Tag Archive | Mini cloches made out of plastic bottles

A Busy Week In The Garden

Well I can’t start today without mentioning the wonderful celebrations that went on in Leicester on Monday evening at ‘Leicester City’s Victory parade’.  I watched it all on the TV, but Mr Thrift was lucky enough to enjoy the parade at Victoria Park with my sisters and brother-in-laws, together with approximately 220,000 other people….this was absolutely amazing as Leicester City’s population is only 330,000!

Mr Thrift said the atmosphere was wonderful and it was an evening that he will always remember.  This event really did bring the city together.

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This Week In The Garden:

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The nights have been cold this week in the garden so I have made sure that my tender plants have been under cover at night.  I will continue to keep a close eye on the weather forecast for now.

However, as the end of May is near I decided to plant a few things making sure they have adequate protection just in case there are still cold nights to come.

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I started by planting out the runner beans I sowed three weeks ago in newspaper pots (they grow so quickly).  I put up some bean poles for them to climb up and then planted the beans.  I also planted some nasturtiums that I sowed two or three weeks ago from seed around the beans, as these attract the blackfly away from the beans – also if there are no blackfly around, I add the leaves to salads as they have a lovely mild peppery taste.

I then put some glass around the plants to give a bit of protection:

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I then planted out my outdoor cucumbers which are a variety called ‘Burpless tasty green’ which I have been growing for a number of years. Over the years I have had fantastic crops of outdoor cucumbers in warm summers, but I have also had one or two years where the plants just sat and sulked in the cold, wet conditions…..I’m keeping my fingers crossed the weather is good for this years crop!

I support the cucumbers by tying them to canes as they grow….but for now I have given them some protection from the cold and slugs by covering them with old pop bottles until they are established:

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I have also used pop bottles to cover the parsley I planted this week, as these plants are still small.  I again grew the parsley in newspaper pots, as this stops any root disturbance to the plant and the newspaper just decomposes in the soil.

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This week I also ‘squeezed’ in some beetroot into my plot (again sown in newspaper pots and covered in bottles for protection until they are established) ….

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I then planted my red cabbages which again I had grown from seed.  I made sure that I used my foot to firm around each plant as brassicas grow best in firm soil and then I put a home made cabbage collar around each plant to stop cabbage root fly from laying eggs at the base of the plants.

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I then planted my swedes in an area next to my cabbages so I could put a net over the whole lot to stop the birds, as they LOVE to eat brassica leaves!

Just before I put the net over the brassicas I sowed a ‘catch crop’ of radish between the cabbages to make use of every spare piece of ground:

“A ‘Catch Crop’ is a crop that reaches maturity in a relatively short time, which makes use of the ground in between crops until they are established”

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I also planted some spring onions that I grew from seed in a small area under my environmesh that was not being used, next to my garlic:

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And I planted some khol rabi under my net in a space next to my Spring cabbage:

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As my kitchen garden is small, I am determined to grow as much as possible in every spare bit of ground I can find….however I also want to make the area look attactive with flowers for me and for the beneficial insects.  These insects will in turn pollinate my crops and eat the pests that visit my garden.

So this week I planted some Calendula that I grew from seed:

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Calendula is a hardy annual that I grew for years at my allotment and I also grew some last year in my new kitchen garden too.

My Calendula at my allotment

‘Calendula Alley’ at my allotment

Hoverflies, bees and butterflies all love the Calendula flowers and as an extra bonus, the petals are edible and look really pretty scattered into salads….so I think it’s always good to try and squeeze some of them into a vegetable garden somewhere:

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This week my mangetout was ready to plant out.  I had sown it in guttering a couple of weeks ago and kept it in my mini-greenhouse until it had germinated, as I think I get a far better rate of seed germination this way:

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I decided to put the mangetout in my new planter as my polyanthus and cowslips had just about finished flowering.  I don’t know if you remember but I bought all fourteen plants from my local nursery in the middle of April for just 40p each…..and they have flowered continuously since then, so this was a real bargain:

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I moved each plant to a different place in the garden to flower again another year.  I then added a bit more compost and a handful of blood, fish and bone to the planter and then I planted the mangetout …. hopefully it will grow up the trellis at the back.

I will add more plants to the planter another day:

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Another job I did this week was to ‘thin’ my leeks once again as there seemed to be so many growing in the tray.  Hopefully they will grow stronger now there are less of them….I must remember not to sow them so thickly next year!

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 I also ‘thinned’ my carrot seedlings which I am keeping in my greenhouse.  Normally it is best to ‘thin out’ carrot seedlings in the evenings to help prevent carrot rootfly, however as I thinned them out in the greenhouse then they will hopefully be ok.

I sowed these seeds far too thickly as the seed packet was a few years old and I thought most of them wouldn’t germinate….I was very wrong!

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Back in March I sowed some ‘cut and come again’ lettuce in my greenhouse and we have had a good supply of salad leaves over the last month or so. However the supply of leaves was just about finished and so I decided it was time to pull them up together with the remaining radish that I had sown around the edge of the salad leaves.

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This made room for me to plant my remaining indoor tomatoes.  As you can see from roots in the photo below, the tomatoes were ready to be planted:

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I also planted a couple of french marigolds next to the tomatoes as they are said to repel aphids and they look pretty too.

My greenhouse seems to be growing well at the moment and this week I noticed I have my first little cucumber growing.  I am being very careful not to overwater the cucumber plants as they don’t like to sit in wet compost.

