Home Craft, Recycling, Writing

DIY – Thursday project!

This week has been quick due to everything we have had to complete, today my daughter was at full speed so our walk to school was energetic to say the least! I kept my own as she set the pace and eventually we made it into the house after a brief investigation of our street! Testing boundaries what fun!

So after a stern discussion on safety of staying safe and close I ventured to the garden to take stock of our work so far! The home requirements are endless but a few of the jobs I thoroughly enjoy, for example this week we purchased some plants from our local school to fill our hanging baskets. It is a bit over what I usually spend but at 50p per plant they will fill our borders and baskets for years to come. It was investment in spring colour, a few daffodil pots turned out to be twelve separate bundles which were a vibrant addition, crocuses and pelargoniums were set between for extra colour.

I have however cut back the grasses and shrubs in the front borders, as we have had a few wonderful warm days, the front garden now starting to send up this years shoots can do so without the crisp foliage of last year. Also I have removed the tiles from our small window and using a piece of wood we had left over I convinced my husband to make a sill to fit it. I think you can see it is a vast improvement on the white tiles and it cost nothing but the time and a few pounds for varnish which we had purchased to coat our table.

I have plans to visit the plot to dig in this years potatoes but I will wait for a warm day to ensure my youngest can enjoy the early sunshine! As she grows so quickly it will not be long until she is helping us plant her first seeds. As previously discussed I planted my Brassicas, Kale, Cabbage and cauliflower varieties this week. These will be re-sewn as the first seedlings are potted on but as we speak the first of our seedlings our emerging within the greenhouse. I find seeing the first shoots a real joy, these plant will be strong as they are establishing in the colder temperatures.

I have also cleared and filled a bed at the bottom of the garden which has around two metres to plant, and cleared my metre square beds of everything but the raspberries, these spaces will be used to grow on extra seedlings direct, either to pot on or as spares for the allotment. I have clearly labelled all of my pots with colourful sticks and a permanent marker, hopefully I will know exactly what germinates this year and be able to fill the gaps with whatever struggles.

So I may not have made the allotment this week but the greenhouse is full of trays and pots, all ready for the spring. A few investments in time and energy as my daughter sleeps allows for a brighter space for us all to enjoy. As the sun warms the soil, cup of tea in hand our eventful morning far behind as I set to watering my plants and completing the tasks of the day!

Happy Homecraft!

Cheryl

 

 

 

Allotment, Grow Your Own, Writing

Sunday preparations!

Today started of extremely foggy, but despite this I set off with a few of my girls to the allotment, grateful for a chance to get something done. It did not take us long to get there and a few other allotmenteer’s were dotted around the site. By the time we arrived my youngest was in a deep sleep, and I quickly set to work on the first bed. I had hoped to set in potato’s but the first bed required a dig over, so I removed the final third of straw and weeds and relocated the branches for the bean A frames.

I had salvaged the straw in the barrow last visit, so this I relayed to make a path down the centre of the first bed and placed the A’ frame’s either side of the centre path. My daughter chose to collect and lay a second path at the far side and I collected another layer from the soon to be potato bed. In the end the Bean bed is set for the seedlings we planted this week.

In the second covered bed I weeded and collected up the Brassica seedlings from the raised bed as it is already set for this season I can ensure they are covered from pests which will be out in force as the weather gets warmer. It is intensely satisfying working through the soil and preparing it for the next seasons crop, especially when the weather is mild and sunny.

I am well aware there are far less energetic projects for a Sunday morning, the chance to be outside for a few hours is not always possible. If the weather was dull I would have chosen a home project, but knowing it may be a week before I can return and with school restarting I will take the opportunity to complete some groundwork. A few hours work now will allow us a good start when the seedlings are ready for planting, which if the weather continues to be warm may not be that long at all.

We have planted many of the peas, beans and cucurbits this week;

In the end I planted;

  1. Miniature White Pumpkin (Baby Boo) 5 seeds.
  2. Miniature yellow Pumpkin (Jack be little) 5 seeds.
  3. Squash (Table King) 5 seeds.
  4. Gourd (Crown of Thorns) 4 seeds.
  5. Squash (Crown Prince) 5 seeds.
  6. Pumpkin White (Casper) 5 seeds.
  7. Squash (Delicata) 5 seeds.
  8. Squash (strawberry crown) 5 seeds.
  9. Squash (Yellow Scallop (Patty pan) 5 seeds.
  10. Marrow yellow and green (sunbeam) 5 seeds.

