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

Friday, 31 January 2014


 The first snowdrop has appeared so spring must be on the way.
Its friends aren't quite convinced yet - probably didn't like yesterday's snow.


We've actually had some snow at last - this is the first I've seen this winter though hubby claims there was a very thin layer one night near Christmas. Most of today was just horrible sleety rain but occasionally it turned to snow, once with large fluffy flakes. None of it even attempted to settle and now the weather forecast is for slightly higher temperatures 5 or 6 degrees and even some sunshine over the weekend.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Picked- and sown - this week - 26th January 2014

 A mixed bunch of brussels sprouts, kale and spinach
and three very small cabbages, only about 4 inches across at most.

Starting to get into the swing of sowing - broad beans in pots in the home greenhouse, and leeks and onions in a propagator. Still a bit worried about having too much growing while there's a possibility of frost and snow.

Friday, 24 January 2014

A Good Sharp Frost

 At last we've had a couple of nights with a good hard frost and woken up to a crisp white coating on everything. Unfortunately today was back to mud and rain :(

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A couple of firsts

 The first crocus bringing a spot of sunshine to a dull day

and the first of this year's seedlings through - Moneymaker Tomatoes.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Picked this week - 20th January 2014

 Not a lot to be picked this week - a few brussels and bits of broccoli for Sunday dinner

and some leeks for midweek soup

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Where's Winter?

Here and there in the garden are signs of Spring - the first snowdrops just peering through - but it been so mild that some plants don't seem to realise it's winter at all. Polyanthus, rosemary and winter jasmine have been in flower for a while but aren't unusual winter flowers.

 An earlier oriental poppy bud got frosted last week but another has come to replace it

Normally these outdoor fuchsias would lose their leaves - and some years all the shrubby bits above ground die back and only the roots survive.

I'd also expect this fern hiding under the tree house to die back completely.

And oregano (left) and lemon balm (right) are unheard of at this time of year.

These shrubs - another fuchsia, honeysuckle and buddleia - would all normally lose their leaves.

Hollyhocks flowering in January?

Nasturtiums in the wall-basket?

It seems like winter hasn't arrived yet

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Sowing seeds for Summer

This morning's dampness gave way to an afternoon of sunshine which encouraged me to potter off to the shed and sort out the trays and compost for seed sowing. I'm starting off with one propagator of four quarter-trays; one each of moneymaker tomato, long purple aubergine, cayenne chilli peppers and Italian yellow peppers. I've set about a dozen seeds to each tray so if they all come up I may have a few too many but they're all rather old seeds so I think they aren't all likely to grow.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Checking up on the allotment

There's a rather neglected feel to the allotments at the moment. We went down on a sunny day at the end of last week and found them empty!
It's quite muddy but out plots are fortunately at the higher end of the allotments so not as water-logged as some. 

The poly-greenhouse roof needed a bit of repair, in the form of sticky tape - all work supervised as always by Dylan the Dog.
The glass greenhouse on the left has had the glass removed after the storms before more got broken. We won't bother fixing it till Spring is here.

 I noticed a lot of other allotments had little growing on them but ours is still being kept busy and even in January I can pick dinner from it - these are the self-set spinach plants that have done so well trying to crowd out a small cabbage.

A rather straggly row of kale - I find it a bit dull to eat but it's a change from frozen runner beans.

The autumn broccoli which is cropping so well - I should have taken the photo BEFORE I picked the row clean!

there are several rows of brussels sprouts - some doing better than others. The main snag, oddly, is the mild weather which is causing the sprouts to burst while still quite small.

Last year's grown-from-seed rhubarb is already starting to shoot. I'm hoping there'll be quite a lot to pick this year.

 A double row of leeks given to us by an allotment neighbour - they're a little short and stumpy but standing well.

A short row of swedes- though we haven't eaten all the turnips grown in summer, so may not need these.

Tightly packed brassicas - brussels, on the left, and savoy cabbages.

 Two rows of radishes - both sown during September, one row from packeted seed, the other home grown seed and throwing up all sizes and colours of radish.

 A short row of broad beans which had originally self-set by last year's plants. We moved them to a better location and now one of them is even in flower.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Picked this week - 12th January 2014

 There's not a lot happening work-wise down at the allotment at the moment but with mild weather continuing lots of veg are growing exceptionally well.
 I expected to find spinach..

but not this haul of greens - kale, brussels and, most surprisingly, a lot of broccoli -

or these radishes.
I'm glad these were picked in time because last night we had a sharp frost and I think it would have damaged the broccoli at least.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Year's Day 2014 - January in the garden

 New Year's Day was damp and miserable but the garden is looking oddly Spring-like.

Lots of polyanthus in flower

winter jasmine, of course

and rosemary

but I was surprised to find love in a mist, although a bit straggly

and a struggling oriental poppy. I'm hoping a bit of sunshine will see this flower soon before any hard frosts hit it.

 There are even signs of snowdrops and daffodils peeking through last year's dead sticks

 and the forsythia looks ready to burst into flower anytime soon

the outdoor cyclamen's didn't flower but they are definitely still alive so maybe next year ...

In the veg patch I have cabbages, both large and small

 but the idea of having decorative red and green kale among the flower-beds doesn't seem to have really worked.

 and some Spring onions to look forward to.