Tag Archive | Planting tomatoes

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.

IMG_1771

.

This Week In The Garden:

.

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.

SAM_2864 SAM_2865

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:

SAM_2867 SAM_2870

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:

SAM_2904 SAM_2905 SAM_2907

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.

SAM_2884 SAM_2888

.

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) ….

SAM_2885 SAM_2887 SAM_2890

.

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.

SAM_2913 SAM_2914

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”

SAM_2915 SAM_2917

.

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:

SAM_2891 SAM_2892

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

SAM_2908 SAM_2918

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:

SAM_2843 SAM_2844

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:

SAM_1982

 .

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:

SAM_2813

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:

SAM_2727

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:

SAM_2871

.

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!

SAM_2835 SAM_2836

 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!

SAM_2850 SAM_2859

.

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.

SAM_2847 SAM_2846 SAM_2848

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:

SAM_2849 SAM_2858

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.

SAM_2854 SAM_2855

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):

SAM_2860

.

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.

SAM_2883

.

.

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:

IMG_3717 IMG_3716 SAM_2833

I was very pleased with the results.

.

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

IMG_3721 IMG_3719

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.

IMG_3723

.

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:

SAM_2874

.

.

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:

SAM_2911

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

Have a great week!

XX

Advertisements

Greenhouse Shading And Banana Recipes

There has been some really miserable weather this week and it’s been hard to get into the garden to do any work.

SAM_1010

However, in between the showers I did manage to plant my mange tout, in front of my strawberries.  I am trying very hard to use every bit of space I have to grow vegetables.

This really is a trial year for my kitchen garden and I’m not sure yet if things will grow well or not.  I was hoping that I will have picked the strawberries before the peas grow taller and take away some of the sunlight….however due to the miserable, cool weather we have been having this may not work, as there are no sign of flowers on my strawberries yet.

SAM_1012 SAM_1014

You can see in the second photo, I have put wire over the peas to stop the birds from eating them and my dog from destroying them (as she still goes mad when my neighbours dog is out).

I grew the monge tout in small lengths of guttering, which I ‘slide out’ into prepared soil when they have germinated.  I find this gives me a better germination rate.

You can read exactly how I grow peas in guttering here.

.

SAM_0986 SAM_0988

I also planted out a few of my outdoor tomatoes that I sowed on the 5th April.  You can see in the photo above that I am leaving some glass over them because the temperature outside is still quite cool for this time of year.

The tomatoes are a variety called ‘Outdoor Girl’ and I have grown them now for many years outside.  One seed company describes them as follows:

“Tomato Outdoor Girl is a really tough outdoor tomato, very easy to grow and tolerant to low temperatures. Early to fruit producing medium sized fruits of good flavour and colour

I think they are spot on with this description, as they really do give a good supply of tomatoes early on, so I get a good harvest before blight hits.

SAM_0989

In between my tomatoes I have planted some Tegetes as they look lovely when they are in flower and they also confuse the white fly with their smell, so this will stop them from attacking my plants.

.

SAM_0994 SAM_0995

In my greenhouse this week I took the bubble wrap down that provided a layer in insulation over winter, (before it actually fell down on its own).  I have left it in place over the last few years and it was now brittle and tore very easily.

I replaced it with shading netting that will help my plants on hot sunny days.  I bought my shade netting from Wilkinsons as I found it cheapest from there:

SAM_0997

Last week I planted my basil in bags in my greenhouse and this week I sowed a catch crop of radish in between them and amazingly the radish germinated in just five days.  I also sowed a row of radish outside on the same day and they are nowhere to be seen yet.

SAM_0991 SAM_1015

.

This week I harvested my first radish from the garden.  These were sowed on the 10th April:

SAM_0981

 I also picked a few of my everlasting onions:

SAM_0982

And I had my third cut of mixed salad leaves that I sowed in a pot in March:

SAM_0977 SAM_0976

.

(Next year I am hoping to be havesting more things at this time of year, now my kitchen garden is up and running).

The aim of my kitchen garden is to harvest as much as possible from a small space.

.

.

At home this week:

I made a big batch of tomato and basil soup from tomatoes I grew at my allotment last year and froze (I just chop the fresh tomatoes in half and place in a freezer bag and then into the freezer).

SAM_0975

When the soup was ready I then froze it in portions, so I can defrost a bowl full for lunch when I want to:

.

Top Tip:

This week my daughter brought some plastic cups from the ‘pound shop’ and she couldn’t get the sticky labels off:

IMG_2392

So I put a drop of olive oil on the sticky labels and then I used a scrubber to easily remove the sticky label and residue remaining:

IMG_2393 IMG_2394 IMG_2396

This also works for removing the sticky residue on jam jars when most of the label has been removed.

.

And finally I made some banana lollies and some super quick and easy ‘breadmaker’ banana bread from the ‘whoopsied’ bananas that I bought at the end of last week and I have written bothe of these recipies below for anyone that is intersted:

SAM_0944

.

Super Quick And Easy Banana Bread In A Breadmaker:

.

3 over ripe bananas mashed

200 grams granulated sugar

3 tablespoons sunflower oil

2 eggs

270g self raising flour

1 teaspoon of baking powder

.

Put all the above ingredients into your breadmaker pan and put it on a ‘pizza dough’ setting for 5 minutes.

Stop the breadmaker half way through and scrape down the sides of your pan with a spatula to ensure all the flour is mixed in well,

SAM_0966

When there is no trace of flour left, set your breadmaker on a ‘bake’ setting for 55 minutes:

SAM_0969SAM_0970

The result is lovely banana bread

(which incidentally can be sliced and frozen for another time):

SAM_0971 SAM_0973

.

.

Banana Ice Lollies:

.

2 Ripe banana’s

3 tablespoons natural yoghurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

60 grams chocolate

2 tablepoons of milk

.

Use a hand blender to combine the banana, yoghurt and vanilla until they are smooth:

SAM_0956 SAM_0957

Pour the resulting mixture into four lolly moulds, leaving a slight gap at the top for the chocolate:

SAM_0960

Put the chocolate and milk in a microwaveable jug and microwave on full power until the chocolate has melted (this only takes a couple of minutes so keep checking it).

SAM_0959

Let the chocolate mix cool down for a few minutes and then pour it over the banana mixture:

SAM_0962 SAM_0963 SAM_0964

Put the lollies in the freezer overnight:

SAM_0965

And then enjoy:

SAM_0974

.

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

Have a good weekend!