The Land Rover Owners Wife


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Taking the plunge

It's good to see the right sort of green in the garden again

It’s good to see the right sort of green in the garden again

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


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Pumpkin Crop 2015

At just over 19 inches at its widest point, this is our biggest pumpkin and it's pretty perfectly shaped too!

At just over 19 inches at its widest point, this is our biggest pumpkin and it’s pretty perfectly shaped too!

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:

 


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Pumpkins!

Sugar Pie Pumpkins: at this point the large one was the size of an orange and the smaller one was the size of the lemon.

Sugar Pie Pumpkins: at this point the large one was the size of an orange and the smaller one was the size of the lemon.

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


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Nipping the buds

Far too small for flowers

Far too small for flowers

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


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A bit of squash (and other things)

The nearest propagator houses the winter squash and pumpkin seeds and the other is home to the flowers and courgettes.

The nearest propagator houses the winter squash and pumpkin seeds and the other is home to the flowers and courgettes.

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


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The Zombie, the Witch, the Vampire and a Werewolf

Pumpkins with candles: Little Mudlets (left), Eldest Mudlets (centre) and Middle Mudlets with the tall eyes.

Pumpkins with candles: Little Mudlets’ (left), Eldest Mudlets’ (centre) and Middle Mudlets’ with the tall eyes.

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.

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The Garden Share Collective: August 2014

The Garden Share CollectiveWith the children 1 week into their summer break, comes the reminder from Lizzie of Strayedtable, that it is almost time for the next Garden Share Collective and as I contemplate what to write, it dawns on me that this is my twelfth contribution to this brilliant project. Twelve whole months of gardening/garden maintenance has sped past in a blink of an eye and already my thoughts are turning to Autumn/Winter jobs for both the school and my own garden. For now, however, I will concentrate on the monthly update for the school garden and once you have read this, why not pop over to Lizzies’ blog and catch up with the other gardens in the Collective from the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

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Beans, peas, squash and sweet corn

Sweet corn and winter squash plants  in front: cucumber and Hunter Butternut to climb the fence.

Sweet corn and winter squash plants in front: cucumber and Hunter Butternut to climb the fence.

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.

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Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere and little children dressed to scare!

A haunted house according to Middle Mudlet

A haunted house according to Middle Mudlet

Yesterday was a busy day with a house to prepare for Halloween callers, pumpkins to carve and then Trick or Treating with the Mudlets and one of their friends.

Thinking ahead, I had already removed the seeds and stringy bits from the pumpkins the night before and yesterday morning I had washed, dried, oiled, seasoned and then roasted the huge mound of seeds that we had been left with. Each Mudlet had a bag of them added to their pack-ups instead of crisps and Little Mudlet wasn’t over keen, although she did eat quite a few, but Middle Mudlet really enjoyed them, commenting that they tasted like popcorn. Continue reading


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Squash and Pumpkins growing (weekly update)

I am always fascinated by the speed at which a squash or pumpkin swells and grows, following successful pollination. Sometimes it can take a couple of days before you actually see any increase in size but once they get going, as long as they have a plentiful supply of food and water, they generally grow at a staggering rate of knots.

In the past I have kept an almost daily, photographic record of growth for the Mudlet pumpkin growing contest. Sometimes the fruit will grow to a certain size and then stop which is very frustrating but the ones that are set on World domination, can look spectacular in next to no time. Continue reading