Monday, 25 May 2020

How are you, friend?

hey hun, how's you? - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020

I don't usually let a year go by without mentioning and championing the annual mental health awareness week. However, this year I have been suffering myself ironically and haven't been able to write about the allotment or even the allotment patio. My depression has been heavy, anxiety unbearable at many points and I just don't feel engaged.

Even though it's getting like a lush jungle out there, I haven't even taken a photograph or a good look at things until 5 mins ago.

most of the allotment patio - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020

I must say though that many things are going great with our plants. Everything especially in the patio where most predators ( bar the snails) are yet to know about the tasty foodstuffs. OK our turnips and spinach seem to be bolting and the wild winds on Friday/Saturday hurt the leek seedlings but there's little to complain about. Also, I'm not sure why but all the spring onions are growing droopy - I don't mind it and they look yummy but it's odd....

snail party pooper - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020

collage on the back patio - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020
leeks which bounced back, the many broad bean flowers, bolting spinach, droopy scallions
I've been hiking around where we live with Andrew and Toby. Yes, there are very few footpaths but we are loving the exercise that we would usually have to wait for the weekend to do. Boy we have found some beautiful places... How glorious it is to see wild strawberries, gorse, bluebells, ferns, violets, sheep and even horses and donkeys.

I hope you know that wherever you are, whatever you're feeling these days, it is valid. If your thoughts are negative please talk to someone you trust. If it comes to it talk to me, my lovely.


Friday, 8 May 2020

It's all going swimmingly

There have been some truly beautiful days this week again and Andrew and I have had a few late lunches out on the patio. On one of those days Andrew planted up some of our mixed lettuce and a few wee baby chard 'bright lights' into the last patio pot; we still have so much other delicious food stuffs to pot up but where? how? we can't get more pots! I guess everything else such as the sweetcorn, leeks, squash were always going to have to go to the allotment proper.

planting lettuce in a pot - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020

We do have lots of lovely little flower pots for my flower seedlings and more radishes (we've been eating them like they're going out of fashion!). Oh I look forward to planting them up and seeing colour abound, big thanks to Flighty again for sending me the seeds. There will soon be marigolds, nasturtiums and some sunflowers alongside my happy little geum 'Queen of Orange'; I'll also have some for the allotment plot :)

Orange geum - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020

So everything is going swimmingly here and we are going to the plot tomorrow to get on top of the explosion of weeds that has happened thereI shall take my camera and share the news from that side of the allotment story too.

Broad bean flowers - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020
Beautiful broad beans flowers abound

Coriander and spring Onions - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020
coriander and spring onions getting on great 

radishes, turnips, potatoes, spring onions and spinach - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020
radishes, turnips, potatoes, spring onions and spinach!

Just noticed that some of the spinach 'amazon f1' has started to bolt as it is wont to do, never mind though, we have been eating it with nearly every meal, it's been so tasty. We have perpetual spinach now as well so all will be fine in the end.

 Spinach, beetroot and baby carrots - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020
spinach and beetroot with baby round carrots just starting their journey

Toby :) - a stubborn optimist blog - Carrie Gault 2020

Toby say's Hello ("bork") and wags his tail at you,
Hugs and love

Saturday, 25 April 2020

More Allotment Patio

You join me outside with Andrew who is planting up another vegetable crate to add to the lovely jumble of allotment pots we have on the patio. Everything is going terribly well and there aren't even any pests on the plants (bar one slug), unlike at the main allotment plot where everything is being tackled by everything! It can't just be me - there are a lot more insects (hover flies in particular) and sweetly singing birds around this year - no??

So we are making an allotment box out of an orange plastic crate; we got this one discarded outside a farmers' market. Andrew carefully opened up a grow bag with scissors running along one end and poured all the contains out into a trug. Then he trimmed the other end and cut up the seam along the back length of the plastic. Laying this rectangle out, he lined the crate before emptying all the compost back in, spreading it evenly. This one is being planted up with coriander plugs, spring onion plugs (multi sown) and carrot seeds (rotundo - little round ones), see above.

Toby is over by the tulips and the water feature (which he frequently drinks from) laying in the sun and every now and then stretching and getting more comfortable; he's being a good boy.

Elsewhere in the patio allotment the mangetout peas are starting to romp away up the trellis support, the turnips have gone a bit bonkers with a growth spurt and the radishes are so juicy and plump we are eating them everyday with baby perpetual spinach too.

The potatoes are just starting to show their tips which I find very exciting and the broad beans are slowly (strongly) climbing up by their bamboo sticks and the flowers teasingly get bigger every day.

In the greenhouse my flower seeds are looking lovely but still a little too wee to plant up yet in the empty pots I have beside me. We also have baby celery, purple sprouting broccoli, Brussel sprouts, kale and lettuce seedlings in there, all looking well.

In the cold frame here, we have leeks (multi sown) and a wide variety of chard and beetroot varieties.

