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

Monday, 24 November 2014

Picked this week - 23rd November

Still no frosts  - which is just as well, as I'd forgotten these chillies in the home greenhouse.
Very wet though so only one trip to the allotment this week - but managed to find radishes, a couple of overlooked beetroot....

...spinach and broccoli

and a variety of cabbage

Winter crops at the allotment

 Checking up on our winter crops and delighted to find broad beans poking through and brussels sprouts starting to form. The brussels could do with some colder weather - to stop them sprouting too quickly; the beans will grow better if it stays mild!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Saving seed

The cost of seed, like so many things, gets more expensive each year, so I've been round the garden and allotment collecting seed for next year's plants, before we have any frosts. Some 'easy-growers' I just leave to self set or I pick the seedhead and scatter ripe seed where I'd like it to grow; forget-me-nots, love-in-a-mist, aquilegias, foxgloves and kaffir lilies all grow happily without any further fuss. Others have to be dried and kept over winter before sowing.

This mix of cannellini, borlotto and black beans were gathered a month or so ago and have been drying on the window sill. These beans didn't crop well this year, so I've put none aside for dried (edible) beans, just keeping these few for seed. We also have lots of runner and broad bean seed.

Peas have done a little better - but I didn't really leave enough for seed, so will end up buying again.

I'm still in the process of collecting pumpkin and squash seeds, as I get round to using this year's crop, but I already feel I have enough. The small black seeds are sweet peas - not many of them but I think some pods had already split and dropped seed. Maybe in Spring I'll find sweet peas growing in unexpected places.

Marigolds are still flowering - even in November! - but I stopped removing dead heads in September to allow plenty of time for the seed to set.

These fennel seeds may end up in dinner, although I'll save some just in case the parent plants die over winter.

I hadn't expected to find any ripe, usable seed on these sunflower seedheads - but when I pulled them apart I was pleasantly surprised. There's plenty for growing next year's plants, and leftovers for the bird-feeders.

The experiment with home grown brussel sprout seed seems to have paid off - there are plenty of healthy plants at the allotment, some already showing sprouts for Christmas dinner.

Picked this week - 16th November

 This vase of flowers is rather typical of this week's pickings - a mix of almost every season.

 Tomatoes and radishes


Spinach, american land cress and even some small pieces of rocket

then two carrier bags of windfall apples from my parents' tree

Friday, 14 November 2014

Carnation cuttings

We haven't had any severe frosts yet but, expecting them to arrive any day soon, I've taken cuttings from carnations and pinks that might not stand cold weather.
The carnations already came from cuttings - from flowers bought for Mother's Day. I don't do anything special to them - just pull of a side shoot and pop it in compost. They're on the kitchen window sill for now to get started but once they show signs of growing, I'll move them to a cooler spot in the un-heated porch.
Hopefully winter will be mild and I'll have plants from these cuttings plus the ones left out in the garden

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Picked this week - 9th November 2014

Here we are, well into November, and still picking raspberries and tomatoes - even a courgette and some tiny chillies!

Some more seasonal produce too - small cabbage, a reasonably-sized head of broccoli at last, spinach and beetroot.

Carrots being given away at the allotment again, with a couple of late 'summer' turnips and blue winter radish

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Allotment day - Before the frost....

 It's still bright and sunny during the day (though not necessarily very warm) but tonight a sharp frost is forecast - the first of the winter.
We're hoping to keep things growing still at the allotment so moved the netting from the squash (too cold for that now) and placed it over a patch of onions, turnips and beetroot - for these it may give enough warmth to see them through a cold spell.

There isn't anything that can really help these very late French beans which have just started to set.

and here's our helper keeping a eye on the parsnips.

Picked this week - 2nd November 2014

You could easily be forgiven for thinking this was a post from back in summer - a bowl of raspberries, radishes, tomatoes, a courgette, spinach and baby lettuce leaves!

and rubeckias and sweetpeas to pick.

Ok the leeks and savoy cabbage look more autumnal.

...as do these massive carrots - about 3 inches across. Sadly these aren't ours but the un-wanted crops from another allotmenteer.

Monday, 3 November 2014

November in the garden

This is how half of my November garden  looks - covered in leaves and the main colour coming from berries, maybe with some early spring flowers peeping through - normal for this time of year.

But a lot of the garden doesn't seem to know that summer is over - the recent warm weather has totally confused things.

 Marigolds, sweet peas, rudbeckias, welsh poppies, kaffir lilies, fuchsias, antirrhinums.... these and more still flowering. I even have alpine strawberries ripening and buds on hollyhocks and oriental poppies.

This week the temperature is set to drop.... so it could be the end of summer.