Monday, 27 July 2009

The Hooke ‘n Crooke™

Last week I got a comment from an helpful guy call Scott at Holdredge Enterprises, LLC. It was about a couple of hoes they have on sale there. Of course Tom and I can’t recommend them because before Tom can give them his T-Rusty seal of approval we have to work with the product for a while so that we are sure that what we tell you about it is right and proper as we wouldn’t want you to go wasting your money. However I have looked closely at these tools and read what it says about them on the website and I have to say that I would be interested in trying one as the design looks good to me from what I can see of it and it’s not dissimilar to my favourite hoe. Anyway as I did a series on hoes I thought I would pass this on to you so here is a link to their site so you can check it out for yourselves. This is a company from the USA and I don't know if they ship abroad or not.

Below are a couple of pictures of the hoes they offer, one is a hand hoe and the other a long handle hoe.

Friday, 24 July 2009

From Our Own Garden (Week 29).

This is the latest view of the hanging basket project that I've been doing this summer. As you can see even with the bad weather we've been having its not filling out too badly. To see the whole project follow the labels (Hanging Basket Project).

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Fruit Garden (Week 29) Blackberry.

This week in the fruit garden I am going to show you the cultivated Blackberry that I have growing against the north facing wall. The fruit are not ready for picking yet, the time for that is around September just in time to make Blackberry and Apple pies. This variety is a thornless Blackberry so no problems with those thorns.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

From The Greenhouse (Week 29).

This year for the first time ever I’ve grown Aubergines. I have them growing in the greenhouse border with the Tomatoes and they seem to be doing okay and am pleased to see my first Aubergine growing nicely now.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Conservatory (Week 29).

This week in the conservatory I am going to show you the grapes we have growing there. As you can see in the picture these are black grapes and are just starting to ripen. The root of the vine is outside and the main trunk comes in to the conservatory through a hole in the wall. We grow them this way because its good for the root to be subjected to the different seasons. The whole plant can survive outdoors but it would not be as advanced and the fruit would probably get frosted before it had time to mature so we grow the plant indoors where it starts sooner and grows faster so giving us some fruit later on.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Applying Encarsia Formosa.

A couple of weeks ago I got some Encarsia Formosa which is a parasitic wasp for controlling whitefly indoors. Today I will show you how they arrived and what I then had to do with them.

The package arrives and the first thing that you notice is the label warning of livestock in the envelope.

Thankfully the enclosed livestock are very small and not likely to stampede or anything once released from the package.

In the package there are a few leaflets telling how to apply the Encarsia

Which are stuck on to ten small cards, at this point they are living in whitefly pupae, sixty per card.

The Encarsia eventually hatch and then fly off looking for fresh whitefly pupae to infect and so this goes on until there will hopefully be no more whitefly left. I have to say that at the moment there is not much sign of this happening anytime soon but I guess you have to be patient.
To deploy the Encarsia you hang the cards on the plants and that’s it, job done.

By the way don’t worry about the Encarsia, they don’t hurt people, in fact they’re that small you can’t even see them, they aren’t like the big black and yellow wasps you see in the garden or house.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

A Fruity Tip.

This is a little tip that I’m going to show you that makes life easier for me when picking fruit, Raspberries in particular. It doesn’t work so well with fruit that you pick while bending over, taller Black Currant bushes are another thing I’ve used it on with great success.
What I have in my hand is an ex-army ammo pouch.

This one clips on to my belt (which is covered by the shirt) that I wear all the time to hold up my trousers.

You could find something along the same lines to do the same job at a hiking store or similar. I like this one because I don’t need a separate belt also its pretty stiff canvas which as you can see doesn’t crush anything you put in there.

Then when you have it full all you need to do is take it off and tip the contents in to something larger and then set too and refill the pouch – hopefully many times over because I think most of us like our fresh soft fruits.

I’ve used this method for many years and find it handy not having to use one hand to hold a tray or whatever, it leaves both hands free for picking the fruit.

Friday, 17 July 2009

Fish & Chip Night.

As you can see my cup overflows with summer rain.

So I spent all day titivating the conservatory plants.

Vicki has just called to say she is on her way home with dinner which on a Friday is take-away fish and chips so I must not linger any longer, however tempting your company may be its nought compared to fish and chips.
Take care and have a great weekend,

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Flower Garden (Week 28).

