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My Veg Box

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One of our neighbours kindly gave us a table football for our boys to play with. So I gave him this little veg box from my garden. I had great fun putting it together. I lined the box with brown paper and picked all the stuff that was ready. Then I tied a bunch of Spring Onions with string, and some Basil too. And bagged up some of my saved seed, Parsnips, Bush Beans, Poppies and Sweetpeas and left it on his front porch. He said, ‘Thanks very much but what is the long curly thing?’ – Tromboncino.

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I’m having some success with Sweetcorn. It’s already pretty big and showing signs of fruiting. It’s been pretty windy here over the last few days and so I was a bit worried about it. But as long as the great dane stays out of the garden (unlike last year) then I think we should be all good.

It’s amazing to me how far ahead vegetable gardens in Portland are (of the UK). I just watched Gardeners’ World and Monty was just planting his Sweetcorn last week. I was never really successful with Sweetcorn in England. A few cobs here and there but mostly it would end in failure. Fingers crossed here.

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Orchard Grass

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The orchard grass is growing. I sowed my Eco Lawn back in May and it has done wonderfully. I watered it every day for two weeks until established and now I haven’t watered it for about two weeks. It still looks great and is starting to throw up the odd flower. We often mow pathways into it. And when it gets too long mow it down completely and start again. I’m very pleased with it.

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This is what the orchard looked like back in February when I planted it.

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This is what it looked like last year when the orchard was a mere glint in my eye.

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Sunburst Pattern Update!

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Well, the last time we saw the patterned garden was back in April when I just put some of the plants in. Now it’s in full flow.

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There was a vague plan, but I haven’t stuck to it in its entirety. I sowed a row of Beetroot down the middle of the pattern and none of them germinated. I think the seed was old. And so I replaced them with Lettuce. Also, the slugs ate my Spinach seedlings and I decided it was getting too hot for Spinach and so I replaced them with a sowing of French Beans. So there has been some movement in the design.

I think it looks pretty good. Next time I do it I might keep some of the taller plants like Kale either in the middle or at the sides. The tall Kale in the middle means you can’t see some of the smaller stuff.

I do like the way the Onions pop through between the Lettuces though. That works.

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My Little Strawberry Picker

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This here is my little Stawberry picker. He knew when the Strawberries were ripe. He knew before me. He had been watching them all week. And yes there were a few green ones that came into the house ‘Can I eat this Mama?’ ‘Well I wouldn’t – and….” I was about to say and don’t pick any more green ones but he was already gone.

But today – yes! today we picked our bowl full of ripe, red Strawberries and ate them all as fast as we could.

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Not content with having one basket of Strawberries available my little Strawberry picker went to get the punnet of Strawberries that I bought at the shop the day before. I was amazed to see the difference. The store-bought ones were dull, and a little dry looking.

I suppose that’s why we grow our own, right?

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My New Eco-Lawn

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Here’s a rare photo of me (in shorts!) sowing a new eco-lawn underneath the fruit trees in my orchard.

What’s an eco-lawn? Well, good question. It’s a lawn that is low-maintenance. Either it has low-growing grasses and therefore doesn’t need much mowing, or it uses drought-tolerant varieties that will resist going brown in the summertime. And they usually have some kind of low-growing flower, or nitrogen fixing plant in there too for good measure.

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I chose a mixture called Fleur de Lawn made by a local company but you can buy them anywhere. I used the bowls to divide it evenly across the space I have (I’m sure there are more scientific ways – like hiring a seed spreader). The mix I bought includes, ‘English Daisy, Baby Blue Eyes, Sweet Alyssum, Tiny Strawberry Clover combined with hardy low-growing grasses and other herbaceous plants.’

My plan is to let it get quite long – couple of inches, before I mow a pathway through it. Then after that I’ll mow the whole thing once a month. That’s the plan…

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This is what the orchard looked like before.

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…and a couple of weeks later.

Anyone else have any experience with eco-lawns? Any low maintenance tips?

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My Clematis – What are they?

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As most of you know I moved to Portland nearly two years ago and I inherited a beautiful garden full of the most amazing plants that someone else planted! I’m not the world’s greatest expert on Clematis (cover your ears Dad!). I have five amazing Clematis that are now in full flower and I don’t know what varieties they are. Any ideas plant lovers?

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Crimson Clover Cover Crop

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Try saying that after a few glasses of wine!

The Crimson Clover that I sowed back in October is finally flowering. And it looks beautiful. I know that some have warned against letting it flower but I really couldn’t resist. The flowers are so – red wine!

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I think it looks so amazing as a lush green, almost hedge in the kitchen garden.

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I chopped back half of it last month to make room for some plantings.

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And it even looked good way back in October when it just got going. Up to now I’m impressed with Crimson Clover as a cover. Ask me again in a couple of months if I still like it :)

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Pear Blossom and the Fruit Loop

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At the weekend we drove out to see the Pear blossom in an area called the Fruit Loop near here. It’s where all the fruit farms are. There is mile after mile of fields that look like this. I was in heaven! It’s so interesting to see how gnarled the trees are and also how closely they are planted. The rows are far apart because they need to get a tractor down there but the actual trees couldn’t have been more than six feet away from each other. Incredible.

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The sunburst pattern bed is coming along nicely. The onion sets have all sprouted despite each one being pulled out by birds several times. I have planted out Lettuce (Little Gem) and Kales that I seeded in my greenhouse. And along the back fence I sowed some Calendula to provide a backdrop to the planting. They are just starting to germinate. Where the string line and canes are I have sowed Spinach, and other varieties of Lettuce. It has been very wet here and the slugs are out in force so I’m crossing my fingers that I get a full complement of plants here.

Compared this to a month ago and you can see that a lot has changed.

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