Posts Tagged ‘raised beds’

Hooray for May

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Well, hardly a mention of the veg patch and growing things so far this year but rest assured it’s been a busy time sowing, transplanting, mulching, planting, weeding etc etc over the last few months. This morning the first courgette flower was out and that for me is a sign that the growing season has really kicked in and the munching season is not far behind. I’d taken a photo of the beds on the 29 April and already, just over two weeks later, there’s a big difference:

courgettes

And here you can see how the sweetcorn, chard and sprouts have enjoyed the sunshine:

beds

The asparagus, leeks and purple sprouting broccoli have all gone (plus most of the artichokes) but waiting in the wings now are more brassica (loads of cabbage for some reason,  calabrese, cauliflower) plus beans, onions and garlic. The potatoes have pale purple flowers. There’s aubergines, buttercup squash and melons planted too. Oh, and some carrots.

Along with the baby courgettes there are tiny toms appearing (the comfrey fertilizer should be ready for them soon), weeny cucumbers and minuscule peppers. And for dessert they’ll be gooseberries, plums, raspberries and red currants before long:

fruit

It’s always a nice time, it’s still sort of green, the heat hasn’t become too oppressive and there’s the excitement of a good crop of nourishing things to eat. I was feeling rather pleased with myself as I looked over the beds today until I saw what a mess the potting shed is but I just can’t face sorting that out now. I’d failed to clear it out at the end of last summer because of a huge wasp nest. They tried loads of times to make a new one this season but I put an end to that.

horta

A little pat on the back for me too as I won a couple of prizes at an agricultural show. Not a good time of the year for showing veg but the lemon cake with borage flowers, and a trio of preserves did well:

prizes

So it’s all coming up roses, or rather dandelions, at the mo 🙂

jussi

From Jersey to Portugal

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

This morning I made a list of things to do in the garden which was basically to decide where the rhubarb, melons, asparagus and leeks were going to go and prepare / make some beds for these. My dad had written that he’d posted the asparagus on Friday from Jersey and although it was only Monday I  decided to go for that first as it seemed the most work and despite the sunshine it felt quite cool so perfect working weather. My first choice of position had to be abandoned – the sunny days have made our clayish soil rock hard already so there was no way I could start another bed. The only bed available was earmarked for the leeks but it was weed free and workable so I set about making an asparagus raised bed. The edging bricks are rather ugly but I’m planning to put some herbs and flowers in their holes. I’d just put in the manure and taken a photo when blow me down the postie pulled up with a large bag of asparagus crowns! I covered the manure, plonked the spiderlike plants on top and covered them with soil and lots of water. The compost they were in was still slightly damp so I’m hoping they’ll be fine, will let you know in two years’ time!

Meanwhile I was getting a bit concerned about the Jersey Royals. The potato plants that Luis had given us were now twice as tall and covered in flowers even though they’d been planted weeks later. After some googling last night I discovered that flowers aren’t always present, and it doesn’t mean there aren’t any tatties down there. It also seemed that if you leave the Royals in the ground too long they start to lose their waxiness and become floury. So with some trepidation, and excitement, I rummaged under one of the plants that had looked rather sorry for itself last week (although it was now looking much better with loads of new leaves) and found a potato – a perfect looking good sized potato. So I pulled enough out to have for lunch and picked some mint too:

To be honest I wasn’t sure how they’d taste. They hadn’t had the seaweed mulch they get in Jersey, and other websites I’d been on said they’d failed. Well, I’m happy to say that with some butter and mint they were lovely, perhaps not as fantastic as the ones I’ve had in Jersey but delicious never the less and well worth the effort. Thank you, sis! And sorry, Richard (again!) For those wondering why I’m not sharing these first harvests with Richard – he’s back home and I’m sure enjoying some Manx kippers. Back to the garden…

The reassuring sound of drilling

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The reassuring sound of drilling has resumed at the house. Yes, the builders have returned. We’ve also got the plumber on site and together they are knocking out holes, drilling through walls and digging up floors to lay various pipes for the electricity and plumbing. This will also include central heating and solar powered water heating. The solar heated water is certainly not for economic reasons as it won´t pay for itself for many years but it is something which we always wanted to do.

Of course, work continues on the garden. In addition to the spuds, carrots, onions, leeks etc, Jackie has now planted out beans, peas, cucumbers, courgettes, squash, tomatoes, turnips, broccoli and goodness knows what else. I must say apart from a minor slug attack on the baby rhubarb the whole crop has been remarkably pest free and looks extremely healthy. I wonder how long that will continue for. We are also preparing for our first crop which will be ´oriental leaves´. I´m not sure where we got them from but they are varieties of lettuce as far as I can see. We plan on having them at a barbie at the weekend. Let´s hope the weather is OK.

spuds leading the way top right, peas and bean top left

The weather has actually been perfect for growing things – plenty of sun and rain. In fact despite some friendly joshing from Luis who thought our water tank (see previous post) would take forever to fill, after some pretty heavy rain in the last week (thankfully mostly overnight) we have already collected over 300 litres.

While Jackie has been busy on the veggies, I have turned my attention to rescuing more of the olive trees from ivy and brambles and also some strimming (yet again) – perfect weather for veggies is the same perfect weather for weeds and grass. However, I have also been able to do some landscaping and by using quite a few discarded rocks from the house, I have created the ´peninsula´, a raised area in front of the threshing square. We’ve already planted a few decorative plants in and around it but I think it will take quite some time before it starts to look anywhere near attractive. It’s a start anyway.

´The peninsula´

´The peninsula´

In addition to all this, I’ve also made another video (it’s not surprisingly on the video page of the blog). A little update on how the place is coming along. Check it out.

P.S. plums and cherries already starting to appear!! yum yum.

Transformations

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

The raised beds are finally finished – they just need green things to start sprouting from them. Here’s one photo we took not long after we arrived in September and another this week after putting some gravel down.

raised beds before and after

And here is the pergola, which is where the pig pen once was.

pergola

Still no sight of the builders. Hopefully they will be starting again next week…

Not happy bunnies

Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The euphoria surrounding last week’s concrete pour on the roofs has quickly dissipated. After getting the roof done, the builder said that we had to leave it for four or five days to set. Fair enough. But now a week later he has told us he won’t be back for another week as he has to finish another job! So two weeks of inaction on the house has left us non plussed to say the least.

However, work continues on the garden and the raised beds are perfectly manicured, ready and waiting. In fact, Jackie has planted our first veggies. Jersey Royal potatoes specially flown in from Jersey (actually posted here from her sister). They should be ready in about three months. And the strawberries are also bedded in and raring to go.

raised beds ready and waiting

raised beds ready and waiting

Jackie has also been busy in the kitchen. We rediscovered a huge pile of walnuts the other day which we had picked in November and she made a delicious walnut cake. So delicious in fact that Furface, the local moggie who has adopted us, sneaked in and snaffled up half of it while we weren’t watching.

I’ve also been busy utilising my great strengths – brute force and ignorance. I’ve finally removed all trace of the former pigsty. In its place we’re going to build a little outdoor dining area with a trellis which will be dripping with vines. That (hopefully) will be going up next week, so look out for the pics.

Finally, a good sign that spring must be on its way is that a tiny wren is building a nest on our balcony. Here’s a pic of the wren and a blackcap who came for a butcher’s.

wren and blackcap

wren and blackcap