21 Feb 2014

It's been a good week

There are many things that can make a week nice to look back on. Sometimes a good week is just a productive week.  Or it's a week when nice things happen.  Or a week can be good because I'm able to get outdoors in the dry - working in sunshine under blue skies is a definite bonus.  The past seven days have, rather magically, brought all three.


To start with I'd just made a very delicious pear frangipane tart (we do good snacks in my house) when the postman brought a copy of Charles Dowding's Veg Journal which I'd won in Flighty's giveaway.  It  is a book stuffed with practical advice which I'm thoroughly enjoying reading - and with perfect timing for the veg growing year. The next post brought more loveliness from Flighty: I'd admired the marigolds (Flighty's Favourites!) that he grows on his plot and he kindly sent some seeds, together with a few cosmos seeds, to provide a riot of colour in my intended cuttings patch.

In north London this past week, the weather has been damp and breezy rather than wet and wild.  Over the last four days, and especially last Sunday, the sun has shone (at least for part of the day).  A bit of warmth and hint of sun is all it takes to spur me into action. As ever, there were plenty of jobs waiting to be done. A few raised beds still needing to be cleared, refilled and fenced off against use as an animal toilet; new beds needed to be built from kits ordered last year, lavender bushes needed to be trimmed back and plants moved out of the wind.

~ Raised bed being put together in my living room! ~
Most boxes were ticked by close of play on Sunday, although there are still two of the existing beds to be fenced and two smaller raised beds to be built when I have some more corner posts. (These smaller slug-proof beds were discounted in a sale, probably because of the chunky metal brackets holding the sides together - they just wouldn't tighten enough and left a large gap for the slugs to get through! I've thrown the brackets away and am screwing the sides into 2x2 corner posts. And then lining them (to keep soil in as they're being placed on paving slabs). With the copper tape around the sides, I'm expecting seriously nearly slug proof now!

~ Cerinthe pot has been moved next to new cold frame ~
One of the smaller beds became a cold frame; I left off one of the upper planks so that the sun can reach the plants inside and attached a fleece cover.  I can't use glass in a community garden - too easily broken!  My 'plants of shame' - the ones bought but not planted out yet - have been temporarily rehomed there, leaving the vacated bed free for my beans.

While the rain held off, I was inspired to complete one last project.  There's a 12 inch wide path that runs down the centre of the veg patch.  That's really not very wide, even for my size 4 feet and, once plants start to burst their boundaries, it becomes a tripping hazard. So, as I refurbish each raised bed, I'm pushing it back nearer the surrounding low brick wall.  It's a small distance of about 6 inches but, once edged with a few bricks, the central path becomes much easier to navigate.  I've pushed back a couple of beds so far and starting this simple job has given me immense satisfaction - not least because I've discovered handfuls of worms with every shovel of damp soil that I shifted.

It was great to be able to stay out in the garden for best part of the day.  I keep reading or hearing about the therapeutic effects of gardening or just being outdoors in nature and it's quite amazing to me how five or six hours can just slip by without notice and, despite hours of work, I just feel nicely knackered by the end of the day.  Nothing a hot bath with a bit of Radox can't sort out! Plus there's the satisfaction of knowing that I'm a little bit more ready for when the sowing starts.

32 comments:

  1. Lovely post and thank you for sharing

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    1. Thanks Linda! I always find something in the garden that I want to share with the blogging community!

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  2. Wonderful, how nice to hear about some gardening after all of our winter weather. I'll be doing some soon too I'm sure. I won a copy of that book as well, and Flighty sent me some seeds, blogland is a wonderful place isn't it?

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    1. I'm more getting ready and tidying rather than actual gardening (although I did do the lavender and have transplanted some herbs…) The next job is figuring out how to squeeze in all I want to grow! Blogland is a great community - even when I get too busy, I don't think I could give up my blog! Hope you're able to get some gardening done soon - wellies on, I think!

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  3. This is where raised beds really come into their own, it's still far too wet to garden here. Slug proofing is a good idea. I have a feeling there will be a lot of them about this year!

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    1. I'm seeing quite a few baby slugs which I swiftly terminate but there will be plenty more lurking, I'm sure! They manage to get into some of my older raised beds on soil, sneaking in underneath I think! There's really no stopping them. The new raised beds have been set up on concrete paving slabs but if it's not slugs, it'll be pigeons!

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  4. You already prepare your garden. I always dreaming to have wooden raised beds. But they will never stand on longer in my hot humid climate :(

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    1. I think you do very well, Endah, with your various containers - you certainly don't seem short of crops in your garden!

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    1. Yes! It was!! (Didn't last long once my son had found it!!)

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  6. Sounds like a perfect week Caro, and your wider path is going to be so much nicer to work from and use, amazing how much difference a few inches can make. Please can you send me some of that frangipane, it looks fabulous and I'm feeling a mite peckish. It would tide me over until I get my soup made nicely! Enjoy your 'Flighty's Mix', it makes a really pretty show.

