Tag Archive | Homemade compost

A Summer Harvest & A Cheap Makeover

It’s nice to be back blogging after two weeks of decorating.  Unfortunately I started painting on the hottest week of the summer and I have got to say I struggled with the heat.   I wasn’t the only one to struggle with the heat, poor Judy didn’t know what to do with herself and most of the time she sat in front of a fan we constantly had on:

IMG_3928

Though we have had some cloudy days since, the ground was still dry and the rain we had on Tuesday this week was very welcome….though not enough to fill my water butts.

.

In my garden over the last two weeks:

.

I finished picking the last broad beans in my garden and the last peas and mangetout (though I let the mangetout grow a little bit too big, but I won’t waste them)…..

SAM_3521 SAM_3520 SAM_3522

….And I froze most of them to use another time:

SAM_3502 SAM_3524

.

I chopped the old broad beans down to ground level, leaving the roots in the ground to rot down.  The nodules on the roots will provide the ground with extra nitrogen as they rot, which will benefit future crops:

IMG_3961 SAM_3532

I then added some blood, fish and bone and gave the area a really, really good water and then added some home made compost to the area:

SAM_3534 SAM_3536

Incidentally, I now make the compost in galvanised dustbins as I am very conscious that the compost I used to make at the allotment always seemed to attract rats (even though I was very very careful what I put onto the heap).  The galvanised dustbins don’t have any holes in the base and yet they still make wonderful compost as you can see below:

SAM_3535

I then sowed some more french bean seeds as I use a lot of these during the year and they are great to freeze.  I decided to put the seeds under bottles in the hope that they germinate pretty quickly as I am really a bit late sowing them – however, if we have a good Autumn with late frosts then I should get a good harvest.  The bottles will also give them some slug protection too.

SAM_3537

.

The french beans I sowed earlier in the year are giving me a harvest now and I am picking them often:

IMG_3944 IMG_3954

And my runner bean harvest is just beginning:

SAM_3582

.

 I absolutely love this time of year when the flowers I have grown from seed are all in bloom….

SAM_3575 SAM_3574

SAM_3586 SAM_3580

…..and my vegetable plants that I have also grown from seed are producing lovely fruits and vegetables daily e.g. my greenhouse cucumbers, greenhouse tomatoes, oudoor cherry tomatoes, courgettes and patty pans:

SAM_3569 SAM_3570 SAM_3568 SAM_3567 SAM_3510 SAM_3565

I have also picked a few raspberries this week too:

IMG_3947

And the chives that I cut back after they flowered have once again grown and we are now picking them yet again for salads, together with nasturtium leaves and the pretty petals on the calendula flowers:

SAM_3503 SAM_3579

“When I am in the garden amongst the fruit and vegetables that I am growing, I feel very privaledged to share this area with the wildlife that visit our small backgarden. 

Each day there is something new for me to see and I still feel excited when I spot something that will soon be ready to harvest……Nothing else gives me as much satifaction than growing and cooking with home grown produce”

.

….This week I noticed that my blueberries are nearly ready and I also spotted some outdoor cucumbers growing:

SAM_3587 SAM_3585

.

Extra jobs this week in the garden:

.

I have continued dead heading every few days around the garden so the plants produce more flowers.

I have also removed some of the lower leaves on my tomato plants this week, so the tomatoes can now ripen better in the sun:

SAM_3576

And I also ‘summer’ pruned my apple and pear cordons. My trees are quite young so I’m not expecting any fruit for a while:

  Summer pruning of apple and pear cordons / fans and espallier trees,  restricts growth, whilst winter pruning encourages growth”

SAM_3572 SAM_3573

.

A problem with my Busy Lizzies…

.

I’m not sure if you remember, at the beginning of June I planted some Busy Lizzies around my bay tree.  To begin with they flowered well but the last few weeks I have noticed the leaves all began to fall off  the plants:

SAM_3529

After doing some research it seems they have suffered with an airbourne fungus that you can read about here.  So I destroyed all the plants and nipped to my local nursery and found they were selling off trays of twenty four bedding begonias for just £3….a fantastic bargain!

