MASON BEES

I decided to move my mason bees from the allotment to the back garden. Last year was the first year I had them, they only capped one tube so I thought I’d like to offer them something better in here. I have got a fairly large manuka tree, grown from seed near the the place where I fixed the holder with the tubes. I didn’t check for a long time and the other day I managed to get to it, there is a large elderberry bush nearby too. To my delight I found nine capped tubes!

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After reminding myself what to do next I took the inner tubes out and stored them upright in a small jar on a shelf in the sitting room. I replaced these with empty ones and put them back in the holder. I am hoping they will carry on the same way and cap many more. It is well worth the effort, we have to keep the bee population protected.

JAM

Here we go again – as soon as I started with the strawberry jam the raspberries began ripening. I am pleased to say that my jam is made as fast as can be done. I picked two kilo of raspberries partly yesterday and finished today and now the jam is ready.20200616_185237

Yesterday was the turn of the strawberries, just eight jars.

Today’s result is 13 jars, the colour is amazing and the taste couldn’t be better.

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This is when the hard work starts paying off, it is great to see the result.

 

POTATOES

I had some chitted potatoes left early in the spring so I have planted them in some bags, about three potatoes in each bag. They started growing quickly and I kept them in my little plastic-covered greenhouse at the back of my large one in the back garden. They had some protection there, all I had to do was to top the soil up as they grew and water them from time to time. Yesterday afternoon I decided to find out what, if anything, was there.

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There was enough for a tasty dinner tonight with some freshly picked curly kale.

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Both will be steamed and served with some butter, pepper and a tiny sprinkling of salt. What is there not to like?

WEEDS

We had a little drop of rain last night, just enough to soften the surface of the soil. It didn’t penetrate deep at all but was just enough to make the weeding a bit easier. Today was the turn of the brassica cage. I have a number of purple sprouting broccoli, kohlrabi, red cabbages and curly kale there and a lot of weeds. Amazing that they grew so well asĀ  May was extremely dry. It was a job for the whole morning.

A few hours and a stiff back later it looked much better.

It is a pity I can’t make any use of the bucket of weeds…

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And after all the work I sprinkled a good amount of my feeding mix – fish, blood and bone and chicken manure pellets all around the plants. As I am writing this the long-awaited rain came so it should all soak in. Another net cage to weed tomorrow, and another the day after…..

JAM

Here we go again – a fantastic harvest of strawberries in the morning – 2,5 kilos – and 14 jars of jam made in the afternoon.

It was great to be able to make jam, I use Certo so the fruit doesn’t have to be boiled for ages to achieve a good set. I’m happy with the result.

NEW ZEALAND YAM

A little while ago my friend Dave gave me a packet with four New Zealand yam tubers. I have heard of them but never seen them so I was really careful to follow instructions as best I could. I’m hoping I will have a good harvest so we can share it and also keep some for growing next year.

I have chitted them inside the greenhouse and now when is nice and warm planted them outside.

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STRAWBERRIES

We have got our first harvest of strawberries! I have a feeling that it is quite early but for that I shall have to check my notes. No problem, I am grateful for the unexpected bounty. They not only look good but the taste is exquisite. Yet again I think of my Granddad, his strawberries were amazing but I think mine are not too far behind.

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They should be dark red and shiny. Very tasty indeed. Granddad would be pleased.

 

FLOWERS ON THE ALLOTMENT

I don’t have the mason bees there this year, I have moved them to my back garden. But we have lots of bees there anyway; Mary, who lives at the back of the allotment, keeps bees. She has a number of bee hives and we had some honey from her last year. That is one of the reasons why I have some flowers on my plot.

The lupins are wonderful, all grown from seeds and the bees love them. The rose bush was free from a gardening magazine some years ago, it only cost the postage. Well worth it.

It is not only flowers that are in full bloom, loganberries and blackberries are doing well too. I’m hoping for a good harvest, we need some cheer!

ANOTHER FIND

I have been finding bits of clay pipes on the allotment but this one is special. It has got a name stamped on it and the surface feels glazed, somewhat creamy yellow and smooth.

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We did a bit of detecting online and found something. It is quite clear the maker’s name is John Horne and in the attached document he can be found on page 12. This is the very first time my find had a name on it. I will send an email to the authors of this document, attach my photo and hope to get an answer.

WE’RE FULL

This is the final look, for now at least. I have managed to move some seed trays to my overflow plastic greenhouse at the back of the large one, gained more shelf space and placed two more large pots there. Two more tomato plants have a new home.

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The main greenhouse is full to bursting

And to make sure all possible little space and container is used, I have got some first early potatoes in bags in the overflow greenhouse. They are the Swift variety and doing very well.

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