Tag Archive | Spring flowers

An Amazing Night For ‘The Blues’ & Potting On

Well I can only say that Monday night was amazing for Leicester, which is where I live ….. Mark Selby from Leicester, won his second World Snooker Championship and Spurs and Chelsea drew 2-2, which meant that Leicester City Football club were now ‘CHAMPIONS OF THE PREMIER LEAGUE’ (I never thought I would write that sentence on my blog).

SAM_2794

My family are big Leicester city supporters and Mr Thrift and my brother-in-law take my 85 year old dad and stepmum to all the home matches.  I also used to be a season ticket holder before our girls were born, in fact I still went to watch them when I was heavily pregant and I couldn’t fit through the turnstyles any longer and had to use the disabled entrance!

So early the next day we decorated the windows of our house with flags and posters.

The BBC news reported that on Monday evening the streets of Leicester were full of fans celebrating and from the minute the whistle blew to confirm LCFC were champions, I could hear people shouting “champions” and cars ‘hooting their horns’ into the early hours of the morning.

Myself and Mr Thift went down to the stadium the next day and there were still hundreds of people there celebrating, together with numerous TV cameras from around the world:

IMG_3649

We also met a ‘Vardy’ look-alike and had blue ice creams while we were there.

IMG_3654[1] IMG_3631

  The atmosphere in Leicester at the moment is amazing (especially as this is all so soon after discovering Richard III underneath a Leicester city car park last year). 

We are a multicultural city and every race and religion are celebrating together, as we are all so very proud to live in our city! 

.

.

In my garden this week:

.

The weather has gone from snow and hail showers to beautiful warm days and the Spring flowers are still looking stunning in my garden:

SAM_2791 SAM_2790

SAM_2789 SAM_2787

I started the week by planting some spring onions around my tomato plants in my greenhouse.  I am determined to use every single space in my garden possible to grow as many things as I can.

I started the spring onions in modules a few weeks ago as I find they germinate and grow better this way.  I put a pinch of seed in each module, but I don’t thin the seeds out as the onions will grow happily together and when I harvest them I pull up a ‘bunch’ at a time:

IMG_3594 IMG_3595

I also planted three more tomato plants in the greenhouse and sowed some radish in between them.  I added some marigolds that I had grown from seed, (marigolds emit a strong odour that repels greenfly and blackfly and they will also add colour to my greenhouse):

IMG_3624

I continued to plant peas this week.  I planted the rest of my climbing peas against our outhouse wall:

SAM_2753

And some dwarf peas in the new area of my garden that I created last autumn:

SAM_2743 SAM_2749

Also I found a small, empty spot that I had forgotten about, so I planted the remainder of my sweet peas here in a pot.  I will be dotting flowers all around my garden in the next few weeks, to attract as many beneficial insects as possible:

SAM_2785 SAM_2821

.

I have also been potting up some of my plants that have grown too big for their pots, but it is too early to plant them out (because there is still a risk of frost in my area until at least the end of this month).  I know they have grown too big for their pots as their roots have begun to grow out of the bottom:

SAM_2808

I have repotted my tegetes, antirrhinums, marigolds, thyme, chervil, dill, sage, oregano and my remaining greenhouse tomatoes.  I have grown all of these plants from seed, which I think has saved me a lot of money over all and I also enjoy growing things from seed too.

SAM_2803

As I was potting my tomato plants up I noticed that there were side shoots growing on the plants, so I ‘nipped’ them off using my finger and thumb.  You can tell which the side shoots are, as they always grow between the main stem and a leaf:

SAM_2811

I will be continually ‘nipping’ off the side shoots on all my tomatoes as they grow, as these sideshoots are unproductive and take energy from the main plant.

.

I also sowed some more seeds again this week…..I started with some mangetout as my youngest daughter and Mr Thrift LOVE these fried in a bit of butter.  Again, I used guttering to sow them into and I will keep them in my mini greenhouse until they germinate, as I seem to get a better germination rate this way:

SAM_2813

I also sowed some runnerbeans (for me, my mother-in-law and my dad), some frenchbeans (for me and my mother-in-law), outdoor cucumbers, kale, spring onions, sweetcorn, coriander, lettuce, beetroot, nasturtiums (to grow around my runnerbeans to attact the blackfly away from them) and wallflowers ready for next Spring.

