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

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Picked this week - 24th November 2013

 Well, this week we had the first hard frost and a heavy hail shower that left ice lying around, so I think it's safe to say winter's arrived.

I was astounded then to find raspberries still ripening at the allotment - expected them to have turned to mush

..and here's another surprise, found when we pulled out the bean row. A bit nibbled by grubs but hopefully a dinner's worth of potatoes.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Getting ready for winter

 After a really cold night, yesterday was lovely and sunny so we spent most of it at the allotment tidying away bean poles and digging.
The small orchard is looking very autumnal at the moment, especially the plum and cherry trees, but even the beetroot and raspberries are putting on an autumn glow.

We tucked the cauliflowers and summer broccoli up under fleece

but most of the winter veg are left uncovered for now. When the weather turns REALLY cold they'll need to be covered - not because of the weather but because the pigeons get too hungry and see the allotments as a fast food place.

We have broccoli, swedes and cabbages growing for winter and, mst important for Christmas, brussels sprouts!

Monday, 18 November 2013

Picked this week - 17th November 2013

Some cold days but no hard frosts yet.
Still, the forecast for next week varies from -5 overnight temperatures to top daytimes of +4 with snow thrown in for good measure. With that in mind we decided to do another big clear up at the allotment.

Still, surprisingly, picking raspberries and tomatoes - and even a couple of small peppers!

 a few spinach leaves

kale and broccoli

 cabbages, in case they don't stand the frost
 another surprise, radishes
 last of the runner beans - probably only good for seed
and a bucket of various root veg - summer turnips, blue radishes and beetroot. The carrots in there were being given away by someone with a surplus.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Picked this week - 10th November 2013

The end of last week saw the first frost with white-over roofs early in the morning. We'd been expecting colder weather so has been clearing some crops out at the allotment along with the normal routine picking.

Still managed to pick quite a few green- and ripening - tomatoes

what has to be the last of the peppers and courgettes

and probably the last of the raspberries

spinach, broccoli and kale

'salad' radishes

a tiny butternut squash

lifted most of the German blue autumn radishes. I'm not sure whether they would have survived in a frost in thee ground but will be ok stored in the garage

cabbage trio

most of the beetroot, again to store somewhere at home

and clearing the bean rows - some still OK to eat but most for seed

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Saving seed and saving pennies

On a dry day at the beginning of the week, I went round the garden collecting seed heads to dry.

Some seeds such as honesty (left) and love in a mist (below) manage fine if just left on the plants to sow themselves.

Others I prefer to collect and start next year's plants inside in seed trays. As I've collected them late in the season, most of them were fairly dry but I've spread them on old foil pie trays and put them on the kitchen window sill, hopefully to catch a bit of late sun.

Here, I have (clockwise from top left) calendula, fennel, nasturtiums and marigolds with sweet peas in the centre. When they're definitely dry, I pop them into small paper bags and store with a silica gell pack (as found in shoe boxes or handbags) to absorb any damp.
Hopefully I'll have a colourful flower garden for next to nothing in summer!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Picked this week - 3rd November

 Not much picked this week - mainly because it rained a lot and we did the minimum at the allotment. Still amazing though to have tomatoes, runner beans, cucumbers and raspberries cropping in November!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

November in the garden - vegetables

 There are still some surprisingly hardy plants hanging on in the unheated greenhouse - cucumbers and tomatoes!

 outside I still have a few beans growing
but mainly the veg garden is about planning for winter and spring

 indoor seedlings

alliums of some sort - I thought they were leeks but they look more like spring onions

and a few cabbage that didn't make it to the allotment

the red kale, which was to be edible yet attractive through winter hasn't grown well but been a bit swamped by the flowers around it. Maybe as the weather drops colder, they'll come into their own.

November in the garden - flowers

 It's a bit difficult to realise it's already November' although the garden's looking a bit scruffy and windswept there are still plenty of flowers out there -

Lots of nasturtiums which will keep flowering till the first frost

as will the kaffir lilies

 the fuschia bushes are a little more delicate

the black hollyhock is still climbing up and up - now about at 9 or 10 feet

 some of the sweet williams and welsh poppies have put on a late burst of colour

but winter must be on the way - the jasmine is in flower already
 and the michaelmas daisies and sunflowers are definitely past their best