As well as sowing seeds, there are a couple of writing projects that are waiting in weeks for different points of this year. All being well, these will available in March/April and then in December. There is a cook book pencilled for somewhere in the middle!
‘Retreating to Peace’ sees me work alongside a smashing group of indie authors on the Peace Series. You can find details here about the authors involved.
Very brief update today. Have finally got around to sowing aubergines. I have sown Black Beauty which is the traditional, purple skinned variety, as well as Clara, which is a white skinned variety.
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I’ve not had much success with sowing and growing aubergines. The one time that I did have a fruit, the plants were called Black Prince and were rescued from a garden centre. I am going to remain undaunted and try again. These seeds are being popped into the heated prop and all being well, we shall see the seedcases crack and seedlings appear.
It’s been such a long time since I last donned anything remotely bollywood. I was feeling a bit wistful, and remembering some of the outfits that I have worn. These are three saris that I loved wearing and are rather special to me. Purple, as my favourite colour. Pink and polka dots was something of a vintage look, and a green one that I could just about breathe in.
No, I don’t wander down the plot wearing these. Wouldn’t go with the red wellingtons, now would they!
Fellow blogger Sara Venn talks about what flowers mean to us in her recent blog on the The Physic Blogger and brings the fore the British Flower Industry.
A week tomorrow, it is the Feast Of Saint Valentine. For some it is brilliant, a day of unbridled slush where there are hearts, roses and bottles of prosecco all over the shop. For others, it will no doubt be just another Tuesday (Guess which camp I fall into….)
There will be lots of roses. In all sorts of different colours, scents and pretty packaging. It is hard to imagine Valentine’s Day without roses. Though if we are savvy enough; if we try to create social change and move from minority towards majority views, we might be able to change the traditional flower for something else.
How about a dandelion?
The things get everywhere; are fairly robust, hard to get rid of and turn up when you least expect.
Don’t suppose that reminds you of love and romance?
Well, it could, if we changed our thinking patterns.
I joke, and say don’t buy me roses.
Buy me diamonds instead. (Ethical ones, please, thank you.)
Lemme show you.
pretty pink roses
william shakespeare 2000
clutch of roses
red lost label rose
pink lost label rose
donated to SSAFA Norton House Selly Oak
pink lost label
the floral trug and roses
yellow lost label
Those weren’t flown in from the African Continent. Those were plugged into the clay of my allotment over the course of years and have become an established part of my allotment. One half the allotment, has an avenue of roses that are interspersed with fruit trees. In high summer-it does sometimes turn up, yes-that half smells amazing! Then, it comes to dead heading and having cut flowers at home. I have tried-and failed-to tot up how much each bouquet-and it’s usually one every nine days-might cost. It is difficult to put a price on those bouquets, least of all because of the intrinsic value. I love my roses, they make me smile, and remind me that whilst some days can be really quite shoddy, something thorny, can produce something wonderful.
As you can see, I do like my roses. They do mean a lot to me, especially as they are home grow with love and care.
Don’t buy me roses, diamonds are in short supply.
Give me seeds and you might just bowl a maiden over.
There are two parts to this blog post. The first involves the stash of home brewed wine that is developing rather nicely.
Ready and waiting
Today, I have bottled up a batch of Rhubarb and currant wine. This has been lingering for sometime and was brewed in August last year. One of many different varieties, the batch was racked off into small bottles, wrapped up and stowed away. When bottled, it was actually transparent-you could see right through it, and there was little or no sediment left behind. Like all the others, this batch has been wrapped up in brown paper so that it doesn’t fade. I have taken a quick inventory, and we do have something of a stash developing. To date, we have bottled up:
Blackberry, plum and currant
Rhubarb and Currant
There is apple wine, blackberry and mixed berry and Rhubarb and goosebery left to do later in the year.
Most of the wine is transparent on racking, and you can see right through it. It is only through repeated racking that you get wine that is completely see through whilst keeping it’s natural colour. As the wines are so varied, they will need to be stored and allowed to mature sufficiently. I have to say though, that the blackberry ones are a rather nice claret colour that does look rather proper! There id definitely more than one way to preserve alloment produce, and Petal plonk isn’t too bad at all.
That’s the home brew developments today. Then come the mooli pods. Mama F has found some Mooli pods-these are seed pods from bolted radiishes-in the freezer.
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Very simple to make, Mama F created a sauteed base of onions, garlic and ginger before adding the mooli pods, tomatoes and potatoes. We might not have got any radishes, but the seed pods are edible and you can see use the produce that you do get quite effectively.
As you can see there are quite a few pots and not an awful lot of window sill space. These will no doubt find themselves shuffling around the house before settling into the poly tunnel sometime during June/July. There are three varieties of chilli that have been sown; jalepeno, cayenne and purple haze.
I will keeping an eye on these on the coming weeks as it is still rather cold and light levels are yet to increase. For now, the seedlings are growing slowly, and I don’t mind that. Taking their time, the seedlings can establish in their pots and gradually become stronger. Chillies need a long growing season and the early stages of development are important for the growing season to eventually be productive.
With the chillies now on the window sill, the next job is it sow aubergines and tomatoes. I am likely to sow the aubergines first and then tomatoes a few weeks later. They are part of the same family, and neither should be sown too early. I really don’t fancy gangly, leggy seedlings that keel over and another set have to be sown. Mama F did actually ask this morning if I had baby aubergine varieties, and pootled off to check the seed catalogues. I’ve not had much success with home sown and grown aubergines. I have got the odd flower, but not fruit. Every year, I debate as to whether or not I will sow them, this year was no different. I suspect Mama F and I will end up competing, trying to grow them in two different plots. With Mama F then competing with her sister-last year, my aunt managed to grow an aubergine, and there was excitement-so you can imagine the drama.
There is half a plan now as to how the growing season might start this year. Before long, I will be thinking about beans, squashes and things. There are so many things that I need to double check before things kick off and properly.
In the meantime, I will be keeping an eye on the seedlings, and hoping that they don’t keel over!