Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gardening 2013

I don't seem to have posted about gardening yet this year. I kept forgetting to take a garden at the beginning of the month photo, so I totally lost impetus with it. Then Spring took so long arriving, for ages there wasn't much to photograph!

Since then I've made quite a bit of progress though, even if a lot of plants are still about a month behind in growing terms, and the tulips are only just dying down.

The strawberries I propagated last year have finally flowered and are growing fruit, so I've now covered them in little cages to stop the birds eating all the fruit this year(!). I'm allergic to strawberries, but the OH didn't get to eat one last year!

This is my raised bed, with square metre gardening attempt one on the go. This contains garlic, shallots, broad beans (2 sowings), purple sprouting broccoli, salad leaves (4 varieties, 2 sowings), plus marigolds and nasturtiums to attract pollinating insects and hopefully distract the aphids. Everything but the broccoli I've grown from seed - the broccoli plants were reduced to 20p at Homebase!

The broad beans are a dwarf variety but it's been so windy they kept flopping over on top of other things so I ended up staking them anyway.

I'm rather pleased with how that square has gone. This is the square a month ago. The square to the left of it is a little further behind and has later sowings of salad leaves, radishes, broad beans, plus beetroot and cauliflower in it.

 I've also planted up containers of herbs to have near the kitchen door: thyme, rosemary, lavender, mint (2 varieties), bergamot, chives and parsley. There are also four tomato plants here as well, but they've only just flowered. And we've created a sitting-out area on the patio, with a new little table, plus some fuchsias I grew from cuttings taken last year, a rose that has moved house with me from Newark and a heuchera that just refuses to grow planted in the border.

All of that gardening is new this year, and I'm glad to finally get vegetables more into production than before. Both of our apple trees are also covered in fruit this year, so we should hopefully get a crop (they were planted 2.5 years ago, but we removed all the fruit in the first year to let the roots develop and the small harvest was eaten by something last year!).

Knitting and holiday updates to follow!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Of kitchens and heffalumps and other knitted things

I haven't really disappeared off the face of the earth. I've just been a teeny tiny bit distracted by having a new kitchen. Little did I realise how disruptive this was going to be, or how long it was going to take, plus all the new muscles I'd develop carting the contents of the kitchen upstairs to store, and then back down again afterwards.

The old kitchen

The other side of the old kitchen

All the planning, disruption and work has been well well worth it though, as the new kitchen is both lovely and light, as well as giving us more storage space and being easier to clean.

The new gleaming kitchen

Lots of storage space!

I have got quite a lot of knitting done, although it had to happen around all the dust and everything else. We had to eat out every night for about three weeks (ouch) which cut into the time I had available. My main project during this time was a present for my nephew, who had suddenly requested a soft toy for his seventh birthday - a bit of a surprise, as I'd been expecting a list of Desired Lego.

I'd wanted an excuse to knit the Elijah pattern by Ysolda Teague, and this looked like the perfect opportunity. Heffalump was knitted using Sirdar Countrystyle DK so he'd be machine washable. The pattern is great - no sewing up as you pick up stitches and knit in the round so it's a very fun pattern and was quite quick to make. I made a label to go with him too.

 I've also made some more progress with my Aeolian Shawl, and have finished the first section of the pattern, although there's still a long, long, long way to go. We received an invite to a wedding in mid-June, and I had thought about getting it finished in time to wear for that, then realised that is a bit of a vain hope as I just won't have time!

And I got my Froot Loop socks finished - this has been my default easy and portable pattern for knitting group/taking on the train etc so these got finished relatively quickly. I still really like the cheap and cheerful yarn (going to be interesting to see how well it washes), and the pattern is fun - 4 round repeat so easy to memorize.

That's all for now - but I still have various gardening updates to blog about, as well as some yarn shopping expedition(s)!