Hidden Leicester, Cabbage Root Flies And More…

This week I nipped into town for a few bits and bobs.  On the way to the shops I took a detour and walked past Leicester Cathedral, as there have been a lot of changes to this area due to Richard III.

I pleasently surprised at how lovely this area now looks:

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I also passed through an area behind the Mary De Castro church where I walked through the ‘Turret Gateway’ which dates back to approximately 1423.

Years ago I took the same walk but didn’t know anything about it, so I was pleasently surprised to see that there is now an interesting information board next to it.

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I then walked past Castle Gardens and it was lovely and neat and the flower beds looked beautiful:

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I do wonder how many other beautiful areas there are in Leicester that I have forgotten about or that have been renovated…..perhaps it’s time I started to pay more attention to the city I was born in.

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This week we have had lots of rain and I have been dodging the showers outside.  Amazingly the ‘makeshift’ water butt that I set up next to my greenhouse (which I will sort properly when I get around to it), is full already.  This area obviously collects more water than I realised and I may need to set up another waterbutt there as well, so I can collect as much water as possible for my garden.

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Between the showers I have been sorting my cabbages.  Two weeks ago I planted my red and whilte cabbages and put plastic bottles over them to act as a mini cloche to each of them.  This was to protect them from the cold nights and the slugs while they were small.  However, they have grown so well that they were beginning to become squashed in the bottles, so it was time I did something about it.

I first built a D-I-Y cage using bottles and canes:

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I then removed the bottles and made homemade (and free) cabbage collars out of old cardboard, which I then placed around the cabbages to protect the plants from the cabbage root fly.

“Cabbage collars can cost between £3 or £4 for 30, but you can make them easily by using a square piece of cardboard which you cut a cross in the middle and place around the stem.  The cross in the middle allows the stem to grow.

  By using cabbage collars, you can avoid the cabbage root fly from laying eggs at the base of your plants.  The Larvae are white, headless and legless maggots and they feed on the roots of brassicas.  This will cause your brassica’s to either grow weakly or just wilt and die.

The following year, cabbage root fly will emerge from the pupae which overwintered in the soil.  This is a good reason to rotate your crops each year”.

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 I then put a net over the top of my bottle and cane structure, to stop cabbage white butterflies from laying there eggs on the leaves of my plants.

“Cabbage white butterflies lay eggs on brassicas (usually underneath the leaves) between May and October and it is the resulting caterpillars that do the damage to your plants by eating the leaves.

  The easiest way to stop them is by covering your plants with a net, but make sure the net has small enough holes and the sides are firmly attached to the ground to stop the butterflies from entering.

If you do find the tell tale yellow eggs on your brassicas, then you can squash them between your fingers and the caterpillars can be picked off using your fingers and destroyed”.

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I will soon be planting kale next to my cabbages, so I have made sure my cage was tall enough and the net was long enough to cover the kale as well.

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By the way, you can use this D-I-Y cage on a much larger scale if you want to.  In fact at my old allotment I used the same bottle and cane structure to make a cheap fruit cage:

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And also, don’t forget you can store your bottle cloches ready to use again easily, by using a cane pushed into the ground and sliding the bottles over them:

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This week in my garden I thinned the khol rabi I sowed a few weeks ago.  I find it easier to use a pair of scissors to thin my seedlings out, as this stops any root disturbance to the remaining seedlings (a tip that Angus Scott gave on my blog – so thank you Angus).

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Also, the area where I sowed my wild flowers a few weeks ago had a visit from a squirrel.  Unfortuantely one of my neighbours feed the squirrels money nuts and they dig the garden to hide them.

So I covered the area with wire that I brought home from my allotment, hopefully this will deter the squirrel while my plants are young.

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I ‘earthed up’ the potatoes I put in my old dustbin, by putting a few inches of compost over the shoots.  I will continue doing this until the shoots have grown over the top of the bin as this will stop the potatoes from turning green from the light.

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I transplanted my greenhouse tomatoes this week into their final pots.  I use old Blood, fish and bone pots to grow them in, with holes drilled in the bottom.  The lids make great saucers to catch the water underneath the pots in the greenhouse too:

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I also gave my greenhouse a sort out this week and removed some staging that I haven’t use this year, as I’m growing so many seeds.  This staging had become a bit of a ‘dumping’ place which wasn’t good:

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Unfortunately one of the two cucumber plants I grew from seed died this week.  Unfortunately cucumbers are suseptable to ‘root rot’ when the soil is too wet….I do know this and I obviously wasn’t careful enough, so it serves me right for not paying enough attention.  Luckily the other cucumber plant is doing well:

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Over the past few weeks I have been wondering where to plant my outdoor tomato plants at the end of May and this week I decided on a place outside my greenhouse.

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I dug up the grass (and the forget-me-not that had self seeded) and realised that the soil was dreadful…. there was only about an inch of top soil, which was full of stones.  So I dug some of the subsoil out and replaced it with a mix of compost and manure, ready for my tomatoes.  I then edged it with some of the stones I found when I was first clearing my new kitchen garden area:

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It looks much neater now and the forget-me-not is now sitting in a pot until it dies:

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In The Home This Week….

