A New Gadget & Blogging Once A Week

At the beginning of the week it was really warm and I decided to take a day off from the allotment.

Mr Thrift very kindly took me to Barnsdale Gardens in Exton, Oakham.  This is where Geoff Hamilton filmed Gardeners World from 1983 until he sadly passed away in 1996.

It was Geoff Hamilton’s series called ‘The Ornamental Kitchen Garden’ that inspired me to have a go at growing vegetables, which has obviously grown into a passion of mine as I now have four allotment plots.

SAM_9102

The gardens were beautiful and so peaceful.

SAM_9098 SAM_9095

I particularly enjoyed seeing the gardens that I remember Geoff Hamilton constructing on Gardeners World and it was great to come away with some new ideas.  One such idea was to grow ‘Lady’s mantle’ (Alchemilla mollis) around the base of fruit trees, which will act as a weed suppressant and a mulch to retain moisture around the roots of young trees.  You can see this in the photo below:

SAM_9077

If you are ever passing, the gardens are really worth a visit.

.

I had a lovely visit from my nephew at the allotment this week.  He is rather good at photography and he took a photo which I thought I would share with you.  There are quite a few empty beds at the moment waiting for the more tender plants which will be planted at the end of this month, after any risk of frost has passed:

10341560_10152111681081860_6343242953242521381_n

You can see in the photo above that the lavender hedge that lines one of my paths will soon flower and look beautiful.

.

This week I purchased a new gadget to try…. A ‘Bentley patio, paving and decking weed brush’ for £12.99

I get fed up of spending hours on my hands and knees each week weeding in between my paths.  As you know I am an organic gardener and I won’t use weed killers (glyphosate) on my plot.  Therefore I decided to treat myself:

SAM_9140

I didn’t buy the cheapest weed brush I could find, as I wanted to make sure it was a good quality brush that didn’t break after a few uses.

This brush is like magic as the hard wire bristles simply ‘brush away’ the weeds in between your slabs, as you can see in the photographs below.

SAM_9144 SAM_9142 SAM_9143

Obviously perennial weeds will grow again as the roots are deep below the slabs, but if you brush regularly then even the hardiest perrenial weeds will ‘give up’ growing after a while.

I found this brush particularly good at ‘brushing’ away horsetail (Equisetum arvense) that grows between the slabs outside my polytunnel.

An hours job per week has now turned into a five minute job and I think this brush is worth every penny.

Picture1

.

.

I have noticed a few things at my plot this week:

The first thing is my oriental poppies have started to flower.  My friend gave me a cutting a few years ago and it seemed to take a long time to become establshed, but last year I had a few flowers and this year it seems to be even better.

SAM_9112 SAM_9166

You can read about oriental poppies here on the Gardeners World website.

.

Another thing I noticed was a lovely Iris that has popped up in one of my flower beds.  I can’t for the life of me remember planting it, but I shall leave it there as it is beautiful:

SAM_9124

The perennial cornflowers (Centaurea montana) are now flowering in my flower patch, together with the aquiligias.   I always think perennial cornflowers are like ‘marmite’….you either love them or hate them….I love them:

SAM_9165

.

When I looked, I noticed my strawberries will soon be ready ro ripen:

SAM_9139

And I also noticed that the fruit trees and bushes seem to be doing well.

The golden gages, pears and apples all developing nicely:

SAM_9169 SAM_9171 SAM_9170

I have also checked the pheromone traps and I can see that the plum moths and codling moths are active, as some have already been ‘lured’ into the traps:

SAM_9168 SAM_9167

.

One sad thing I have noticed this week at my allotment is that I think a few of my onions are suffering from the ‘allium leaf miner’ again.  The tell tale signs are white dots on the foliage and the foliage seems to twist.

I wrote about the allium leaf miner here if anyone is interested.

There is nothing I can do about it now but I think I will have to reassess how I grow my onions next year if there is alot of damage to my crop from this pest.

SAM_9136

.

This week at my allotment I planted out my runner beans.  I don’t usually plant tender plants out until the end of May, but they were getting a bit big (due to all the hot weather we have had) and I have sheets of glass ready to cover them if we have a late frost.

I also planted nasturtiums in between the runner bean plants as a sacrificial plants.  Blackflies prefer the nasturtiums to the beans, so it keeps the beans clear of the flies.  Also as a bonus, if there are no blackflies around, you can eat the peppery nasturtium leaves and flowers in salads.

SAM_9120 SAM_9125

.

I also prepared the area where I will be planting my tomatoes at the end of this month.  At the end of March I spread manure over this bed and then covered it with weed suppressant as I hadn’t got time to fork it in.  I have found if I don’t fork the manure into the soil then it just dried in clumps on the top of the soil.

By covering the manure I was hoping that the worms would do some of the job for me…and indeed they did:

SAM_9115

….but there were still the odd bits that needed forking in, so I set to work turning the soil with my fork:

SAM_9116 SAM_9122

This is the area that had my wildflowers in for the last two years, so this is the third time I have dug it over and I was astonished to find this in my soil:

SAM_9118 SAM_9117

How on earth did I miss it before?  You can see how big it was next to my fork.

Another one of those crazy allotment mysteries!

.

My chives have been looking beautiful this week and when I have stood and watched I can see lots of insects buzzing around them:

SAM_9132

SAM_9135 SAM_9127

But unfortunately as beautiful as they are, they now aren’t providing me with any chives to pick for our salads.  So at this time of year I chop some of the stems back and this allows the chives to regrow and provide me with another lot of fresh pickings in a few weeks time.

I also leave some of the chives in flower, for the beneficial insects to still visit.