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    1. I love frangipane tart (or anything with almonds in!) so I'll happily swop a bowl of nice healthy soup for a slice as I'm putting on rather too much weight! Once I get into the swing of gardening again, it will be so much better for me - there's something a bit too satisfying about baking in cold weather!

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  7. It sounds like you've had a great week. The Charles Dowding book is really interesting, isn't it? I can see that it will be one I keep dipping in to for useful information. Glad you're managing to spend some time outdoors, the new gardening season will be upon us before we know it.

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    1. I'm very pleased to have received a copy of Charles Dowding's book, Jo. It's full of good advice and it's always good to read the words of an experienced grower. We'll all be back in our gardens or allotments soon, I hope!

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  8. The sunshine makes such a difference doesn't it and it's so warm on the back too! So good to get out into the garden once more after such a long time. It's good that you got so much done, I will have to wait a bit longer to get onto the lawn, it is still sodden, so there is a limit to how much we can do standing on paths.I'm very envious of your pear frangipane tart, it looks so yummy!

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    1. I've tried to get out into the garden throughout the winter, Pauline and this year it's been mild enough to do that. There was one week of bitter cold and, of course, lots of rain, but generally I've been able to get little bits done. Very wise of you to stay off the lawn; I'm doing the same with the borders until things have dried out a bit - no point in compacting the soil! The pear was rather too easy to make and, yes, it was yummy - thank you!

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  9. Does sound like one of the better days.

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    1. Good days are to be treasured in a month of storms and gales, Sue!

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  10. A most enjoyable post. A week like that is always welcome, and especially so at this time of year. Thank's for both mentions, and for the seeds that you sent me.
    I like the look of that cold frame and really must get round to getting, or making a couple. Flighty xx

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    1. Ah, Flighty, you're welcome - and thank you once again for the book and seeds. I'm really pleased that I've finally made a cold frame, I think it will earn it's keep very well and was relatively simple to make. Cxx

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  11. It's fab to be able to do things for the garden again isn't it, I'm sure Flighty's marigolds are growing far & wide throughout GB by now.

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    1. I kept reading about Flighty's Favourites on other blogs last summer so I'm thrilled to be able to sow a few of my own this year!!

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  12. Now that kind of a week is right up my street! Wonderful, I totally agree, you just can't beat being outdoors and getting jobs out of the way. The rain held off here today and I managed to get a few hours outdoors....so lovely to hear the birds singing. I love your cold frame, hubs is promising to make me one from an old pallet....xxx

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    1. Oh I know what you mean about hearing the birds again. I have trees right under my 2nd floor windows and LOVE it when I can hear the birds singing. They stayed away after the plane trees were chopped back but seem to be gradually returning now which is just lovely. I heard a very loud blue tit singing the other morning in the sunshine, such a treat! Cold frame from old pallet sounds like brilliant recycling to me! Quite tough to get the old nails out though - good luck with that! Show us when done!

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  13. Glad that you have been able to get outside Caro and potter to your heart's content - such activity certainly makes the world seem a better place. That tart looks a perfect treat - I imagine that it has all been demolished by now :)

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    1. Thanks, Anna - pottering is definitely my number one hobby, especially in sunshine! Even better if friends stop by for a chat, although sometimes I prefer to garden in solitude - I get more done that way! And yes, tart all quickly eaten up!!

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  14. Sounds like your week was more than good Caro, it was perfect :) you've achieved loads and had a great time too! And tart looks absolutely delicious!

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    1. It was definitely one to look back on with a smile, guys! The tart was a new one to me (I like trying new recipes) and was worth the effort of making it, it was very very nice!

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  15. I left a comment before but it doesn't seem to have appeared! Love the look of your tart and the plate really sets it off a treat. Getting out and doing a bit is a joy as long as the rain stays away - I haven't really done anything much so far but long to get back in the swing of it.

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    1. How mysterious! Your first comment didn't appear at this end, that'll be Blogger up to its old tricks again! The pear tart has had lots of notice, I might have to post the recipe as it's not hard to make - and even easier to eat!! Lucky the weather is slightly perking up, I was beginning to spend too much time in the kitchen baking and eating - I need a good workout in the garden now!! Hope the weather allows you back into the garden soon - exciting times!!

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  16. Yes, it's the weather that makes the difference. A bit of sunshine soons gets the gardeners outside! I've been doing a lot of tidying up too - removing huge quantities of twigs, leaves and pine-needles which had been deposited by all the storms. I also had fun re-arranging all the flowerpots to make the best ones more prominent - e.g. the ones with flowering daffs, crocuses, primroses etc. I even sowed a row of Broad Beans too - under the cover of my long cloches.

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    1. A good sweep up makes a huge difference, Mark! I've done the same here with very satisfying results. I envy you your long cloches but fear if I put those down here they wouldn't stay put for long! I'm putting some broad beans in soon and starting peas in modules - fresh veg here we come!!

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Caro x

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