Monday 17 December 2007
What with Christmas being just around the corner our attentions have been focused on warmer, less muddy things just recently. We got our tree all set up last week and once again it looks far bigger in the front room than it did at the shop, we even had to snip six inches of the top to fix the star on. I get quite fussy about the tree at Christmas, I love having a real one but it needs to be the right shape so it can take a bit of hunting to get one that ticks all my boxes. The kittens have been surprisingly good with it so far too; although how much that has to do with them being perfectly behaved and how much it has to do with it pricking them on the nose when they go to sniff it we'll never know.
In the kitchen the Christmas cake got its layer of marzipan at the weekend so all it needs now is some icing to finish it off. Not that horrible shop bought stuff though; proper royal icing spiked into peaks with the back of a spoon is the order of the day for Christmas cakes and well worth the extra effort. With any luck we'll get that done tonight which will leave only the marzipan fruits, mince pies and sausage rolls to make in advance of the big day.
It's been interesting planning the Christmas menu this year and realising that next year we could be getting so much of it from our own plot. Not just the obvious things like vegetables but also hidden extras like cranberries for the sauce and soft fruits for the trifle not to mention jams, chutneys and pickles. It’s certainly something to aim for anyway, if we can provide all that for ourselves next year then we'll be very proud not to mention a bit better off.
Wednesday 28 November 2007
Ta muchly… :)
Monday 26 November 2007
Oh, and while I'm thinking of it, we're currently debating asking my parents for a subscription to 'Grow Your Own' magazine as a Christmas present as we've found the few issues we've bought really handy, not to mention the fact youget a free copy of 'The Allotment Book' by Andi Clevely if you subscribe at the mo. Has anyone read it? Is it any good?
Sunday 18 November 2007
Waking up this morning I found that the large but relatively self contained pile of leaves surrounding the apple tree had now been spread evenly across the entire garden, as if scattered by some malevolent hand. The only plus point was that the rain was (and still is) coming down so hard that any thoughts of venturing outside to deal with the mess have been delayed for a later date (March perhaps...).
Let it not be said I give up my principles without a fight.
In brighter news, this week also saw the arrival of the over wintering onions that Dobies seem to have been doing their best to keep from me for as long as possible. They should have gone into the ground by now but since as we've already seen the weather doesn't like me they'll have to wait till later this week when I can pop them in before work. Another delivery this week also saw the first batch of next years seeds arrive, along with the realisation that if for some reason we don't get an allotment we're going to have a huge amount of seed going spare...
Ah well, think positive, the worst comes to the worst we could always dig up the lawn...
Sunday 11 November 2007
So, you'll have to excuse me being a little excited as this last week has seen the first signs of life in our little garlic patch. We had room to plant about twenty five cloves of Solent Wight a couple of weeks ago and a good three quarters of them have suddenly appeared above the soil over the last few days. This means that, with any luck, come next summer we'll be cooking with our own home grown garlic while also saving a few bulbs to grow from next year.
Oh, and a fresh garlic shoot also provides the new header at the top of this page, I hope you like it.
Aside from that not much has been happening really, the soft fruit bushes I put in the ground last weekend (only £1 each, thank you Lidl) are looking no different a week on and the onion sets I've ordered from Dobies have still not arrived.
Autumn is well and truly here though, the appearance of an ever increasing quantity of leaves being dropped in our garden by all the surrounding trees doing a fine job of alerting us to its looming presence. Of course, while this means a load of regular raking on my part it does provide endless hours of fun for our two kittens who seem to think the falling leaves are part of the worlds continual quest to entertain them.
Thursday 8 November 2007
Well here we are, the start of a brand new blog. Welcome one and all, we hope you keep coming back to see how things progress. First up a little background is probably in order. I'm Paul, my fiancée is Melanie and together we've spent most of the spring and summer turning our horribly overgrown mess of a back garden into somewhere we'd like to spend our spare time.
Here's a glance back to how things were early this year
And here's a picture from a bit later when thing were at their clearest
Although we didn't really set out with a plan we ended up using a lot of the space we cleared for growing vegetables and before long we were well and truly bitten by the 'grow your own' bug. Neither of us had any real experience but that proved to be half the fun and surprisingly we ended up doing rather well (even if we do say so ourselves). While we didn't have enough room to grow large quantities of anything during the summer months we managed to dine on home grown sweet corn, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce, peas, runner beans and sweet peppers as well as a few potatoes.
We had so much fun we've decided to go bigger and better for next year and have put our names down on the waiting lists for a couple of local allotments. All being well, come the spring, we'll have been allocated a slot at least one of the two sites and be all set for an exciting year. That's where this blog comes in, we plan to document the trials and tribulations we face (and conquer...) while we wait for, renovate and finally use whatever allotment we end up with. In the meantime we're continuing to work our own garden just incase the allotment waiting lists don't move as fast as we're hoping so either way there should be some fun with nature to be had in the coming months. Hope you keep tuned to find out.