What I am Sowing and Growing

I have quite a few hobbies and interests, and growing my own fruit and vegetables is one of them.

My challenge this year is to grow as much as possible on the small patio of the flat we are renting. (We have our names on the allotment list, but it’s a long wait)!

The first seeds I sowed in February were
– Tomato – Yellow Delight
– Tomato – Rosella
– Aubergine – Long Purple
– Chilli Pepper – Long Slim
– Chilli Pepper – Early Jalapeno

All of these seeds came free with my monthly Kitchen Garden magazines. I have a great stash of seeds from the magazine subscription.

When I sowed the seeds I used wooden lolly sticks to label them. Unfortunately these went mouldy so I had to take them out! Because of this I then ended up with seedlings that were unlabelled. I have potted them on and don’t know which is which but I’m not too worried. I can tell which ones are the tomatoes and when the fruits set in then I will know – it will just be a nice surprise for me as they continue to grow! I sowed them in an indoor propagator and have now potted them all on.

I didn’t have any plant pots to pot them on to so I have been inventive with my recycling! All the food tins, butter tubs, fruit punnets and any other container suitable for potting seedlings into have been used! I used a sweetcorn holder to stab holes in the bottom of the containers for drainage!

The next seeds I sowed were in March – this time I used a dot of nail varnish to label the seedlings in the plastic seed tray. I sowed 4 different seeds so used four different nail varnish colours. I then put a dab of the corresponding nail varnish on the seed packet so I know which is which. When I pot these on I will use the varnish again on the pots!

In the propagator now are
– Lettuce – Little Gem Cos
– Pepper – Sweet Astor F1 Hybrid
– Tomato – Yellow Stuffer
– Spring Onion – Ishikura

The 5 tomato seeds have germinated quickly and so have the lettuces. The spring onions are beginning to poke through. The peppers are yet to germinate but I only sowed them 1 week ago so and they tend to take a little longer. Once seedlings are big enough I will pot all them on into my recycled containers. The lettuce and spring onion seeds were from the Kitchen Garden Magazine and the pepper and tomato seeds were purchased from Thompson and Morgan.

Here you can see the nail varnish dabs to denote which seeds are growing. If there are two rows of seeds I have put a dab on each row.

I hope to get the seedlings outside in April or May time – depending on the weather conditions and the plant type. Peppers need more heat so I will probably keep these indoors for longer. I also need to get prepared by buying grow bags and large pots for the plants to be growing in when they do go outside.

I am just looking through my seeds now seeing if there is anything else I can sow. Although I’m not sure if I will have room for any more!!

I can’t wait to get to a garden centre and have a good look around! I am hoping to buy some strawberry plants to grow out on the patio.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Spring and Growing Season!

Katie

Spring is on it’s Way

I know it’s not officially spring until 20th March – so a good while off yet! However, I saw my first daffodils of the season when out on my walk today – it was so lovely seeing spring flowers and colour against the dull winter backdrop.

I do love nature, I am always amazed by plants and new growth and how things change with the seasons.

With spring around the corner, I am keen to get sowing some vegetable seeds. This week I had two bags of composts delivered and I have been collecting seeds from my Kitchen Garden magazine. I am just awaiting some seed trays with clear lids which should arrive this week.

I am hoping to make some early sowings of tomato, aubergine and pepper seeds and get them established indoors until the weather warms up. I only have a small patio but really want to grow as much as possible out there. We have our names down for an allotment but the waiting list is very long!

It is such a miracle seeing plants grow from tiny seeds and being able to grow your own food. I am hoping to get my 3 year old involved with the sowing and growing, I am sure she will be eager to see the plants grow.

What are you looking forward to in Spring?

Katie

Happenings over the last month

Over the last month the focus has been on getting the house prepared and ready for the new arrival!

The nursery is almost complete, it is just in need of some soft furnishings, however the baby won’t be sleeping in there for the first few months. The furniture fits in really well as it is quite a small room.

We have also redecorated the downstairs toilet as the paint was peeling off and it looked messy. We have changed the colour which makes the room much brighter and have gone for wallpaper to cover the problem patches on the walls.

Another room that has had a good clean and tidy is the pantry. It was in need of a good tidy and freshen up and is now the perfect place to store the pram.

I have been doing a bit of harvesting in the garden and have picked over a dozen apples from my Braeburn apple tree. They are very tasty and make lovely apple scones. I have also picked a few grapes from the grape vine and have pulled up all my parsnips. I certainly wouldn’t win any prizes for them but they do taste good! I have chopped and blanched them ready to go in the freezer for whenever we want them.

