Hello, you guys, long time no see. I have been busy plotting and driving over the olive trees again, such a wonderful time had! Back to reality two weeks ago! With a bloody bang. I would be a rich woman if I earned a £1.00 for every time an English person said to me ‘ you did not need to go on holiday, there has been a heat wave here!’. Oh lovely just what I need in a glass fronted office for eight hours a day….do I need to say anymore!
I signed up to a 26 mile hike in November 2016 and never had time to do the ‘Just giving’ page, scary! How can we not have time in this crazy world?? I have until 17.07.17 to raise £137.50 PLEASE HELP!
The Hulk is amazingly happy at the moment with the goings on at the plot, almost everywhere is spick and span in preparation for our road trip to the lower Sierra Nevada in Southern Spain next Saturday (Can’t blooming wait, two years without this wonderful place). The poly tunnel has been harvested of its fantastic Winter Onion crop, although I goofed the Red Onion crop because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Red Onion I crammed in too many and failed to follow direct Hulk instructions – Whoops! However, this has resulted in a considerable amount of thinning out (yummers) and far smaller onions than the White Onions! Damn it. One is a greedy cow.
Over the last couple of weeks the poly tunnel has been planted by The Hulk (far too hot in there for me) with numerous varieties of Tomatoes, Chillies and Peppers along with Aubergines, Sweetcorn, Basil and Spaghetti Squash. The Spaghetti Squash does somewhat take over, but the yields are far more impressive than if it is grown outside.
We are off plotting today and tomorrow with some final tidying and planting by me. My cutting patch is doing well although no one told me that Nigella and Love in a Mist are the same plant……I felt foolish but how would I know? I got the packets at separate times so at least that is in my favour! At Least I will have lovely ornamental heads in the Autumn! I have Larkspur, Gypsophilia, Canterbury Bells, Fox Gloves and Cosmos all grown from seed.
We harvested our first New Potatoes last week along with some Broad Beans……note to self (or ask The Hulk!) make Potato and Broad Bean Salad! Truly delicious.
This year we have invested in a heavy duty wire fence to try and keep the Bloody Badgers out of the Sweetcorn. Financially we have nothing to gain with the cost of the fence because we could probably buy twice what we will reap! However, taste wise it will be worth it and the fence should last a few years. The Hulk has mulched with grass clipping to help keep the ground moist. ‘You got ought moist’!
I did not know you could get Yellow Peonies – didn’t actually believe it would be yellow as I got it from a car boot last year for £4.00! What a bargain, it has a delightful fragrance too.
Pooches are still mental, Lili is getting more crazy – worse than a naughty six year old child! And soooooooooo sulky! Takes after The Hulk haha.
It is that mental time of year again when every single spare moment is taken up by plotting. Weed this, weed that, plant this, sow that. The Hulk is in a medium to good mood with his plotting, with good progress made this weekend. Made even happier by my decision not to have any more space in the poly tunnel this year. So I have five foot and The Hulk has 25 foot!
After about five years of growing Kale we discovered that unbeknown to each other our favourite Kale is the same one, we both thought the other didn’t like it! Red Russain Kale is the best, it almost tastes nutty. I thought The Hulk liked the dark purple one which I find a little bland. Kale crisps are delicious. They last yonks and taste yummy. We grew the Kale in the poly tunnel over the winter, along with some red and white onions. Fabulouso return on both crops. The onions store well and will be lifted next week to make way for the Chilli plants, the Kale was taken out this weekend and replaced with six varieties of Tomatoes………think we might be giving a few away! Spaghetti Squash grow well in the poly tunnel, they seems to like the heat and in comparison to an outside plant in the same year, they were three times as big. Butternuts didn’t fair well in the poly tunnel. Sweetcorn are slightly bigger when grown in the poly tunnel but the mice ate it last year! The Badgers ate the outside crop too! We have a new stock fence outside for the Sweetcorn patch, we shall see if that keeps the Badger out and the humans!
The plot is full of wildlife. Last weekend I saw a yellow spider! I see so much: bugs, bees, frogs, Newts, a Dormouse, moths, Coal Tits, Blue Tits, Robins, lovely butterflies too. We have a bird bath which is a massive hit with the Magpies but yesterday we watched in amazement as a Bullfinch flew down and had a drink. The week before that a Green Woodpecker stopped off for a drink. Lovely to see when you are having a cuppa on the plot.
We are going on a road trip in about 25 days so I have had to plant out my Sweet Peas and Cosmos early because I want them established before we go. Little worried as it is so cold at night still and in the day there is an awful chill. Still wearing thermals!
Other uses for ones porch!
Wildlife pond is a hit.
