Sunday, 31 January 2021

2021 - A Real Winter!

2020 ended with snow and 2021 has largely followed suit. If it isn't sowing or freezing it's been pouring with rain. The ground is saturated and the green pipe and waterfall have been flowing the fastest we've seen in nearly 15 years here. 

2020 was a year for records - wettest February, hottest summer. Apparently this is the coldest January for 10 years. 

These snowy photos taken on 25th January. 

View from our back door

    Across the veg gardens from the greenhouse

The nets over the Brussels sprouts nearly collapsed with the snow.

All very beautiful, but difficult to get much done. There were some warm spells when I spread compost over the empty beds and did a bit of tidying up.

Planted up some big pots with potatoes - 2 in the greenhouse, 3 in the annexe conservatory, but much too cold to sprout. The pointy cabbages in the greenhouse are coming on slowly and the luttuces are hanging on. The Brussels sprouts, when not covered by snow, are doing really well and had several meals with plenty more  coming on the second planting (nearest the front on the right under the snow!). Also had a few Chantenay carrots from the greenhouse.

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Brrr...Winter Snow

Last day of 2020 - and very cold. 

First snow of the winter fell two days ago and lots hasn't melted yet despite some lovely sunshine at times. Makes a change from the dreary and wet wrathe we've become accustomed to.


View from the kitchen on Tuesday morning

The veg beds yesterday morning


Yucca and a lily brave the cold

Monday, 23 November 2020

What's growing now

It's the back end of November. The days are shorter and the light not so bright during the daytime. Last night was the first real frost of the year.

We've eaten all the potatoes we grew this year (there's four adults in the house to feed now), only a dozen or so tomatoes ripenng on the kitchen window sill, beans and the first sowing of pointy cabbages finished. So what's left:

In the garden:

  • Lots of celery - great germination and planted out about 36 seedlings which have now become a forest. We eat quite a lot in salads and stews and just to munch. I've put some in the freezer for winter cooking.
  • Brussels sprouts - doing brilliantly this year. We've already had several meals and will have some tonight. There are two groups, one planted out from their modules a little later so are further behind. So we should have plenty into the new year.
  • A few kale plants - looking rather sad because the cabbage white caterpillars devasted them early on, but are now pushing out a few leaves which will go in stir-fries.
  • A lovely patch of rainbow chard - provided many meals already and looks like they will continue through to the spring.
  • Peas - an experimental late planting in the ground where some potatoes were lifted.  They are doing surprisingly well and producing some lovely, pest-free peas, though not more than a spoonful for each of us. Lots of flowers still. Next year I'll plant a whole lot more. They are frost-resistant.
  • A broad-bean sprouted in the compost - so I thought I'd give it 11 more for company. I don't usually do autumn-sowing because they come up quickly and early in the spring anyway. But we'll see. Another way of using the space after the potatoes have been lifted.
  • Rhubarb - is already sprouting, so covered with a good mulch of garden compost to protect from the frost and give them a boost.

In the greenhouse:

  • 5 pointy cabbages in the soil where the tomatoes were earlier - 1 Dutchman and 4 "Tinty" red ones. These have been great outside all year and these late sowings into small pots seem to love their new home.
  • Two little gem lettuces remaining from two troughs sown earlier. They have been doing well all summer (outside during the warm months) with successive sowings.
  • Two troughs of mixed lettuce seedlings
  • Trough of spring onions
  • Trough of Charentay carrots - small but tasty.
  • 2 large pots each with 3 Pentland Javelin potatoes saved from this year's harvest. Planted these yesterday. I usually plant up a couple of pots just after Christmas, but the weather has been so warm (except for frost last night!) I thought I'd jump the gun and try to get some earlier spuds (especially since we've finished all the store).

In the conservatory:

We have a large, very light conservatory which isn't heated, but is warmer that the greenhouse during the cold winter months. Good for starting off seeds.

  • Pot of parsley seeds. The summer outdoor sowing didn't take at all, they were rather old seeds, so hopefully these will come along better. But they are very slow-growing.
  • Tray of Ailsa Craig onion seedlings.
  • Radishes - haven't grown these for a while. All the seeds germinated and are looking happy so maybe Christmas radishes?

Spare bedroom:

  • 7 tomato plants on the window sill! I really don't enjoy shop-bought tomatoes so would love to find a way of growing them through the winter. Last year I made (at The Shed) a planter with a trellis for growing a clematis and flowering plants and in June replenished it with garden compost. In addition to the flowers up came 7 tomato seedlings. They looked pretty healthy so I potted them up and had them in the greenhouse for a while. A couple had flowers and one had two tiny fruits.
    As the weather got colder I brought them into the conservatory, but it was too cold. So I took them upstairs where it's warm and gets more sun in the mornings. I also draped some LED Christmas lights around to give more light. Initially they produced a lot of flowers which I dutifully tickled up with my Mum's paintbrush, but they didn't take. The two tomatoes are growing steadily though! There are a few more tiny buds, so maybe.....