Beautiful Brassica collection;

  1. Italian Cauliflower (Di Sicilia Violetto) a Dark purple Head. 10 seeds.
  2. Italian Cauliflower (Romanesco) green, pyramid shape heads. 10 seeds.
  3. Cabbage (Mammoth Red Rock)  10 seeds.
  4. Cabbage Red (Acre) 10 seeds.
  5. Kale (Scarlet) 10 seeds.

Additional Extra’s;

  1. Okra (Burgundy) 20 seeds.
  2. Sweetcorn (Glass gem) 20 seeds.
  3. Peas
  4. Beans (Enorma)

Enjoy the brighter weather, Post Sunday lunch I am planning to enjoy a few hours snuggling, and relaxing, while my children enjoy the sunshine!

Happy Preparations!

Cheryl

Gardening on a budget, Grow Your Own, Propagation

GYO – Sowing 2019

This week has been busy, in a few hours I successfully planted a range of cucurbit seeds, peas and beans with our children. The tomato seedlings are now in and sweetcorn so another round of Brassica seeds will be in order to fill the pots and get the basic crops covered. I have some lemon balm, sunflower, calendula and nasturtium seeds which will be the floral focus this year, as for us all they were a wonderful addition to our crop and provided an abundance of free seeds.

I have divided and potted on our Aloe plant, which had grown several new plants on our windowsill, as you can see from one pot I collected an abundance of new plants to pot up around the house. I find them a fantastic houseplant for both visual and care purposes as they require very little attention. I love the variegated colour and their spiral extension reservoirs, so in a sunny afternoon it took no time at all to produce a nice selection of pots. The parent plants which are now giants I shall repot this week as they are out growing their pot.

So my labels written and my pots planted I am happy to be enjoying the warm weather outside with my family!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Allotment, Harvests, Writing

Allotment – 01 2019

Well today has been a busy day, the weather was warm enough to allow us to venture out and we made our way to the park. I found the children enjoy the walk and by the time they get their they have used up a lot of their energy. As we finally arrived the plot the water tank was at 750 litres, my daughter was amazing and anticipating getting very little done, I was pleasantly surprised.

The early purple sprouting Broccoli had grown on brilliantly, one plant of the brussel sprouts had developed a large cluster of plantlets along its main stem. These I have brought home to harvest and set as cuttings, this will give me an opportunity to experiment to see whether they will grow on. As I left the children to play I cleared the garlic bed of weeds and planted the newly set plants which were full of wonderful roots, directly into the ground.

Next was to dig over the first small ground bed, last year it was home to a selection of cabbages which were wonderful additions to our Sunday dinner. After removing the remaining couch grass and straw it is finally ready to plant another crop. I decided to weed a further two beds before sitting to feed my daughter. The weather was mild, sun shining and it was nice to dig over the soil for the first time since last autumn.

The carrots had grown on over winter, they had clearly formed shoots as my daughter pulled them out I spread them out between the two boxes. This should allow them to grow on this summer to a edible size, there really is no need to re-sow when they are ready to get a good start this year. The Rhubarb has begun to sprout in the pot so I am devising a new space to plant them out permanently.

The late sowing of mixed Brassicas are growing on and a few lettuce had managed to survive the winter without being slugged. Our harvest was pretty good for the first week. several good carrots, a lettuce, two broccoli heads and the Brussel sprout cuttings. I shall be planting tomato, pepper, chilli and a few other seeds with the children this week.

A few strawberries and celery plants had survived the winter so again, along with our late sowings at least a quarter of the planting areas were productive over the last few months as I have enjoyed the winter at home. The strawberry beds were relatively weed free, so on the next visit I will be planting potatoes and any other seedlings that we manage to establish.

Despite hard work I have enjoyed the afternoon, thankful for a few hours we could enjoy somewhere different. A few hours of fresh air and sunshine is refreshing after weeks of looking after the children, their illness and exhaustion. Finally the paths were prepared, the grass was well ready for cutting and has provided some plants for the compost bin.

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Family Postcards, Writing

Our Home!

Sometimes the days blur and before we know it another week on and you realise how special it has been to share it with those you love. I have shared amazing moments with my daughters, crossing milestones and enjoying the first smiles and burbles of conversation. They grow so fast and I am proud of them, I am quiet as my work for now is at home. Whilst they are off I am hoping to make the most of the days ahead, enjoying sharing their interests and watching our youngest grow it is the world we shall be ever thankful for.

As spring begins to show its many new shoots and leaves I will look forward to sharing this time planting new seeds with my children, while finding a space to share this with my family.

Happy journeys!

Cheryl

Allotment, Gardening on a budget, Writing

HORT – Winter Garden!