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I am still continually tying my cucumbers and tomatoes to their supports as they grow and I am removing side shoots from the tomatoes when I spot them.

I also had room to plant some lettuces in my greenhouse that I have been growing from seed….I am trying very hard this year to have a continuous supply of salads (as we eat such a lot):

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Around the garden this week I have been weeding as we had some nice dry days at the beginning of the week.  Unfortunately I have been finding a lot of bindweed growing in a particular bed so I have been digging out as much of it as possible.  Provided I keep removing the top of the bindweed after it emerges out of the soil, it will eventually exhaust itself and die – but this takes a long time.

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Improving our lawn area:

Finally this week I turned my attention to our lawn.  After using a ‘log roll’ a couple of weeks ago against our fence I found had a tiny bit of it spare, so I cut it in half with a saw and fitted it neatly around our bay tree:

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I was very pleased with the results.

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I then decided to take off an inch of our lawn at the end, to make it easier to mow and keep tidy:

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While I was doing this I found a ‘leather jacket’ so I took a photo to show you….

“Leatherjackets are the larvea of craneflies (daddy long-legs) that live in the soil.  They can be very damaging to lawns and can eat the roots and stem bases of small flower and vegetable plants.  There are usually more around after a wet autumn”

  For now I won’t do anything about the leatherjackets, but I will certainly be keeping an eye out for any damage in this area.

There is a lot of information about Leatherjacket damage on the RHS website here.

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We have now managed to stop yellow patches appearing on our lawn by pouring water on the grass every time Judy (our dog) goes to the toilet.

However at one end of our grass there are still some bare patches where Judy used to run around going mad at next doors dog when he came out.  Judy is a lot calmer now and so I decided to reseed these patches.

I covered the new seeded areas with whatever I could find to stop Judy from running over it…hopefully soon the seeds will germinated and then thicken up quickly:

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It has been lovely spending so much time in my garden this week, especially as Judy has been ‘calmly’ waiting for me, enjoying the sun……this is something that I never thought she would do, so I savour every peaceful moment of it:

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

Have a great week!

XX

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“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

I love this saying because as you have probably realised by now, I just don’t like waste.  If I can make use of something it will not only save me money, but it also helps to stop as many things as possible going into the huge landfill sites, which has got to be a good thing.

Peas and pea pods ready for freezing

Yesterday I picked a basket full of peas, which are now in my freezer

(I blanch them for 1 minute and then freeze them on a tray so they don’t stick together and then bag them up when they are frozen).

I am left with a large pile of pea pods which I could put into the compost bin, but I prefer to use them.  They freeze well too.

I make Pea Pod Soup.  I believe it was a soup often made in wartime, when no one could afford to waste anything.  My eldest daughter and I love this soup but my husband and youngest daughter don’t.  It appears to be a bit like Marmite – you either love it or hate it.  Don’t be put off by how it looks before you taste it, as it’s very ‘green’.

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Pea Pod Soup:

 A large bowl full of pea pods with the ends removed (I use scissors for this).

Approx 2 pints of vegetable stock

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1  Onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic chopped finely

2 Teaspoons of dried mint

1 Tablespoon of lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Heat the olive and then slowly soften the onion in it

When soft add the garlic and fry for another couple of minutes

Add the pea pods and just cover the pods with the stock

Add the mint and simmer for approximately 45 minutes

Strain the soup through a sieve and press the pulp with the back of a metal spoon to release as much liquid as possible.  Throw away the pulp.

Reheat, then add the lemon juice.

Add salt and pepper to your taste.

Serve with a slice of homemade bread

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For pudding I made chocolate apples.  These are great when you are trying to get more fruit into your children:

Chocolate Apples
Really cheap and easy to make

All you do is melt some cooking chocolate in the microwave and then cover an apple in it (I put a fork in the apple first to hold it)

Sprinkle some hundreds and thousands on it and then place it on some grease proof paper to set.

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I’ve had a good day today…first, my favourite magazine came through the post.  It’s even better as I have the magazine subscription paid for by my Tesco Club Card points, so in effect, it’s free.

63 Bedding Plants for £9…A bargain!

After this I went to my local plant nursery as I had been told they were selling off bedding plants cheap.  I managed to get three trays of Begonia semperflorens and one tray of geraniums for £2.00 per tray and each tray had fifteen plants.  I also bought three dahlia’s for £1.00 each.

This morning I weeded around my curly kale and removed any yellowing leaves.  It looked really neat when I’d finished and I felt satisfied to see the finished result.

Curly Kale

Just in case you are wondering, the birds eat everything at my allotment so the kale is enclosed in a cage to stop them.

Plastic bottles used as mini cloches

I also removed the plastic bottles that were covering my wall flowers for next spring.  I cut old bottles in half and put them over plants to protect them from the flea beatle (as they love brassicca’s) and slugs and snails.  The bottles act as mini cloches.  I find if I put a stick in each bottle it stops the wind blowing the bottles away.

Lastly I made four portions of pizza sauce.  I used one on tonights pizza and three portions have been frozen for other times.  It is very easy to make and I will post the recipe another day.

Pizza Sauce

As it’s the opening olympics ceremony tonight, I have made an olympic pizza for tea. This will be served with an allotment salad and homemade potato wedges  (which again are very easy and i’ll post the recipe another day).

Tomorrow, I will be posting my new regular Saturday feature, that I have called:

‘Bump the Blog’.

Each week I will place a link to a blog that I particularly like and find interesting, in the hope that you will like it too.

Thank you for reading this post.

Have a good weekend.