I hope you are having a good weekend my lovelies. Stay well and happy growing!
Carrie xx 

Friday, 17 April 2020

The allotment patio

Hello, gorgeous people! *waves* and welcome to this special outdoors blog post live from my patio :) I sit here with a coffee in the sunshine with Toby and Andrew (who is working from home).

allotment patio - a stubborn optimist blog - C. Gault 2020

I hope you are well and keeping safe and sane in this weird quarantine period. It's actually not that bad really, is it? We have to stay at home with our TVs and books and blankets to do battle with this horrid virus. It could be a lot worse I guess. (OK I know it's Hell for some and I'm sorry xx)

lettuces, beetroots, chard, celery etc out in the greenhouse - a stubborn optimist blog - C. Gault 2020

So the mini allotment here is growing really well and I so happy to see the seedlings everyday slowly getting bigger and stronger in the mini greenhouse. The ones that are planted out are looking great and personally I would like to have these vegetable pots and flower pots every year - it looks so lush and green out here!

allotment patio with pots full of goodies- a stubborn optimist blog - C. Gault 2020

Beside me we have growing cabbages, coriander, radishes, turnips, spinach, beetroots, potatoes, leeks, spring onions, carrots, broad beans and peas! We came up with a fab idea for the potatoes in fact (I'm sure others have thought of this before but it excites us) - putting them in pots as usual and growing multi plugs of spring onions on top = a champ pot ;)

allotment patio grow bag of spinach and beetroot - a stubborn optimist blog - C. Gault 2020

The first crop of radishes will be ready in a about a week - they are so rewarding to grow, I'd forgotten all about them over the past years but you get a crop in no time at all and they are so pretty. We have a heck of a lot so it's just as well we like their feisty peppery taste.

I have also just noticed that the broad beans have tiny flowers appearing and the mangetout peas are starting to cling unto the trellis behind them - you notice every little detail everyday instead of every week and it's utterly charming. I recommend this to everyone if you have even the smallest outdoor space - pots, grow your veg in pots and you can even add colour with marigolds!

fresh new beech leaves- a stubborn optimist blog - C. Gault 2020

I'm also noticing more of the joyous springtime changes that happen in the garden too. Since the start of the week the beech hedge has become greener every day, dropping its brown leaves and letting the new green leaves unfurl - its beautiful. The acers and the maple leaves are opening like paper fans and god grief there are so many hover flies and bees - I never noticed before - oh and the bird song!

Tulip pots -

tulip pots, primulas and the water feature -  a stubborn optimist blog - C. Gault 2020

 We've already had a beautiful flush of daffodils and after these blooms there are alliums to come.

Things continue at the allotment plot too but I'll save that for another post.
What's happening with you these days?

Virtual hugs 

Friday, 3 April 2020

Spring 2020

It's not like any normal spring is it? We all know what's going on out there beyond the window panes and to be honest I think there are far too many sources of news about it - the information would choke a donkey! Let's just put a stubbornly optimistic spring slant on it all and say  - whoopie we have 2 veg plots now; one at the allotments and one here in the back patio :)

Let's start with what we've done most recently at the plot:

  • Planted out the 3 new fruit trees in the long back bed with the other fruit trees and bushes
the 3 new fruit trees- a stubborn optimist blog - C Gault 2020

Prunus Cerasus Schattenmorelle
 A sour tasting juicy, bright red cherry which is self fertile. Blossoms appear in April and subsequent fruit hangs on partly weeping branches.

Prunus domestica Stanley
Supposedly one of the tastiest, sweet and juicy plums out there, with a beautiful smooth deep blue/purple skin and orange-y flesh. Mostly self fertile, blooming late in spring with harvests ready at the start of autumn.

Malus Jonagold
Large, reddish, vigorously fruiting apple tree with crisp, sweet honey flavour. A cross between the crisp Golden Delicious and the blush-crimson JonathanBlossoms are bright pink in spring and harvests are ready in the autumn, when some trees are showing colourful leaves.
  • Planted out the first of the broad beans (the Sutton) and covered them in fleece (see first photo)
planting out the broad beans - a stubborn optimist blog - C Gault 2020
  • Harvested the last of the Purple Sprouting Broccoli and had our second harvest of forced rhubarb (and thus crumble - yum)
forced rhubarb and purple sprouting broccoli - a stubborn optimist blog - C Gault 2020

Back home on the patio we now have our potatoes (Pentland Javelin) planted in three 30 litre pots, with a few left over to take to the allotment tomorrow.  We prefer to grow them in pots (10 litre of soil per potato) as the harvest is so easy and mess free. 

planting spuds in pots - a stubborn optimist blog - C Gault 2020

spuds and broad beans in pots, peas, spinach, turnips and radishes ready to go - a stubborn optimist blog - C Gault 2020

Of course as you can see by the photograph we also have our cold frame in the patio at the moment with healthy seedlings almost ready to plant. Plus the lean-to greenhouse is full of more happy little seedlings doing their thing. 

Lots of work to do this weekend at the plot but we are looking forward to it (social distancing will be enforced!)

Love and hugs to you all, stay safe xx

N.B. I simply cannot get this song out my head today - She's an easy lover, hahaha