Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Its nearly all growing..!

It's addictive. Planting things that is. I bet that every gardener out there gets the same itch that I do, to constantly check on your seeds to see if they are sprouting, to see if your plants have grown an extra inch or another leaf. To see flowers start to appear and then the fruits and vegetables forming, growing, destined to end up on your dinner plate.

Every day I get home from work and give Phillipa a good kiss and a cuddle, and then off I pop into the garden. I get really excited looking at how the potatoes are growing and checking the broad beans. The few carrots that have remained in the soil are looking better and better each day that goes by. The strawberries have gone wild in their pots. So much so that I think they may be a bit crampt and may well need to be divided out into more pots for next year. They are now showing signs of strawberries forming, so we may well be eating them in a few weeks time. The gooseberry bush is looking magnificent, but it makes me sad to think that we wont get any fruit from it this year, but at the same time makes me excited thinking about the fruits it will bare next summer. I then get to check on my beloved tomato plants and lovingly remove any new growths that are coming out from between the stem on the plant and the leaf joints.

We have also planted some pumpkin, butternut squash and other squash seeds, and only a week later there are signs of growth in the pots. Nothing has quite broken through the surface, but the white stems of an emerging plant are breaking through the compost. Exciting times...!

These evening rounds of the garden aren't always joyous occasions. The runner beans and peas seem to have been attacked by slugs, and whats remaining of the plants aren't looking too good. I shall endeavour to save them, but I think we may have lost this crop.
Two of the broad beans have a black fly problem. We first noticed ants climbing the plants, and then noticed that the tops were covered in black fly. I have done my best to squish off what I can, but have far from removed the problem. I will not use any chemicals in the garden to stop these pests as I want to grow as organic as possible, but have read that you can spray the plants with a mild washing up liquid and water mix which should kill them off.
A few of the onions have also decided that they no longer wanted to be onions, and that they would instead tun into flowers. Huge stems shot up with a flower on the top. This sounds lovely, but the onion puts so much effort into growing its flower, that it takes all of the energy in the bulb to do so, and you are left with an empty squishy bulb. I can't complain though, out of over 100 onions, only 3 so far have gone over to the dark side.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

A garden update

Well the suns been shining, and the garden has sprung into life. And then the wind blew, and one of the fence panels has come down. But thats a different story.

There was a small patch of wild fennel growing in the corner of the garden thats gone wild. Its about 3' tall now, and will be great for adding to any fish we might catch over the summer months. I might try drying some too, and also will be attempting to save the seeds at the end of the summer are they are great sprinkled over salads and in cooking.

The end of the garden has now been tidied up, and covered in plum coloured slate. As well as looking a lot tidier than before, its doubled up as a great place to put the growbags. The end of the garden is prime sun territory, and we are hoping that the slate will deter any slimey slugs and snails from eating our crops

The potatoes are now bushing out nicely, and soon will need earthing up

The broard beans are now beginning to flower. I have bamboo canes in place, but may well web inbetween with string to encourage them to grow.

10 tomato plants have been transfered to grow bags, as have 8 scallopini plants. Phillipa is incredibly protective of these plants that should fruit with small squashes, and I am with the tomatoes. I have plans of soups, sauces and chutneys from the fruit we get.

We also have 6 courgette plants that are doing well, and a few very small tomato plants that need potting on, and will probably again end up in my parents conservatory to give them a good start. Thanks for all you help so far mummy :)

The strawberry plants are getting massive. The first flowers were all pinched off, and we are now waiting patiently for them to fruit. This should hopefully be sometime next month.

The gooseberry plant is also now looking great. Its become really bushey, but will not start to fruit until next summer at the earliest. I also managed to pick up a blackcurrant cane for a pound at the local Wilco's, and thats in a big pot next to the gooseberry bush soaking up the sun.

The garden has come into bloom, and its a pleasure to spend time in. The BBQ has been used, and I cant wait to get it fired up again. We have a great local butchers, and farmers market where I get the most amazing burgers and sausages from.

Lets just hope that the wind dies down, and the sun continues to shine.
Matt & Phillipa

Monday, 11 May 2009

Hythe Fishing

Hythe was the fishing venue of choice Saturday evening. We got the the beach at about 10:40pm and the rods were setup and cast out pretty soon after we got there. The bait we were using consisted of mackerel, squid and sandeels.

Phillipa was first into the fish with a small pouting

And then a few casts later was rewarded with her first ever dogfish :)

I then had a couple of dogfish. The second was the smallest one I have ever seen.

All fish went back to fight another day. Still yet to hit into the bigger fish that we can bring home for dinner.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

A garden update

With all this beautiful weather we have been having recently the garden has sprung into life. The veg patch is beginning to get some more colour into it now, with plants developing, and pushing through the ground.
The potatoes are now really beginning to bush up. As the plants get bigger we will be piling the earth up around the growing stems to encorage the potatoes to grow. I also pick off all of the flowers are they appear in an attempt to make the plant put all its efforts into growing the potatoes.
As you can see the onions are now getting quite large. I cant wait to start lifting these and cooking with them.
I picked up some brocolli, sprouts and beetroot at a boot fair last sunday. I got 6 of each plant, and all of them came to just £1. They are looking a little sorry for themselves at the moment, but I hope that they perk up.
And finally the broard beans. These plants are looking really healthy and are really beginning to fill out.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Another Ray

Philly and I went to Leysdown to fish the evening tide last night. It was a pretty quiet night, with only a few other anglers fishing.
Phil was the first to get some action, and this resulted in a small eel, much to her disgust. Luckily it was only liphooked, and a quick shake of the hook and it was off, and I didn't get snotty hands.
Then at 11pm just as we were packing up this beauty came in. Caught on a mackeral strip at about 100yds. Being a female she went back to lay her purses, had it been a male it would have been dinner tonight :)
I didn't have any scales with me, but I would take a guess at her weighing about 9lb

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

A busy week

I had last week off work, with the aim to sort out our utility room, and to have a bloody good go at tidying up the garden.
Well the utility room was stripped out and painted. Then the floor was laid. This consisted of putting down a thin layer of mdf first, and then some industrial lino I had acquired from a local hospital that I work at ;)
We then bought a nice double cupboard unit to go next to the fridge freezer, and I cut a length of work surface to go on top of this. Luckily the other bit left is exactly the right size to go over the washing machine on the other side, but this is yet to be done.
I then installed an outside tap, and had dad around the help shorten a water pipe. I'd happily do that myself now, but many thanks super dad :)

Down the bottom of our garden was a huge pile of old bricks, breeze blocks, stones and broken paving slabs that I had removed from out parts of the garden. There was also the rotting remains of an old washing line pole, and various dead bits of bush that I had cut away a few weeks back. This was all bagged up and taken to the dump.
Its now looking a lot clearer now, and Phillipa and I spent a good few hours pulling up weeds, baby sycamore trees and general garden rubbish ready to put down a cloth sheeting, and then covering this in plum slating. I shall take some pictures later and post them up.

I also picked up a few vegetable plants at the local bootfair for mere pennys, so the vegetable patch now has Beetroot, Brussel sprouts and Broccoli planted.
Oh, and Friday we also tried the nettle beer and it was pretty horrible. Well Phillipa kinda liked it, but she likes to drink hippie teas. We are leaving it another week to see if it matures.