Onions from seed.
Self seeded Linaira.
I would not normally blog about this kind of thing but this was absolutely hilarious. We took the in-laws, their dog and our two dogs down to the beach last weekend.
We were all having a nice time mulling along, the dogs were going mental especially Lili, then suddenly Lili and Fudge sunk in the sand, they scrambled to get out and were ok. The Hulk being The Hulk continued to ‘walk’ across the same patch of the beach. Oh my goodness, I looked up to see The Hulk fall forward onto his knees into the sinking sand and in the next second Bill (The Hulk’s Dad) fell backwards on his bum. I was in absolute bits ( I know, I know, I know it can be serious….) but it was the funniest thing I have seen in a very long time. Naturally I went and helped Bill and bugger me if I didn’t get stuck! Trouble is I was laughing so much I could not pull myself out so Bill had to help me. How we laughed!
As you can imagine we were all in a state, the dogs, even my car. I took it to Tescos for valeting and when I got back the girl said to me ‘We only did the outside, it is too dirty inside, we need more money’ & then overcharged me for only cleaning the outside!
Well today we finally got to the plot – once we had got rid of the lovely grandkids (evil Nanny!) and it was too wet to weed. My goodness what on earth are we supposed to do???? It is so frustrating! Did manage a little but it was tough going and not much fun at all. The Hulk was not impressed at all but he cleared some brambles, so felt a bit manly after that.
Spring has sprung! the frog spawn has hatched and we have little tadpoles swimming around. We have newts too, so it is good to see that some spawn has hatched – not sure if that is the right word – hey ho it will do.
We had a seed planting fest last weekend. I got to use my new propagator, unfortunately I did not notice the Cosmos seedlings straight away, some germinated within three days (bit leggy) – viable home taken seed! We love our own ‘home grown’ seed. It some how seems more satisfying. Chitting our tatties too.
We had our first rhubarb harvest last weekend along with a harvest of kale, baby leeks & Christmas potatoes grown in pots – a little late but so tasty, baby roast leeks (Baby roast leek sounds far better than ‘our leeks did not grow this year’) are delicious. Amazing that no matter what you can always take a harvest from your plot. Admittedly giant mustard and roast leeks do not go well together! But self seeded mustard on a cheese sandwich is yummers.
Last weekend we went to plot and pruned the apple tree, medlar tree and the blackcurrant bushes. In the hope of a good harvest this year. It was absolutely freezing, even The Manly Hulk was cold! We didn’t use that many of the cooking apples unfortunately, but we used all the medlars (for wine!) and most of blackcurrants for jam. (freeze well and the stalks rub off easier when frozen – Tip from Alys Fowler’s book, try baking her lavender biscuits they are amazing) I would say homemade blackcurrant jam is the best jam ever, its so ‘fruity’ and doesn’t taste of only sugar. We have made medlar jelly before but you do not get a very good yield, it is tasty but we agree they are better used for wine making, this is tasty (Oh Denzel Washington!) and quite strong, excellent served chilled.
The poly tunnel is still providing produce, we have a fair amount of mustard which has self-seeded in there. It is so delicious and nice to taste something so allotmenty. We are growing onions in there again, as they were fantastic last year and even kept well after harvest…..sometimes The Hulk has a good idea!
The rhubarb is growing lovely and I am determined to use more this year instead of leaving it to go limp (haha oh so rude). We also have some ‘Christmas’ potatoes, they are so creamy and allotmenty. I love allotment food, I can’t wait for the Summer being able to pick and eat tomatoes off the plant (when The Hulks not looking – else I get told off!!!). They aren’t as warm in the poly tunnel as the green house, love a nice warm sunshined tomato. Perhaps I should grow my own under glass just for me to eat on sunny lovely warm days – in England – well occasionally.
We had a bit of snow today, but it was soon replaced by sleet and has gone now. Managed to get up the plot with the dogs, it does look nice in the snow.
OOOOoooohhhhh I nearly forgot, I have my very OWN heated propagator! How exciting, no fights over the little seed trays anymore.
Plot, plot, plot….too cold? The Hulk is at work on a blooming Saturday. First seedlings of the year: Basil:-
Tumble dryer coming in useful – instead of being in the bloody way! I made an amazing Basil Pesto last year, it was so easy. I replaced the pine nuts with walnuts and pestoed away. I also used Kale instead of Basil. So easy and so tasty.
