A welcome change this morning with a crisp, sunny start and a lovely walk with the dog in Bentley Wood. Saw some deer and plenty of birds, the walk really blew away the cobwebs and I wanted to spend some time when I got home getting organised on the veg plot.
You may remember from an earlier post that my father built this handy potting shed for me whilst we were away in France last summer. There’s plenty of space to store compost and hang tools with a sturdy bench to work from.
My main job was to get the shallots started. I grow Hative de Niort and want to enter both the pickling and exhibition classes in various shows this year – these are mainly my own saved shallots from last season with a few I won in the Hampshire DA raffle. The exhibition shallots were planted out in 3″ pots of Levington’s M2 compost with the picklling shallots in the standard multi-purpose. I had 32 exhbition and 16 pickling. I’ve heard people say that pickling shallots are Hative grown badly – I guess there’s an element of truth in this as whilst you are looking for good shape and uniformity you need to restrict the growth to keep the size fairly small. Hopefully they will put on some strong root growth in the cold greenhouse before I transfer them to their final postions in March.
Also in the greenhouse are some spring cabbage (Pixie), spring bulbs starting to come through and winter lettuce and land cress in the bed.
January tends to be a month when everyone organises themselves after the holiday and I’m back on the diet to shed the Christmas excess. Last year I lost 3 1/2 stone cooking recipes from the Hairy Dieters cook books and sticking to roughly 1200 calories a day whilst on the diet. This worked really well and, whilst I was only eating half of the recommended daily calorie intake, I was having tasty meals which got me through the lean times.
This is one of their recipes – Mince & Vegetable Pie with Tumbled Spuds – which was only 292 calories per portion. I’d recommend the books to anyone who wants to cook great recipes with less calories.
The next job on the veg plot is to get the chillies started. Have a good weekend everyone!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, mainly due to a two week holiday in France (Brittany), and the heatwave beforehand which meant I was spending the vast majority of my spare time in the garden rather than on the computer!
Whilst I’ve been away my father kindly built me a potting shed so I can spend even more time in the garden!
This was a “dead space” between the north-end of the garage and the greenhouse which didn’t get any sunlight. It’s protected from the elements with an outside light and power socket with a workbench to do various odd jobs on. Handily placed for the greenhouse and garden I think it’s going to make those winter sowing and potting on jobs so much easier. I was very impressed when I returned from holiday to see the finished result!
I picked some carrots recently, these were grown in a couple of dustbins and the best three went as part of my Top Tray entry for my local Horticultural Society Summer Show. I wasn’t going to enter having just got back but I managed to stage a few entries in the end.
And my shallots won first prize and best exhibit in the veg division as well which I was very pleased with. Would like them a bit bigger but they were a good shape and colour.
I also won first prizes for 3 of the 4 Dahlia classes I entered – I forgot to take the camera to the Show so these were taken the day after. They include Pink Giraffe which I’ve nurtured from a small tuber kindly sent to me from a fellow veg blogger. The Dahlias fill my main flower bed to the front of the house which is in full bloom at the moment against the deep purple backdrop of the tall, Red Orache running through the centre of the bed.
I’m also pleased with my bedding plants this year which I purchased at the NVS Hampshire DA plant sale in May and potted on. This is one of the hanging baskets full of flowers.
Lots of veg coming off the plot at the moment. Our favourite by some distance are the Sungold tomatoes both inside and outside of the greenhouse. Amazing flavour and eaten like sweets straight off the plants! And the courgettes have been fruiting like crazy which we love roasted with onions and peppers. Fingers crossed the veg will keeping on going well into the Autumn. It’s not all been good though, a lot of scab on the potatoes – not sure why – and cucumbers almost died whilst I was away – they had plenty of water but turned yellow although they are starting to come back now. So as always with grow your own a mixed result but the successes far outweigh the failures. The cherry tomatoes we’ve bought in the past from our local supermarket are a million miles from the flavour we have from the homegrown ones – well worth the effort!