Monday, 8 July 2013

Gooseberries galore

Gooseberry bumper crop, picked  1.5lb tonight, but there are tons left to pick!!

The other crops are doing well as well, its amazing what a bit of sun does.
The new potatoes are not far off ( late being ready because of how late they went in). The currants are dripping and just turning  black and red. There are one or two strawberries. There are little apples, pears and plums on the fruit trees.  The runner beans are romping up the frame and starting to flower, however the peas are struggling a bit. They were  munched by something when they just came up and I think this has knocked them back.
We also have a lovely load of basil in the conservatory (Thanks hubby), so its delicious fresh pesto
for our tea! Hubby also growing on some chilli plants donated by Richard the neighbour.

We have bought some climbers for the patio and rigged up some wires to encourage them to climb. A couple of honesuckles, and a jasmine. They are planted in large pots, so lets see how they get on.
 We also have a few pots of sweet peas growing up nicely


Theleft hand border now a couple of months on from the picture in the last post

The right hand border in front  of the chicken run

The left hand border looking towards the house 

Generally doing ok, particularily the perennials, however due to chucking them all in, it is a bit crowded in parts. I have started labelling all the ones that need to be moved to a better position or one with a bit more room for them to spread.
Some of the shrubs did not survive the damp over winter and I have popped in a few new ones, to see how they go on.
I have also  sown some cosmos seed directly into the border and they are growing away happily, so will fill the gaps left by the small shrubs.

Doggie Destroyer,

Being surprisingly good, no chewed shrubs so far. He does pelt through the borders but oh well!!! His favourite thing is to lie flat out on the grass and soak up the sun. He also likes to wander past the chicken run fence and pounces if the hens decide to ignore him. He obviously can't reach them but I think he likes to keep them on their toes. The other week one of the kids left the gate open to the run and barney got in with them. I ran out to the garden thinking he would be after them, but all he did was sniff around them. I think he was shocked to be next to them and did not know what to do.

On news of the chickies,  the one who had the mites on the legs passed away the other day. We bought a 2 new girls  a few weeks back, Patricia and Molly. I think the older one, decided enough was enough an gave up. 
Hopefully the weather will last a few weeks, I may even have to water the borders at this rate, a bit radical for Cumbria

Friday, 3 May 2013

Spring 2013

Spring 2103,

I have been extremely lapse at updating this blog. I think I sort of lost the will, due the never ending rain last summer/autumn/winter etc etc etc.

However onwards!!! Despite the lack of posts I did not neglect the garden and inbetween downpours I did manage to plant some more ornamental trees over the winter.
I put in some willows in the wet corner, and some silver birch ( jacquemontii) in another area. These were joined by a Prunus padus, and an Amelanchier as well as a native Rowan.

A few weeks after the Amelanchier went in we had a few days of rain. This resulted in tree surrounded by a deep puddle, which just refused to budge. The doggie destroyer thought this was a great addition to the garden and took ownership of the puddle and rapidly turned it into a mud bath.  Eventually I had to rescue the poor tree. I put my fork under it and it came out with a big slurpe, as if to say thank heavens for that. It has now been relocated in another dryer part of the garden.
Hubby then took it upon himself to investigate the cause of the water and dug down and down, made a bigger hole then gave up!!!

The borders are springing to life and we continue to extend them when we get some time to lift the turf etc.  I made some plant supports out of hazel, they are a bit wonky but hopefully they will work.

Veg news

The veg patch is all prepared and planting for this year is underway. Last year's crop was a disaster, the only veg we had any good success with was the savoy cabbages, they were fab. But carrots, parsnips, french beans were all a wash out.

We put in a few more rasp cane to replace the ones that did not take last year. The gooseberries and the currants are looking great.

So far I have put in the 2nd Earlies, a row of peas, 3 rows each of carrots and parsnips, and onion sets. I have some garlic and overwintered lettuces on the go. I also have a couple of purple sprouting broccoli plants which are taking an age to start cropping. I can see all the buds ready to go but no joy so far. The weather has warmed up over the last week or so so hopefully it will start soon, only a couple of months late!!!

Orchard news.

We seem to have a few flower buds appearing on two of the pears and one of the apples, its all very exciting. I wander down there every few days to have a little look.

Doggies destroyer news.

Barney has recently turned one, he is slightly less of a doggie destroyer, though summer has not really started so he may still eat all the shrubs. He is cute though!!

Chickies News.

Sugar has got scaley leg mites or something. Basically the scales on her feet are lifted because little mites are underneath them. Well a quick search on google gave me the solution:- the last two night we have been dipping her feet in cooking oil. Apparently this smothers the mites and solves the problem. She is not impressed by the oil dipping... I will report back.
 Puts a whole new slant on chicken dippers!!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Well from empty water butts in the beginning of May to  what seems like non-stop rain since. While it was welcome in May, it is not welcome now. The plants are starting to suffer,  as the rain is just washing all the goodness out of the soil. The solution is to mulch with some garden compost but it is hard even to get a few dry minutes to get out there and do anything.  The grass needs cutting desperately, come on the sun, show yourself!!!!

I did manage to get out one day and plant out the purple sprouting broccolli.  I wandered through the plot a few days later, to find three purple sprouting stumps, I was not impressed. I am pretty sure it was birds. I thought to myself, no worries I have some spare.  The spare on the side patio were also purple sprouting stumps. Grrrr. I put the stumps in the mini greenhouse to see if i can get them to recover, I do not hold out much hope.

