Friday, 26 February 2010

Sowing seeds

The last two years I avoided sowing too many seeds early as I was worried about my lean-to being over-run with pots and trays. But when spring came around it got so very busy that I ended up with less leeks than I would have liked. Leeks are so beautiuful - their leaves a bluey green that is so calming. Also you don't have to hurry to harvest them - they can stay in the ground over winter which is very appealing when it all goes bonkers and there's so much to pick in summer and autumn(touch wood!).

Therefore am very happy that I have sown two diddy trays of leek seeds. They can be sown any time from January to March indoors. When they sprout they look like grasses and smell gorgeous (if you like leeks that is). I used an old strawberry container and a recycled half tray. The trays need to be very clean - miltons fluid will do the job well. I just washed these with washing up liquid - hopefully they'll be ok. The potting compost needs to be kept moist. The seeds are tiny and need to be planted half a centimetre deep. Now I just need to wait. The seedlings then needed to be gradually hardened off about early April, then they are teased out and the individual tiny leeks are dropped into a hole made with a big dibber (make the hole about the girth of a mature leek) and then watered. Do not fill the hole with soil. Now isn't that weird! I'll explain it again when I actually do it.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Great Wood Walk

Every Tuesday I go for a walk with my friend. We talk and walk - it's good for both of us. We are at home all day and it's amazing how easy it is to start feeling that your world ends at these four walls and to stop venturing out.

We stopped to look at patches of star shaped mosses - they twinkled with rain drops they'd caught. I feel really lucky to have this time - to not always be rushing about.

My daughter's birthday cake -second attempt - hoorah it rose this time. The one that didn't rise still tasted delicious sandwiched with whipped cream, jam and fresh strawberries.

After a period of writing little I have redrafted a poem and written bit more of my novel. I like the poem much better now but probabaly still needs more work.

Garden notes

Just the other day I was thinking that I can't post any more pictures of my garden as they will all be repeats. You see I started this blog this time last year when I broke my arm. (It was very useful at a frustrating time.) But then we went out into the garden and one of our many clematis, the winter flowering one had flowered for the first time since we planted it years ago. I ignored any suggestions that it should be pulled out and it has flowered!! I love the unpredictability about growing plants. The picture's a bit blurred but the clematis has lovely pink freckles.

My hellebore had lots of gorgeous pink buds waiting to open and shyly hang their heads.

My lovely mother in law brings us these massive containers of olive oil. Turned one into a pot which I crammed with anemones.

Colour already in the garden from the gorgeous camelia.
The winter jasmine only had a few yellow flowers and it turns out I'd missed it in full flower a few weeks before. Such a shame- I have no excuse as I am home every day.

I was so excited to see the snowdrops back again. So delicate - I love the way they tremble when you approach. (They probably tremble all the time.)

Thursday, 4 February 2010


I made it over to the allotment on Monday for the first time in weeks. I forgot my mobile and I don't wear a watch so I lost all track of time. I'm glad I did as it looks like it is going to have been the only sunny day of this week and I badly needed some rays. I dug out fists of bindweed from the compost heap on my newer plot. It was very satisfying removing them - though I can't help admiring their ability to rejuvenate. I planted some raspberry canes (Autumn Bliss)- but now I come to think of it I wonder if i was supposed to separate them. There was about 5 or 6 sticks in each pot- now is that one plant or lots? Help anyone? Either way I'm sure they are happier in the ground than in the pot. I chose those rasperries coz they sound easy to maintain-unlike other raspberries you cut the right down after fruiting and next years berries come on new growth only.
I have written a couple of short pieces but feel like I have an ingredient missing that stops them being short stories. Like bread without yeast. I want them to rise but maybe they are destined to be pitta breads-there's nothing wrong with being pittas but I was hoping for something else. Maybe I should just concentrate on making good pittas.
The novel is trawling along slowly. I think I have ten versions of the same scene and other scenes are completely absent. I keep moving bits around which is quite exciting as the tension of the story changes and yes it feels like I am kneading the dough and it's gonna rise.
All that bread talk is making me hungry. Off to lunch. Bye for now.