Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Catching up

I've not posted for over a week. We are suffering from an intermittent Internet connection at the moment which seems to mean that whenever I try to go online I can't! Of course because it is intermittent it is difficult to find out what is wrong so we are stuck with it for the time being while BT try to find out what is the matter.

We are all well and busy. The rain I was hoping for last week didn't materialise and the ground is dusty dry and regular watering is a must. We are predicted thunder storms later in the week so I hope this time they reach us, everything would grow better after a good soaking. The fruit bushes are doing well despite the lack of rain and I've finished picking the redcurrants and gooseberries and the early blackcurrants are just about ready.

I hope everybody is well. I am missing my blog reading and hope that this fault is rectified soon so that I can catch up with everybody.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

A fruitful week

A few photographs from my week. Fruit has featured heavily as the allotment comes into its own at this time of year.

I picked over six pounds of redcurrants from my two bushes. They have been stewed and passed through a jelly bag so I have lovely bright red juice to make into redcurrant jelly. At the moment its in the freezer while I deal with the gooseberries.

It looks like being a good year for them as well. I only have a very small freezer and we eat very little jam so my gooseberries will be bottled. At the moment they are waiting to be "topped and tailed". Although its a time consuming process, I love preparing the fruit for preserving- something about knowing that women (probably) have been going through the same tasks at this time of year for generations, preserving summer fruit to be eaten during the winter.

I've also been adding fruit to my salads, redcurrants and alpine strawberries and some flowers as well making summer salads very pretty.

I'm off out into the garden now to do some watering, we've had no real rain here and the ground is bone dry, perhaps I should try a little rain dance!

Monday, 15 June 2009

A day in my life

Its been quite busy around here and I almost forgot that yesterday was the 14th so time for "a day in my life". Some of the days I write about seem very rushed as I ferry the boys around and fit in work and the allotment but this month the 14th was a very gentle calm day. As I hadn't really noticed the date I only have photos from the first half of the day when I was out for a walk, I completely missed taking pictures of the rest of the day.

My walk was with my eldest son and we were in "Watership Down" country, rolling countryside and banks planted with lovely old beech trees.

There were plenty of opportunities to photograph the wild flowers, just the right time to see the wild orchids.

We were walking well away from roads and the only sounds were the skylarks and the buzzing of the bees.

The yellow of the oilseed rape has faded now but there were plenty of poppies around the edge of the field

and fragrant dog roses in the hedges.

We set off early for our walk and it was still only mid-morning when we returned to the car so we decided to treat ourselves to coffee. Well, coffee for me and a strawberry frappucchino plus a muffin for him. He is not leaving home until the autumn but already I seem to have a need to feed him up before he goes!!

We took our drinks away (not very eco but it really was too nice to sit inside) and drank them at Greenham common. In the recent past Greenham Common has been very busy, as a RAF airbase in the last war and later as an American Airbase. It once boasted the longest runway in Europe but now it is more peaceful, most of the structures have been dismantled and it is being managed to encourage wildlife.

From here it was home to lunch and an afternoon pottering in the garden and at the allotment. Salad and redcurrants were ready for picking.

Back to cook dinner of stir fried vegetables and sausages and then an evening sorting out some of my photographs on the computer. I really do have too many photos and must do some severe pruning.

My husband offered to pick up our eldest from his evening shift so I was able to go to bed at 10pm. Compared to some of my frantic days this one was a lovely calm day, I hope for many more this summer.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Gardening by the moon

I don't mean gardening by moonlight although I took the photo above when I finished in the garden a few evenings ago, I have been taking advantage of the long summer daylight.

What I am thinking of, is gardening according to the phases of the moon.  I have heard of this before and tended to dismiss it but a while ago I was talking to one of my allotment friends who mentioned that he had been gardening this way for the past eight years and was sure that he was getting better results.  I don't know this man's age but he has talked about his time in the war so I think he must be well into his eighties and he has gardened virtually all his life.  When someone with that much gardening experience tells me something works I definitely start listening.

This week knowing that I was interested he brought his chart to the allotment and explained how he uses it.  The chart he had was from Lunar Organics but I'm sure there are many others available.

I've read through the Lunar Organics site and learned that the planting program is based on the phase of the moon, whether it is ascending or descending  and whether it is waxing and waning. The different states of the moon influence different parts of the plant and so there are flower days, root days, fruit days and leaf days. There are days more suitable for sowing seeds, potting on and harvesting, though my friend tends to ignore the harvesting dates and pick whatever is ready to eat.

Having read it all, I'm still not sure.  Before I spend money on a chart and booklet, I thought I'd ask if anyone has any experience of lunar gardening?  Have you heard any reports of it, favourable or not? I will be interested to find out more about it.  Until that time though I will carry on as usual, planting when I have the time and space to do so!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Quiet and busy

Its been very quiet on this blog recently, no particular reason, I just seemed to have slipped out of the habit of posting. 

As always at this time of year the allotment and garden have been keeping me busy for several hours each day.  With the hot dry weather continuing,  watering is a must.  For the first time in the thirteen years I've had my allotment , virtually all the plots are occupied which is putting a bit of a strain on the water system.  In the evenings which is a good time to water and the time most people can get there to do it, the water tanks empty rapidly.  I am lucky that I am able to get there early in the morning when the water is more plentiful.  At 7am there are only a few of us about and it is a very peaceful time.

Our normal routine has also been disrupted this week.  Exams are continuing, my husband is in the US and my work days have been changed just for this week. Nothing major but I realise what a creature of habit I am and several times I have had to think hard to remember what day it is!

One of the best parts of this week happened right at the start. On Monday morning I met Ginny for coffee.  I met her briefly at the end of last year but this time we had plenty of time to chat. She gave me one of her flower brooches just like the ones on the cover of her book. Thank you, Ginny.

I'm at work tomorrow which is one of my usual days, my youngest son only has one exam left and my husband returns home this weekend so perhaps in a few days we will be back to normal - whatever that is!