Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Vintage Recycling

That title is just a way of making "buying old junk and stuffing in the garden to rust quietly" sound good! So what goodies have we scrounged up this week?

Well for starters we managed to get just over 4 meters of this lovely old metal border edging last weekend from the even bargain packed Gardenalia in Bath...

Isn't it great! I'm totally in love with it and have to keep wondering down the garden to look at it, we've got it edging the orchard (my Mum insists that its very Jane Austen?!) Rich recons our stupid cat will get her head stuck though one of the loops! This was a bit of a treat for Rich and I as we don't really need it, but it was just to pretty to leave there (and at £2o a bargain)

I also got this from the same place a few days later...

I've already got 2 of this old zinc plant numbers, I just love the way they look and at £3 how could you say no! This is the problem with walking past Gardenalia on the way to work, I'm always tempted to nip in and see what new treasures he has.

We went to another good car boot on Sunday, this time it was the Castle Combe Race Course one, which is held roughly once a month so its usually pretty big. As I have mentioned before we are on the look out for stuff for the wedding and this weekend didn't disappoint...

We got 2 more storm lanterns, still in their wrappers (£2 each, down from £3!) and this lovely old stop clock that Rich really liked, its in the most lovely shade of duck egg blue!

I also got this great old bucket for £3...

This was planted up with more of the Molly's Cottage Garden Mix and few of my Opium Poppy's.

This one and the other metal tubs I planted up last week will all be used at the wedding reception as decorations (fingers crossed!) The other tubs are starting to sprout little green shoots...

I can't wait to see what flowers we get. At the moment their all crowed round the pond up by the front of our cottage.

Another wedding bargain was these 2 beautiful Lavender bushes, their from the supermarket where I work (but only for a few more days thankfully!) and where in a state from not being watered so I got them at a knocked down price. They will have ribbon wound around the stems and little lights in them and will be on either side of the door into the reception hall.

And finally, things you can do with an old BBQ...

This old cast iron pot bellied BBQ belonged to our neighbours, one of the legs had snapped off so they where going to chuck it, I cheekily asked if I could have it and they said to help myself! Whilst moving it I managed to snap the other legs off (very cheap cast iron!) so I have put it up off the ground on an old chopping block and decided to us it as a planter...

Most of the belly is filled with old crock and polystyrene to help weigh it down and give good drainage, then I filled it with compost...

and planted with with a few more of my Poppy's and some trailing Lobelia I brought the other week. Much better than it moldering away in a landfill and free, so I think this classes as the best bargain of the week!

Parcels Of Goodness

Yet again I have had another parcel from the very excellent chaps at Victoriana Nursery's in trade for some more illustrations. I love getting these, although I know what will be in it as I choose it all, its still so exciting!!

It never ceases to amaze me how much they squeeze in to a relatively small box!

In my continuing war against the mercilessly ravenous snail population I will be giving this a whirl...

It seems to work by slightly altering the chemistry of the soil, meaning that slugs simple relocate else where (my neighbours on either side will be thrilled!) so you don't kill them or run the risk of accidentally poisoning anything else, excellent! I'm going to try it on the strawberry's which I had a devil of a time with last year, I'll let you know how I get on.

Also in this months box of tricks was a small trough of Feverfew, a natural remedy for sufferers of migraines or hay fever. Rich gets quite persistent hay fever in the summer so we're going to try it on him (not that he should be regarded as a guinea pig or anything...) it does apparently have rather a strong flavour, so i think we'll try it as a green leaf tea with honey and see if he spits it across the room or not.

I had also asked for another 30 onion plants, I have officially given up on the seeds! I'm sorry but gowning onions from seeds is bloody hard and I think best left to the professionals (I bough to Stephen and Serena who somehow manage this every year?!) I think out of the 50 seeds i planted 6 germinated, this is however a combination of snails, Stella sitting on one tray for a whole day until I discovered her and my own stumbling incompetence with seedlings! Sorry but its plants or sets from now on.

Richard had requested some chilli peppers this year, we grew some last year and he loved picking and eating them fresh from the plant. I'm a complete wimp when it comes to spicy hot flavours, as I like all my taste buds to work on a regular basis but Rich loves crying happily over a good curry so he now has 2 Jalapeno's growing in the greenhouse.

When i was having a look over the Victoriana website I came across these Tomatoes called Tigerella's, they just looked some pretty as they are yellow and red stripped, I thought they would be worth grown just to see what they looked like.

I also fancied some flowers so we got 10 of these Opium Poppies, these are the most lovey shade of pale dusky pink, I really hope they flower this year! incidentally this happens to be a very similar shade to my wedding dress!

So I had a very happy weekend of planting in the sunshine, perfect!

