Tag Archive | Growing garlic

Winds In The Park & A Special Birthday

What a windy few days we had this week with storm ‘Imogen’.  Here in the Midlands we weren’t hit as hard as the southern half of the country, however I did see a couple of trees that had lost large branches in our local park which was sad to see.

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The weather really has been strange this winter with more storms than usual and it has been very mild.  I think a lot of plants are quite confused about the time of year, though I’m sure they will adjust.

Whilst walking my dog this week I saw my first daisy….I don’t think I have ever seen one flower this early:

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Also I saw rhododendrons beginning to flower which is also a bit early, but beautiful to see on a cold damp day:

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Another thing I found on one of my walks this week was a Christmas rose (Helleborus).  This is about the right time for it to flower, but I would have missed it if I hadn’t walked through a quiet wooded area in the park for a change:

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This week in my garden at home:

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This week I have noticed that my rhubarb is growing well now (and I still haven’t got around to mulching it all with manure – I better hurry up).

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I transplanted this rhubarb from my allotment last January so this will now be its second year, so I will be able to harvest a small amount this year and I am already looking forward to it!

“If you transplant rhubarb it is best not to harvest any the first year and only a small amount in the second year to avoid weakening the crown”

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I have also noticed that my spring cabbages are beginning to grow a bit and it will soon be time to give them a feed.  I need to lift the net and remove the yellowing leaves first though:

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The garlic that I planted in the autumn in the ground is doing very well.  I planted some ‘back up’ garlic in my cold greenhouse which is also doing well, so will have to find a place in the garden for it soon:

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You can see in the right hand photo above that my broadbeans seeds and leek seeds are now growing well too.

In the garden my chives are poking through now and so too is my comfrey:

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These things show me that Spring is on its way.

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Inside the house the flower seeds that I sowed last week have now all popped their heads up too, which is surprisingly quick (lobelia, dhalias, marigolds, and antirrhiums):

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To speed their germination I decided to give them a bit of ‘bottom’ heat in their propagator by placing it on top of my radiator, with a chair placed against it to stop it falling off….and it worked a treat!

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This week in my garden outside I moved my rosemary and mint forward and sunk them into the holes where my blueberries sat last week before I moved them.  I am keeping the mint in pots to stop the roots from spreading and the rosemary is a young plant.  By sinking the pots in the ground it keeps the roots a bit cooler which means I don’t need to water them so often in the summer.

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I gave the rosemary a bit of a hair cut too:

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I also decided it was time to give my bay tree a hair cut too, so it doesn’t grow too big.  It certainly looks neater now:

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Out in my small front garden I also gave my three spirea plants a good prune.  I find this stops the plants growing too large.  I planted three spirea plants approximately thirteen years ago and all I ever do is prune them in February and they look good every year…they were well worth the £2 each that I paid for them!

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This week in the home:

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This week Mr Thrift had a few days off work and we decided it was high time we sorted our cupboards out as they had become a bit messy.

We found things in them that we didn’t know we still had:

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We found some little plastic things that cover the screws in our plug sockets, that we didn’t know we had and we also found a couple of birthday candles that I must have bought and forgotten about – unfortunately my youngest daughter turned sixteen last November so I will have to pass them on to someone else to use:

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It took a while to sort everything out but it’s nice to have tidy draws and cupboards once again:

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This week there are two birthdays in our family.  The first was my step mothers.  My dad and step mum came round on Saturday (my step mums birthday) to watch Leicester City play on the television….this was a spur of the moment thing so I wasn’t prepared.

While they watched the first half of the match I made my step mum a birthday cake.  I did it as quickly as I could using my favourite ‘throw it all in’ recipe and I whipped up some chocolate butter icing to spread over it and I grated some white chocolate on the top.  I just managed to light the candles as the whistle blew for half time:

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I don’t think I have ever made a cake so fast, but it proves that it can be done quickly (though a little bit of the butter icing did melt on the top as the cake didn’t have time to cool down as much as it should have, but nobody noticed).

And it is my eldest daughter’s 18th birthday….where on earth did that time go?

She has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, well manored lady, who we are both so very proud of.

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I spent Wednesday and Thursday making a large cake for a her.  My daughter’s middle name is ‘Rose’ so I decided to have ’18’ roses around it.

I made three sponges and eighteen little mini cakes and decorated it with icing:

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My cake isn’t perfect, but I’m sure it has saved us a lot of money and ‘homemade’ cakes always taste nicer than shop bought cakes….and more importantly, my daughter loved it (thank goodness).