This week from the flower garden I’m going to show you the Verbena bonariensis that we have growing. It’s not in a border as such and is growing from a paved area along with some Verbascums, I also have a few plants in the veg garden to attract the bees and butterflies. This is an easy plant to grow provided you can get it to over winter as it’s only really half hardy. The safe bet is to take off a few seeds and bring on for the following year either in a frost free place. It likes to grow in full sun in a lightly moist to dry location.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Conservatory (Week 28).

From the conservatory this week I'm going to show you a pelargonium called 'Red Pandora'. Its what's know as a tulip flowered pelargonium due to the way the flowers are like little tulips. Or at least I assume thats the reason. I've had this plant a couple of years now and almost lost it last winter due to over watering. I've since revived it and managed to get a couple of cutting rooted from it which is always a good thing to do with a plant that you value.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Fruit Garden (Week 28).

In the fruit garden we still have plenty of Raspberries coming on and then later there will be the Autumn ones as well. The ones you see in this picture are the main crop variety, or at least I think they are. I'm not sure because they are the original ones that were here when I came, since then I've added a row of earlies and a row of autumn fruiting ones. If you look closely in the picture you will also spot an early variety of bindweed that I have growing in that part of the garden.

Also ripe for picking at the moment are the Cherries, these are another addition made since I came here, I would like to add another tree on the north facing all sometime so as to spread the fruiting season.

Monday, 13 July 2009

The Wallflowers Are Coming On.

Hello everyone, the other week I told you I'd sown my Wallflowers so this week I am going to show you the results of my labours. As you will see there are quite a lot of them and very soon now I will have to dig them up and transplant them at around four inches apart so they can grow on for the summer ready to be planted out in the right place for spring. Also I will soon have to be making a sowing of Pansies which are also for next spring. Pansies do best if you can keep them cool which isn't easy to do at this time of year so if you only want a few its best to buy them at planting time. If you're buying from seed catalogues or similar then it doesn't hurt to get your order in now.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Some Answers

BloggerOver the past week or so some of you have asked me questions which I will answer tonight. The answers to the questions are next to and under the name of the person who asked them.

EB Said in a comment about the standard Rosemary getting top heavy and prone to blowing over. I think she is right and a problem I have all the time with my standard Fuchsia’s.

Yes Tippy did like the soft food I gave here instead of the pork pie, she had rice pudding which is one of her favourites.

The weather station is okay, it links to my computer. I got into recording the weather because of blogging, to give people an idea of what the climate is like. The trouble with the weather station is that we only have a small sheltered garden so you don’t really get proper wind readings, the rain gauge is accurate and temps are okay although again because the garden is sheltered I think they are a couple of degrees higher than out in the open.

Sara asked if dead heading Day Lilies makes them produce more flowers. I’m not really sure to be honest. When you look at the flower spikes it seems that the flowers are already there so taking off dead ones won’t make much difference to the amount of blooms produced. One thing removing dead flowers will do however is make the plant look tidier. I will tell you now that I don’t take off any dead flowers as a rule but that’s because of a lack of time more than anything else.

Matron has asked me how doing my own garden compares to doing the one at work. Well it’s a lot different. For one thing Vicki does most of the work in our garden, I cut the lawn and the hedges and plant up some of the pots, also at home I’m not as fussy. From reading about my work you probably think I’m a right fuss pot going round making sure everything is always neat and tidy but away from work I am totally opposite, it doesn’t bother me the same if everything isn’t just so.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Training The Passion Flower.

Hello everyone, today I have been doing a bit of work at home, one job in particular was training the Passion Flower to go up rather than down - that darn gavity playing havoc again.

It had got so you could hardly see through the sitting room windows so I put some wire on the wall and fastened all the lose ends up to it.

Then quite a bit of this afternoon was spent watching the qualifying for the German Grand Prix tomorrow which was quite interesting in that it kept on lightly raining so this caused everyone to have to get their thinking caps on as to what tyres to use.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Lazy Bob.

Hello everyone, I had a good day today. I started off by doing some potting up because it was raining or at least it was to wet to make a start on the mowing. I start potting on some cuttings and then there were some pot plants in need of climbing the potting up ladder and to finish off I saw this Rosemary plant I had raised from a seedling and I suddenly got the urge to try and train it as a standard. I can’t recall having seen one as a standard although if it can be done no doubt it has and if it can’t be done for some reason then I guess I’m wasting my time trying.

The Rosemary, it may appear to be just a stick but I dream of a great future for it!

