Showing posts from December, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Here's to a good Christmas for you and yours and may the sentiment expressed on the pictured Christmas decoration come true.

Veg Plotting will return in the New Year.

Announcing The 52 Week Salad Challenge

This post proves procrastination can pay because it was borne out of idle pondering instead of writing my Christmas cards on Sunday. My thinking went thus:

I really should grow more of what we like to eat.

What do we eat all the time?

Salads. At least 4 days a week, that's what...

...and they're really expensive at this time of the year...

Why don't I grow more of them then?

a) Because I'm pants at successional sowing - I get to our summer holiday and never get going again

b) I'm not really making the best use of the resources I have - cold frames, cloches, windowsill growing kit, sprouting kit - what a waste!

c) I'm not making the best use of the techniques I know about either - forcing/blanching, microgreens, cut and come again, sprouting - why's that?

I wonder if I can grow salad leaves year round?

I'm bound to fail going by my past record :(

So I then tweeted the fateful tweet:

@Malvernmeet we eat salad at least 4x a week. I'm contemplating a 52 week sala…

Worrying Times on the Plot

My allotment shed - in warmer and sunnier times

This week my plot's shed was one of 13 broken into, which now means there's 13 unsolved crimes added to our local police's statistics.

The first I heard about it was on Wednesday when I was telephoned by the local police. It was snowing at the time, so I wasn't able to get up there until yesterday to see what had happened.

As I suspected, I was lucky. I don't keep anything up there I would miss if it was taken, so all I had to do was close the door. Sadly my new allotment neighbours' spanking new shed had a neat hole where the padlock had been torn off. They weren't there at the time (no-one else was either) so I don't know if they or anyone else had anything taken.

We've not had a break-in for a few years and the colder, darker days means our site like so many others was less attended than usual. It must have been far too tempting a site for anyone looking for valuables to enhance their Christmas seas…

GBBD: Hangers on and a Few Surprises

November and early December have continued in their unseasonably warm spell of strangeness, so there's still the remains of summer blooms amongst the usual death and decay. Last week our first proper frost finally took away last month's Fine Fuchsias, but I couldn't resist showing off September's Echinops flower heads again. The morning sunlight was highlighting them so beautifully a couple of days ago.
The ever reliable Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' still has the odd flower head* to show for its troubles and the perennial Nemesia 'Vanilla Lady' I bought at Malvern is taking advantage of the extra warmth by my patio doors. The big surprise is the giant potted summer pelargonium in my north facing front garden. It's still flowering away when its companion New Guinea Impatiens have turned to mush.
The garden feels very in-betweenish because many of the reliable winter flowers are still in bud. The Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty' is being very sh…

Here's Some I Made Earlier

Following yesterday's review of the Brother garden labeller, here's some examples of the different kinds of labels I produced. Click to enlarge if necessary.
I've added some text in red, so you can easily see some of the examples I want to point out as follows:
A = Largest size text, normal label width B = Repeated text set up as for A but with the printing set to 2 lines at the start of the text entry and the margin set to smallest (note the : at the start of the label is to denote where to cut so the label has even margins)
Numbers 1-4 are examples of me messing around with the settings to save tape as follows:
1 = 2 line entry, repeat label option set to 9 (with text settings as for A) 2 = 2 line entry set at the start of text entry, text size = small and repeated text entered twice. The chain entry print option was used 3 times, and also shows how the last label is cut in two if the print feed option isn't taken for the last label 3= 2 line entry where the space between t…

Brother Garden Labeller: Product Review

I was recently sent the pictured Brother garden labeller to review and my inner geek has thoroughly enjoyed making all kinds of labels for both my garden and office supplies.

Using the labeller

It's very portable and easy to use. Labels can be produced quickly without really needing to read the enclosed instruction leaflet as it's very much like using a calculator. However, if you want to make full use of the functionality available, then the leaflet is most useful. For example, gardeners may want to use italics and quote marks so their labels follow plant naming conventions.
Text entered and any setting adjustments are saved when the machine is switched off, so it's worth getting into the habit of resetting everything at the start of the next session. This is very easy to do, as is using the function keys to select fresh settings or using the special characters available. The back of the unit has a handy quick function key and shortcut reference label, so it's easy to …

The Story Behind the Name

I'm often asked how Veg Plotting and VP came about and Garden Faerie's recent meme, the Story Behind the Name is the perfect excuse to blog about it :)
We need to go back to just over four years ago... to a dark, rainy early November day with the wind wailing around the house like a banshee...
NAH was away and I was bored. Crucially I'd decided my then career break from work was going to have to be a permanent move (it was the deadline day for letting them know if I was going to return) and had just written my formal resignation letter.
I'd also decided I wanted to do something new to celebrate my now unemployed status, and so I was trawling the internet to find a nice weekend away. Instead I found The Bath Crafting Cranny. I liked her style and humour, the fact she was local to me and I loved the blogs she linked to, especially My Tiny Plot.
I wonder what it takes to start a blog? I pondered. A quick Google and 5 minutes later Veg Plotting was born. Bits and Bobs and Veg …

Trendwatch 2012: Honey I...

Pretty much everything's been said already about the Garden Media Guild Awards last Wednesday, so instead I've trawled through the new products catalogue in my goody bag for what might be hitting the shops next year. The main trend I spotted was everything's getting smaller, so with a nod to a certain film, here's several ideas to look out for...
Honey I Shrunk the Compost - several companies are taking pity on us (and their lorry loads) and drastically reducing the weight of their compost. I hope they work better than the similar peat based equivalent did a few years ago. I wonder how well this version will rewet and swell up to the proper size.
Honey I Shrunk the Gardening Space - in recognition that over 70% of us have much smaller gardens nowadays and use various pots and windowboxes instead, there's a special rebranded seed range designed to fill them.
Honey I Shrunk the Gardening - everything's happening at the root zone level and with mycorrhizal funghi. Fr…

How to Receive Your Wiggly Wigglers Bouquet

What could be better to receive on a gloomy, rainy November day than a lovely big seasonal bouquet of fresh British flowers courtesy of Wiggly Wigglers via Fuelmyblog? Here are my top tips to get them from box to vase and ensure the resultant smile stays there as long as possible...
Find a big space to open the box and process the flowers. Keep the box upright just like the delivery man did.

Open the lid and look at what's packed inside. Smile. A lot :D

I was curious to see how the packaging was holding the bouquet in place, so placed the box on its side and opened the bottom of the box. There's a reason for that big This Way Up arrow I showed you earlier: it stops the water from the bouquet's pouch spilling all over the place.
Here you can see how well wrapped and tied the bouquet is, plus the pouch of water to ensure it stays fresh. And yes, those dots on the tissue paper are there to tell you it was raining when I took these photos...
Remove all the protective w…

GBMD: Miriam Rothschild

Sunlight through Clematis seedhead - late November 2011
I must say, I find everything interesting
Miriam Rothschild (1908-2005)
A quotation found via Transatlantic Gardener which could be a strapline for me and this blog :)