The Land Rover Owners Wife


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Who dunnit?

The second of our two pumpkins is now almost completely orange

The second of our two pumpkins is now almost completely orange

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


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The Gardeners’ Apprentice

Little Mudlet worked hard clearing out the strawberry pots

Little Mudlet worked hard clearing out the strawberry pots

I’ve nearly finished the garden prep now with just two more beds to dig manure into and the large greenhouse to wash. My energy levels are still not brilliant and so when Little Mudlet offered to help me over the Easter weekend, I accepted gratefully and we made our way into the veg patch. Obviously the digging in of manure was not a suitable task for my 9-year-old and so I asked her to weed the other beds I intended to dig in that day, a job she carried out both enthusiastically and willingly. Continue reading


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Beaks off my strawberries

Look closely and you may be able to see the gift ribbon

Look closely and you may be able to see the gift ribbon

The first sign of blush on your strawberries brings with it anticipation of the deliciously sweet flavour of freshly picked berries. Every day the berries get a little more colour and finally you know that you are just days away from enjoying the first strawberries of the year. The ripening process seems to take forever but then the day comes and you just know that out in the garden, the first of the years berries are ready, fully ripe and waiting to be picked, so you head outside, bowl in hand ……..

……… only to find that something has beaten you to it and your beautifully ripe fruit has had huge chunks hacked out of it!! Oh the frustration! The annoyance! The disappointment! Continue reading


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Getting nettled

I love the sight of the chives in flower.

I love the sight of the chives in flower.

With Mud busy painting the kitchen and Middle Mudlet out at a friends birthday bowling party, Little Mudlet and I decided to make the most of the lovely weather on Sunday and ventured out into the garden where we set about weeding and seeding the various beds. After their session weeding the other week, Little Mudlet was stunned to see just how many weeds had sprung up but she set to with her little hand trowel and hand fork and was soon clearing all of the greenery out of one of the supposedly empty beds, whilst I harvest around 2lb of rhubarb, half of which I froze and the half I used to make a crumble for dinner. Continue reading


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The Hanging Gardens of Mudville

The lowest runners on these off shoots, have rooted into the pots below

The lowest runners on these off shoots, have now rooted into the pots below

Regular readers of this blog (poor misguided souls that you are) will probably be aware that we have a healthy number of strawberry plants which produce a pleasing number of berries from early Spring, through to late summer. I seem to think that at last count we had in the region of around 120 plants which Middle Mudlet thought was more than enough and any more would just be plain greedy.

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Strawberries, ants and little helpers

We have strawberries!!!!

We have strawberries!!!!

With some of my strawberry plants flowering and a few already carrying the first of this years strawberries, albeit newly developed little yellow berries, I really couldn’t put off the job of tidying, trimming and repotting the plants, any longer. I don’t really have space for all my strawberry plants in the beds and so the vast majority of them are growing in a variety of pots and tubs, although there are 3 in permanent residence in each of the half barrels. All of them though, from last years runners, to the older, more established plants, were looking a tad neglected and so with the sun shining, I set about rectifying the situation.

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Strawberry sort out and a Chilli surprise

A bit of a difference

A bit of a difference

Yesterday was another lovely warm day and I took the opportunity to get on with tidying up the Strawberries and cutting the strawberry runners I had planted up a fortnight earlier, from the parent plants. Tidying the strawberry plants is a time consuming but necessary job, as it involves taking each plant in turn and trimming off the old, dying or dead foliage, thereby allowing the plant to concentrate all its’ energy into producing the healthy new growth essential to fruitful season next year – see what I did there? Continue reading


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Strawberries: Catching the runners

Newly planted runners, still attached to the parent plants

Newly planted runners, still attached to the parent plants

As I was going about my bed clearing, I noticed that, as usual, my strawberry plants had been busy sending out runners, some of which were now rooted into one of the beds and others were trying to root through and into the gravel path. Strawberries, though not exactly what I would call invasive (they’re simply not fast enough to be termed that in my book) will happily colonise the area in which they live, over a number of years. Please note though that it is generally accepted that where there is a designated strawberry bed, the plants will need to be moved on to a new bed every 3 years or so to prevent pests and diseases building up. I grow mine in pots and so this isn’t really an issue for me, as the compost is renewed regularly. Continue reading


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Strawberry Conserve – success!

Yummy stickiness - strawberry jam

Yummy stickiness – strawberry jam

Well what can I say without sounding like I’m blowing my own trumpet? Nothing really because I am thrilled to bits with how my strawberry conserve has turned out but I do think it is more ‘Jam’ than ‘Conserve’. It looks like jam, feels like jam and tastes like strawberries! It isn’t too soft but it isn’t firm like jelly either – it’s perfect, even if I do say so myself.
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More Strawberries

Well it looks like the real deal

Well it looks like the real deal

With my ever growing mound of freshly picked strawberries quickly reaching mountainous proportions, I needed to come up with yet another idea or three on how to use them. I hate to throw any home grown produce away and with the temperatures yesterday and today in the extremely high 20s and bordering on the low 30s (Mud informs me that the temperature actually reached 30.5 at one point this afternoon), there was a real danger of some of the berries starting to turn and so a solution had to be found pretty quickly.

“You could make jam.” was Muds’ suggestion. Continue reading