Posts Tagged ‘grow your own’

Marrow-tastic!

I planted my courgettes quite late so I’m only just reaping the benefits of fresh, cut-that-day, home grown deliciousness. Judging by the way that the vines are creeping here, there and everywhere, all I can say is that it’s a damn good job I like courgettes!

We decided to let one grow on and try our hand (well, B’s hand, to be precise!) at stuffed marrow. Although I was tempted to leave it much longer, just to see how big it would get, I cut this beauty when it was the length of my forearm, from my albow to the tip of my fingers!

Marrow - 22 August 2009

Marrow - 22 August 2009

B made the stuffing from minced beef, leeks, garlic, mushrooms, soy sauce, herbs and some other ingredients that I’ve since forgotten (which is why she’s a far better cook than I). And it was wonderful. Highly recommended!

My sincere thanks to the gods of courgettes, not forgetting B for putting it all together!

The woes and lows of a first-time vegetable gardener

This is my first attempt at growing vegetables, and it sure ain’t easy! Not that I thought it would be, but I’m starting to understand why there are so many books and magazines on the subject. I’m also convinced that without human intervention, left to their own devices, vegetables would swiftly become extinct.

In the spring, with vast amounts of help from Jennie, I planted courgettes, cucumbers, carrots, parsnips, garlic, swede, peas, beans, potatoes, pumpkins, gourds, leeks, broccoli, sprouts, spinach and sweetcorn.

Success!

  • The potatoes seem to be doing well, as do the peas, beans and garlic.

Failure 😦

  • The leeks failed, and each and every pumpkin seedling was eaten. Oh, and don’t ask about the corn…

Hit and miss

  • Only one cucumber plant seems to be trying to make it, and it’s so small and undeveloped that I doubt it even knows it’s a cucumber.
  • I planted 12 courgette seeds. 9 germinated, 6 were completely eaten, 2 only partially. One is going great guns, and its surviving companions are giving it a good go.
  • The only surviving gourd plant is looking to take over the whole garden.
  • The broccoli and sprout plants are still being eaten alive, even though they’re massive. Oh – only two of each actually survived the slugs and snails.
  • A couple of spinach plants are putting on a good show but the rest just sit there.
  • The first lot of carrot seedlings literally vanished overnight, though the second lot of seeds I planted seem to be doing better.
  • Sadly, my swede army is also vanishing before my very eyes – blink and another one runs away.
  • Finally, the parsnips are hanging in there… all four of them!

So, all in all, I can safely say that my first year has been a bit of a disaster. Looking back at all the effort that went into digging, I want to cry! On the other hand, I’ve harvested some potatoes, and they’re absolutely delicious, which is a massive relief.

Ah well, better luck next year!

Making hay while the sun shines!

Yesterday’s predicted rain never arrived so at lunch time I decided to tempt the weather gods and watered the vegetable garden, cursing the slugs who have attacked my courgette plants. Amazingly, this did not instigate a downpour and so I spent the afternoon cutting the long grass in the orchard. Thing is, I cut it by hand using some loppers, so that I can leave it to dry and become hay which I can then use as bedding for the hens’ nest boxes and in the pig arks.

The orchard - 10 June 2009

I took a much needed break to take this photo of what I had done and what was left to do!

Midge in the grass - 10 June 2009

A close up, using Midge to show you just how long the grass is!

Snipe - 10 June 2009

This was as close as Snipe could get to me when I was behind the electric netting in the chicken run!

Finally, take a look at this:

Pea plant in the field - 10 June 2009

Pea plant in the field - 10 June 2009

A while ago, I idly pushed some peas that the pigs hadn’t eaten into the dirt that they’d turned up in the field. Look again, can you see the pea pod?! I’ve managed to loose the feral garlic (the undergrowth grew up around it and I’ve no idea where it is!) and the feral broad beans are growing but haven’t flowered yet, but this looks as though it might actually do something! And the amazing thing is that I haven’t looked after it at all. It’s survived on rain water, so got no water during the week and a half of blazing sunshine, and I only propped it up with a stick last week. Nature rules! I just hope my domesticated peas make it. The slugs really are on a mission 😦

Bank holiday sunshine

Ok, so maybe the sun didn’t shine yesterday, but boy, was it hot on Sunday!

Brini and Scrumpy - 24 May 2009

Brini and Scrumpy enjoy their fresh grass. I moved the pair (and Fergie and Perky!) onto new ground on Sunday afternoon.

Pinky - 24 May 2009

Pinky made the most of her wallow

Potato patch - 25 May 2009

The potato patch is coming along well. Not sure when I should start earthing up though

Molly's eggs - 25 May 2009

Molly the Pekin bantam has started laying her eggs in the grass outside. Thing is, she's laying in the grass in the big chickens' run, not her own!

Update on the lasagne garden

Last autumn, Jennie and I set about establishing a lasagne garden. I’ve been slowly adding to it all winter and spring so it’s very much in various stages of development and is what could honestly be described as a “work in progress”!

However, having read Compostwoman’s excellent post about making compost, I realised that the lasagne garden is quite clearly too dry as there are a fair number of ants hanging around it.

So yesterday afternoon I whipped off the tarpaulins that have been covering the patch so that the overnight rain could get it nice and soggy.

Lasagne garden - 7 May 2009

Lasagne garden - 7 May 2009

As you can see from the photo, the bit we did first has come along and nicely and is, in my very inexpert opinion, ready for planting. I’m going to use the lasagne garden for things like courgettes, melons (well, it’s worth a try!) cucumbers, gourds, pumpkins, etc.

There’s one patch that we’re not using this year so in the next couple of weeks, I’m going to turn this into a lasagne garden in preparation for next spring. If I start now, it should be more than ready by next year!

When the pigs are moved, there’s time for snuggles

Hurrah! I’ve finally moved all eight pigs onto fresh ground, which is a massive relief for me and them. Ok, I’ve cheated a little with Tia and Bailey and have only moved the 100m of electric netting that makes up their enclosure, not the ark, but it means that 70% of their enclosure is now made up of fresh ground, including a soft area for them to make a wallow if required, and the cover of several trees to give them shade. If I get a chance, I’ll move the ark this week, so the ground in front of its current spot gets a chance to rest, but there’s no rush.

Tia and Bailey - 21 April 2009

Tia and Bailey approve of their new patch

So, eight happy pigs.

Which meant I could take some time to administer belly rubs and receive some piggy loves in return:

In the pig ark - 21 April 2009

In the pig ark with Perky, Scrumpy, Fergie and Brini

Perky and Jo - 21 April 2009

Perky thinks she's a lap dog

Thanks to Jennie for taking those photos (!!!!!!!!!!!) on your much needed (and deserved) break from planting all those potatoes!!

Feral garlic?

A while ago, there were some cloves of garlic in the fruit and veg I get for the pigs from my local greengrocer. Even though I knew the pigs don’t eat it, I still chucked the cloves into their buckets and thought no more about it.

Until yesterday, when I saw something rather unexpected whilst checking to see how the grass is doing on their old patch:

Feral garlic?!

Feral garlic?!

All in all, I counted six plants! I’ll probably transplant them later on when my veggie garden has been dug but they seem happy enough where they for the moment. Having said that, I like the idea of “feral garlic” so I might just leave them to it, though that does mean I can’t put the pigs back on there until after they’ve been harvested. If they survive, that is.