Patch from Scratch December’09 – January‘10 – Organic vegetable gardening

With our new baby arriving soon and so many people away over the summer we have decided to let this newsletter cover January as well.

We finally got our chickens last weekend, Bella and Rose. One is a Sussex and the other a Barred rock.  We are going to be using their manure to put lots of goodness in the soil and getting them to clean out the vege beds once their crops are finished.  Of course there are the eggs too, although Miss Renee thinks they will be hatching into chicks.  I think one baby to look after will be enough for now, maybe next year we can venture down that road!

I planted a patch of sweetcorn a couple of months back and it is looking fantastic.  I’ve planted some melon seedlings in amongst it which are going to meander in all the free space at ground level.  If you are growing melons, once they begin to fruit, put the fruit on a brick for extra added warmth.

Plant gender

Have you ever wondered why some lettuces develop hearts and others don’t, why some corn stems are so thin and spindly yet others thick and strong.  Reading one of Esther Deans books recently gave me the answer.  As you may know, some plants are male and others female.  But did you know you can find out the gender of the plant by tying a nail to a 15cm thread of cotton to make a pendulum and holding it over the plant.  If the plant is female the nail will rotate clockwise in a circle, if male it will oscillate from side to side and if neutral it will remain stationary.  How fascinating is that!

Continue reading

Patch from Scratch September 09

I can feel spring in the air and the daffodils are a welcome sight!   The dream house is wonderful but the number of slugs and snails in the garden is astounding.  Anyway, I am having to make do with the vege beds that are already here for this season until I have time to really think about the whole garden design properly.  So, I started preparing the first patch, ran out of time and threw some cardboard over what I’d done to keep the cat out.  Well, what a great slug and snail trap, the next day when I turned the cardboard over, there was a party going on underneath.  So I collected them up, poured boiling water on them then shoved them in the compost (they are a compost activator)!  I’m now doing it every few days and getting more and more! Continue reading

Patch from Scratch August – prepare now and protect against pests

We’re on the count down to spring folks, on hindsight, winter doesn’t seem to have been that bad this year.  Maybe it just that I’m on an uncontrollable high at the moment.  We’ve just moved into our dream home, hence the lateness of the newsletter being sent out, sorry.  The garden comes complete with a delicious array of mature fruit trees including fig, Feijoa, apple, nectarine, avocado, olive, mandarin, and lemon.  I am rubbing my hands together with glee at the thought of starting a new vege patch from scratch and getting a couple of hens!

Prepare now & protect against pests Continue reading

Patch from Scratch July 09

773942_garden_tools

Well the rain has certainly arrived which is of course great news for the garden, even if it does make drying the washing a tad challenging!   Keep those beds well mulched over winter, the birds will come and scratch around a bit so it pays to check it every few weeks and top up when necessary.  I’ve been cleaning up my garden tools, which is one of those tasks I always mean to get round to but it never quite gets to the top of the list.  I must admit I’m a bit of a gadget collector Continue reading

Patch from Scratch – May

Patch from scratch - organic vegitables in your back yard

May is one of my favourite times of the year when the days are still warm, the evenings a tad chilly but most importantly all my berry bushes are producing at an astounding rate.  I had great ambitions to make jams and jellies and cute little cup cakes filled with berries. So what went wrong?  Well, to tell you the truth, none have even made it to the kitchen yet, in fact, they haven’t even made it out the potager! Like clockwork, I go out there every morning and devour them, with junior gardener in tow.

Continue reading