By the time the younger Mudlets and I left the house to go trick or treating this Halloween, it had been dark for just over an hour and yet we had only had one set of callers. This was great news for the girls who were delighted at the prospect of loads of left over sweets, not to mention my marshmallow spiders but not so good for Mud, who wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of hoards of trick or treaters calling after we had left. Continue reading
A couple of weekends ago I spent about 7 hours across two days, in my vegetable gardening clearing away, pruning, digging up and planting, untangling bean vines from bamboo structures interwoven with garden wire or garden twine. I hoisted, shifted and dragged bags of compost, spent and unused growbags, pots, tubs, house bricks and windblown branches from one place to another. By the end of the weekend I could feel with the usual gentle reprimand from muscles not used to so much activity and treated myself to a long, hot soak in the bath to placate them. Continue reading
There comes a time each growing season, when gardeners have to decide that the chance of hard frosts has passed and they can start to move seedlings and young plants out of their greenhouses, into their final positions and for me, this year, that day was Thursday just gone (19th May). It was a warm but not overly hot afternoon, with a gentle breeze – perfect conditions really, especially for planting the willowy, fragile bean plants. Continue reading
In terms of pumpkins, we have definitely done better this year than last in respect of the number of pumpkins that we have, although they aren’t exactly record breakers. By far the best results have come from the Sugar pie plants, with 5 offerings across 4 plants, but the Jack O’lanterns put in a last minute sprint, producing female flowers late on in August, two of which pollinated, bringing our total number for this variety to 3. Unfortunately, the white skinned ‘Invincible’ pumpkins haven’t done very well at all but I have promised Little Mudlet (she gave me the seeds for Mothers Day back in March) that we will try these again next year.
I think the prolonged cold spell at the start of the season has, once again, delayed the growth of the plants, as another local grow-your-own’er, has experienced similar problems to me and many of her plants have also thrown out a lot of female flowers far too late in the season and, as a result, these wont come to much of anything. Soil depletion is, I believe, another cause for the generally poor performance of my garden this year but topsoil, manure and blood and bones, will be added and dug in over the autumn.
But this is post is a celebration of the pumpkins that, in spite of everything, have grown and will be decorating our house this Halloween and will be used in soups, pies and cakes:
This time last month I was really, REALLY concerned that we wouldn’t have home grown pumpkins for Halloween this year, due to the unseasonably cold temperatures which were prohibiting the growth of the squash and pumpkin plants in my garden. My vining squash plants were still huddled up, reluctant to spread their roots, never mind their vines and I was busy snipping off the female flowers, to try and prevent them developing into tiny fruit and stunting the spread of the vines. Then the sun arrived. The temperatures rose …… significantly …… and finally, the plants began to explore the world around them and soon became intent on making use of every available spare inch of ground, throwing out male flowers as they went. Continue reading
This past weekend was a frustrating one, with almost constant rainfall from late Friday until mid afternoon Sunday and temperatures more akin to April than mid-June (especially at night), so many jobs that needed doing, had to be postponed. Out in the beds, some of the plants are really suffering with the unseasonably low temperatures and I had hoped to apply a liquid feed to them on Friday evening, to give them a much needed boost. However, with the forecasters predicting heavy rain from late Friday night, I decided that applying a feed to the beds was pointless and so I restricted my feeding to the greenhouse plants. Thankfully, the weather for the next few days is set to be warmer and dryer, so I plan to apply the feed to the outside plants today and then give them another feed in 3 days (permissible according to the instructions) to try and kickstart a much needed growth spurt. Continue reading
As a result of my potting on, I suddenly found myself with a load of empty propagators and windowsills which could only mean one thing…. time to sow a load more seeds! I rifled through my seed drawers and to my absolute glee, realised that it was time to start sowing my winter squash and pumpkin seeds. Continue reading
It was remarkably mild this Hallowe’en which made the trudge around the village knocking on peoples doors that little bit more pleasant and the Mudlets were able to do the whole thing without either wrapping up so tight they could have been mistaken for Carol Singers, or shivering in their flimsy Hallowe’en costumes (although they usually have layers underneath the costumes as well). This year they were joined by one of their friends who was wearing a werewolf costume and Eldest Mudlet who dressed up as a Zombie. The friends mum and I also went with them and it was a pleasant evening all round.
I love the process of filling my empty brown spaces with greenery from the greenhouses and yesterday (Friday) was a bumper day. Careful monitoring of the temperatures over the last week and studying of the predicted temperatures for the week to come, led me to feel that the danger of a hard frost had, for the most part, gone and so I could begin hardening off my plants, ready for planting out.