Tuesday, 29 June 2010

A 13 inch whopper!

Last week we issued a share offer for the co-operative eco shop that we're hoping to open.  This means we're offering people a chance to buy a £25 share in the shop.   We need to raise £15k in shares, to get the shop up and running.  After 1 week we've already raised £3500, and we've got another 3 weeks to raise the remaining amount.  We've sent out press releases to the media to try and promote the offer to local people.  I really hope we hit the target.  Currently there aren't any shops in town where people can buy eco/organic or fair trade products, other than the supermarket, so the shop would be a great addition to the town, and it'll be a positive step in fighting back against big supermarkets, whilst helping to strengthen the local retail economy.

We had a bottle of Anciano red wine on Friday, this is a Spanish wine, oak aged for 3 years.  It was nice, but a bit vinegary.  I would love to buy the £15 bottle of Rioja on the top shelf at the shop.  When it's my birthday I might just treat myself.  I just want to know if expensive wine actually tastes better!

I went to Accrington and Rossendale College on Friday afternoon to meet the lady that runs the Horticulture course.  We went into their polytunnel for an informal chat about the things the course covers.  I think I'd enjoy the diploma, but I'm not sure if it would enhance my career prospects much, she said it would give me all the training I would need to work in a park, but working in a park isn't what I want to do.  So I'll see how it goes at the open day at Myerscough College next Saturday, when I go and see about the Foundation Degree in Ecology.  I would really like to do a degree in sustainability as this is something I feel very passionate about.  It ticks a lot of boxes for me, it's environmentally friendly, but is also about people consuming less, thinking about the effects of their actions.  Can't find any suitable courses locally though.

We finally finished the back garden on Saturday and I love it!  The flowers look ace, Chris got rid of the grass between the paving and painted the white bits of brickwork.  It looks perfect and I'm really happy with it.  As everything grows it's just going to look better and better.  This sunny weather is really bringing things along nicely.  Loads of bees and butterflies are visiting the garden too, much to Steve French's annoyance, as he think it's his job to guard the flowers from insects and attacks anything that comes into view.   Over the past few weeks he's brought in about 10 dead mice, all with their heads missing!  Maybe one day I'll find a pile of rotting mice heads stashed somewhere. Ewww!

Quickly changing subject... The hanging baskets are all doing well.

The Livingstone Daisies are lovely and bright.

The borage is in bloom and the bees dig it.

The mint is taking over, nothing new there. Time to make some mojitos!

The rose bush has produced 2 roses.

A nasturtium seed from one of last year's plants has started growing in the remains of a metal tube in our paving.

Check out my rock garden.

In the afternoon I went to see my Grandma with my Mum.  My Grandma fell down on Friday and banged her head so we went to see how she was.  She had a bump on her head but seemed fine, but she was looking a bit thin.  She's 87 and has dementia and lives in a residential home.

My Mum gave us a table and 2 chairs for our back garden, and we made the most of the lovely sunny day and sat outside and had quiche and salad and the rest of the red wine.

On Sunday I was down at the plot on my own as Chris went to our friend Emma's house to fit a glossy new white ceiling in her bathroom.  I gave everything a good watering because it hasn't rained for weeks now.  The pumpkins in the greenhouse are still flourishing, they're huge, one of the varieties is called Rocket F1 and it's certainly living up to its name.  I weeded the raised beds and onions, and the top greenhouse too.  I sowed some radish and some spring onions, and cropped some strawberries, radish, a lettuce and three beetroots.  I also sowed some more french and borlotti beans in the gaps next to the canes, where seeds previously sown hadn't germinated, or plants had died.  I also sowed some french beans under the sweetcorn in the greenhouse so that I've got a three sisters bed (sweetcorn, squash and beans).  The squashes' large leaves will help suppress weeds, and the beans will use the sweetcorn as a support to climb up.  I think the Native Americans used this technique and it worked well for them, as the crops work in partnership with one another.

After the allotment I went home to sit outside in the sun (on my new chair/table) and listened to the World Cup England vs Germany match on the radio.  England lost 4-1, but I wasn't bothered.  I was happy just chilling in the sun and admiring how cool the garden looks.

Back in the greenhouse at my Mum's I pinched out the growing tips of the cucumbers, melon and aubergines - the plants have grown loads thanks to the sunny weather we've had recently.  I even had to move some chillies and peppers onto the greenhouse floor to make room on the staging.  There still aren't any red tomatoes.  I fed the tomatoes with seaweed and epsom salts (for flavour and to stop the leaves yellowing).  I picked the first cucumber - which was a real whopper at 13 inches long and it tasted lovely and fresh.

On Monday night we finally got some rain - it chucked it down during the night and I was woken up by thunder and lightning.  The garden desperately needed some rain, but the water authority have said it won't affect the threat of a hose pipe ban in the near future.

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