Monday, 25 May 2009

Wellie..... Versus.....?

Blackbird! This Gooseberry variety is evidently 'Pax', and the most accessible to The Blackbird, and he's been watching me all morning plant some Red Onions Seedlings, and because I've noticed a few more stray 'fallen' fruits below the bush, I'm inclined to think that he's responsible. Although the books do say that birds are less interested in Gooseberries.... But, given that it's the smallest and thornless, and I've painstakingly 'thinned' the fruits to 3" apart, like Bob Flowerdew advises, I'm taking no prisoners this year in my noo Kitchen Garden!

This is the bed where the pectin-rich gooseberry, another gooseberry, the blackcurrants, the worcesterberry and the redcurrants are. And given that this bed, whilst a tad 'shady' was the bed more free of weeds than any of the others - needs definitely must - I chose to home all of my pot-rooted shallots and newly bought onion seedlings into here, just to get them finally planted, or suffer the consequences of no crop at all.
Whatever crop I get, will be something that I've not had to buy in the supermarket, even if it's not up to my usual standard, am I bovvered? No, I'm not.
And just to show you how very unorganised we are still since our move to The Funny Farm..... This is the lovely view from our sitting room window?
Thanks Trousers - that's very artistic?!

But Hey! With last week being the Radio 2 Week of 'Love Where You Live' Campaign, I couldn't possibly bring you my Funny Farm Blog Update, without sharing with you just why I 'Love Where We Live'....

Wellie's Grass Cutter in the foreground, and Mother Nature's Grass Cutter in the Background.
No further words necessary on that score.
So! Trousers has been working his SOX off, and Wellie has been trying to get the Kitchen Garden up and running - and it is very slowly taking shape peoples.
I'm determined that Trousers and I will get a good crop of most things this year, and then plan 'Big Stylie' over the winter, for a complete Kitchen Garden Makeover through to next Spring.
When hopefully, you'll be able to see a definite improvement.
As always, thank you for listening...
And see you very soon?

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Rain Stopped Play.......

Unlike Wimbledon this year, down on The Funny Farm, rain stopped play - so Wellie continued playing indoors, with potting the tommies into their final buckets where they're growing on nicely in the conservatory. The one nearest you by the kitchen door, is one of many 'Roma' Plum Tomato bush-types, hence the conical wire support for it to scramble untidily over without making a nuisance of itself and getting on my nerves later in the summer. The fruits will be halved and slowly sunblush-dried in the Rayburn, and preserved in olive oil for use over the winter months, in salads, casseroles and pasta dishes, when buying of supermarket tomatoes is a complete waste of time and money in taste-terms.

Do you think the cordon tomatoes growing up the metal spirals have grown since you were last here? I do! And the Winter Squash plants have grown SO much, they're using the tomato plants to attach their tendrils to as they rocket skywards - and there are signs of flowers coming. The varieties are 'Sweet Dumpling', 'Butternut', 'Uchikiki Kuri' and 'Turks Turban', and I think I rather overdid it on the 'Sweet Dumpling' front, as more seeds seemed to germinate than I remember planting, so of course they all got potted on rather than thrown away (as ya do!)

And here below, is my work in progress project: The Kitchen Garden.

I've defined the shape of the grass paths, and managed to get some Roundup Concentrate sprayed onto the triangular 'beds' in the tiniest window of opportunity when it WASN'T actually raining or blowing a gale for about five minutes last week!
And in the background, you can see the topiary box balls that we dug up before we moved. I'm desperate for them to survive, as they'd prolly be worth a few hundred in the shops? When the weather stops, I need to empty a bag of John Innes No.3 into each of their trugs, as Trousers did his best to remove them with a good rootball, but they had other ideas apparently. And it'll help to absorb the moisture I'm going to need to give them all summer-long to give them a fighting chance of survival.

Mmm.... Fresh Strawberries! all 'runners' potted on into bigger pots this last week so they won't dry out as quick and, hopefully, their roots will start to enjoy the nutrients in the new compost, and boost the fruit-swell. The strawberry plants in the draughty dutch greenhouse are streets ahead of these now, and I better give them a high potash liquid feed this week. I'm not sure how the self-sown Chervil herb seedlings in the same troughs will like it, but hey ho!

And before Rain Stopped Play - this is what I'd mostly been doing? Way back in the spring, I'd planted my shallots into small pots and six-cell trays to begin rooting, so I've been desperate to finally get them into the ground. The rest will have to wait now until tomorrow, when I hope the weather will be a little kinder to me.
Mind you - the inclement weather has meant that I've been forced to unpack a few more cardboard boxes, finding my funky RHS Ankle Wellie Boots in the process - so if it doesn't stop raining, at least my feet will be dry!
And in readiness of our friends, The Piglets, I've been dyeing bedspreads, sewing valances and generally making up The Boudoire in The Guest Wing...!
But we're settling into The Funny Farm really well now, and so is The Cat. X

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Straight-Jacket & Potatoes?

Potatoes, Potatoes, Potatoes. From left to right, Anya, Charlotte and Can't Remember (because I earthed up the label as well as the haulms (silly Wellie)! But as you can see, they're coming on okay, and the rest of the chitted ones of the same varieties are simply begging me to plant them. I've purposely delayed their planting in order to stagger the harvest, so we get that yummy 'just dug noo potato taste' every time.

It needs no explanation as to why I took this next picture, does it? And if you were standing next to me, I dare you not to fall over backwards with the intoxicating perfume of it. I did.....
(oh no, that was Pinot Grigio me thinks!)

And meet 'Moneypenny' - my noo Truck. I've named her that because the wording on the spare wheel cover on the back says: 4x4xBond. Trousers nearly wet himself when I told him. He thought it 'very clever', so I feel suitably patted on the head, as you can imagine.....

In The Back Yard today, there's been all manner of stuff going on. I had serious plans of spraying Roundup Concentrate in selected areas, but my Gardening Cat wouldn't go back to bed, insisting on being with me up until 4 o'clock this afternoon, and I eventually managed to do it by the time Trousers got home from work.

Still - it gave me some quality time with her, whilst I swotted up my favourite cookbooks to find out in advance what the hell to do with so many GooseGogs this year. Trousers isn't keen on them, so that's brilliant. I might have to invent a Gooseberry Smoothie?!

And then we come to the 'really what happened today' part of the Funny Farm Blog, because I potted-on my Gardeners' Delight, Tigarella and Ferline Cordon Tomato plants into their final pots (builders buckets from Homebase at £1 each).

And having done that, I was then able to introduce them to their spiral 'supports' - which work fabulously well, as all you do is wind the leading shoot round. So, no tedious tying - just pinching out of 'armpits' to keep the cordon nice and tidy, and concentrate its energies into the fruit trusses rather than a rambling chaos of bushy growth.

'Ferline F1' variety is blight-tolerant, so will eventually be grown outside, and being in a bucket with a handle is jolly useful for moving it inside and outside to get 'hardened off' between now and the beginning of June.
Now. For those of you who aren't 'keeping up' with the story of Wellie and Trousers having moved house recently, and our washing machine having died some months back.....
We've taken delivery of a noo washing machine this week, and I'm rather proud to announce to you, that there isn't one single item of dirty washing left.

Unfortunately, that means that there's a Bl@@dy Big Pile of Ironing though!
Guess what Wellie will MOSTLY be doing this week Children......
Thank you for watching, and I hope you're all receiving us loud'n'clear now since that very kind Hazel at the Hill saved Trousers's proverbial bacon last week by tweaking a few knobs and pushing the odd button or two. I'd of done it myself, but I only know how to turn the computer on at the wall?! So Bless You Angel. X.