May 22, 2008

Gardening Update

Posted in Gardening tagged , , , at 3:38 pm by vicii

I’ve managed to do quite a bit in the garden over the last few weeks.  First of all though Max escaped so I bought lots of chicken wire and tree stakes so we could secure the garden; there were gaps in the hedge between our house and the neighbours so we had to seal it back up. Although it might sound like an annoying thing to have to do, it was actually good news for me because I wanted to separate off the bottom of the garden for my vegetable patch and therefore I had the chicken wire left over to do it.  Unfortunately there were no tree stakes (this worked a treat instead of trying to figure out what type of wood I needed) left over but there was some old timber down the side of the garage and so I used that instead.   All that remains is for me to buy an arch (I want this since it will add a feature to the two separate parts of the garden) and sort out a gate – currently Max devours practically anything that he can get his mouth around so I want to be able to fence this part of the garden. 

With Max taking such an interest in the garden I haven’t planted the things that I wanted to plant, since I know that once they start growing he will just eat them!  I planted out my onions, garlic and leeks – I can not longer see any leeks so they have obviously been eaten, and the tops of the onions and garlic have definitely been nibbled; it’s just a good job that I started them off in the greenhouse so at least they had a few roots to anchor them down 🙂

Having said that I have planted some carrot, parsnip and beetroot seeds today.  I have no idea whether they will survive or not but I have sown them in the raised bed near to the house (the raised bed being better for the roots since I have heavy clay soil that I want to add lots of manure to at the end of this year ready for rotating the beds next year).  Hopefully I will have more of a chance of shooing Max off the bed if he tries to start digging it up since it is close to the house instead of right at the bottom of the garden.

A bit late (I’ve had a lot going on recently!) but I’ve finally gotten around to replanting my tomatoes into bigger pots ready for the summer and have also replanted the marigolds that I had sown earlier.  Some of then are still in the greenhouse a companions to the tomatoes and the rest have gone in the raised bed at the bottom patio along with my courgettes.  I have also potted on my basil and coriander, or at least some of them since I still have more to do but Izzy woke up and needed some attention so I had to stop.

And finally, the blueberry bush is looking really good; some flower buds are starting to form and my strawberries are also looking good – I’m just waiting for them to ripen, but I’m keeping quiet about them so I can keep them for myself….

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March 17, 2008

Greenhouse – Part II

Posted in Gardening, Green tagged , , , , at 3:36 pm by vicii

I spoke to my dad about the greenhouse, and bless his cotton socks, he’s told me that he will buy it for me… this is great news for me since he’s buying me the £60 one – in fact he ordered it earlier today when I was around their and it should be delivered on Wednesday.  I had a subconcious budget of £100 to spend for all the stuff for my veg garden, and with him buying the greenhouse, this will reduce my budget considerably… thank you dad

Therefore, I plan to dig a plot for it tomorrow (all being well) since where I intend to put it currently has a flowerbed with shrubs, so I will need to re-locate those

March 16, 2008

Greenhouses

Posted in Gardening, Green, Projects, Simplicity tagged , , , , at 8:59 am by vicii

I am planning to buy one of these plastic greenhouses in order to propogate my plants this year, I was just looking at one of the simple affairs with about 4 staging shelves – however after checking out both the Woolies and Wilko websites I am now confused as to what to buy.  For a few extra pounds you can get more space (which will be ideal seeing as I’m planning to grow lots) but in Wilko there are about 4 different types to choose from; I can have a lean-to, a hexagonal one, a normal one, or the original mini one that I was planning on getting…

I have to go to the dentist on Monday so I think that I will pop into Wilko’s and actually have a look at them in store since there often have them on display.  Hopefully this will make my choice easier… Having said that I’ve just had another look and they also sell a greenhouse complete with staging (I would have to buy it in addition to the greenhouse otherwise) for £60 so I think this would be the best option as it will make best use of the space in the greenhouse.  Only £60 is much more than I was planning to spend however I have to keep reminding myself that I have to spend money on this in order to save money – if I don’t spend now to grow my own then I will be spending every week in the supermarket and the quality of the food will be inferior to what I can grow fresh!