All of these seeds are sitting inside our kitchen waiting to germinate, as unfortunately my greenhouse is bursting at the seams now as you can see below:

  SAM_2819 SAM_2817

.

The last gardening job I did this week was to cover up the gravel board that broke when our fence blew down in November last year in front of our grass.  Unfortunately when our kind neighbour fixed the fence for us, he left this board broken (I’m not sure why but I guess it would have been too hard to replace it).

IMG_3627 IMG_3490

As the broken board was bowed I couldn’t just put a new gravel board in front of the broken one, so I brought a log roll to cover it up and I think it has done it’s job well:

SAM_2764

.

.

In the home this week:

.

At home this week I have brought back one of my old routines of baking bread rolls at the weekends for the week ahead:

SAM_2761

I then made some garlic bread for tea with the rolls I baked and my stored garlic.  I also made some extra to freeze for another time.  I made the garlic butter and spread it onto the rolls and then froze the rolls.  When I need garlic bread for tea, I will take out the frozen rolls that I need and cook them in foil in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, gas 6 / 200C / 400F.

SAM_2769 SAM_2765 SAM_2766 SAM_2793

.

I made a big batch of blackberry cordial as well (as my youngest daughter loves it and has been asking me to make it for months).  As my daughter is the only one that drinks it, I separated it into small usuable quanties and put it into the freezer, so I can take it out when I need it and then dilute it with water – this way it won’t get wasted:

SAM_2759

.

And finally I made some little fairy cakes with sultana’s – some to eat and some to freeze for another time:

IMG_3610

.

.

This week we have been having some lovely salads, using lettuce leaves and radishes from my greenhouse and chives from the garden:

SAM_2777 SAM_2778

SAM_2736

As I am being more organised I remembered to add defrosted sweetcorn and beetroot that I grew last year and froze.  I still have lots left in my freezer, so I must keep using it:

SAM_2772 SAM_2771

And finally I added coriander that I have been growing on my kitchen windowsill:

SAM_2775

And the salads have been tasting wonderful:

SAM_2792

.

This week I also starting picking a bit of rhubarb and stewing it for my breakfast.  I’ve added it to porridge, sultana’s and greek yoghurt and it really tasted nice:

SAM_2795 SAM_2798

Incidently, a lot of people think you can’t compost rhubarb leaves as they are poisonous….but you CAN compost them, as after a few months in your compost heap, the toxin level will have dropped so low that it won’t pose a threat:

SAM_2796

.

.

During the last week:

.

My sister and I took my mum out for ‘afternoon tea’ as it was her 85th birthday.  The tea room was in Syston and it cost us £9.95 each.  The tea room was beautifully decorated as you can see if you click on the link here.

My sister had a cake stand with dairy free goodies (as she is dairy intolerant) and my mum and I shared the one in the photograph below.  There was so much that they wrapped up the chocolate cakes so we could take them home…..it was delicious!

IMG_3616

.

Finally this week I took some plants to my nephew and his family to help him out, as he has made some deep raised beds and a coldframe out of wood for his garden.  He had done a really grand job on them and they look great.  He is in the process of growing his vegetables from seed and hopefully, my adoreable great nephews will get the gardening bug too:

SAM_2755

.

.

I have had some lovely times this week and to round it off, yesterday as I walked my dog in Bradgate Park I heard a ‘Cockoo’ for the first time in my life (they are quite rare birds now).  Recently I also heard a woodpecker in our local park for the first time too….so Judy is bringing more unexpected delights into my life everyday and I am so glad we adopted her from the RSPCA.

Judy with her football shirt on

Judy with her LCFC football shirt on

.

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

Have a great week!

 

Advertisements

Easy Stew & A New Area in My Garden

It’s been another wet week here and I have been dodging the showers.  It has also been very mild for this time of the year too and at times I have been too warm in my coat which is strange for November.

My primroses are still flowering, obviously very confused by this years weather:

SAM_2326

However, the trees on the park are shedding their leaves thick and fast now and soon the only trees left with leaves will be the evergreens……..

IMG_2814

……..and this reminded that Christmas is on it’s way and I will soon need to make my Christmas cake and start to prepare my hampers.

IMG_2819

.

