More Gardening Bits # 2: From Patio To The Polytunnel GreenHouse

[Above photo: Geraniums with their distinctive pleasant smell, now available in different colours.  Hardy + prolific blooms.]

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An old blog post from 14th August 2011. I haven’t written any posts in a long time!

Today – Saturday 29th September 2012

The patio looks so much different now, and quite honestly, a mess. There’s only so much a person can do when they deal with chronic pain and mobility problems on a daily basis. However, growing things – whether it’s flowers or veg – still brings me a lot of pleasure. It was very disheartening after all the effort and expense to have lost my first polytunnel to the gale force winds about a year ago. There is now a new, more robust one in its place. 4 metres long instead of the 3.5, the extra 1/2 metre makes a lot of difference. But unlike last year I’ve had a lot of trouble with pests – lost fully grown lettuces to rampaging slugs, tomatoes slow to ripen, baby sunflowers destroyed by snails before they had a chance to grow, on the patio. Many people say it’s been a bad year for pests.

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These photos were taken 3 or 4 weeks ago, it takes me such a long take editing them in Photoshop, and then another couple of weeks until I finally upload them to this blog – but here they are!

And it’s now time I took newer ones, because things are looking really different again, hehe :p

Other than being a personal diary, I hope others find pleasure in my posts too 🙂

[Above photo: oooooooooo (the very pretty lilac / violet wild looking flowers with the yellow centres) smell like vanilla.  A very lovely flower.]

[Above photo: Sweet Peas yet to flower…today I spotted one flower!]

I obviously hadn’t completely removed all the old rhurbarb root………because the tub of sweet peas keeps sprouting the odd rhurbarb leaf!

[Above 2 x photos: dahlias red, yellow and 2-tone pink in this pot.  Dont’ forget to ‘dead-head’!]

[Above 2 x photos: the corner of the patio where I like to sit and drank tea or coffee.]

The sunflowers I seeded are now big, their golden faces leaning towards the sun, the California Poppies are now little plants with petals yet to unfold, the strawberries are producing the odd berry or two, and all the flowers have grown big and bushy.

[Above photo: The carrot patch.]

According to HOW TO GROW FOOD IN YOUR POLYTUNNEL by Mark Gatter + Andy McKee, I can be expecting ready-to-eat-carrots by October / November!  I sowed them a little late, the last week in July.  Hope there won’t be any snow (very unlikely in these parts).

Today, er, 3 weeks on from sowing, little carrot top leaves have sprung up.  I’ve never grown veg from seed before, it’s quite exciting.

[Above photo: baby lettuces in their grow-bags.  Far left are basil herbs.]

Growing your own fruit and veg is under-rated: I’ve eaten a lot of salads in my time – a good 10 years living on the continent, salads are very popular – but never tasted lettuce like mine.  Grown from seed in the polytunnel.  Juicy, light, never bitter – a real cullinary delight!

[Above photo: Very small lettuces at the front, 4 x new tomato plantlings at the back.]

After Mum and I tasted the first batch of cherry tomatoes we knew home-grown IS BEST! so I grew 6 x more tomatoes from seed.  I’ll be sowing more toms and lettuces next month to try and keep the cycle going; hoping they’ll be fine in the sanctuary of the polytunnel.

The afore mentioned polytunnel gardening book has some great advice – especially for novice gardeners like myself – such as plucking just a few outer leaves of each lettuce until you have enough for dinner.  By doing this you encourage new growth and always have a few leaves over!  The lettuces have quite a long life cycle this way.

[Above photo: Chester my Jack Russell sniffs the flowers…tiny Straw Flowers (grown from seed) in a recycled acrylic box; and to the right, I recently treated myself to a fully grown raspberry bush – which is now residing near the polytunnel in the garden.]

[Above photo: at the back of the polytunnel.  The 2 x tall tomato plants are now producing fruit, but there’s never enough tomatoes.  To the right, a bag of 2 x cucumber plants.  They have really tiny cucumbers already, so frustratingly slow to grow tho.  Left and right, shelves of seedlings and baby plants…sweet peppers, chilli peppers, Straw Flowers, Acquilegas, Violas, blackberrys (not the mobile phone!), basil and dill herbs, more lettuces on the bottom shelves.]

Another tip I learnt from a member, Elaine, in the UK Veg Gardeners group, is to stick broken off bits of the tomato plant in the compost to grow more plants.  This does work!…I accidentally snapped off a long arm from one of the tom plants a fortnight ago, and the little plant is doing well.

[Above photo: cucumber plant.]

[Above photo: 2 x sweet peppers and a tiny blackberry.]

[Above photo: Straw Flowers in a bucket.]

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2011

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Blickling Hall Craft Show

A visit to the craft show at Blickling Hall in Norfolk.

We bought naturally made cider and looked round the stands.

Loved these charming house wall plaques.

Just brilliant these various animal doorstops.

You can visit their web site *HERE*

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-vh/w-visits/w-findaplace/w-blicklinghallgardenandpark/w-blickling-gallery.htm

It was a nice day out, could look around with the scooter, although a few more craft stands would have made it even more interesting.  Mum picked out her birthday present – a pair of sycamore earrings, made from pewter, and moulded from the real thing.

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Copyright SteffNouveau 2011