Normally I can be quite impulsive, but I think I might check with my dad and see what he thinks.  However it would be nice if I could buy it tomorrow, since I have some seed trays being delivered next week (which I bought on eBay really cheaply).  Then I would just need to buy some potting compost and I can at last start to grow some food…. after all, I’ve been planning to do this for ages and really need to get started

March 3, 2008

Vegetable Sowing Plan

Posted in Gardening, Green, Projects, Useful Sites tagged , , , , , at 10:06 am by vicii

Yesterday I finally managed to decide on a sowing/planting schedule for the vegetables in the garden.  I also agreed with the OH on Saturday that it would be a good idea to cut off the bottom of the garden with some fencing and a gate to separate the vegetable plot from the rest of the garden and in time we can also get a greenhouse and shed built down there; I wasn’t so sure that he would be happy about me taking a large part of the garden for veg but he seemed more than up for it!

garden


A “before” picture of the garden. This is exactly as it looked when we moved in at the end of December, as yet I haven’t touched it. The red line is where I plan the have the vegetable garden, the grey area where the greenhouse will eventually go and the brown bits are where the veg beds will be.I plan to garden organically (as I have always done in the past) so know full well that I may have a good few problems this year until the garden is up and running properly, and I will be using a three bed rotation with one permanent bed. Bed sowing as follows (yet to determine varieties and buy them – that is the next task):

Bed 1 Year 1

  • Potatoes – plant out now to May
  • Carrots – sow every three weeks from April
  • Beetroot – sow every three weeks from now
  • Parsnip – sow out now/April
  • Onions – plant out now/April; Japanese onions Aug/Sep
  • Shallots – plan out now
  • Leek – sow in now, out Apr/May
  • Garlic – plant out now
  • Courgettes – sow in Apr/May

Bed 2 Year 1

  • Peas – sow in now, out Apr
  • French beans – sow in now, out Apr
  • Broad beans – sow out Mar/Apr
  • Sweetcorn – sow in/out Apr
  • Spinach – sow monthly Apr
  • Swiss chard – sow out Apr
  • Lettuce – sow every 2/3 weeks outside April onwards

Bed 3 Year 1

  • Cabbage – sow out Apr/May  (check types)
  • Brussel sprouts – sow out now/Apr
  • Cauliflower – sow out Apr (check types)
  • Broccoli – sow out May
  • Swede – sow out May/Jun
  • Turnip – sow out Apr/May

Permanent Bed

  • Rhubarb – plant out crowns now, need 2 or 3 plants
  • Asparagus – plant out crowns April, need sandy soil so need to refine my clay soil!!
  • Herbs – [need to update]
  • Strawberries – [need to update]

February 29, 2008

Food Ideas

Posted in Finances, Meal Planning, Useful Sites tagged , , , , at 11:49 am by vicii

Since giving birth to Izzy earlier this month money saving has all but gone out of the window – however for March I plan to get back onto the wagon and hence am planning my menus today for the next month.  Inevitably this will alter towards the end of the month, but it gives me an idea of how much I should be spending during the month and definitely allows me to get shopping for the next month. 

Another of my aims is to eat “5-a-day” of fruit and vegetables and therefore I need to factor this in to the plan whilst still trying to keep within my budget.  Because months vary between 4- and 5-week months I budget to spend £80 in week 1 and then £40 for each following week, making my budget either £240 or £280 a month.  [I plan for a big week 1 to buy all the pantry and freezer items and then just top up with bread, milk, veg etc in the subsequent weeks].  Ideally I’d like to get this down to £200 a month including all food, drink (including alcohol), cleaning products (vinegar, bicarb, etc) and toiletries, but I need to start growing my own veg and making my own wine and beer first.

I also want to try and reduce my food air-miles and buy in season veg – this will also help me to come up with recipes to make when I have my own veg to use, so I use up everything that I have instead of letting it go to waste.  I have found this great website I’m in Season which I’m currently using to work out what veg I should buy this week, and also looking at the Tesco website to see what offers they have on to save money before I finalise my menu for this coming week.

I’ve also found another site Think Vegetables that gives help on the seasonality of vegetables – so between the two I’m sure I’ll be able to post my menu plans shortly