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Thank you for reading my blog today, I will be back as usual next Friday.

Have a lovely week!

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Overwintering Plants & A Welcome Friend

It has really felt like Autumn this week with the wind and rain that we have had and the trees in the park are now turning into beautiful colours.

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At home in my kitchen garden I have started to tidy some areas.  I gave my pyracantha a light prune as it seems to grow so quickly…..I made sure I left all the berries for the birds to eat.

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I also gave my comfrey its last cut of the year too:

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As my compost bins were full I spread the comfrey over an empty bed and I will dig it into the soil another day after it has died.

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I also decided it was time to strim my green manure (phacelia) that I sowed in August, as it was beginning to flower.  Phacelia has beautiful purple flowers which bees absolutely love, but unfortunately it self seeds like mad (which I don’t want in my small garden) so I cut the plants down before they flower.

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Soon I will dig the green manure into my soil to improve it, however until then I have covered it with weed suppressant as I have found through bitter experience that digging Phacelia into the soil doesn’t always kill it……but the weed suppressant will kill it if I leave it down for long enough:

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This week I also cleared the yellow, dying leaves from my rhubarb plants.  The plants have grown very well this year, though I will leave them another year before I harvest any to allow the roots to grow strong:

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In the middle of August I sowed some Broccoli raab ’60 days’

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This week I finally got around to thinning the plants to their final spacing:

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I was very pleased to see that a couple of plants actually have a broccoli spear growing in the center….I have never grown this variety before so I am looking forward to seeing the results, though I don’t think I will be harvesting at ’60 days’ as the packet suggests:

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This week I have also been sowing some seeds.  I started with perpetual spinach, which should really have been sown a month ago…so it will be interesting to see how it does.  I then sowed some ‘All year round’ cauliflower for next year and some overwintering peas which I have sown in modules which I think improves the germination rate.  Finally I sowed some coriander which is sitting on my kitchen windowsill:

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I also ‘pricked out’ the winter lettuce and corn salad that I sowed a few weeks ago:

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This week I removed my last two outdoor cucumbers (which felt quite sad) and I then pulled up the remaining plants and added a bucket full of compost and some blood, fish and bone to the soil:

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I bought garlic to plant this week in place of the cucumbers.  It is a softneck variety called ‘Cristo’ which I haven’t grown before…..hopefully it will turn out well.  I have planted some cloves directly in the ground and I have decided to put a cloche over them in a few weeks time to stop the cloves from rotting in my heavy, clay soil over winter.  I have also kept some cloves back to plant in pots in my greenhouse, ready to plant out in February.

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I also planted out my overwintering onions next to my garlic this week:

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Last weekend I picked my final ‘outdoor girl’ tomatoes.  They have given me such a good crop this year:

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I have finally started to pick some of my ‘Money maker’ tomatoes too, but as you can see from the photo below I still have lots left still to ripen:

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I knew we were in for some rainy weather during the week, so I made the decision to pick my remaining green tomatoes and place them in my greenhouse to continue to ripen…..this way I wont lose them to ‘blight’ .  I’m not sure if they will ripen this late in the season, but if not I will be making green tomato chutney!

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On Sunday Mr Thrift was very happy as my sweetcorn was finally ready to pick.  I picked four cobs that were cooked and eaten within fifteen minutes and they were delicious!

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Finally this week I noticed that I have a couple of new, very welcome visitors to my garden.  I don’t know if you remember, but when I first started my kitchen garden I placed some rocks around the edge of the garden to attract beneficial insects to my plot…..My plan seems to be working as I found a couple of frogs hiding in the rocks this week…..the frogs will eat the slugs so they are welcome to stay!

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This week in the home:

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This week it was Mr Thrifts birthday and my daughter made him a lovely cake.  I was especially impressed with the footballs she made out of icing…they must have taken her ages to do!  The cake tasted delicious.

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I made Mr Thrift some shortbread as it is his favourite biscuit:

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And I also made a chocolate traybake with chocolate frosting and grated chocolate on top, for Mr Thrift to take to work for his colleagues.  He said they enjoyed them:

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Finally this week my lovely friend gave me a bag of crab apples from her tree, so I spent a happy few hours topping and tailing them ready to make crab apple jelly.

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Well that’s it for this week.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a great weekend!