Unfortunately my step dad has been poorly for the last month or so and he ended up in hospital twice this week.  This has meant I haven’t had a lot of time to do the things at home that I normally would, as my sister and I have been visiting him and looking after my mum.

I have been very, very glad that I have had some meals prepared in the freezer as it has been an extremely tiring week.  One day as well, I used my slow cooker to make a stew……it has been ages since we have had stew and it was gorgeous!

I used stewing steak that I had lurking in the bottom of my freezer.  I am ashamed to say I brought it a year ago and it has remained there ever since:

SAM_2300

.

A Stew Recipe:

I make stew the way my mum taught me…….I put in the cubed stewing steak, a couple of chopped onions, peeled potatoes cut into quarters and whatever vegetables I have available

(I don’t even bother to brown the meat):

SAM_2301

I sprinkle with mixed herbs and then cover the whole lot with beef stock:

SAM_2303

I then leave it in my slow cooker all day on low

(if you haven’t got a slow cooker you can cook it in your oven in a casserole dish for

2 ½ – 3 hours  on gas 4 / 180C / 350F )

SAM_2315

.

In my garden this week:

.

The curly kale is providing lots to harvest and so too is my perpetual spinach:

SAM_2325 SAM_2323

The leeks I planted in early summer are now ready for me to harvest when we need them….I can almost taste the leek and potato soup I will be making when I get a chance.  They are not as big as I would normally like as I was late sowing them this year, but they are big enough to eat and that’s good enough for me:

SAM_2328

My lettuces under the environmesh are still producing lovely salad leaves….

SAM_2283

….And the lettuces I planted under a cloche are growing well now and hopefully I can soon start to use the odd outside leaf or two:

SAM_2320

I am still picking a few raspberries each week, which has surprised me as this is the first year of growth since I transplanted them from my old allotment:

SAM_2321 SAM_2324

 Incidentally the tomatoes that I brought inside last week are continuing to ripen on my windowsill…..I am amazed that I am still eating homegrown tomatoes in November:

SAM_2281 SAM_2317

And I also have plenty of stored potatoes left to use, which is something I didn’t think I would have after giving my allotments up in January this year.  It has made me really appriciate what I do have growing in my back garden:

SAM_2316

.

The one thing I managed to do in the garden this week was to start my new vegetable area.  I don’t know if you remember, back in September I began to rearrange my garden so I could use all the available space to grow fruit and vegetables, but also to have a space for my little dog to use.

I began by removing the slabs (which really served no purpose) and after preparing the ground I laid a new lawn in their place:

SAM_1793 SAM_1872

I put chicken wire around the lawn to temporarily stop the dog from running on the lawn until it rooted into the ground below.

The grass has now rooted really well and this week Mr Thrift helped me to remove the chicken wire.  He also helped me to bring forward the fence and gate so it is level with the end of the new grass.

SAM_1951 IMG_2810

Judy absolutely loved the new grass to run around on and ‘sniff’ and she didn’t stand still long enough for me to take a photograph, which is why the photo below is blurred!

IMG_2812

We also started to lay a new path around the greenhouse, using the slabs I removed in September….unfortunately we only managed to lay three slabs and we ran out of time:

IMG_2809 IMG_2811

The next day I started to dig an area along the fence to create a small flower garden.  At the beginning of the year I grew flowers in front of the fence and my dog destroyed some of them, so this time I decided to put the new flower bed behind the fence:

SAM_2305 SAM_2307

I removed the old worn out grass along the fence (which I will use later).  As the area has been walked on for years I used my fork  to aerate the soil, to ensure that the drainage is good.  I then planted some daffodil bulbs that I brought at the beginning of September:

SAM_2311

To be honest some of the bulbs didn’t look too brilliant, but I planted them anyway as I have nothing to lose.  It’s also a bit late for daffodil bulbs, but I have planted them in November before and they grew well.:

SAM_2312

I then added some compost to the soil and planted the wallflowers I grew from seed.  Hopefully my new area will give a good display in the spring:

SAM_2319 SAM_2318

 I still need to do alot of work in this area, but first the slabbing must be completed around the greenhouse and unfortunately I need Mr Thrifts help for this, as I can’t lift the slabs on my own.

.

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

Have a great week!

Clematis still in flower in my garden

Clematis still in flower in my garden