The Land Rover Owners Wife


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The fruits of my labour

Already the colour difference between the leeks can be seen

Already the colour difference between the leeks can be seen

Two days of almost solid rain, has had the usual dramatic affect on my garden, that watering by hose pipe, sprinkler or watering simply can’t achieve. Everywhere I look the lush green of healthy plants can be seen, although, as we head into the last month of summer, this is now interspersed with the yellowing of plants, past their prime which even the magical powers of Ma Natures rain can’t revive. Continue reading

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A Chilli greenhouse

The Duke of York potatoes have formed a guard of honour for the greenhouse

The Duke of York potatoes have formed a guard of honour for the approach to the greenhouses

Occupying one whole section of staging in the large greenhouse, three seed trays of young chilli plants sat patiently waiting their turn for potting on. If you remember, a couple of months ago, I had been feverishly potting on the trays and trays of seedlings, that had resulted from the over sowing of seeds, caused by the mistaken belief that the seedlings from my initial sowings were succumbing to damping off. As it turned out my fears had been misplaced and most of the original seedlings suddenly began to thrive, as did all of those that resulted from my second sowing which meant that I suddenly found myself with close to 100 tomato and roughly 60 Chilli seedlings to care for. Consequently, when it came time to pot on the seedlings for the first time, I soon realised that I didn’t have enough first size pots and so had to think of a solution. Continue reading


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I predict a problem with available space ……

These aren't looking quite so sick anymore

These aren’t looking quite so sick anymore

You may remember that about eight or nine days ago I wrote about the disaster I thought was happening in my seed trays. The seedlings weren’t doing very well, a few had keeled over and several were looking decidedly dodgy. I felt that this was probably a problem called damping off and that I had over-watered my trays, resulting in the facilitation of the damping off fungus which was impeding both the growth of my seedlings and the germination of some of the seeds, not to mention causing some of the seedlings to give up the ghost entirely and fall over. Continue reading


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Pickled chillies

Very pretty: Pickled Ohnivec and Cayenne Chilli Peppers

Very pretty: Pickled Ohnivec and Cayenne Chilli Peppers

For the last few weeks, the chillies in the greenhouse have been tucked up under horticultural fleece overnight, to protect them from the rapidly falling nighttime temperatures whilst the chilli peppers continue to ripen. I have watered, removed dead and decaying foliage, cosseted and pampered this precious and abundant crop, waiting for the time when I could pick and then pickle them. With the smaller Cayenne chillies ripening rapidly, it was the Ohnivecs that I was waiting for.

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Chilli, Ohnivec

This is a record of how long this particular set of seeds took to germinate and how they looked at various stages from first appearance to the development of the first set of true leaves and beyond. I hope this will prove useful.

Variety: Ohnivec
Sown indoors: 9th January 2014
First Seedling: 24th January 2014
Germination: 15 days
Germination ratio: 7/10 seeds sown

This is a new variety to me and it has come from the Real Seed Catalogue. I chose this variety because it looked stunning in the catalogue picture, is supposedly a hot chilli but, in addition, it purports to get to nearly 1 foot in length and 2 inches wide!!!

Just breaking through

Just breaking through

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The propagator’s populated

From saved seed

From saved seed

Waiting for seeds to germinate is quite an anxious time, as you wait to see if your carefully chosen and sown seeds are viable and strong enough to push their way through the compost. All sorts of doubts begin to flood in, as each batch of seeds draws ever nearer to the minimum number of days until germination:

Did I give them enough water when I sowed them?
Or, worse still, did I give them too much and are they now rotting away unseen in the compost?
Are they warm enough?
Cold enough?
Deep enough?
Shallow enough?
Is there enough light? Continue reading


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I spy with my little eye….

I spy with my little eye ... tomato seedlings after only 6 days!

I spy with my little eye … tomato seedlings after only 6 days!

I can be an impatient gardener and never is this more evident than when it comes to seed sowing and germination. Regardless of what the seed packet, gardening books, not to mention my own experience tells me about the realistic number of days between sowing and sprouting, I find myself peering into my propagators for signs of life, almost before I’ve had chance to put the lid on. Continue reading


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The first seeds of …… urmm ….. Spring?

Two beds with their cardboard blanket

Two beds with their cardboard blanket

I know it’s technically still winter, mid winter to be exact but in Mudville, the first seeds of the new season are sown around about now. Things like the chillis and the tomatoes because this gives them the best chance to be flowering and fruiting in the summer which in turn, gives me the best chance of getting almost all of the tomatoes and chillis to ripen before the first frosts arrive. Continue reading


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The Winter garden at year end

Towering above the rest of the garden, these have been taunting me for weeks!

Towering above the rest of the garden, these have been taunting me for weeks!

With the very strong winds, rain and/or plain icy weather we have been having in recent weeks, I have to admit that I am guilty of neglecting my garden, preferring to remain warm and snug inside and blatantly ignoring the chaos and unkempt appearance at the end of the garden. Not that much of that section of the garden can be seen from the house and I have become adept at turning a blind eye on my daily visits to the coal bunker. Continue reading


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Freshly ground Cayenne Chilli Powder

A lovely, vibrant orange powder with bits - home made cayenne powder.

A lovely, vibrant orange powder with bits – home made cayenne powder.

I love growing chillis and over the years have grown a few varieties but the two that we have consistently had success with are the tiny 1 inch long ‘Patio Chillis’ which are incredibly hot and which we air dry before storing and the much larger (up to 4 inches long in some cases) Cayenne Chillis. Usually I thread string through the stalks of the Cayennes and these are also left to air dry, this time over the Rayburn, adding a much needed boost of colour to the kitchen over the winter months. Continue reading