We have had a few strawberries,  along with the birds who have also had a few. I have put some fleece over the top of them, to try and keep the birds off.  We also picked some gooseberries last weekend, enough for a some fool for hubby and I, yum!

I can see some blue sky this am, fingers crossed we have a dry day!

The doggie destroyer update:-

Excellent at grubbing up mint, no fear of it spreading in my garden it seems. Enjoys chewing woody shrubs, making sure the chosen branch is bitten through. Runs at full speed around the garden with evidence in his mouth, closely followed by me with the BRUSH. Has been banished from the veg patch for crimes against plant labels, running through the veg beds willy nilly, pulling out the pea sticks, jumping on the fleece over the cabbages and biting off ripe strawberries.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Digging up all sorts

Rumour has it around here that my garden got all the topsoil destined for the whole estate, I would like to dispel this rumour, having dug up bricks, boulders, pipes, tiles, rubbish sacks etc etc.

This is what came up yesterday! Anyway not wasted effort, we put a tree in the hole we created getting this lot out. the first  ornamental tree to go in. Sorbus aria 'Lutescens'
Rusty roll of barbed wire!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

June Half term, the arrival of the doggy destroyer

Jubilee fun and games in the paddock a couple of gardens down, has got everyone in the mood for being outside.

The dry spell has made the first sowings of rocket, mizuna, pac choi and radish bolt, but later sowings coming on behind. The dry spell finally came to an end last week, with a great down pour, enough to refill the waterbutts. (mine were both completely empty, and I had resorted to using grey water from the washing up and the childrens bath to water everything.!) the rain though has made the whole garden shoot into life. The gooseberries are laden with fruit, the standard I have, has had to be staked as the weight is making it droop over. The peas, strawberries, onions, spuds and salads, are all doing great. The french beans are still struggling. I sowed a few extra beans to replace the ones that had died and the fresh plants are as big as the ones planted months ago!

I have planted out the leeks, courgettes and the savoy cabbages, and made the last sowing of peas. I also picked up a few sweetcorn plants from the garden centre. Of the two sowing I did in trays I have one plant to show for it, pretty poor. I planted out a block of sweetcorn plants just a couple of days ago.

The veg beds are looking pretty full now. Just a bit more space for some salads and a couple more rows of carrots and thats it chocca. I have some purple sprouting broccoli planted on in 3inch pots waiting to go in. I think these can be planted out once I have harvested the early potatoes later this month.

The little plastic greenhouse, has three tomato plants in it and a neighbour has donated the hubby a couple of chilli plants, to keep him happy.

The flower border is doing fab, I have filled the space left at the back with a couple of shrubs I was on the look out for. Found them at Little Dodd garden centre when looking for a present for a neighbour. Prunus lusitanica and Elaeagnus x ebbingei.  I have also popped in some of the Cosmos I grew from seed in any gaps. Unfortunately the doggy destroyer arrived on the scene a week ago.
Your average shrub/perennial border looks like a brilliant jungle to an 8 week old cocker pup. He has taken to bounding throught the plants and grabbing anything presenting itself as he bounces by. Quite a few flower buds have bitten the dust.
I knew that some plants I had would not be particularly good for eating, but I thought I had better check up. A quick search on line for 'plants poisonous to dogs' brought up the longest list known to man! I told the hubby we had better teach the little darling to not eat the plants because otherwise he will not last long.  Anyway here is a picture of the doggy destroyer, otherwise known as Barney, a very modern dog with his own twitter page! He likes cardboard boxes, plant pots, and bits of rope to chew.He does not like wet grass( particularly in the morning), low flying jets and the sweeping brush. He is fearless, chasing off next doors cat, and trying to play with a fully grown ridgeback. He will also try and eat anything, in one week he has consumed a dead baby bird,(gross), a live slug ( could come in handy!), chicken poo, (oh dear) and any plant labels that he passes!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

May Update

Its been almost two weeks since my last entry. Been too busy with everything to find the time to type!.
The weather at the beginning of the month was as bad as April and everything is taking ages to get going. The french beans started off inside, were hardened off, but since they have been in the ground they have struggled. What with the cold, wet and the slugs!!!. I have lost a couple, however it has warmed up over the last few days, so there is hope!!. I popped a couple of seeds to compensate for the lost ones.
The spuds however are romping away, both the earlies and the maincrop. The ones in the nursery bed are just showing as they are a couple of weeks behind the rest.
I am picking salads now and still sowing every couple of weeks. Mizuna, rocket, pak choi, etc etc.
The actual lettuces though have not germinated well. I think must be the cold and heavy soil. I sowed again yesterday.

Parsnips have finally germinated, taking well over a month to come up, but I have five little rows showing now.

Rasps problem

I planted Octavia and Glen Lyon on the same day in the same bed. All the Octavia are growing but not one of the Glen Lyon. The local organic group have advised to really water them and give them a chance, but I think they are duds!!!

This evening I planted a couple of Dahlia tubers, I can't resist a Dahlia! I got them from the supermarket, which I previously have not done. However having spend a fortune on them in the past to loose them all in the -20 degrees we had in Scotland two years on the trot, I figured cheap and cheerful was the way to go for now.  I sowed a few annuals to fill in the gaps that I have left for the shrubs I will get later this year.

The girls have some sunflowers to sow as well, which needs to get done soon...... and the sweet peas need potting out.... and.... and...
must be off...

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Gates complete the fencing

Looking into the veg garden

Farm gate entrance to the veg garden

Chicken run