Small Disasters & Little Victorys

The title of this post is in reference to the pest problems we're having this year, we seem to have had a major boom in the slug and snail population around and mice have now discovered my greenhouse and are using it as a free takeaway bar!

The end of last week was when I discovery some industrious little rodent had finally discovered my precious Squash seeds, and had spent a happy night digging them out of the pots and scoffing all but one (they are definitely in cahoots with the damn slugs to drive me round the bend!) as with the tomato massacre of the week before one sad and lonely survivor was left to tell the tale, this little one has since been brought into the house and is now sitting on the front room window sill where he should be safe from veracious rodents (hopefully.... this is the problem when your cottage is buried into a hill side, mice seem to think is a free-for-all!)

Saturday morning reveled that having eaten all the squashes they had moved onto the sweetcorn seeds I had planted a few days before, I had hoped that the presence of Stella would put them off, as she sleeps in the greenhouse most of the day and the smell of cat would deter them...apparently not.

I potted up my remaining 15 Sweetcorn seeds and to protect them I devised my mouse protection grid!!!

also know as the fly screen we use over cakes when we eat in the garden, brought from a boot sale for 50p 2 years ago.

So far this seems to have worked as long as there's a brick on top to weight it down (having kept quite a few mice as a child I know the little buggers a pretty strong and can get through the smallest gaps!) I'll just have to keep my fingers crossed that they survive long enough to germinate.

I had some Sweetcorn already on the go, they had started sprouting and where doing well until the slugs and snails found them too, so they have been moved outside and planted in the ground.

I was having a look about on the net when I found out that a good slug deterrent is wood ash, something we have loads of! It also said on quite a few sites that Tomatoes in particular actually like wood ash and suggested adding it when planting them. So I'm test running wood ash sprinkled around my tom pots, so far it seems to be working, although is not particularly attractive to look at (better however than looking at the chewed off stump where your hard grown tomatoes was yesterday!)

The other great slug solver is of course chickens or ducks, Rich has found a lovely lady who breeds bantams locally who would be happy to sell us some, however the site next to the shed where the coop would go is currently where the rest of our quarry tile floor is piled up, so unless that gets finished soon, chooks may have to wait till next summer.

Damn you snails, I'll beat you yet!!

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Planting Toms

What a hectic weekend, an art show, my parents coming for a nice visit and the fridge freezer packing up all in the space of 3 days!

Anyway some where in between all that I managed to get my little toms planted up, they have been needing a little more room for a week or so, especially the Giant Delicious which are romping away! I'm seeing a future containing a lot of tomato soup and some cracking pasta sauces! Unfortunately the lovely little Sungolds (which we grew last year and are the sweetest little toms Ive ever eaten) have been slugged!! I had 4 going really well and I went to the greenhouse the other morning to find slimy stumps where there was once healthy plants. So I now have 1 remaining plant, I'm going to start some more seeds off but think it may be a little late now?

So on to planting the survives! I picked up some organic compost and planted the toms in large plastic tubs again, this seemed to work well the last few years we've done it.

In total I planted up 4 of the Giant Delicious and the sad remaining Sungold!

They are now nice and snug in the greenhouse and will hopefully start putting on some good growth. I also had 2 good sized Basil plants that I had rescued from work, as i have mentioned before I work evenings at a local supermarket (although not for much longer thank god!) they sell flowers and herbs but apparently don't think that they need watering hence these poor plants end up dieing after a week. So a few weeks ago I found 2 Basil plants who where drooping and going brown for sale in the staff shop (for 30p each) so I brought them home for a little tlc to see if they would respond. They perked up after a few hours and a lot of water and have spend a happy few weeks on the living room window sill soaking up the sunshine. They have now been planted in a large tub in the greenhouse, I have to keep an eye on them to stop them flowering but as they are a good companion plant for Tomatoes I thing they'll do well in there.

As usual on Sunday we managed to get along to the local boot sale, I got some trailing Lobelia and these lovely enamel bowls...

They have had holes drilled in and seeds planted up in them, along with some galvanized tubs I picked up, so hopefully the Molly's Cottage Garden Mix will be making an appearance soon!

I also planted some other seeds my Mum brought me, Snap Dragon seeds! I love Snap Dragons so they've gone in one of the enamel bowls too. Mum got them given to her in the Oxfam shop when she was buying a few other bits, what a great idea giving away free seeds and in such nice packaging!

So another busy weekend, unfortunately ending in my lovely retro cream fridge breaking down (and every repair guy we ring telling us to scrap in it!) why don't these white good company's make fridges and cookers that can be repaired?! There are mountains of knackered kitchen equipment moldering away, why is it considered crazy to try to fix ours!!

The world is a very strange place at times....