Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas from Shoestring Garden!

Just a quick post to wish anyone who's been reading my pearls of wisdom ( or nonsense ramblings, which every way you look at it) a very Happy Christmas!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Christmas Come Early!

A few weeks ago I got a very nice comment on my blog for Stephen Shirley over at Victoriana Nursery Gardens, Stephen had a proposal for me, he would supply me with some free packets of seeds and in return I would review how I got on with growing them! I'm a seed Guinea Pig!

So I had a happy few hours reading through their very nice web site and made these selections:

Onion Seed - Shirleys' Giant Exhibition

Spinach Seed - Little Grandad's Original

Squash Seed 'Crown Prince'

Sweetcorn Seed 'Seville'

Tomato Seed 'Giant Delicious'

Tomato Seed 'Sungold'

Artichoke Plant 'Imperial Star'

And on Saturday these showed up!

Ooooh thank you Father Christmas...I mean Stephen! So over the coming spring and summer I shall be testing my gardening skills (which lets face it are enthusiastic if not always fruitful), I am especially looking forward to the tomatoes, I've never grow them from seed before (usually I buy them at the local carboots!) also I cant wait to get the Artichoke plant ( which will be arriving around April/May time)
In the coming weeks the greenhouse will be getting a good tidy and clean out, seed pots sorted and hopefully the compost bin will provide me with enough of the good stuff that's been decomposing in there for the last year and a half! I will try to keep the post on my progress regular and as ever with plenty of pics, So a huge Thank You to the Shirley Family, I hope to do their lovingly produced seeds proud!

I do seem to be a very lucky girl at the moment as the seeds weren't the only prezzies I got early, over the weekend we went to Shropshire to see family and as we wont see most of them on Christmas Day we had ours with them on Sunday instead. My banging on about my blog and our veg patch has obviously payed off and Rich's Mum & Dad brought me these...

They gave us a few penny's to go and spend too so a quick trip to the garden center saw us in possession of a little lemon tree that is now happily sitting on our front room window sill...

Its all feeling very cosy and festive around here right now, Im really looking forward to next week, although Christmas Day may find me in the greenhouse playing with my presents!

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Decembers Freecycle Goodness

Its been a busy few days around here, what with Christmas rapidly approaching and me not being organized as usual! We've also made some decisions about what we will be planting next year but I'll talk more about that in a later post.

We've had some good luck on good old Freecycle over the weekend, on Friday we drove to a very pretty house out in the woods to collect a car load of chopped wood offered to us by the lovely Michelle. We had burned most of our stock pile so this new stuff is drying out in our sunny greenhouse and should be ok to use in a couple of months!

Then this morning we drove out to another very lovely village on the out skirts of Bath to collect a Belfast sink, if you have read this blog before you will know my slight obsession with Belfast sinks, apart from anything I have found they are prefect for growing salad leaves in (which sort of explains why we have quite a few now!) Anyway when we eventually arrived at this gorgeous old chapel we found a cute little Butlers sink waiting for us, then the lovely Laurel who answered the door said they had another one we could have too! Hooray!

Rich managed to manhandle them into the back of our poor little car (We're seriously considering swapping it for a van!) and tried to avoid the many pot holes on the way home!

Here he is adding it to the 2 we already have on the veg garden.

Yay, now we have 3! These are going to be used to grow various salad leafs (mostly Spinach as its our favorite) each sink will have staggered planting to last us through the spring and summer.

The little Butlers Sink has been put up on the patio by the front door, I may grow herds in this or possible Sweet Peas for cutting.

Ooooh its like Christmas come early round here!

So a huge Thank You to Michelle, Laurel and To for being so generous to total strangers!!

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Garden Jobs For Winter

I finally managed to get in the garden on Sunday, good job too as I have a list of winter jobs I need to be getting on with, unfortunately most of them require the use of our greenhouse, which at the moment is housing a small mountain of stuff to either go to the recycling center or the local charity shop (this is what happens when you finish decorating your cottage that's to small for all the wonderful treasures you try to cram into it!)

Anyway, one of the first task was to trim the apple trees, I didn't do it last year as they hadn't long been planted and there wasn't much growth so I though I'd give them another year to really settle in, however they got a bit leggy over the summer so this winter I have trimmed them quite hard back to encourage them to thicken up a bit and hopefully improve next years crop.

I have stored the off cuts to dry out in the greenhouse to we can burn them on the stove, we didn't get much more that a few twigs off them but I hate to waste anything so on the fire they'll go.

Unfortunately my Cauliflowers have bitten the dust this year, it was the first time I had attempted to grow them so was hoping at least one of them would make it to the table. Sadly the sharp night frost's in October seem to have finished them off before they where big enough to do anything with! I'm gutted as I was really looking forward to eating fresh Cauliflower, I should have had some sort of cold frame over them but could stretch to buying one and didn't have enough stuff to make one, I'll know better next time!

Anyway they had to come out and go in the compost bin, the Broccoli on the other hand seems to be surviving ok and has put on more growth. The trouble is we're quite exposed being on the side of a hill facing south, great in the summer for the sun but we cop the wind and ice in the winter.

Other winter jobs include...

Tiding the greenhouse

Planting up garlic in pots in greenhouse

Digging up Blueberry bushes and moving them into a raised bed to stop them being swamped by grasses and weeds.

Scrubbing brick paths clear of moss (so they stop being so slippy)

Working on Rich to let me have a few chickens ( I suggested asking for them as a wedding present!)

Ordering seeds for next season, planning where everything will go!

I'll be making up my list of plants for next year in the next couple of days so I'll post as soon as I've decided what we'll be attempting, I really want to give Sweet Corn a try and some sort of Squash although I don't know which one? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!