I have also had a tidy up in the garden. I have raked over the vegetable beds that are no longer in use and have pruned and tidied some of the fruit bushes and trees. I still have kale, leeks and brussel sprouts in one bed so I shall see how well they turn out over the winter months. It is looking quite bare out there now.

Our dog, Maple turned 1 yesterday! She is no longer a puppy! We got her at the beginning of December when she was 8 weeks old. She is very good and loves lots of fuss!

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to but did make some tasty Challah bread a couple of weeks ago and also made some heart shaped apple scones.

Preserving Fruit and Veg

Yesterday I had a good tidy up in the garden and harvested the last of my carrots and beetroots. I also picked a few green beans and lots of sticks of rhubarb.

There wasn’t a huge amount of produce but I have made sure it hasn’t gone to waste. I have chopped and blanched the carrots and green beans and frozen them. The beetroot has been fully cooked, peeled, chopped and bagged ready to be frozen. It is nice to know that I can eat seasonal produce throughout the year because of preserving it in the freezer. 
I also have other fruit in the freezer from earlier in the season which I will be able to use in desserts and jams.

With the rhubarb, I am currently making a rhubarb and orange jam which ,once jarred, will keep for about a year.



I also have a food dehydrator that I am hoping to experiment with more over time. I have used it to make prunes from the plums I grew and have also dried tomatoes and some herbs in there. I am wanting to make some apple crisps soon and have a tree full of Braeburn apples that are not far off being ripe enough to pick. 

Elsewhere in the garden I have grapes ripening on the vine, I was hoping that a whole bunch would ripen at the same time but that doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment! I also have parsnips that are growing well and a few leeks. Some of the sweetcorn looks ready to be picked so I will hopefully be enjoying that next week.

The Garden

The garden is starting to look much more colourful and the fruits and vegetables are growing well. 

A few months ago we put up a polytunnel which is very handy for starting seeds and seedling growth and perfect for growing tomatoes, chillies and peppers. The polytunnel was a surprise gift from my husband – such a lovely present! This year I haven’t sown any tomatoes or peppers but next year I definitely will be as I know they will grow very well.

In the polytunnel at the moment I have a couple of tomato plants from my Grandad and a chilli plant that my parents bought. I also have some cucumbers that I have sown from seed. I sowed some sunflowers seeds in there too to get the seedlings started off before transplanting into areas in the garden.

I am also using the polytunnel to dry some herbs from the garden.

In front of the polytunnel there is a little strip of soil – perfect for a few sunflowers to grow. There is a path in front of this and then a large patch of soil which we decided to grow some wild flowers in. Over the last two weeks the flowers have started to appear and have filled the area with colour. They are also attracting lots of bees.

I haven’t got large amount of vegetables, just a few of several different types. Unfortunately some of my seedlings died after transplanting and lots of seeds that I sowed direct didn’t germinate however I am happy with what I have got in my beds.

In this bed I have sweetcorn, beetroot and carrots. I was hoping to have lettuce but the seeds just didn’t germinate.

In this bed I have cauliflowers, purple sprouting broccoli and calabrese. I also have some onions and green beans which aren’t on the photo.

This bed has leeks, dwarf kale, cabbage, red Brussels sprouts and parsnips.

I still have plenty of fruit to be harvesting including more Morello cherries! The boysenberries are starting to ripen and I have already picked several raspberries. There are still more strawberries to pick! I am starting to fill my freezer and also come up with recipes for all my fruits. My sweet cherries have been picked this week also!



Enjoying the Fruit Harvest

In the last few days I have picked so many strawberries and cherries! I have an abundance that I need to work out what to do with so they don’t go to waste. 
On Monday I used several of the strawberries to make refreshing smoothies. I will freeze some strawberries so that they can be put straight into a smoothie mixer for a lovely chilled drink.

Yesterday I made a cherry pie which used 900g of cherries! I can’t believe that I had this many cherries and still have a bowl full to use!

I am hoping to chop up most of the strawberries and freeze them so that they are preserved and can be used whenever we want. I will also pit the cherries and freeze them. I have a couple of small tubs of blackcurrants in the freezer that are ready and waiting for a yummy recipe!

I am very pleased with this year’s harvest and I am hoping to find lots of recipes to use up my home grown fruits.

How is the Fruit Garden Growing?

I have now started to harvest fruit from my garden. So far I have been able to pick strawberries, blackcurrants and white currants. It won’t be long before the morello cherries are ripe and there is an abundance of those this year! I am looking forward to making cherry pies.

