Sunday, 17 July 2011

I'll come quietly Occiffer......

 Last week, at my friend Emma's, I purposely mowed her Strawberry Bed.  She'd lovingly harvested ripe fruits there for a few short weeks, and I didn't like to rain on her parade at the time, but the plants are truly exhausted, and need 'grubbing out', as us horticultural peeps like to say, because it sounds 'dead knowledgeable', and makes us appear like we know what we're talking about.  Not only that, but after the harvest, you couldn't actually SEE the Strawberry Bed for huge great clumps of grass, docks and nettles?  Unlike my own, of course, which, because of the 100% TLC it's had in its' very existence this year, I'm going to be thinning out our Strawberry Plants to start her a totally new Strawberry TableTop Planter in her Fruit Cage, and also, start her off some very new plants from the runners that you can see dangling here.  It'll save her a fortune, and hopefully, we can buy some 'everbearers' between the two of us with monies saved, to extend our harvests, and buy our Autumn stocks of Japanese Onion Sets, Garlics, Potato Sacks, Sweet Pea Seeds, and whatever else us girlies feel a need to shop for! 'Citing!!

Also, as a talking-point in the same photo, my caribbean Sweet Potato plantlets are beginning to show signs of growth, and it's the first time I've ever attempted to grow these.  They were expensive to buy, so I was tempted to buy another four today at half price, to 'take a punt on', in the hope that they'll come good before the end of year frosts.  I should plant them in the soil of the greenhouse, to extend their life me thinks to be on the safe side.

I own a number of excellent gardening books (surprise surprise) and I did refer to my book on growing flowers to dry this weekend on account of the fact that I've got a shed-load of Poppy Seedheads (none of which I've sown at all) and I thought it'd be silly to waste them.  The Poppies have been much admired by old and young peeps that came to our Open Garden Day at the end of June, and it is only just now that I read: "Even the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum), named for the drowsiness produced by its extracts, has been used for arranging on occasions.  Although it cannot legally be cultivated without a licence, it is still found growing in cottage gardens or in the wild and the seeds, which contain no drug, are used for decorating bread and cakes.  I'm still in shock, obviously....  (See Wellie make loads of bread and cakes in the next few months!!)  Have YOU ever been arrested Children?!

 Now this photo below absolutely 'blows my frock up', because I've read about Leek 'pips' before, but never experienced it happening on a seedhead to propagate my own leeks, so I am absolutely delighted, because this will be a true Funny Farm Leek for future years to come.  Horticulture doesn't get tougher than this children?  Although, having said that, I'm going to be spending time researching grafted greenhouse plants like Tommies and Peppers in any spare time before breakfast for next year, because it interests me, and there's clearly huge mileage in that subject if you've got the patience, eh?
 And lastly, this is the very reason that I like to grow our dinner outside of our kitchen door:  Eat your heart out Mr. Birds' Eye.... Wellie's Peas are picked and frozen in less than five minutes.....
She picks a small amount of pods, shells them, freezes them, then picks some more, shells them, freezes them, and so it goes on.  The only way they reach our tummies, other than freshly, is straight out of the freezer in a beautifully simple and tasty Herb Risotto during the darkest days of Winter, or in one of the gorgeous vegetarian recipes from my very very favourite Denis Cotter recipe books, which are so hugely inspirational, even not being vegetarian ourselves. When you need the cockles of your heart warmed with the taste of some beautiful homegrown 'stuff', you couldn't wish for recipes as gorgeous as his from Paradiso in County Cork.

I made Trousers laugh yesterday.  He was being A Grumpy Old Man in the sitting room, and I'd been shelling peas in the conservatory with the cat (as you do....) and it suddenly occurred to me that it'd be a waste to chuck the pods away. The redundant pea pods were suddenly destined to become my first ever Home Brew, namely Pea Pod Wine, (pods frozen till sufficient quantity collected)
Picture the scene Kids..... with a glass or two of Pinot Grigio on board already, my very Pooh Bear brain beginning to kick in, and Wellie just bursts out laughing.  With my humour never readily impressing the cat, I tripped  into the sitting room, and proudly announced to Trousers that I'd thought of a fab name for my first Funny Farm Country Wine:  (Drum Roll......)  : NO PEA GRIGIOT !  I thank you.... see Wellie curtsey, catching thrown bouquet of flowers, and kissing her cat on the head.X

I posted today a Thank You card to Storming Norman, because I've appreciated his time and effort in identifying his thoughts, comments and suggestions regarding The Village Produce Show.
That said and done now, I must put my own expenses in to tally the books for The Treasurer, and then The Show can be put to bed for 2011.

Go out there and sow the last of your Perpetual Spinach, Beetroots and all that kind of stuff this week, because if you put it off any longer, children, there will be tears before bedtime.

My time for bedtime now.  Thank you so much for listening.  Have a great week, and hopefully, if I'm spared, I'll see you here again next Sunday.

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