Today looks a perfect day for digging over my pumpkin bed, but as usual the day has almost gone before I even think of venturing outside! the winter sun is elusive and the reality of an hours digging although tempting would mean leaving our youngest at home in the warm! This would not be a problem if she was a little older but for now I am enjoying the time at home, first smiles and babbles are blissful! I love how she snuggles on  my chest as though she was still inside my stomach, peaceful and content as always!

My daughters are fascinated by the Crochet flower centre I created, I may make a small mobile for her to focus on while she has floor time. I hate the weather this time of year, I long for warmer days to, open up the patio and enjoy our outdoor spaces. It is at the moment a fleeting visit usually as after ten minutes they are back in within a few minutes. I can see the buds on the trees and shrubs just forming along the branches, the frost killing off potential pests I am looking forward to another amazing harvest!

The front garden of grasses, shrubs and bulbs is host to insects and birds with this in mind I leave the deciduous grasses to brown. This allows the insects somewhere to shelter, I will leave it until the frosts are gone and cut them back. I look forward to my Daffodils and tulips as they increase gradually every year! The highlight of winter is the Pampass grass and Mahonia, the flower spikes are strong and last throughout the winter season and the yellow flowers provide colour until they generate their seeds which are just beginning to form now!

Every year I divide and take cuttings from my garden, I shall take some as I do my first prune of the shrubs, placing them aside until later in the year. These I tend to donate to friends and family for their gardens or allotments. It is something I get great satisfaction from and costs no more than the time, soil and plant pot in which it is taken in.

I started making a mandala, I found a pattern but again found it easier to work from eye. I shall practice crocheting pattern squares to improve my skills. Between chores, sniffles and Neve’s needs I am grateful to have time to try something new. I will be planting Tomato seedlings soon but for now I will watch the sunlight dapple across the tree’s in the garden, and enjoy my time at home!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

 

Writing

First books…

So today I have managed to type a few pages while my youngest has napped! Two more than yesterday and I have potted on other seedlings and discussed with my youngest the protocol for lifting seedlings does not involve relocating soil but carefully removing the plant! As she began to put the pot back, realising her idea of planting and mine was completely different! if I was a toddler I would probably want to fill the carpet and drive my toys through it, but not feeling the messy play vibe I managed to prevent my front room becoming a mud pit!

After a while typing up becomes a chore, especially when there are a billion other jobs to do, this takes no time at all but you can guarantee I apply the idea to anything constructive and I spot a whole other set of work to do! Today is my daughters first book day, Peter Rabbit is a great gift and she is enjoying a little book time,  she loves the vibrant pages of her new books, almost as much as me enjoying her excitement at reading them!

I have checked the greenhouse and my onions are just beginning to show, a few green shoots is a great sight and signs that the season will soon be upon us. Apparently today was an amazing fishing day, as we have been busy I decided a girls day was probably going to involve some warm soup and a nice cup of coffee. The latter I have not quite managed yet but my soup was a highlight!

It has also brought my toddler into the idea that she can read to her, so as she has never been a fan it is a bonus for her too! So while my youngest daughter is enjoying her dinner I shall attempt to complete a few more pages before focussing on something more constructive!

I will try not to giggle at the torrential rain pouring outside! did he take his umbrella?

Happy homework!

Cheryl

Allotment, Writing

Happy Horticulture!

So todays rain has put a dampener on any ideas of allotment work! I plan on potting on my seedlings into larger pots as they are growing on nicely, my daughter is thriving so I am maintaining my calcium and oil levels with M&Ms… I am ensuring a good calorie content to fulfil current demand! Lets face it, it is difficult to maintain without a good balanced diet, which has to have a few treats!

As I have found a quiet moment, I thought I would answer the questions I posted for my own bloggers!

1- What is your favourite Flower?

As a foliage loving person the flowers I value the most are those that grow out of season and brighten up during winter and early spring, that feed the pollinators! Pansies, pelargoniums, heathers and hyacinths for winter; HORT – An Autumn Garden and daffodils, Ribes and Blossom as they signpost the beginning of spring warmth and growing season!

2- What landscape instils calm on a chaotic day?

For me it is the view from the top of the Scottish mountains, or a walk along the beach with the wind blowing through you hair, crisp air filling your lungs… there is nothing more exhilarating!

3- What is your strongest practical skill?

My horticultural knowledge, resourcing and planning skills, allow me to complete projects without hours of researching. These skills allow me to provide well for our large family.

4- What is your favourite craft?

Knitting has become my best skill, due to the finish quality and the ability to build my own patterns if necessary.

5- What is your most unusual food craving?

Beetroot and peppers have become my favourite to add to salads and sandwiches, I find they are zingy and wake up the taste buds!

6- What if anything, is on your learning bucket list?

