Monday, 31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Here's a pic of the mini pumpkins I picked up in Laura's greengrocers in Canton today:

 Now I'm looking for a pumpkin recipe. 

Wow, we've had about 40 trick or treaters at the door, I'm fast running out of treats!

the last of the runners - we're eating them for tea.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Onions planted and Seren escaped

What a lovely day. Blue sky, cold and crisp. I had the day off work, so I spent the afternoon picking yet more sloes, and digging in the garden. I've finished extending one of the beds (i.e. digging up more of the lawn) and mixed in some compost to the hard, clay soil. I then planted out the onions. 

It was dark by the time I finished! 

Oh-o, Seren has discovered how to climb onto the fence, and onto the neighbours roof...

After about 20 minutes I managed to catch her and bring her in. She's now fast asleep on the sofa. 

I also finally managed to fix the water butt so it's not overflowing. 

Thursday, 13 October 2011


I collected leaves today and put them in a black bag to make leafmould. 

Here's the fennel growing well: 

I planted this from seed ages ago, and it's finally about to flower! But I can't remember what it is, the writing on the label's washed off! 

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Saving seeds

It was rainy when we got back from Southsea (Seren was very happy to see us!), so I stayed in the warm, and decided to save some seeds for next year. 

I popped the sweet pea seeds in a jar, with some silica gel in a packet (like you get when you buy handbags and things, I read somewhere it keeps them dry and stops them from going mouldy). 

I also took some of the tomatoes, and put their seeds on some tissue paper - I'll leave them to dry, then when I want to grow them next year I can just peel them from the tissue paper (someone from work showed me how to do this last year). 

Lanterns and butterflies

I've been in Southsea, near Portsmouth for the weekend visiting my sister. We had a lovely time. I spotted a fantastic plant in someone's garden, with cool little orange Chinese lantern seed pods on it.  I hope they didn't mind, but I took one to try to grow my own from seed. 

It's called a Physalis alkekengi

We also visited the Portsmouth Natural History Museum, just a little place, but it had a great warm butterfly room, we stayed for a while watching the cool butterflies eating fruit and flying around. Here are some pics:

Clipper butterfly

Tree Nymph

Blue Morpho, here quite a normal looking thing, but when he opens his wings they are a brilliant blue colour!

Cool chrysalises!

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Onions and extending the veggie patch

I bought some White Snowball seed onions the other day. It says on the packet I need to get them in the ground Aug-Sep, so I'm already a bit late, but I've decided to extend the vegetable patch in the garden, so I want to do this and dig in the lovely compost to the soil before I pop them in the ground.

 So like I did with the shallots I've started them off in the greenhouse.

Here are the sweet pea seed pods I've been collected, there are still lots more on the plants, but I'll leave them for now, I'm still getting the odd sweet pea flower on there, which is lovely! 

Here you can see where I've begun to make the veggie patch bigger. I'm going to dig more of the lawn up, so it's level with the terrace (which we call the VIP area as it's got those red ropes around it!).

Food for Free

My lovely friend Rachel gave me this book by Richard Mabey last week:

It's great. I've been noticing the wild stuff growing around me even more than usual! 

I found some cobnuts on a tree really near my house: 

 Nigel Slater mentioned them in his Kitchen Diaries book. They are really tasty.

Now I'm off to read the book to discover what these lovely berries are!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Seren's first steps in the garden

It's been an amazing couple of days, we're having an Indian Summer at the moment, at Kew Gardens they're experiencing plants thinking its spring again, where it was 28.8C yesterday! Certainly all my tomatoes that I thought would never ripen are turning red, I picked about 20 yesterday, and there's probably about the same outside for me to pick today. 

So, Seren took her first steps in the garden yesterday. We let her out for about 10 minutes in the morning. She was very cautious at first, listening to all the sounds of people going to work in their cars, a dog, birds going overhead and bees buzzing.

I then let her out again in the afternoon, and she was much more confident, she was bounding about, chasing the bees, and she was out for about an hour. She loved it, so much to explore!

watching the bees buzzing in and out of the nasturtiums

Watching a magpie that was sitting on the roof

She exhausted herself out!

I had the day off as there was a strike at work, so I spent most of the day in the garden, mowing the lawn, and then the mammoth task of taking all the compost out of the full compost bin (magical stuff!) and moving it to the other side of the garden, ready to be dug into the soil.