So I planted these around my bay tree and even had spares to dot around the garden too…..so I was very pleased:

IMG_3953 SAM_3530

.

.

Over the last two weeks at home:

.

About a month ago at a car boot sale I spotted some curtains with nice material to use around the house, so I brought them for £2.  It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered they were Marks and Spencer, fully lined and ‘weighted’ curtains (dated 1995) with a pelmet included and they were in excellent condition…. they weren’t even faded……they must have been really expensive when they were first purchased!

I quickly measured the curtains and found they would fit perfectly in our bedroom around our bay.  The curtains we already had were very cheap and they had been in the bedroom for fifteen years already and didn’t really fit properly.

So this is when we decided the bedroom needed a new lick of paint…..which I did on the hottest week of the year so far this summer!

IMG_3910 IMG_3914

I attached a new curtain rail in front of the exisiting rail to hang the pelment up too.  But I then found the pelmet was too long so I set about altering it:

SAM_3511

With the bits of spare material, I made a matching pair of tiebacks…..and I am really proud of how it all looked in the end (it may not be everybodies cup of tea, but we like them):

SAM_3515 SAM_3513 SAM_3512 SAM_3514

Our furniture in the bedroom is really old and nothing matches, but we will have to wait and save up for new furniture another day.  However we decided to make the best of what we do have:

I store al ot in our bedroom e.g. birthday and christmas presents, toilet rolls, photo,s etc. and so up until now we have used ugly plastic boxes and our daughters old toy box…..so I set to work to glam them up:

First I painted the toy box white and used an old wall paper off -cut to paste around the sides:

IMG_3924 IMG_3941 IMG_3967 IMG_3965

And then I again used wall paper off-cuts to line the inside of the plastic boxes so the contents can’t be seen:

IMG_3931 IMG_3930 SAM_3541 SAM_3540

And I was really pleased with the results.

The bedroom isn’t quite complete, but I’ll tell you about it next week.

.

Finally (while my paints were still out),  I painted an old bedside table to finish off my daughter’s bedroom that I decorated last October.  I sanded it down and gave it three coats of paint and painted the ‘knobs’ black (using a tester pot) to match the furniture we brought for her last year for birthday/christmas.

Mr Thrift laughed at me as I used potatoes to paint the knobs so they were easy to handle and could dry without touching anything:

SAM_3548

I was very pleased with the result (the photo on the right is the chest of draws we brought last year and the photo on the left is the newly painted bedside cabinet):

SAM_3554 SAM_3553

I must say, her bedroom looks like a showhouse bedroom now and I can’t quite believe I managed to do it so cheaply by decorating it myself, making the curtains and cushions and now by ‘up-cycling’ the bedside cabinet!….I’m very pleased and she loves it:

SAM_3552

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

Have a great week!

XXXX

Advertisements

Carrots, Carrots And More Carrots

I wanted to start by saying ‘thank you’ for your lovely comments after my post on Monday.  I love receiving your comments as they spur me on to continue writing.

I’m also sorry there was a bit of a delay before I answered your comments this week, but unfortunately my laptop broke and I had to borrow one, which was a bit inconvenient.  Luckily Mr Thrift works in ICT and he and his friend have managed to fix it.

The first daffodil to show at my allotment

The first daffodil to show at my allotment

.

One of the comments I received this week was from ‘Mum’, who incidentally writes a beautiful blog called

‘Mum’s Simply Living Blog’.

Following on from my post on Monday about slowing down, ‘Mum’ wrote the words to a poem that I had long forgotten about.  This is a poem that we read at school, but unfortunately it meant nothing to a teenager…but now, I see how powerful these words are so I thought I would share the poem with you:

.

Leisure

By William Henry Davies

.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

.

Thank you for sharing this ‘Mum’

.

