Monthly Archives: August 2010

Aerial View

We’re having some work done at the side of the house and the scaffolding afforded me the opportunity to get a different perspective on the garden from just above the roofline.

There are a couple of veg beds in the front garden. The one by the front door you can’t see in this picture and it’s where the courgettes, squash, strawberries and raspberries live. At the far end by the road you can just see the newest bed behind the trees. In there are beetroot, brussels, sweetcorn, squash, pumpkins, celery, sprouting brocolli and cabbage. By the drive is the main flower bed and the rest is the girls domain with toys everywhere!

Most of the veg growing is in the smaller back garden where I have 3 beds and a greenhouse. Having just dug the onions and potatoes there’s quite a bit of space now, a month ago it was packed solid.

The aubergines are going mad in the greenhouse. I bought these two as tiny plants at our spring show so have no idea what the varieties are. One is producing a few standard looking egg-shaped fruits and the other is throwing out loads of long thin paler ones. Any ideas?

And so are the cucumbers, now we have more than we know what to do with.

I’m really pleased with the progress on the pumpkin front. These are Rouge Vif d’Etamps from seed Maureen kindly sent to me.

And the squash have been great this year.

There’s also plenty of colour in the garden, these are Asters, Appleblossom.

And the glads and the sweet peas are still going strong.

Lastly I’m really pleased with my first attempt at Dahlias, definitely going to grow more next year, I don’t think you can beat them for colour.

And the Winners Are………

I’ve been running a free giveaway competition for just over a month now courtesy of Lands’ End who have sponsored the Colour Garden at Barnsdale Gardens in Rutland. The prizes are a couple of packets of nasturtium seeds for everyone that commented on the post and a chance of winning 1 of 5 £25 Lands’ End Clothing Gift Vouchers.

So to ensure impartiality Chloe was drafted in as Drawmistress to pull out the 5 winners from her sun hat.

And the winners are…………

Sue at Green Lane Allotments
Maureen at Allotment Heaven
Britta at Gardening in High Heels
Is at Tattie Bogle
Jo at The Good Life

A £25 Lands’ End Gift Voucher and 2 packets of Nasturtium seeds are on their way to you soon.

Thanks to everyone else who entered: Flighty at Flighty’s Plot, Amy at Souper Allotment, Niece, Allotofveg, The Idiot Gardener, Libby, Richard Cox, Rob, Jen, Christine, Claire at Ma Larkin’s and Rose. Seeds are on their way to you all. I will be in touch soon (if you happen to read this beforehand and want to send me a mail with your address please do. But don’t worry if you haven’t got time I’ll be in touch once the gardening jobs for the weekend are done!).

Also thanks to hillwards and Edith Hope who commented and said they didn’t need the seeds.

Hope you all have a great Bank Holiday weekend!!

One of these days I gotta get myself organizized

One of my favourite Travis Bickle quotes from one of my all-time favourite films, although not everyones cup of tea I’m sure. It rang true over the last few days with the stress and my own dis-organisation ahead of our Summer Show.

The show would not have been possible without the organisation by the Committee, Stewards and Judges. With over 300 exhibits I am told it took a good hour and a half to make all the decisions.

Our local MP, John Glen, kindly presented the prizes. Now I must admit John I switched off when you started talking about David Cameron’s Big Society, but I appreciate you giving up your Saturday to present the prizes for our Society. You don’t need to waste your words on us John, your Salisbury seat is as safe as houses (even in these toxic debt times!).

Then there’s the clean-up, the garden looks like a storm has been through, discarded veg trimmings all over the place. So that’s the first job, a good tidy.

And lastly to look ahead, as summer draws to a close, what do I need to sow to guarantee a continuation of crops? What will overwinter? Two years ago with a relatively mild winter my onions, garlic and shallots did well and got a good head start but would they have survived last winter if I’d have done the same? So many decisions to make.

Finally I’ve started to dig up the main crop spuds. The Desiree look good.

This is your last chance to enter my free Land’s End Gift Voucher and Seed giveaway. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post, just click here. I’ll be drawing the gift voucher winners and despatching the seeds this weekend.

100 Not Out – Summer Show Results

Two things to celebrate this weekend, my 100th post and the results of the Winterslow & District Horticultural Society’s Summer Show which took place this afternoon. For 2009’s results click here.

The village hall was full of exhibits in the vegetable, flower, homecraft, fruit, flower arranging and children’s categories. I spent Friday afternoon and evening preparing and was up early to get to the staging at 8.15am. Two hours later I left the hall after staging 40 odd exhibits pretty exhausted and then returned at 3pm for the results:

Master Gardener Shield for three veg and vase of flowers
Joe Kiff Bowl for most points overall vegetables
RHS Banksian Medal for most points overall vegetables & flowers
Tomato Cup – joint winner
Lindsay Edwards Cup for most points in non-root vegetables classes 14-19
Chloe won the Juniors Certificate and prize for most points in the under 5s

I was really pleased that all my efforts paid off and the trophies look great. As part of their affiliation the society applies to the RHS for one Banksian medal per year which they present as their top prize and I’m allowed to keep it.

