welcome to my little suburban oasis, filled with flowers,fruit trees and vegetables

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Flowers at winter solstice

After a cold weekend, the weather is warming up again! So much so that the forsythia is starting to flower. Flowering today - forsythia, jasmine, fuchsia, a bit of antirrhinum, very ratty nasturtiums and rosebuds.Going to try to find time for photos later and what else I can find.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

picked this week- and last

We didn't get down to the allotment last week and didn't imagine there'd be that much to bring home this trip - but I was pleasantly surprised.

Green tomatoes from the greenhouse at home (I'm hoping they'll ripen indoors but I'm not really expecting them to) and a tiny aubergine from the polytunnel.

a few smallish leeks, but I'm concerned that any colder weather will freeze them

a pair of cabbages - these were all I really expected to find ready at the allotment

brussels sprouts and bits of broccoli - the sprouts won't keep till Christmas so I'll freeze them this weekend - it also makes for less fuss on Christmas Day.

parsnips and two not-very-round turnips

last week's pulling of garden beetroot. In previous years I'd have been very pleased with these but the earlier ones from the allotment were massive. We're now lifting the smaller ones from there too before frost destroys them

A little bit surprised at being able to put together a plate of salad at this time of year - spinach and Italian radish from the allotment, various lettuce, rocket, landcress leaves from the garden and greenhouse and tomatoes still ripening in the kitchen

Biggest surprise of all? There's been a couple of nights of sharp frosts, so never expected to find raspberries. I wish I'd grown autumn fruiting varieties before!

Tuesday, 13 December 2011


There's been a couple of nights of white over frosts this weekend - and flowers are looking the worse for it. Nasturtiums and calendulas have been hit most. Still rather oddly have some antirrhinums flowering and the dark outdoor fuchsia. The weather is forecast to turn milder again for a while so they may survive till Christmas.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Our first snow fall of the winter - not much at all yet, a few drifting flakes, but it's much colder than last week.

picked this week

A quick trip to the allotment earlier this week gave me some raspberries for breakfast (ate them before I got round to photographing them), a lot of very dirty smallish beetroot and some strange shaped parsnips.

Managed to put together a plate of home grown salad - cabbage; baby lettuce, spinach, rocket etc; tomatoes ripening in the kitchen; one of my tiny red onions and home-grown, home-pickled red cabbage. Not bad for the time of year!

Starting to eat from the freezer now - french and runner beans mainly, though using summer fruit for jam.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


Having a rather warmer start to December than last year so prowling round the garden with the camera to catch things still in flower.

No flowers but both poppies and montbretia are sending up new shoots.

The only vaguely seasonal thing is the winter jasmine in flower.

There are even some peppers trying to grow and fruit in the cold frame!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

picked this week

Made a brief trip to the allotment mid-week and brought back more than we expected to find.

Surprised to find so many autumn raspberries, even after slight frosts.

Lifted beetroot, some Italian radish and a small swede

picked a couple of cabbages

and at home found peppers ripening. I wish they'd grown a bit larger first!

Friday, 25 November 2011


Ok - not really aliens, but I was surprised to find these shooting up alongside a small pepper plant. I think they're sweetpeas but suppose they could possibly be edible peas - they're really still too small to tell.
The pepper has recently been potted up and brought inside in the hope of keeping it alive over winter on the window sill. I don't know where the pea seed has come from - it certainly isn't deliberately set but may have been drying for next year's seed in the kitchen, though even then, how it got in the plant pot is a mystery.
I'll pot them up separately soon and see how they grow.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

over-wintering crops

We haven't been down to the allotment this week - just pottering round the garden and picking the odd salad leaf or two and some late strawberries - I picked these while still unripe and let them turn red indoors away from the slugs and snails which have been eating them.There are still flowers on the plants but I don't really expect to get more fruit.

There are still some tomatoes on the plants in the greenhouse - but have more ripening in the kitchen that were picked earlier from outdoor plants.

Meanwhile I have things growing ready for Winter and/or Spring -

Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli

Spring cauliflowers

Brussels Sprouts, I think. As always the name tag has got lost and these could be cabbages......will have to wait and see....

baby cabbages and cauliflowers (still with name tags) - these may get planted out at the allotment soon if we don't have a hard frost

Monday, 14 November 2011

picked this week

My first trip down to the allotment for a while and quite a surprise with the amount of picking and lifting to do.
Raspberries for breakfast

parsnips, beetroot and Italian radish - all covered in mud!

probably the last beans - some rather tough looking runners and french 'lazy housewife' beans which have grown really quickly.

surprise exotics from the polytunnel - courgettes, a tiny pepper, chilli and baby aubergines

lots of green tomatoes - and a few red

Autumn broccoli - side shoots growing almost as big as the main bit - and some small cauliflowers

Home grown lunch - spinach, tomatoes and radishes from allotment pickings, lettuce, rocket and beet leaves from garden, red cabbage from the cupboard (grown on the allotment and pickled)

....and not forgetting lots of mud!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Two experiments

Overwintering tomatoes

Yes, I know it just looks like any old tomato plant but it's actually a cutting, or rather the top, of an old plant that was being thrown in the council recycling bin.
In summer, these cuttings strike easily to give extra plants, generally cropping later than their big brothers. What I'm trying to do here is see if I can keep it alive over winter in the house and maybe even get some fruit from it.
Who knows, it might work.


Grow Your Own

A month or so ago I was the very fortunate recipient of some quinces through Freecycle. I haven't used them all up yet but I'm thinking long-term and don't expect quinces to be given away every year.
I've grown apple trees from pips and eventually they flower and fruit - our best cropping tree is a 25 year old pippin - and we even have self set apple trees growing in the garden, probably from pips in the compost. So, I'm hoping that I can grow some quinces from seed. This first batch I'll keep inside and see if any grow. If there's no signs of growth, then the pips from the remaining quinces will go outside, probably in the greenhouse, for a little chilling over winter and hoprfully some growth in spring.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

picked this week - and last.

a mixed bunch from the allotment - cabbage, a small butternut squash, a courgette and a chilli

more Italian radishes, getting rather hairy and needing to be peeled

tomatoes and green chilli from garden greenhouse

back to a time of year when it's possible to get excited about a few fresh runner beans.

yellow pear tomatoes which have ripened outside after being lifted from the greenhouse to make way for peppers

...and a fresh supply of small spinach leaves

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

November flowers and things

I can't quite believe it's November already. We're back to a run of sunny days with chilly but not really cold nights. Only one frost so far but the leaves have all changed dramatically this last week. The rowan has turned golden and the blueberries a stunning red as the light shines through.

The mild weather means there are lots of flowers still .... a solitary red rose..... calendulas, cosmos, fuchsias.........even a poppy bud!