Monday, 26 April 2010

Baby peaches and the brassica patch

I went to the shop meeting on Thursday night, and we sampled the jams and chutneys we'd got from Reedy's the day before.  The hot plum chutney was good, and the tomato and chilli one was pretty tasty too.  I've been tasked with finding gardening products for the shop.  My initial ideas include organic liquid seaweed feed, organic slug killer/deterrent and some exciting vegetable seeds and some wildflower seeds too – the condition being they aren’t already available to buy locally.

After the meal I met up with 2 friends and we went to a local oriental restaurant called Moutai.  I had spring onion pancakes, kung po (very tasty and full of cashew nuts) and noodles.

On Friday morning a man came to measure up for some blinds in our front room.  I'm sick of the voiles and my plants aren't getting enough light during the day.  So they're coming to fit them on the 17th May.

I pinched out the first side shoots on the tomato plants.  They've got hairy stalks now and already have that lovely homegrown tomato smell, even though they're still only about 4 inches tall.

The weather has been really dry and sunny for at least 2 weeks and I think we're due for some rain.  I picked loads of dandelion flowers off my lawn, but the next day about 20 more appeared!

We got a takeaway from Akash on Friday night, a Desi Biriani and Pakoras.  I got a bottle of Tiers III Rioja to try but it was very disappointing and tasted like vinegar, despite being quite expensive.

On Saturday I did a bit of weeding at the allotment - the mares tail is rearing its ugly head in the top greenhouse.  We nipped into town for some bits and bobs and I got a wire hanging basket for out the front.  I also got 2 more bags of multi-purpose compost.  I made up 2 hanging baskets of dwarf sweet peas in the greenhouse.  Next year I need to remember to sow the dwarf sweet peas directly into the hanging baskets as this will mean a more even distribution of plants.  Another note for next year is to sow a lot more sweet pea seeds into each pot.  I've only sown 3 sweet peas per pot - but other people seem to be sowing lots more into pots - maybe about 8-10 per pot.

Some more lessons learnt for next year - if you can sow it outside - do, it saves hardening off.  And start off peas and broad beans sooner - as they don't need to wait until after last frost before planting out

I repotted the thyme from a tiny pot into a big terracotta pot, which I think it will love.  I also sowed some more sweetcorn in the last of the large peat pots.  I've used up all the Lark seeds now.

The cabbage, kale, sprouts and 2 nasturtiums have left the greenhouse and are being hardened off. 

My Mum's got a baby blackbird nesting in her back garden.  Its parents are backwards and forwards feeding it all the time and she can see it from her kitchen window.  On my way into work the other day I saw a greenfinch or a green wagtail, and from my bedroom window I saw a goldfinch.

We sorted the brassica patch on Sunday.  I dug it over and limed the soil, and planted the first row of plants that were donated by Lynne.  I had to compost a few of the plants she gave me as they'd got white insects and eggs on the back of the leaves.  We netted the patch and gave each plant a cardboard collar to stop root fly.

The leeks can go beneath the brassica patch, but I still need to find somewhere for the swedes and turnips - we might not bother with turnips, but I do like swedes, so I need to squeeze them in somewhere.

I noticed the Blackthorn tree has really come into blossom now.

The damson has also produced some leaves.  And some baby peaches have appeared on the peach tree.

To be honest, on Sunday I wasn't really in the mood for the allotment, plus it started raining so I came home.  I started knitting a stripy hat for my friend's baby.  I also want to knit myself some Noro socks.  I've got bad circulation in my hands and feet, I think it might be Reynaud's Syndrome, because if I wash myhands in cold water my fingers go white!  And often my feet get really chilly, so I think a pair of hand knitted woolly socks would be perfect for me.  The Noro yarn comes in some really cool colours too.  Here’s the one I ordered:

Which knits up like:

Then I went to tea at my Mum's - she made scampi, salad and new potatoes and we had pineapple and coconut yogurt for dessert.

I borrowed Joe's Allotment by Joe Swift (off Gardeners’ World) and I read it all, it's pretty useful stuff for any allotmenteer, and I definitely learnt some new things from the book.

I'm still logging all my seed sowing in the 'In Tune with the Moon 2010' book/diary.  It's full moon on Wednesday so I hope the clouds shift in time for a nice photo of the moonrise.

As for next weekend, well it's bank holiday and we are hoping to pave in front of the shed at the allotment which will give us a bit of a patio area to sit down on and chill and maybe have a BBQ at some point.  

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