free to go over and take a look at some wonderful recipes which give me much inspiration. I slightly adapted the recipe though for what I had on hand.

Easy plum Sherbet
Easy plum Sherbet.  
The recipe is simple.

1/2 cup whole milk.
1/2 cup sugar.
3 cups frozen Victoria plums.

The method is just as simple.

Whizz it all up in a blender!!
That's it done and you are good to go.
It can either be eaten straight away or put into the freezer.

The original recipe I read used frozen grapes but this worked well and tasted delicious and I imagine you can use any frozen fruit so what better way to get all of that fruit saved from last year used up to make room for the wonderful harvest of 2013.

Have a go and enjoy your experiments...if anyone gives it a go let me know what you have used...I may try some combination flavours too. So simple and quick for a dessert when you just haven't had time. Very refreshing to eat to!!

Tuesday 11 June 2013


OK, so it's not actually my birthday today but I did celebrate one in my absence.

I got some lovely clothes for my birthday, A very nice wax Jacket from the Hubby and some money to put towards my first beehive.

I also got this...

Self watering propagator
Self watering propagator

 It is really good and I have sown some spring cabbage to try it out. If all goes well I think I might invest in a few more of these as it makes things easier when I struggle to get to the allotment to water .


Monday 10 June 2013

First 2013 Harvest.

Well I popped up the allotment this morning for a couple of hours and got in the ground a row of spinach, broccoli 'raab' and radicchio. All seeds sowed directly so I hope they will give me plenty of crops!!

Whilst there I had a little looksy at a few things and.....

First harvest of 2013.
I got my first pickings of the year...they taste delicious!!!!

Sunday 9 June 2013

Visiting an Open Apiary.

I told you a while back that as part of our course we were goig to get to see some hives first hand and it was a great experience and also a relief to find that a lot of bees didn't freak me out. Anyway whilst there I had my phone on me so kept snapping away and came home with a few good shots which I thought I would share with you all.

Feel free to stop looking through if you get bored before the end!!!

If you want a closer look at the pictures just click on the album to enlarge.

Saturday 8 June 2013

You turn your back for five minutes and..........

4 Foot High Weeds.
The above is what happens!!!! it was left alone for more like 5 weeks rather than 5 minutes but you get the idea, After just a few short weeks the bee plot resembles an abandoned paddock with grass 4 foot tall.

Not only did this run away form me in all my "busy-ness" but my blog too. It's not that I have nothing to write but for a week or so I was just so incredibly busy that I didn't get to post and then every time I thought about posting I was so overwhelmed with how much i had to say it was daunting.

Well today I came to a decision...little and often!!

So over the next week or two I will be catching you all up on what's been going on with lots of smaller posts on a specific topic on a daily basis...I feel this is the only way I am going to get back on track.

At this point I would just like to thank you all for bearing with me and coming back to visit after I have been silent for so long. Lots of pictures and posts to follow!!