Last year we purchased a dehydrator, what an amazing thing this is. We have Plum Leathers and Kale Crisps in storage. We’ve eaten Courgette Crisps (What a load of old baloney that is in the news, shortage! If it is not in season we don’t generally (unless grown in the UK) buy it, why buy something that takes three days to get here!) We also dried chillies and have Lemon Chilli powder, Bangalore Torpedo powder and the Bhut very hot (for The Hulk) powder. We went to Gardener’s World in 2015 where we got a Bangalore Torpedo plant, we harvested the seeds and grew the plants this year, they are a fantastic cropper with a nice heat flavour. They are the long thin red ones in the bottom row of pictures in the middle. Yummers!
We spent quite a bit of time plotting last year as you can see from some of the pictures below:-
The poly tunnel was very productive and as usual we had far too much of everything, we did give some produce away. At the moment we have self-seeded Mustard, Kale, Chard, White Onions and Red Onions. The Hulk grew the Onions in the poly tunnel last winter and we had an awesome crop, looking good this year also.
Hoping for another productive year…………
Hello there, long time no blog…..slaving looking after the Hulk!
What an odd year it has been, we have new chillie flowers in the poly tunnel and some tiny chillies that are growing very slowly. We have an awesome crop of self seeded Nasturtiums (from the most pathetic plant). We got a fair crop of Sweet Potatoes but didn’t really make the money back, the slips cost £20. We will grow slips from the crop and hope for the best. We have numerous chillies growing, I took some seeds from a plant I got at Gardeners World in 2015, they are called Bangalore Torpedo. They are just the right heat for me, a nice heat that doesn’t rip the skin out of your mouth. We also have a Lemon Chillie which has been grown from our own seed for about four years. They are nice too, if you don’t use too many. A few years ago I made a chutney and put 40 in, I don’t know why 40 but my god it’s hot and it has matured with age and got much hotter….unlike the Hulk 🙊. I have grown white beetroot, the slugs don’t seem to like this one & the chutney is yummy. We have had oodles of the usual crops too. We got a dehydrator in the summer, we have fruit leathers, chillie powder, courgette crisps, kale crisps and more chillie powder! It was about £60 from Amazon but you need the tray inserts as well for fruit leathers. I think the kale crisps are my favourite and maybe the plum leathers.
My flower patches have given me months of cut flowers, in fact it was only last weekend that I didn’t come home with a bunch, house looks glum. Outside doesn’t though Autumn is so pretty, lovely when it’s cold and crisp…. when it stops raining!!
Well what can I say ? 2 mouthfuls (1 for The Hulk) of yummy fresh picked cucumber….fingers crossed for more and not the same flop as the Asparagus.
We were delighted to get bucketfuls of rain on Sunday and spent a good few hours planting up the poly tunnel, yes I was actually allowed to plant some sweetcorn, onions and chillies. We are only planting 7 sweetcorns in the tunnel just to compare size and taste with the outdoor ones, the same with the onions. We grew a fantastic crop of white onions in the tunnel over the winter, some of the best we have grown. Oh I also planted 2 spaghetti squash plants, these romped away last year (romped lol) and we had huge squashes, so big I physically cannot cut them in half! The Hulk planted a lot of Sweet Potato plants, hoping to get a good harvest this year. A harvest of anything but weeds would be super.
The Hulk saw somewhere a brilliant watering tip, which we both now use. Dig your hole to twice the size you need, place the plant in the hole making sure it is level with the ground, fill with water, wait for it to drain away and fill again. Once drained, back fill with the soil. This is great, I planted some romanesco cauliflowers a few weeks ago and haven’t had to water them again – although it might be slightly different if we were actually having a summer, but this really does reduce the watering. Big hole digging is a bit of an issue on our plot because The Hulk says the holes that I dig are girl holes and they need to be bigger, time to bite ones tongue and not tell him to do it himself!
We also use straw in the tunnel to help keep the ground moist (moist haha) and to help out with the watering during the week.
Roll on the weekend for more plotting come rain or shine! The Hulk is wearing a newly purchased cowboy hat….I am not playing Cowboys and Indians at the plot!
This is what I think The Hulk suffers from! He plods around all week moping like he has withdrawal sypmtoms from plotting. He works very hard in he week but he is super fed up if he can’t get up the plot, heaven forbid if I mention the words DIY 😝
Well the Asparagus harvest has ended with one harvest, so my dancing lady celebration was a bit over the top. It was delicious though.
We plot on and on with weeding and planting, so much to go in at the minute. Yesterday I planted some romensco cauliflowers that I grew from seed, they are fandabybloodydozey, be yummy too.
We have sweetcorn to plant today, along with kale, red cabbage and some dahlias – for my patch you understand – yes we still have flower rules, although last night The Hulk did ask me what I was doing with three nasturtiums, as he wants to plant them in with his runners, blooming cheek!