Wednesday 20 July 2011

Lemon Tree

One thing we've always wanted, but never got round to buying, is a lemon tree. So, when the lovely people at Tree2MyDoor offered us one we were only too happy to take them up on it. Specialising in trees delivered as gifts for special occasions they offer a large selection of well developed stock including a variety of citrus trees perfectly suited to growing in conservatories, greenhouses, sunny patios or well lit and ventilated rooms in the house.

There's something exciting about being able to grow something as exotic as lemons at home and it sounds like we can expect the tree to fruit up to four times a year which sounds impressively productive to me. So, there was an air of expectation yesterday when the delivery driver knocked on the door and deposited a large box into our eager hands.

Standing upright the box folded open easily to reveal the surprisingly mature tree inside. We weren't really expecting it to be quite as well developed as it was having been used to the young straggly fruit bushes you tend to get from mail order companies so it was exciting to find over ten fruits already at various stages of development with another bunch of flowers ready to bloom soon from the looks of it.

The growing instructions provided in the box say lemon tree's need to acclimatise slowly to their new home so it's spending a couple of days inside near the patio windows before making the short trip into the greenhouse on a coolish day then we'll keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get too hot too soon.

I'm not sure how long it'll take the currently green lemons to mature but it'll be an exciting day when we can pick the first of them. We'll be sure to keep you updated...

Friday 15 July 2011

How things have grown...

After coming home to rather more weeds than we remembered being there when we left it's taken a couple of trips to the allotment over the last two days to get things shipshape but now we're pretty much back on target. It's amazing how quickly weeds grow but it's also surprisingly easy to get back on top of things with the aid of a faithful hoe and a bit of elbow grease. In previous years our annual holiday has kind of marked the point where the plot has got away from us so it's nice that this year we've been able to come home and regain control so quickly.

The best thing about the break was seeing how much things grew while we were away, perhaps the most impressive progress was the sweetcorn which is now looking really healthy and we should be seeing the cobs form soon we're hoping.

The parsnips too are thriving. Having seen Jono over at Real Men Sow have a little look at the size of his roots I wanted to check ours out and see if all the green growth up top was reflected below the soil. As you can see things are looking good, last time we grew parsnips they were monsters and this years look well on their way to being similar.

The home-made brasica cage we cobbled together seems to be doing the job, there's been some leaf damage but mostly things seem to be thriving. There were loads of weeds in there which did reveal a design flaw in the cage but we soon worked out that unhooking some of the netting and poking the hoe through did the job so at least we can keep any new weed growth down from now on.

The french and runner beans that were looking a tad sickly before we went away still aren't looking 100% but they're improving and the runners have started to flower despite everything so perhaps it'll all turn out ok in the end.

The red onions are looking good too, cant wait till they are ready to harvest as they're lovely in salads and sarnies. 

The fennel seeds we planted a few weeks ago have all done so well they needed thinning out already. I've heard they can be a bit of a pain to grow because they bolt really easily so we'll be keeping an eye on them and making sure they remain watered.

The leeks are also looking really healthy, all signs of the holes we planted them in have gone which I assume is correct (?) we just need to keep an eye on them and earth them up a bit at some point to ensure long white stems.

Lastly the slightly random flower border we sowed with a sprinkling from one of those shake-n-sow boxes you can pick up for a couple of quid has started to bloom. We perhaps over crowded it a tad but it's starting to look nice and bright and surely attracts some nice insects to the plot. 

It's back to the old routine of work next week but at least the plot is back under control and we'll try to have some slightly more interesting posts next week rather than just big long lists of what's growing.

Tuesday 12 July 2011

We're back!

Well that's holidays over for another year. Scotland was amazing, the Highlands have to be one of the most spectacular places one earth! Happily we've also got this week off work so it's not quite nose to the grindstone time yet.

We popped up to the allotment on Sunday to see how it had survived the week of neglect and were amazed to see how much things had grown in a week, everything seem to have come on leaps and bounds while we were away and even though the weeds have grown too it's not as bad as it could have been. I'll take some pics later today when we go back up to do some weeding.

We managed to bring home the first proper harvest of the year while we were up there, as you can see we've got a load of early potatoes, a few courgettes and the first beetroots along with the last winter cabbage.

We also picked some of the flowers that had bloomed while we were away and about 200g of blueberries which found their way into some muffins yesterday.

Back at home the greenhouse was tended to by a friend so everything was alive and well with plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers ready for harvest.  The salad leaves have gone over though which is a pain as I'd not got another container sown yet so we'll be without leaves for a few weeks now which is annoying.

We were in town yesterday picking up a few things and I was stood outside Wilkinsons wondering who they thought would ever pay full whack for the half dead plants they had on display when a lady with a sticker gun came out and stared drastically reducing the prices. A couple of minutes later I was walking out with two hanging baskets fully potted up with a total of eight strawberry plants (Albion) for 50p each reduced from £8.49 and a fuchsia bush reduced from £5.89 to another 50p. A good day in the sun with plenty of water later and they're all looking nice and healthy, a bargain for £1.50 rather than a shade under £23.

Righty, I'm off to start the weeding, will do an update with some allotment pics tomorrow all being well. Tis good to be back!

Wednesday 6 July 2011


So far we're having a wonderful time in Scotland. We've had sun almost all the time since we got here until today when it's rained most of the morning. Can't realy complain with that ratio though so we're having a lazy one in preperation for more activity when the sun returns tomorrow (fingers crossed).

Just thought I'd share a few pictures taken on Monday when we went out on a sea cruise to see some whales and dolphins. We did see both, and a few seals and puffins too, but my camera didn't pick them out too well (I need a proper zoom lens me thinks) so I'm not going to bore you with those pics, instead here are a few more sea'y shots. As you can see the weather was stunning considering this is the far north of Scotland...