Thursday, 25 June 2009

Happy 2nd Birthday Ruby

Happy Birthday darling

Lots of love

Hugs and kisses

from Mummy & Daddy


Friday, 12 June 2009

Happy Birthday Big Sis !

50 Today!

Many Happy Returns.

Lots of love from all of us xxxxx

Thursday, 11 June 2009

June already ? Hello again !

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, our guide to growing your own veg in Raised Beds, buckets, pots etc, indeed - anything we can. You'd be forgiven for thinking that after the last brief update, we'd turned our attention to growing flowers, but you would be wrong! It's true though; that wifey has created some stunning baskets of flowers, and there's colour wherever you look. However, in between all the flower activity as well as the Allotment project, we've not been idle on producing the edible's either! In fact, there's so much going on that we don't know what to do next! Let's go on a short journey round the plot:

We grew far too many tomato (v. Moneymaker) seeds, and far too many germinated! Having given some away to Arthur next door, we have opted to grow them on in 2 ways. The first option is to grow indoors in our conservatory, in pots of varied shape and size, and using some good general purpose compost from Morrisons (we got a good deal thanks to Neil) , whilst the second batches are being grown on outside in the old B&Q orange buckets. As it stands at the moment, the indoor plants are growing better and are now 2 - 4 foot tall. In the middle of the pic is one of 2 Cucumber (v. Marketmore) plants that we are also going to grow indoors only. Wouldn't it be great if they grow well.
Here's the second cucumber plant, which we hope to train across this old pole, directly below the plexiglass roof. This plant already has 3 yellow flowers, which we think is a good sign. As i said, we've not grown these before, so 1 solitary cucumber would be noted as a success!

These 4 pots are home to some Sweet Banana Pepper plants, that have been grown from seed. At the time i took the picture all 4 looked healthy, but today one of them has seemingly been "taken ill" - the dreaded damping off terror seems to have taken it's toll.
Still, 3 to go ! Fingers crossed eh !

Next up we have 4 Aubergine (v. Black Beauty) plants that are going well. They were recently potted on from 3" pots and seem to be surviving the journey! Last year we had limited success with this veg, i.e. they grew - a little, but the fruits never ripened. Hopefully the constant heat of the conservatory will pay dividends ?

Perched up on the end, we have a motley collection of Tomato (v. Yellow Pear) in various stages of growth. There's one good strong plant outside in an Orange bucket, and these runts of the litter are being kept indoors until they show some promise. Yellow toms are very appealing, and we're hopeful of at least one plant doing ok!

Here we have our attempt at Cherry toms (v.Gardeners Delight). These seeds were sent free of charge as part of the BBC Dig In campaign. Take a look at their website HERE. We were also sent free seeds packets of Squash (v. Hunter) , Betroot (v. Boltardy), Lettuce and Carrots. Its a great initiative by the bbc, and we never like to miss out on freebies !! Lets hope these grow on well as a second crop, the plants are way behind the progress of the moneymaker, but there's still time!

And so to the raised beds outside:

Just next to the patio, we have a completely unexpected potato plant! I though I dug them all up last year, but obviously not! I have no idea what variety this is, but i'm thinking it might be Rocket! Guess we'll have to wait and see. Either way, we'll nurture it and see what bounty it delivers. Dont you just love surprises ?

Gooseberries ! What garden would be complete without a couple of gooseberry bushes ? We have 2 now, this and another in the flower border. This one pictured is producing an abundance of berries, but sadly the foliage is being devoured at a rate of knots, and there's caterpillars all over them. Hopefully the fruits will ripen and get harvested before the pesky birds find them.

And finally we get to a raised bed ! That is after all, what we're all about! Without going into too much detail at this time ( 10.00pm now) I can tell you that this bed is home to the following goodies:
Spring onions
Lettuce v.Lollo Rosso
Carrots v. Purple Haze & Early Nantes
Broccoli v.Raab

The broccoli is a late variety that is said to reach harvesting maturity in 60 days ! Lets hope that's true.

And finally, we have some Sweetcorn (v.Swift Early) which are starting to grow. Unlike their name ( we call them Swift Late) they are only a couple of inches tall at the moment, but big tree's from little acorns!!!!

Here we have 1 of 2 Blueberry bushes that are new to us this year. We tried in earnest to get them going in Raised beds, but after a period of no growth, have transferred them to the trusty buckets. At least now this one is bearing some fruit. Who knows, there may even be enough here for 1 serving ! Hold the orders !

Our second Main raised bed, is slowly filling up.
The main residents in this bed (apart from the weeds and the slugs ) are :

Beetroot: v. Boltardy & v. Golden Globe

Onions (from seed) v. Bedfordshire Champion.

That really is about it. The Asparagus bed is still going well, 9 out of 10 crowns producing some lovely ferns - a sign hopefully that all is well. Elsewhere around the patio we are using various tubs & containers, which are home to amongst other things: Strawberries, Cut & Come again lettuce, Toms, Runner Beans, and hopefully soon some Courgette's !

So as you can see, we've not been idle!

I hope you've enjoyed this update, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Reads Retreat, very soon.

Take care all & enjoy your gardens,