The grape vine has grown a lot in the last 2 months and there are now tiny buds which will grow into grapes which will be ready for harvesting in the Autumn.


The boysenberry and raspberry are growing well and there are fruits on both plants which should start to ripen in the next month or so. The redcurrants aren’t far off of ripening either .

I also have several blueberries growing nicely which should be ready next month.

I am enjoying picking fruit from my garden and I am pleased with what I have managed to grow. 



Getting Back to Blog Writing

It has been a few months since I last wrote a blog post. A lot has been going on in the house and the garden and I look forward to sharing it with you.

In my next few blog posts I shall focus on different areas – Our nursery decorating project, our dining room project, the garden – fruits, vegetables and the polytunnel. I also hope to still write posts about baking and cooking as well as future/ongoing projects with the house and garden. And also there maybe some sewing/craft posts.

For now I shall leave you with a few pictures to sum up the last few months.

My first strawberry of the season picked today.

New sofas in the living room – just looking to buy some throws and cushions to add colour.

A more functional dining room! Obviously there still needs to be flooring and soft furnishings.

Homegrown radishes.

My Spring Garden

I haven’t really had many interesting things to blog about for a while! I didn’t want to bore you all with my day to day life pottering about the house! 

I really need to rewrite my schedule that would perhaps give me more order and structure and a better blog post!

Meanwhile, in the garden Spring is here in full form. I am very excited about this year’s fruit yield and hope to get lots!

In blossom now is my Mirabelle plum tree, it did well last year so this year I hope for the same or better. 

The blueberry also has little flowers on it, I recently potted it into some ericaceous compost, so hopefully it should thrive in there.

The red gooseberry plant I bought last year did not fruit at all but I have noticed several flowers on the plant so hopefully I will get a few fruits.

I also bought a blackcurrant last year that didn’t fruit as expected. It has grown so much since last year and there are also flowers appearing.

I purchased 3 fruit trees also last year – 2 Stella cherry trees and 1 Braeburn apple tree. The leaves have started to come out and I shall keep my fingers crossed for some blossom!

There were three fruit trees that were already here when we bought the house – a Morello cherry tree, a Victoria plum tree and an apple tree (can’t remember what type)! The apple tree did not even blossom last year and was attacked by some sort of insects! The plum tree had 2 blossoms last year but no fruit – this year it has 5 blossoms, an improvement!

However the cherry tree produced a large amount of cherries and this year it looks like it is going to produce a good yield again.

The strawberries have spread but are yet to flower, the rhubarb is growing well, the red and white currant bushes have produced leaves but not yet flowers. The raspberry and boysenberry are growing well and the grape vine is just starting to bud.

I am a little worried about my vegetables, the seeds that I sowed indoors in February have been transplanted into larger pots but they all look very sickly so I am not sure whether to try sowing some more or just try them straight outside. I have some more seeds starting off indoors (different veg) so hope they will be more sucessful! I have down directly into the soil some parsnip and radish seeds. I think I will be able to sow my carrots outside now and maybe some of my other vegetable seeds.

Recent Projects and Activities

It’s been two weeks since I last wrote a blog post! 

What’s been happening,,….

DIY Projects;

The cupboard doors have been made for the built in units in our living room. I have cut and fixed some decorative paneling to them and have primed them ready to be glossed. We have some lovely door handles with a bird design on.

We have bought the paint to decorate our dining room so that it can finally be a functional space. We have chosen red and cream colours to make it a warm space. We have painted one coat of red so far but it definitely needs another coat for it to look neat!

Sewing;

My sewing project hasn’t been progressing very well! I am onto the third feather now, I didn’t realise how long it would take! I really need to spend time on it every day.

Baking and Cooking;

I haven’t done too much baking recently, I have lost inspiration at the moment! I am not too fussed about eating cake so it doesn’t get eaten up and I hate wasting food! I am planning on making a Victoria sponge cake this week or maybe something orange flavoured.

I have been enjoying eating hot lunches over the last few weeks, I find them more filling, tasty and a great way to eat more vegetables. Here are some of my creations;

In the Garden;

My first sown seedlings are growing well and I am hoping to start hardening them off outside soon. I have some seeds that can be down direct outside so I plan to do that this week. 

My husband bought me a polytunnel a few weeks ago and we are hoping to get it put up soon so that I can start using that for growing tomatoes and peppers. 

I am so happy that spring is here, my fruit trees and bushes have lots of buds on them, I can’t wait to see the garden filled with blossom.