I have Crochet at the top of my craft list, macramé also catches my eye and if I ever have my own planting of willow I would like to craft my own woven creations. I would love to have a kiln and try pottery! the list is endless!

7- Have you a favourite Author for a rainy day?

As a teen it was Terry Pratchett, but it would probably be Margaret Atwood as I found the previous works enthralling!

8- To me sweetcorn tastes of summer! what is your sunshine food? 

I also find homegrown tomatoes and fresh peas from the pod are very sunny-licious!

9- If you had the chance to learn to grow anything what would it be?

I often take cuttings from my favourite fronds! I would love to grow ferns successfully from spores as I can propagate most of the plants at home with moderate success, which ranges from bamboo’s, shrubs, grasses, and alpines… Obviously seeds for vegetables and fruit are grown regularly to plant on in the allotment.

10- If money was no object what type of garden would you design?

I have an idea if I ever get my own vast space to garden, but ours has a vast selection of evergreen plants, deciduous fruit tree’s, shrubs and ferns. I chose this to ensure a large amount of evergreen foliage throughout the year, it is in a forest garden style with tree’s accenting and allowing shade to the garden. A few areas are oriental in design sheltered by bamboos and acers, designed for the children to enjoy the diversity of colours, shapes and textures of planting. The decked area is for architectural plants, with a pond and small growing areas to add fruit and vegetable plants throughout the year for the children to watch grow. It could almost be described as a deconstructed potager, play space and learning area.

The garden I would design, is dependant on space, location, and design brief as obviously it can be as small as a plant pot or as large garden, whatever it will be designed for the space being focussed on. A garden is a gift to those you love, an interactive space to share, brighten and inspires those who visit…a place to relax

 

So, thankyou to Tidalscribe for her answers to my nomination questions, I have added them to my sunshine site page! They were fabulous, alternatively visit her site to read them! If anyone wishes to answer the questions please do, I would love to read your responses!

Happy Horticulture!

Cheryl

Home Craft, Tapestry, sewing samplers, Writing

Thrifty

Today was quiet, chores completed I have searched for inspiration from my local charity store, Last week I found a sewing box full of stitching treasure which has allowed us to work together on our tapestries. Finally warm enough my youngest wrapped up, buggy in hand we ventured out to take a walk! Today I found some hessian ribbon which I intend to use as a canvas for wool based tapestries, this will allow me to complete lots of small samplers and at the cost of 50p it was a bargain.

I went in as my daughter is traversing clothes sizes so a few dresses and cardigans later I had found some gems she will look adorable in. One set was a tk max set still labelled with tights which had a Peter Rabbit style garden theme!

The next finds were t-shirts for all my children, obviously never been worn by their crisp material I spent twenty pounds and as they returned from school they were all thrilled with them! I tend to buy as seen with a house full it takes no time before they grow out of their clothes. I could easily go to a local superstore and spend a few hundred pounds but this way it is saved from landfill and given purpose.

I will have to go for new vests and grow suits but the few bits I purchased will look wonderful. My final treat was a crochet dvd that I will watch at some point,

I also found a few tea towels with bright lemon, red and orange accents within the fruit pattern so I plan on using one of them to make some fabric fruit. I have some filling left from making Senoir Skeleton, so when I get a quiet moment I will attempt to make them!

Finally I found a few books including two 0-6 baby books with shiny, silver and black graphics for my youngest to focus on and a felt book on shapes for my toddler, I have to say they were enthralled by them, spending most of the afternoon looking through and reading them!

Happy Crafting

Cheryl

Home Craft, Tapestry, sewing samplers, Writing

CRAFT – Samplers and Snowflakes!

The sight outside is mesmerising as the snow falls outside, I never lose the love of watching it cover the landscape, layering the canopy of the trees and accenting the many leaf shapes and branches through the garden! I love to see the excitement of it falling even if it is too cold to venture outside it is like being sat in our own snow globe!

Somehow yesterdays visit to the local charity shop solved my sewing dilemma as I found a sewing box for £4 which had three full packs of craft needles, with 2 scissors and a large selection of cotton reels in a variety of colours. Now we can all work together on our samplers, the needles themselves would have been £10 so, I was really pleased to have taken the time to ask as the box and contents would have cost a lot more to build up myself!

Anyway this means when my fabric arrives I will have plenty of threads to sew up my projects, I just need some base fabric to build them on and some wadding. So whatever your weekend project enjoy a peaceful Saturday!

As per request I have posted mine and my daughters samplers, for a six year old I think it is a master piece (the flower pot)…Mine has texture but is no great work, it is a work in progress, as is my larger project which I have paused as I need a few extra supplies!

Happy Crafting

Cheryl