As things had dried up by tea break I cut the main lawn and all the public lawns. Mowing the lawns always seems to be a bit of a challenge one way or another, (which is what I enjoy), usually because it’s such a close call trying to get it all done in the day, last week of course there was the tremendous heat to contend with, wrestling with big bertha on the main lawn had me sweating cobs as she is definitely a heavy metal kinda girl. This week the challenge was to get done what I had to do before the next shower brought things to a halt. I got the main lawn cut but ended up finishing the courtyard with the rain bouncing down. Thankfully it was now time for lunch so I was able to get a change of shirt. This afternoon I spend sitting out in the sun in the deck chair in the potting shed yard listening to music picking off black currants.

I always used to pick them straight off the bush but someone told me you can prune off the shoots with the currants on and pick them that way. I was a bit dubious at first, it seemed too easy but it seems to work, the fact that I was picking off berries today proves it as I did the same thing last year, and I’m not boasting when I say this but since I came here the currant bushes have improved no end so I must be doing something right. Of course you have to be sensible, I don’t wade in hacking the whole bush down, I do prune back to a new shoot and all the usual stuff. If I remember right the currants are produced on new shoots put up for the base of the plant so removing the old wood with the berries on encourages the new shoot so I think that’s basically how it works. Anyway I enjoyed my lazy afternoon in the sun. By the way red and white currants grow different to black currants so don’t try this with either of them or you would probably have no fruit next year.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Day Lily Close-up.

Hi Everyone, I hope your day was as good as mine. The day started with an interesting new project for me and finished with getting some weeding done and there were lots of other gardening done in between which was good as I hate things to start backing up on me.

Vicki is out tonight so I got my own dinner and sat for a bit watching the World Touring Car race that I had recorded from last weekend. Its not my favourite series to watch but its okay to pass the time.

Vicki wants the Passion flower training up the front of the house and I'm in two minds whether to do that now although I tend to think I won't as I have to take Tom for his walk yet which usually has two options, a short walk to the farm and back or a full two mile spin round the block, I sorta favour the latter tonight.

I did take you load of pics of todays proceedings but I can't really be bothered with them so I will probably put them on some other time but I will post a close up of the Day Lily flower as I promised I would last night.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Day Lily (Hemerocallis).

Hello everyone, how are you all doing today? This week from the flower garden I’m going to show you some of the Day Lily (Hemerocallis) that we have growing. These flower throughout July and in to August. If planting some yourself anytime do so spacing them 18 inches apart. They will live in most types of soil and in full sun as these are, or in partial shade. They don’t like dryness at the roots so add plenty of compost before planting and if the weather is dry you may water them well. Other than that you should have little trouble growing them. Sorry for the lack of a close up but my batteries went dead after I took this but I will try and remember to get a close up tomorrow.

Thank you those who wished Tippy well, she is much better tonight and was even after a piece of pork pie, I had to refuse though as I didn't want the hard crust to hurt her mouth. she had a couple of double rooted and one triple rooted tooth out besides the five single rooted teeth at the front so as you can imagine it must have been quite sore so I'm giving her soft food for a while.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

June Weather.

Here are the weather stats for June, these readings are local to my garden and are not Met Office approved or anything like that.

Maximun Temperature 31 C (88 F)
Minimum Temperature 7 C (44 F)
Number of continous days without rain for this month is 4 days on two occasions between the 1st and 4th, and the 23rd to the 26th.
The most rain to fall in a 24 hour period was 39 mm (1.53 inches)
The total rainfall for the month was 83 mm (3.26 inches)

Inspite of all the rain I don't feel it was an unpleasant month for gardening as most of it fell during the night and was good for any planting that had been carried out, also the temps were good for establishing plants.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Cutting The Holly Hedge.

Today has been the hotest day of the year here in Yorkshire, the last hotest day before this as you will probably have noticed in my sidebar was at the begining of June. When I used to be on the farm I didn't like days like this but now I like them, they make the garden look so much better and make life a lot easier. The only think I don't like about days like this though is the salt in my eyes from sweating so much all the time.

For the past two days I've been trimming all the hedges in the main garden, the biggest of which was the Holly hedge at the back of the flower border. There was also a beech hadge and numerous shrubs that are kept trimmed.

At the back side there is a fifteen foot drop down to the road so I have to stand on the flat wall to trim the back and the top. Its okay and easier to cut them a lot of the ones I have to do.

The pool finally got filled up with water, I just have to figure out what what chemicals it needs in it now.