Sunday, 25 June 2017

Growing Asparagus

Asparagus is easily one of my favourite vegetables, and the best thing is that it is also one of the easiest veggies to grow and will supply you with delicious spears for twenty years or more if properly cared for.  

Bare rooted asparagus crowns can be bought from most garden centres or nurseries, as well as online and are usually planted out during winter through to early spring. Choose a sunny position with well draining soil that  has been enriched with plenty of organic matter, well rotted horse manure would be a good choice if you can get hold of some, plant crowns at least 10cm deep and between 35 - 40cm apart.  

During the first year of growth it is very important that the spears are not harvested as this will weaken the plant, a light harvest can be made in the second year, and in the years to follow the spears can be harvested every two to three days (they grow very quickly) over a six week period. Any spears that appear after that time should be left to grow into fronds. Pick only those spears that are at least as thick as a finger, and 15 - 20cm tall, any spears smaller than that should be left to grow. Keep your asparagus well watered during spring and summer and fertilise with pelletised chicken manure once harvesting has been completed.

Asparagus can also be grown from seed, but it will be three years before any spears will be able to be harvested.  

Asparagus fronds will start to turn yellow during the winter and this is when they will need to be cut down to ground level and the asparagus bed covered in a good thick layer of compost or manure, followed by a layer of straw, this will give them a good start when they start to grow again in spring.
Asparagus fronds ready to be cut down.
See, easy, the hardest part is waiting until you can harvest, but it is definitely worth the wait.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Finished ...........Finally

I started it last winter and put it away when the weather started to warm up. I took it up again three months ago and have been working on it almost every night for two or three hours at a time. There are eighty 15 centimetre (or there about's) squares made up of thirteen different patterns, and it measures 206 centimetres x 167 centimetres. It used over 5,000 metres of yarn and weighs 2.5 kilos and I'm so happy it's finally finished, I will never, ever make a blanket this size using squares again.

The squares are joined using Celtic lace join which looks difficult, but is quite easy to do once you get the hang of it. You can find the pattern here.


The border was made using the  Vibrant Vintage CAL border found here at Cypress Textiles.

The patterns I used for the squares were:
Antique Pearls by Priscilla Hewitt

Bubbles Baby Stitch by Deneen St. Amour

Counterpoint by Joyce Lewis

Harriett by Caroline Christmas

Just Peachy Blossom by Donna Mason-Svara

Melissa Square by Rachele Carmona

More V's Please by Melinda Miller

Solid Granny Square by Craft Passion

Traditional Granny Square  -  You can find a tutorial here

Victorian Lace Square by Destany Wymore

Plus, these three that I have no pattern for and cannot remember what they are called or who created them.


If you are the creator of these squares or know who created them, please let me know as I like to give credit where it is due.

So now that that's finished, I've moved on to something a bit different.
A sweet,vintage granny shawl in autumnal hues. The pattern was created by Kirsten, and you can find it here. I'll do a blog post about it when it's finished.







Sunday, 7 May 2017

If You Thought Terracotta Pots Were Just For Plants

You may need to think again.
Below are some pretty, practical and creative uses for terracotta pots with hardly a plant in sight.


A pretty shabby chic bird bath that could also be used to hold a candle, pot pourri,  soaps or jewellery.

A sweet little bird feeder.

As cutlery holders for a party or for everyday use.
Source unknown

They make an attractive drink coolers
One Kings Lane

They can be used to make adorable fairy gardens.
The Flower Market

Genevieve Gail

Or to add some playfulness to the garden.
All Stuff

Or you could use them to make a sweet set of wind chimes.
Source unknown
And finally they would make a cute centrepiece at a child's birthday party or a baby shower when used as cup cake holders.
Source unknown



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.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

The Great Pumpkin Harvest

Well, maybe great is a bit of an exaggeration, but compared to last years harvest of one minuscule butternut,

this years harvest was indeed great.
10.4kg of Butternut and 4.8kg of an unknown volunteer.

As you can see in the photo one of the pumpkins has split, I have since found out that it is an indication that the fruit had been left on the vine too long.  It was the second one to have done it, my own fault, but I wanted to make sure they were fully ripened before I picked them. I was worried that they might have gone mouldy or started to rot inside, but when I cut them open they were just fine and the pumpkin soup that was made with them was absolutely delicious.

There are still three more Butternut pumpkins on the vine that should be ready to pick on the weekend, I will be making sure those are not left too long.

Did you grow pumpkins this year? How did they go?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Snowy - At Last

After many seeds sown and a few false starts I finally managed to get a "Snowy" eggplant to grow this year. It started to flower, but never set any fruit or so I thought. Look at what I discovered this morning when I went down to the vegetable garden.
To say I got excited to see it is an understatement, but it's my first and grown from seed which makes it extra special in my book.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Garden Update - March 2017

Well, here we are, March is over and the first month of autumn has gone, but March was a very warm month and it has only been over the last week that the weather has finally started to cool down. 

As I expected pickings from the garden have been small, both in size and quantity.
The only two eggplants I've had so far this season with three each of Honeybee and Principe Borghese tomatoes.

Surprisingly over the last two weeks the eggplant has really picked up and has doubled in size, it is covered in flowers so I am hopeful of a few more fruit before the colder weather arrives.

One thing that wasn't small in size was the rockmelon.

It weighed 2.2kgs, and was sweet, juicy and delicious.

I thought it was going to be the only one for this year, but as you know the garden is always full of surprises.
  I hope it matures quickly.

There are also two watermelon slowly growing in the garden as well, one is nearly ready to pick,

the other was a relative late comer so I'm not sure it will mature in time.

The pumpkins are getting closer to being ready to be picked every day. I can't wait to cut this one open to see what's inside. This was a volunteer plant that popped up in the garden, and although it looks a bit like a Queensland Blue I have never grown them or bought them so I have no idea what it is.

Looking forward to lot of pumpkin soup this winter made from these beauties.


Readers will remember this photo of a tomato flower from last month's blog post, I have since found out that it is a fairly uncommon condition called fascination. The cause of fascination is unknown, but it is harmless to plants and it doesn't spread to infect other plants.

This is the resulting tomato fruit.
It looks weird, but it tasted just like a normal tomato.

One last photo to finish this post, my orange tree is once again playing host to the caterpillar of the Citrus Swallowtail butterfly, and hopefully I will be lucky enough to watch them hatch again.


Photo taken October 2015
Well that's it for this month, hopefully my blogging mojo will come back soon and I will blog a little more often, if not I will see you next month. 

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?