Sunday, 15 January 2012

Mid-Winter Update

I wanted to share the 2 only really exciting things that are happening at the moment. Everything on the balcony is dead and it looks very desolate and unloved out there. I keep putting off the task of clearing it up but it will have to happen soon as we are moving house in a month. Inside there's still a little bit of life. My late starting yellow peppers still seem very happy - they have produced an incredible amount of flowers and some peppers. I should have trimmed back the growth as I have a very large flowery plant and just a few inch-long mini peppers :)

Plus for the first time this year our basil has flowered and it's lovely.

I've been enjoying the mild weather although things seem to be turning colder now. I love a really cold sunny day like today.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Next year?

It's likely that next year I will live in a house without a garden OR a balcony. Yes, really! I will be reading all of your gardening blogs next summer and feeling very jealous. I will do what I can on a windowsill, but I doubt it will be very much. I will have a garden one day though, so here is my dream garden/vegetable patch for whenever we get a house and garden of our own.

Raspberries - I LOVE raspberries, I would like to have a whole row of raspberry canes so that I can grow more raspberries than I know what to do with.

Peas and beans - these were really easy to grow so I definitely want to grow them again. I'd like to make a pretty structure out of canes for them to grow on. And at ground level I should finally get some bees!

Sweetpea - I was very jealous of other bloggers this year who had a supply of sweetpea flowers to bring into their houses. I'd like to dot sweetpeas among my vegetables.

Lettuce - I would like to have a patch for lettuce where I can plant all my favourite varieties (I like delicate leaves and I really want to try some rainbow chard) and never have to pay supermarket prices again.

Apple tree - I would love a fruit tree of some sort. I know they take ages to grow but it will be worth it.

Lemon tree - as above. Imagine being able to pick your own lemons!

Herbs - I would love some big herb pots so that whatever I am cooking I can pop out with the scissors and get some fresh herbs to go with it. I'll keep growing heartsease too so that I can add the petals into salads.

Lavender - I've got lavender this year but it has been a bit sad as it hasn't had any bees visiting it, which is sort of the point of lavender. Also bee populations are struggling so we should help them out as much as we can.

Chillies - if I've got a sunny indoor spot I will definitely grow chillies again, they were great. I also think I am becoming slightly more tolerant to spicy things. Slightly!

Carrots - you can't beat the taste of home grown carrots. I didn't grow them this year as it's not too easy on a balcony but when I have actual ground, I will.

So that's my dream garden....I hope it will come true some day!

Monday, 14 November 2011

My other love


Over the winter while my balcony is covered in frost and (hopefully) snow, I won't have much gardening news to post on this blog. I've started another blog about crafting, and I promise that I am much better at crafting than I am at gardening. Already you can peruse a sample of my projects from the last month - cards, sewing & baking and there's plenty more excitement in the pipeline.

It would mean a lot to me if you would follow me in my new adventure.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Favourite photos of 2011

Realising how beautiful chilli flowers are

How my pea plants climbed the netting

Sunny days

Finding heartsease and lemonbalm plants

Very happy chilli plants

The bumper crop of tomatoes

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Crazy tomatoes

I picked the last of my tomatoes yesterday before cutting them down and look what I found:


There was also this little branch growing from the base - only a few months too late! I couldn't bring myself to chop it down though.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

2011 roundup

Well my first summer as a gardener has just about come to a close. It feel like a long time ago that I started, back in April, on my little balcony adventure. Now's the time to ask....what have I learned? Here's my roundup.

Strawberries - total rubbish, despite having an awesome pot to plant them in. First I discovered that they don't fruit in the first year, then they got powdery mildew. One is still alive though, despite me never watering it, STILL being covered in mildew and the leaves constantly dying so that's quite amazing. However, I think I will stick to pick your own next year.

Lettuce - absolute winner. So much cheaper than in the shops and you get loads. I need to remember to plant at intervals though as I either had too much or none all summer.

Beans - I had 3 healthy plants but they didn't produce many beans which I think is because we don't have many bees up here. Then I overwatered them and they died :(

Peas - possibly my favourite of all the plant I grew this year. Beautful flowers, a big crop and gorgeous tasting peas, but then I overwatered them and they died  :( Yes, there's a theme - lesson well and truly learned.

Tomatoes - I think I am most proud of these. I definitely enjoyed watching them grow the most - it's incredible that you get such a big plant and so much produce from a tiny seed. We had a lots of fruit which was great, it tasted ok, not as sweet as I had hoped, and they got blight near the end. Going to try cherry tomatoes next year.

Chillies - in my opinion, the easiest plant and the best crop for the least effort. I'm lucky to have a large sunny windowsill where these were really happy. We had so many chillies from these, we've frozen them and they should last for ages.

Spring onions - a definite yes. Just plant, water, wait - you can grow loads in a small space and they don't care if you under/over water them (much) and don't get diseases - my kind of plant.

It's been a lovely summer and it's not over yet - I still have some yellow peppers and mini chillies on the way in the kitchen. Plus I'm going to try to keep things going during the winter on our windowsills. Now to clean out grow bags and dead plants from the balcony - fun!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Views of Autumn

Leaves to crunch underfoot

Sloe berries hanging above me

Holly with berries - the sign of a harsh winter on the way

Chestnuts waiting to be collected