Sunday, 26 February 2017

Garden Update - Waiting

Have you ever noticed that as gardeners we do a lot of waiting. Waiting for the soil to become warm enough so that the spring crop can be sown or planted, waiting for the  temperature to drop so that the autumn seeds and seedling can be put into the earth.  Waiting for fruit to ripen on their vines, waiting for leafy greens to become big enough so that they can be picked.

At the moment I'm waiting for pumpkins to stop growing and start maturing so that they can be picked and stored away to be used over the winter.

Waiting for tomato flowers to turn into tomatoes that in turn will be made into passata and pasta sauce.

 Waiting for plums to ripen so that I can enjoy their sweet and juicy deliciousness.

And there are melons on the vines that are still a long way from being ready to eat.

One thing I'm not waiting for anymore is zucchini. The plants had been doing so well in December, but by mid January they had succumbed to downy mildew.

The cucumber which had showed so much promise got powdery mildew and had to be pulled out.

The corn grew well and developed good sized ears, but I think I waited too long to pick them and they were tasteless.

The Turkish Turban also bit the dust. I think it must have been infected with downy mildew as well.
I did sow another one, but I don't think there will be enough time for it to produce fruit and for that fruit to mature.

None of the plants have done particularly well this season which given the crazy weather, days of extreme heat, followed by cooler days and more rain than is normal, it's not surprising that the plants have struggled.

 I always ask myself at this time of the year, is it really worth trying to grow vegetables in the summer?
I'm starting to think it's not, especially with all the extra water that it takes to keep the veggies alive during the frequent heat waves we have experienced over the last couple of  years, not to mention the pests and diseases that have to be contended with, I think with the money I would save on the water bill I could just buy organic vegetables and save myself time, money and energy.

What do you think? Is it really worth growing vegetables during summer anymore?

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Ten Raised Garden Beds To Inspire You

Raised garden beds, they seem to be the way to grow these days, so if you have been thinking of making some for yourself and are looking for some inspiration, look no further. 

Use logs to impart a rustic feel to your raised beds.

You could also get that rustic look by using old corrugated galvanised steel in different shapes.
Credit for this image has been given to this website, but I have been unable to find it there.

Source unknown
This  gorgeous garden is actually part of a school playground in Clapham, London,  I think all schools should follow this example.

Try using different shapes in the garden to add some visual interest like this garden designed by Casa Smith Designs.
The owners of this garden have planted a dwarf lemon tree in the centre of the star bed.

Using retaining wall blocks makes it easy to add curves to raised beds.


Add some whimsy to your vegetable garden by using a bed as a bed.
Source unknown.

If you only have a small space to grow in try one of these ideas.



So there you are, just a few ideas to get you started, if you decide to use one of these ideas let me know I'd love to see it.

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know

Monday, 2 January 2017

The Garden in December

This post was meant to be my last one for 2016, but I got busy with other things so instead it is my first post for the brand new year.

While I might not enjoy the heat of summer it seems the garden does.  The butternut pumpkins are doing fantastically well this year and are starting to outgrow their beds and onto the pathway, they are producing lots of female flowers which I hope the bees are busy pollinating.

The zucchinis are doing the best of all the vegetables I planted and are all ready providing me with more than I really need, I don't know what I'm going to do once they really get going.

The green ones are sweet and creamy, totally different to shop bought ones.

The Yellow Crookneck has a much firmer texture than the green ones, but they taste good and at the end of the day that is what it is all about.

The watermelon and rockmelon (cantaloupe) are covered in flowers so fruit shouldn't be too far off.

The first planting of corn is doing well,

 and the tassels are starting to emerge.
I waited too long between planting the first and second lot of corn and so it will be quite a few weeks before the second crop of corn is ready which may not be a bad thing.

But not everything is doing as well as I would like, the Turkish Turban pumpkin which at first did well and produced lots of little pumpkins,
The only pumpkin that seems to have been successfully pollinated so far.
took a turn for the worse and looked like it might die, luckily it seems to be recovering now and is starting to put on some new healthy looking growth and maybe even some more pumpkins.
I have since sown another seed which will hopefully grow into a strong healthy plant and produce masses of pumpkin. #agirlcanhope

Some of the beans are doing well and producing, like the Tender Delight,

while others like the Borlotti, which at first was doing fine and had produced masses of bean pods,

suddenly turned up their toes and died.

The unnamed volunteer that popped up in the garden and is still unnamed, but I'm starting to suspect it might be a Kent pumpkin is going great guns and there is the real possibility that it could take over the melon garden if I'm not careful.

The eggplant that I overwintered, survived the powdery mildew and has started to produce fruit again and will shortly be joined by two more eggplant, a Rosa Bianca and a Snowy.

My last job for December was potting up the very slow to grow tomato seedlings.
I honestly did not think that the tomato grown from store bought seed was ever going to get big enough to transplant into larger pots, in contrast the ones that were grown from store bought tomatoes, sliced, and lain on top of the soil are much further ahead with their growth and look healthier too. Hopefully now they are all in pots they will flourish.
Tomato seedling grown from store bought tomatoes.
This one was grown from shop bought seed.
Just a couple more photos to share of the damage done by the storm that came through South Australia last week.
The trellis that I had been using to hold the shade cloth off the corn was blown over, luckily the corn was only bent not broken and was standing up straight again by that same afternoon.

The damage that upset me the most was my greenhouse which was a birthday present from my daughters last year. Even though it was tied down and had survived other storms this time it ended up over the neighbours fence and is unfortunately beyond repair.
I know I'm lucky to have sustained such minor damage it could have been so much worse and was for a lot of people.
So, that was the garden in December, I'm expecting a lot more produce to come out of it over the next few weeks and I will be back at the end of this month with another update.

Wishing you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope the year ahead brings us all an abundance of the very best that life has to offer.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

A Repurposed Christmas

A post to (hopefully) inspire you to look at old things in a new way.

This post should have been up long before now, but time has just gotten away from me, so there may not be any time to make them this year, but that gives you a whole year to decide which ones will feature in your Christmas decorating next year.

Bed springs can be used to make the cutest little Christmas trees.

A few of these simple decorations would make an unusual centrepiece for the table on Christmas day.

These are actually necklaces, but I think they would look beautiful hanging in the tree.

If you don't happen to have any old fashioned cotton reels lying about you could use corks instead. 

Mindy at The Happy Scraps used a Cricut to make her flip chart Christmas countdown, but the same thing could be achieved using scrapbook paper, cardboard numbers and old Christmas cards.

Mindy at Prudent Pennypincher shows us a cute way to make a hanging countdown to Christmas using empty toilet rolls.

Old picture frames can be decorated and used as an alternative the traditional Christmas wreath.
 Source unknown

Source unknown

If you lucky enough to have a fireplace this would make a fantastic focal point to all your Christmas decorating.

But if you don't have the wall space for a gate, how about a bicycle wheel.
Source unknown

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a 


I hope you have a joyous and peaceful day spent with the ones you love.

I will be back with a garden update as soon as I can take some photos, we are on day two of a heat wave and the veggie garden is covered in shade cloth at the moment. 

Disclaimer: I try to give credit to the owners of all the images I use, sometimes this is not possible, those images where the source is unknown will be assumed to be in the public domain. If you are the owner of any of these images (source unknown) and would like them removed or credit added, please let me know