SAM_9148

.

I don’t know if you remember that back in March I started to re-vamp the area at the back of my allotment.  This is the area that I moved my shed from last year.  I planted a quince tree here and also dug a small area at the back where I transplanted some rosa rugosa from my garden at home (so I could use the rosehips when they are established) and I also transplanted some ‘vinca minor’ (periwinkle) from home to cover the bare soil around rosa rugosa.

SAM_9159

I’m not sure at the moment whether I will woodchip this area or grass it…I will decide later on in the year when I have more time.

Until the plants become established, the ground around the vinca and rosa regosa is quite bare.  So I decided to transplant some calendula, that self seeds freely around ‘Calendula alley’.  You can see the established flowers in this old photograph below:

SAM_7123

I also transplanted some calendula in the old tubs at the back of this area too

SAM_9158 SAM_9162

I think this area will be a lovely area to sit down and have a picnic, when it is finally finished next year.

SAM_9160

.

When I started my blog nearly two years ago, I wrote a post every day to get my blog established.  In January 2013 I decided to write just twice a week, however I am finding this incredibly difficult with other commitments that I have.

  One of my new commitments is learning to play the piano and I really enjoy practising every day as I find it a good way to relax (especially after stressful days).  I also enjoy writing my blog though and I don’t want to give this up.  So after lots of soul searching, I have decided to write my blog just once a week now and publish it on a Friday only.

I think this is a good solution which will allow me time to still blog and do other things (and write about them for you).

I hope nobody minds this too much.

I will still answer all your comments, as this is my favourite part of blogging.  If you haven’t left a comment before I would really love to hear from you.

SAM_9131

One other thing I wanted to mention, is my followers on ‘Twitter’ are growing rapidly, which I am very pleased with.  Therefore I have started to use Twitter more by posting little ‘chestnuts’ of information or ‘top tips’ on there every few days when I think of them.

So if you have a Twitter account you can follow me by clicking on the ‘follow’ button on the right hand side of this page or visit my twitter account ‘@Mrs_Thrift’

I was a bit nervous about using Twitter in the beginning as it sometimes gets bad press, but there really is nothing to it.  You can ‘follow’ or ‘unfollow’ people whenever you like.

SAM_9110

.

Anyway,  thank you for reading my blog today.

Don’t forget I will be here every Friday from now on.

Advertisements

27 thoughts on “A New Gadget & Blogging Once A Week

  1. You will have to write twice as much now!
    I always look forward to hearing from you, you have to do what’s best for you.
    Best wishes,
    Angela (Devon)

  2. Lovely post it always a pleasure reading your post I have started only posting on a Friday but put things on word that I want to say then put it in order ready for Friday have a blessed weekend

  3. Again we have so much in synchronicity. My neighbour got one of the patio brushes for me and I was using it last week.

    The bees love the perennial cornflowers which is a good reason to have them. As for baby plums – we have spotted a wood pigeon sniping ours off.

    I usually write my blog posts when I have time such as when it is raining and I created a few and then just publish them at an appropriate time or I schedule them to publish on a specific day which means I don’t have to do anything. My posts aren’t as long as yours though – I prefer to split mine into several shorter posts as I lose focus if I try to write or read anything that is very long.

  4. really enjoyed your post, how lovely to visit Geoff hamiltons gardens, he was such an inspiration to me also. I’m really interested to read about your new gadget, as ive thought about one of these for ages but didn’t know anyone who had tried it. I too have a right job with my patio so think I might treat myself too. I think you do right blogging once a week, I don’t actually know how you manage everything and by going to once a week it will mean you wont be stressed about it :-). have a lovely weekend, heres hoping for a bit of sunshine x

  5. You can eat the chive flowers as well – I like them in salad. I do envy you that you have so many. In spite of repeated attempts this year I still have none.

    Your allotment plot is looking superb, anyway. I hope I can achieve something similar once mine is established.

    Oh, and it is good to know about the nasturtiums. I will look into getting some.

  6. I am very impressed with your new patio brush. I get down on my hands and knees with a trowel.
    Geoffrey Smith’s Vegetable Garden series was taped and watched regularly at our house.
    Love from Mum
    xx

  7. Geoff Hamiltons garden is one i would like to visit, i loved his gardeners world programmes. I have been having trouble leaving a message and hope today that it will get through. The allotment is coming along, we had a very bad hail storm here yesterday, only in our town, but it has shredded loads of plants, and ruined quite alot of work. I dont blame you for blogging once a week, it is such a busy time of the year.
    Sue

  8. What a fantastic brush, a good find indeed. The garden you visited looks wonderful, I remember seeing Geoff Hamilton there too. Everything’s going beautifully down at the allotments. Do you ever try chive flowers in salads? You can pull them apart into individual flowerlets and sprinkle them over, they make a salad look really pretty. My runner beans have been out a while and are just started to coil themselves round the beanpoles – I love when they do that, it’s like magic. I shall look forward to your weekly posts, I know how hard it is to find the time for things, but a weekly post is a very good idea. I hope you have a good bank holiday weekend. I fear it will be too wet for much gardening. CJ xx

  9. really enjoyed your post. love the chives flower. i made with the chives flower a vinegar. it taste good in salad.you have really many chives….i have 2 windowboxes.
    wish you a wonderful day,
    love regina

  10. I love your blog and always find so many useful tips, so thank you for sharing them 🙂 I have just started out on my own half a plot in Loughborough. I was inspired by your swing idea and have just made a cabbage cage out of our old trampoline enclosure. It’s not pretty but will keep the pigeons out! For my next cage I am going to try using plastic bottle joints like you have. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s