Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Timperley Early showing thru'

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, our blog guide to growing your own Fruit & Veg. As you can see in the picture, our 3 year old Rhubarb is going great guns. Last year - at about this time - we "forced" the growth on this plant, and got some great results. Not sure if we'll do the same again this year, as I don't want to put too much strain on it. Might be better in the long run to let it grow at its own pace, and enjoy the harvest even more when it's ready. For now have added a mulch of fresh compost to help it on it's way.
Thats it for now, pop back soon for more updates from the garden plot.


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Merry Raspberry Polka !

Welcome back to Reads Retreat. Sorry for the somewhat long absence from posting, there's been quite a few changes around here of late, not least a new shift pattern at work to get used to!
As the title suggests (nicked and adapted slightly from a similar song by the Andrews Sisters), it's Raspberry planting time here at the home plot. Three of the four canes pictured planted are from the Homebase "Grow Your Own" promotion they are currently running, whilst the other is a nondescript variety purchased from Wilko's last summer. The former though, are the variety Polka, which are an Autumn fruiting type - producing their bounty on this years growth. It's a first growing effort for me, so I'm keen as always to do the necessary to get a good crop. I'll be keeping a close eye on there! I planted them close to a fence, as the fence should make a good backdrop to an impromptu "cage" as and when it's required. The idea I have in mind is that I can attach an old net curtain to the top of the fence, and simply drape it over the canes when i need to! Let's see how that idea works!

The other little job completed today was the planting of these two little Blueberry bushes. They've been kept in a frost free location for a couple of weeks, and finally have been tucked up in their new home. I made larger than required planting holes in soil, before part filling with ericaceous compost. The roots were then backfilled with the same before I covered the bed with a mulch cover. I don't want these tender two competing or struggling for moisture. I read recently in Grow your Own veg magazine that blueberries should only be watered with collected rainwater, as tap water contains Lime, which the bushes hate. High hopes for these two too.

That's about it for this little update, but I hope you will be back soon for more of our updates.

Take care all,


Monday, 9 February 2009

Blueberries - a bit of Research!

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, our guide to growing your own veg in Raised Beds. Fruit too, it seems!
Sitting at the pc tonight, I thought I'd start gathering some info on growing this delicious crop, and thought - why not share what i find !
We bought 2 bushes from Homebase in the last week, having been advised that we need 2 for good pollination. The best reference site I've stumbled across so far is the BBC Gardening Basics page, which gives a whole host of information on growing this fruit, as well as recipe ideas and a history of its cultivation. There's also some great information on the Telegraph website.
Quite often when you try growing something for the first time, you simply overlook the vast amount of information that's so readily available. Hopefully; if you're following our plans here at Reads Retreat, then you'll be able to access the same info. Simply clicking on the coloured text will redirect you to all this wonderful info. Luckily we have a dedicated Raised Bed available for planting our bushes, and the soil therein will be thoroughly mixed with Ericaceous compost, as these plants favour this type of soil. We opted for 2 x 15Litre bags from Wilkinson's, priced at £1.49 each, which seems like a good price to pay. The bushes themselves are currently residing in our unheated but frost free "Greenhouse", in the 3" pots they are supplied in. These will be transferred to 6" pots in the next couple of days and kept inside until all danger of frost has passed. In the meantime, the 30Litre of "new" compost can be added to the raised bed, to give it time to settle. Our darling Ruby is a big fan of Blueberries (or Blueys as she calls them) so it would be nice to get a decent crop here, maybe even this summer, and hopefully for many more summers to come.

Check back soon for more updates, it's going to get busy, very busy!


Sunday, 8 February 2009

Spring is in the air!

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, our guide to growing your own Veg in Raised Beds. I'm not usually one to talk about flowers, but this picture shows that spring is on it's way. These daffs were planted late November last year, and have grown on unaffected by the weather. In fact, they are growing really well. In the background are a couple of Freesias that we bought from Victoriana Nurseries, and there's also some Cyclamen in there too.
There's a buzz of excitement around at the moment, as we contemplate this years plantings on the plot. (Note to myself: Sort out the seeds box!). We are going to be growing some soft fruits at Reads Retreat this year, concentrating our veg growing on our allotment, and hope that you will continue to follow our progress via both the blogs.

After a recent trip to Homebase - armed with Gift Vouchers that we got as a wedding present from Huw & Jane - we came home with a haul of fruit bushes, including: Gooseberry, Tayberry, Blueberry, and Raspberry. I've since read that's it's best to grow Blueberry bushes in pairs, so we'll go back and get another to keep our first one company, and I'll also get some Ericaceous compost as apparently the Blueberries thrive in it.

A quick note of thanks too, for all your kind comments and wishes regarding our recent marriage. We had a truly fantastic and memorable day.

Hope you will find the time to pop back and see us soon.


Monday, 2 February 2009

Oh no, more snow!

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, our home plot guide to growing your own veg in Raised Beds. (Picture taken this morning, trying out a Sepia filter on my digital camera).
As you can see, the snow has once again returned, but thankfully at this time of year, it won't pose any problem as the plot is mostly dormant. There's a few straggly Leeks left to pull, and some tiny Beetroot waiting to get picked and pickled. All that's really left then is the late winter clear up. The bed at the back is the newly planted Asparagus bed, planted using the Lasagne bed technique to get the ground into shape as the plants grow. As i can't get out to the plot or the allotment, I may take some time out to sort the box of seeds out? That'll pass an hour or so!

Pop back soon for more updates from Reads Retreat.