Other Veg results:
Society Top Tray (3 veg) – 2nd, Shallots – 2nd, Small/Cherry Tomatoes – 1st, Carrots – 2nd, Potatoes – 3rd, Salad Potatoes – 2nd, Dwarf French Beans – 1st, Climbing French Beans – 1st, Cucumber – 2nd, Any Other Non-Root Vegetable – 1st, Vegetables from my garden – 3rd, Salad Vegetables – 1st, Herbs – 3rd.

Flowers: 3 small Dahlias (one variety) – 1st, 3 minature Dahlias (one variety) – 2nd, 5 Dahlias (3 varieties) – 1st, 3 Cactus Dahlias – 2nd, Gladioli – 1st, Asters – 3rd, Vase of flowers (pink and white) – 3rd.

You’ll remember from this post that Rach was busily preparing for the homecraft section. She did very well narrowly missing out on the trophy for baking: Jam (stoned fruit) – 2nd (Plum), Selection of 3 preserves – 3rd, Carrot Cake – 2nd, Sponge Fruit Flan – 3rd, Malt Loaf – 2nd, Mince Pies – 2nd, Cornish Pasties – 1st, Fudge – 1st. I came 2nd in the Men’s baking class with an Apple Cake.

Chloe won a 1st for her Cardboard Clockface and a 1st for her drawing of a house.

I shared the Tomato Cup with two others, we each won 1st in one of the three tomato classes.

I can’t believe I’ve reached my 100th post! What started in November last year tentatively as a journal has picked up pace over the last 6 months with 6000 views and the discovery of a community of like-minded people to share the high and lows of this sometimes frustrating, but mainly rewarding pastime of ours. Thanks for following my progress and I hope you’ve found the site enjoyable. And roll on next years show!!

Pre-Show Checks

Well the countdown to the village show run by my local Horticultural Society has well and truly begun. It’s 6 days away so I’m going around the garden checking on progress and seeing what I think will be ready for the big day. For last years write-up click here.

The main classes are Master Gardener and Society Top Tray.

Master Gardener (display space 24″ x 24″) – One vase of flowers and 3 vegetables from the list. One from Sweet Peas – 9 of any variety, Gladioli – 2 of any variety, Dahlias – 3 of any variety, or Perrenials – 9 of any variety. And 3 from Runner Beans – 6, Cabbages – 2, Cauliflower – 1, Carrots – 3, Onions – 3, Peas – 6 (pods), Potatoes – 6 (one variety), Tomatoes – 6.

I didn’t enter this class last year as I wasn’t growing any flowers, it’s most likely going to be glads or dahlias with runners, carrots and potatoes I think. Or I don’t enter again this year and pool my best veg in the other classes. Decisions, decisions…..

Society Top Tray (display space 18″ x 24″) – 3 vegetables from the list:- Carrots – 3, Onions – 3, Parnsips – 3, Peas – 6 pods, Potatoes – 3 one variety, Runner Beans – 6, Tomatoes – 6. I’ll probably be relying on parsnips, runners and spuds for this one, possibly carrots if I have enough decent ones.

The Dahlia bed is looking good. I should be able to enter some of these into the show. The varieties I’m growing are Shooting Star, My Love, Firebird, Hayley Jane, Kennermaland, Vancouver, Black Cat, Le Baron and Pompon Flow Mix (various small ball types). In containers I have Bristol Stripe, Babylon Bronze, Atika, Kenora, Purple Gem and Kelvin Floodlight. For more Dahlia posts click here, here and here.

This is Shooting Star.

Hayley Jane.

Le Baron.

Black Cat.

The Gladioli are looking good, should have some ready at the right time.

Courgettes are a tricky class as I need three around 6″ long with flowers.

I need two cucumbers, they have their own class and can go into the salad veg selection.

The squash will go into the any other veg and selection of veg from my garden categories.

Peppers will go into the selection of veg category. Possibly some of the aubergines and chillies too.

The pumpkins are doing well. I’ve grown a couple of plants from the seeds Maureen sent me, the variety is Rouge Vif d’etamps.

And Chloe and I were in the garden harvesting the plum tree which produces hundreds of these tiny plums. Chloe loves them!

Don’t forget my free Land’s End Gift Voucher and Seed giveaway that I launched earlier this month. All you have to do is leave a comment on the post, just click here. I’ll be drawing the gift voucher winners and despatching the seeds towards the end of the month.

Domestic Goddess

Well not me obviously but Rach has been going mad in the kitchen ahead of the Summer Show next Saturday. So far I have sampled, and given verdict on, Carrot Cake (all gone), Malt Loaf, Lemon Curd, Plum and Strawberry jam. All very good and I can’t wait to try batch 2 of the cakes after the show. Still to come are sponge fruit flan, mince pies, cornish pasties and home made fudge. Oh and the pile of chutney we made last summer. This tasting job is hard work!

First Sweetcorn!

At last the highlight of the summer harvest has arrived, my first ever home-grown sweetcorn! I was hoping to reap the benefits of some early planting as the sweetcorn went in the new bed on 17th April and were protected by plastic bottle cloches. You can see their development over the last few months here, (they look tiny on May 25th), here, (a bit taller on June 12th) and here (the cobs had started to form by July 8th).

So I thought I’d check the most developed cob this evening and I’m glad I did as it was perfectly ripe.

I whipped it off the plant, and straight into the pan. Rach and I had half each with butter, salt and pepper, it was heaven!

Sweetcorn………done!