Back in the home this week I have decided to get a bit more organised and I bought a ‘things to do’ book to help me.  I borrowed some ‘post it notes’ from my daughter to create sections in the book:

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I am hoping that I will actually remember to write in it, so I don’t forget the jobs that I need to do.  I always had a book at my allotment for this reason where I would walk around my plot on a Monday morning and look at what needed to be done….I can’t see any reason why this won’t work in the home too….I’ll let you know in a few weeks.

I wonder if anyone reading this blog keeps a ‘things to do book’ too.  If you do, let me know if it’s successful.

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‘Leftovers’

Finally this week, I found myself in a situation where I had three sausages and a small amount of cooked chicken leftover in my fridge…..so I cooked the sausages, chopped them up and put them in a ‘use it up’ curry together with the cooked chicken and left over vegetables that I had in my freezer (I always freeze left over cooked veg to use in pies and curries etc).

I have never thought of using sausages in a curry before and I actually wondered if they would taste horrible, but I’ve got to say, they were really nice!

The recipe for the ‘Use it up curry’ can be found here if anyone is interested.

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Well that’s it for today, but I will be back next Friday as usual.

I hope you have a good weekend and thank you for reading my blog.

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16 thoughts on “Hidden Leicester, Cabbage Root Flies And More…

  1. I just finished a book about how they found Richard III, and now I’m into Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time! I’m glad to see these photos. And I also enjoy your gardening tips – thanks for sharing your wisdom. 🙂

  2. That’s a good idea with the sausages – never thought of using them in a curry but will try it soon – I used to have an on going ‘to do’ book when I was at work which worked well for me then – I did start one when I retired for things to be done round the house but I failed miserably by forgetting to fill it in – don’t think I’m quite so focused nowadays as I used to be – thank you for your kind words last week your reply was lovely – have a good week xxx

  3. I haven’t been to Castle Gardens for ages. It seems such a small area to visit on its own, but it is lovely. I think we must have been visiting the museums last time we were there. I hadn’t realised so much had changed with all the Richard III excitement in Leicester. Thanks for the pictures.

    What a great way to store the bottle cloches. Do you use the bottom of the bottles for something else? I just wondered because I decided to cut the bottles around the base so that the cloche will be taller, whereas last year I cut the bottle in half and cut a hole in the bottom of the bottle and tried to use that for a cloche too, which wasn’t so good.

    I am awful with a to do list. I tick off the easy ones and never finish the rest. Then the remaining jobs get transferred to the next to do list. I do like your idea to separate your notebook into sections – much more organised 🙂

    • Hi Judy, yes they have changed the area outside Radio Leicester now too…it used to be a car park and now it is ‘Jubilee Place’ where there are now areas to sit. I think the changes all seem positive as they are wanting to attract as many people as possible to Leicester. I haven’t been to the museums since my were girls were younger and I really must visit them again.

      I don’t use the bottom of the bottle…it would be great to think of something to use them for

  4. I have a “housekeeping” book which i note all the things i have done in a day, at the beginning of the week i look round for the “jobs for the week” and put it in the book, i find it invaluable, i often find myself looking back to see when i last did a particular job, it is just a diary day to a page the weekend on one page it cost £1 from poundland, worth every penny, saves time and everything is in one place. Your garden is doing well and looking great, the bottle and cane structures are a brilliant idea, fruit cages are so expensive. Have a good week.
    Sue

  5. What a fantastic blog. Keep the info on Leicester coming as I was born in Leicester and lived there until my early 20’s. I have now lived in France for 20 years, before then in the north of England, so will know some of the places you talk about. I will definitely be visiting the Cathedral area on my next visit.
    I am also going out to collect my plastic bottles from the dechetterie (recycling) bag!
    And, will also do a housekeeping book. Interesting to see what actually has been done at the end of a week of “pottering” about!

      • We were south Leicestershire. We lived at Shearsby, my mum still lives in the next village Arnesby, went to school in Wigston. Before my mother and father split up we live at the Brickmakers Arms in Charles Street, opposite the Police Station. Not sure if they are there now. When we go back to Leicester we don’t seem to get further than Fosse Park!

      • I used to regularly go to a pub in Arnesby called the ‘Cock Inn’, in my younger days. I also lived in Wigston for a few years (a long time ago with my ex partner), firstly on the ‘Little Hill’ estate and then on ‘Wigston harcourt’ for a time. I’m not sure about the Brickmakers Arms on Charles Street, but the police station closed a few years ago sadly…it was a lovely building wasn’t it.

      • Well the Cock Inn is now Little India, an Indian (obviously) restaurant that we go to on a Sunday when we go to mum’s, they also have another restaurant on the Little Hill estate!! Not sure where Wigston Harcourt is, perhaps on land towards Newton Harcourt. Lived there for a while – a cottage at Newton Harcourt Hall. Small world, and it gets smaller.

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