This week at my allotment I weeded around my ‘Woodland’ area.  I noticed that my bluebells are beginning to grow around my plum tree now, you can just see them in the photo below.

SAM_8437

Unfortunately, I bought the bulbs a couple of years ago, paying extra to make sure they were ‘English’ Bluebells and I was very dissapointed to find that they were actually ‘French Bluebells’, which I wasnt very happy about.  I did however contact the suppier and complained!

My primroses are flowering lovely too now and it’s lovely to have a bit of colour, together with the snowdrops:

SAM_8434 SAM_8431 SAM_8424 SAM_8412 SAM_8413 SAM_8435

I also noticed my Christmas Rose (Hellebore) has a flower on too

SAM_8423

and the daffodils will soon be flowering

SAM_8428

I also noticed that I have the first little flower on my Aubretia.  I moved my pond to the far (sunny) corner of my Woodland area and transplanted the Aubretia around it in the Autumn…it’s nice to know it has survived the move:

SAM_8433 SAM_8432

Finally, I also noticed that one of my favourite flowers is beginning to grow, the Aquilegia.

SAM_8426

So you can see that this week, as the poem said, I did make time tostand and stare’.

.

This week I also moved my one raised bed that I use to grow carrots in.  I had no luck whatsoever trying to grow carrots until I used a raised bed.  So now, each year I move the wooden frame to another part of my plot and fill it again.

I started by removing the environmesh and pulling up the remaining carrots

SAM_8403 SAM_8404

I then moved the wooden frame to another part of my allotment plot, to avoid the build up of pests and diseases e.g.carrot fly.

I refilled the wooden frame with a mix of my own homemade compost (made from all types of perennial and annual weeds) and leaf mould that had been sitting decomposing for the last year.

I then covered it up with black weed suppressant to let the worms do their work and mix it all thoroughly.

SAM_8406 SAM_8408 SAM_8409

In May I will mix in some sand to help to ‘lighten’ the soil, before sowing my carrots.

.

I froze the carrots without blanching them.  I had two large trays altogether, which I open froze so they didn’t stick together in the bags.  After freezing all of my left over carrots, I had orange hands!

SAM_8451

I also pulled some carrots up that were growing in my polytunnel this week and froze them.  The carrots were smaller in my polytunnel as I had sowed them later than the ones outside:

SAM_8440 SAM_8441

I gave my polytunnel a good weed ready to spread some of my homemade compost over the empty soil next week.  I also removed the old Cape Gooseberry plants and removed the last few berries to keep for seed.

SAM_8438 SAM_8439

  All I did was cut the berries in half and spread the seed on a piece of paper towel to dry.  When it is dry I will put the seeds in an envelope to keep.  When I am ready to sow them, I will just plant the seed with the paper towel still attached (incidentally, this method also works exactly the same for tomato seeds).

SAM_8452

In my polytunnel I still have beetroot, perpetual spinach, mizuna, corn salad and winter hardy spring onions.  I also found another two rows of carrots that I had forgotten that I had planted, but I will leave these in the ground for the moment.  Unfortunately we have eaten all my winter lettuces now, so I will have to make sure I plant more next time.

SAM_8445 SAM_8444 SAM_8446

I found that the mizuna had started to flower, probably because it has been such a mild winter.  So I removed the flowers in the hope that I can keep it going a bit longer.

SAM_8442 SAM_8443

.

One last thing I did this week was to plant the garlic that I sowed in January.  I’m hoping it is wasn’t too late to plant it as it needs a period of cold to enable the bulbs to split into cloves.

I planted the garlic into ridges to help with the drainage incase the wet weather we have been having so much of continues.  This area had been covered in a plastic sheet for the last few weeks, so the soil wasn’t as waterlogged as the rest of my plot.

SAM_8450 SAM_8447

So that is enough for this week (I do seem to get carried away and write long posts).

SAM_8421

Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back at my usual time on Monday.

Have a good weekend.