Gardening projects… and horsetail

The bulbs have been planted… or most of them have. Unfortunately it looks as if it will be too cold this weekend to go digging and planting the last of my bulbs. Still, not to worry – a couple of warmer days next week are enough.

Meanwhile I got a couple of gardening projects going. Continue reading

Bulbs under the hedge

For the past few weeks I’ve spent time digging tiny and not-so-tiny holes in the ground in my garden… planting bulbs. If you’ve visited my blog before you may have noticed I wrote I don’t have that much space, so where do I leave bulbs?

Flower bulbs

Bags and bags of flower bulbs… these are a couple I selected for the back yard. These didn’t all fit exactly under the hedge.

Continue reading

September strawberry blossom

So this past week I checked on several plants in the garden… and noticed one of the strawberry plants was flowering for the second time this year.

september strawberry flowers

Well-hidden september strawberry flowers

Continue reading

After strawberries come plums… already?

For the past week we’ve been eating plums for dessert almost every day. It’s come as a bit of a surprise to this urban person! The label said “harvest in August” and yet I found myself wondering why a couple of plums had dropped from the tree at the start of July.

plums

After rescuing a couple from the gentle critters that would have cleaned the fruits up – woodlouse in English, they also tend to eat strawberries when they can get at them in wet weather, and slugs – I washed them, cut them open to check the inside, smelled them, and ate them.

These plums are ripe.

Wow. They’re ripe – over a month before they were ‘supposed to be’. So out I went with any kind of bowl or pot I happened to have. And picked about fifteen plums. And told my husband, and put our son in his bed. When I came downstairs said husband had picked another dozen.

After having gained that little bit of knowledge about strawberries “strawberries don’t ripen after they’re picked”, apparently, I was a bit alarmed by the fact that some of the plums looked decidedly unripe. I needn’t have worried – plums do ripen rather well if the temperature is high. Which was probably what had led to our early harvest.

Do you happen to have a good recipe for plum pie?

So we’ve eaten a big bowl of plums by now and I know that for next year I really want a good recipe for plum pie. I’ve had some wonderful pies in Germany over the years. The cherry pie I once decided would make a great lunch (cherry layer: two inches) wasn’t bad either! But I don’t think we have room for a cherry tree as well. Oh well.

For now we’ll just have to munch our way through our harvest. So far we’ve combined plums with strawberries (from the shop, unfortunately – ours have run out), and yoghurt. I think they’ll be great with banana. All in all we have been having more fruit than usual. And that’s our first harvest from the plum tree!

There’s still some fruit on the tree and there must be around twenty plums on the ground and in the box hedge near it. They’re already half-eaten, so I’ll leave them where they are expecting that the nutrients will end up back in the soil at some point.

P.S. Looks like the peas want harvesting. Investigate tomorrow. I hope. Unless we get another month’s worth of rain pouring down – again.

Pea party? Lessons from my garden

Early this spring – in March – I discovered two pea plants in the garden. After racking my brain I remembered I’d chucked a couple of peas into the garden after leaving them too long so they’d turned into dry peas of their own accord.

Lesson one: peas are easy to dry.

Do absolutely nothing for best results. If, on the other hand, you mean to eat the peas, don’t wait when the pods start to turn yellow or the plants start to get dry. It’s the end of their season. Harvest and enjoy, or wait and collect seeds (dried peas) for next year.

A while later, I found only one pea plant among all the other plants (including narcissae, unplanned grass, and loads of ‘weeds’). It had happily used the other plants as support – peas will knot thin strands around anything they find and grow on. The other plant had probably been eaten by slugs hiding in the dense undergrowth. The remaining plant gave us several pods of deliciously sweet and tender peas.

Lesson two: peas from your own garden taste at least ten times better than the stuff that comes in tins.

Last year I left some peas half-covered in a muddy pot for days before getting round to planting them. I found many of the peas had developed roots by then. So this year I decided to put a handful of peas from a bag that had been open for two years in a bowl. First, I let them soak for a night. The next day I did this:

peas in a bowl

Peas nice and snug in a bowl next to the kitchen sink

Continue reading

Spring is here. Definitely

Our small town garden is busily trying to spiral out of control. That’s spring where I live!
Fortunately, I love to watch stuff grow. But keeping up with the weeds (that is, finding a use for most of them in our limited space) is a bit of a challenge. In

Gaia’s garden

, a book about permaculture, is a chapter called ‘Pop’ goes the garden. I suppose it’s wonderful if that happens to a patch of neglected or poor soil. Around these parts, however, it’s a yearly feat which usually means it’s time to put your wellies on.
The strawberries are flowering like mad – but they’re hiding their bounty under big leaves thrust upward to catch more of the sun’s rays. I’m really hoping that it either won’t rain too much – soaking their roots – or the shrubs and tree nearby will lap it up as quickly as it falls.
Being in the garden in the evening means I don’t get around to blogging very often. So I’m writing this post while commuting by train. Perhaps I should try blogging while I’m in the garden?
One thing about evening gardening: as the light fades, faint noises can be heard between the shrubs and leaf litter. It’s snails and slugs coming out for dinner, or possibly breakfast. It’s quite possible we have ‘a lack of (slug-eating) ducks’ but last time they visited I shooed them off because I don’t need that particular kind of action in my rather small backyard…

Update: all weathers including rain and storm this week. Need to keep an eye on the plum tree because its branches were flopping all over the place. Prune those, or risk losing plums next year by branches getting ripped off.

On the plus side… well, let’s say next time I’ll explain why I’m up to my eyeballs in pea plantlets :)