Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First potatoes

Summer is here and the dog rose is flourishing. Here is a small but beautiful bouquet from the allotment and my first potato harvest. They are a Scottish heritage variety bred in 1942 that have done well in my English earth, called Red Duke of York. They actually look more like a deep, fuschia pink and are pretty enough to show off beside my flowers. Taste delicious.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Drought: Pre-school nursery's beds

BEFORE: The raised beds in my son's nursery had nothing but some sickly strawberries and bindweed growing in them. The water feature had been filled up with sand. The water butt was full of toys. So I volunteered to tidy up and get some edible plants growing.

Renewed: Pre-school nursery's beds

AFTER: With the help of the children we dug all the sand out of the pond. It became a treasure hunt as we unearthed lots of lost plastic animals and pieces of lego. I cleaned the container and rocks then filled it back up with fresh water. I weeded the beds and filled them up with some fresh multi-purpose compost. On one bed I put down some old pink jersey fabric I had as a membrane. "Are you making a bed?" one boy asked. Underneath it I had put some kitchen peelings for the worms and bran flakes for the slugs.; the slugs love to eat them and it kills them. I then cut slits and planted some chives I had brought in and divided from my own garden, some red and green loose leaf lettuce and cosmos I had raised from seed and some strawberries the manageress of the nursery had bought. She had also bought some pebbles so I put those around the base of the plants. The whole bed can be covered with them. In the other bed I put four canes around a metal pole. The canes came from prunings of my neighbour's bamboo. There were some sharp edges where the stems had been trimmed so I tied some fabric strips on to cover them. I planted some more chives and two tomato plants. I left the chopped off stems of the chives on top of the soil. I have some sweetcorn, cucumbers, snake gourd and courgette plants that I am raising at home and will bring in when they are a bit bigger. And I will bring in some bean seeds for the children to sow next to the canes.
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