Mars and a Colourful Lunar Fog Bow

Arching across the lower part of the image above is a rare lunar fog bow. Unlike a more commonly seen rainbow, which is created by sunlight reflected prismatically by falling rain, this fog bow was created by moonlight reflected by the small water drops that compose fog. Although most fog bows appear white, all of the colours of the rainbow were somehow visible here. The above image was taken from high atop Haleakala, a huge volcano in Hawaii, USA, by Wally Pacholka. 2 Feb 2010 APOD

Thursday, 23 September 2010

New Business

Anyone who has been to have a look at this blog may have noticed a lack of posts since June. That's not to say I have lost interest in my garden. I am setting up a new business which has taken over most of my free time.

So from now on I am going to be an occasional Guest Poster on the Nourishing Obscurity blog run by James Higham.

I will be posting as Rossa about food, setting up a new business in a recession and anything else that catches my fancy.

So take a wander over and say hello.

nourishing obscurity

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Rain, rain, rain

Well after the dry spell during May we now have a wet June. The month started off reasonably well but the last few days have been overcast and wet. No major downpours just the drizzle we tend to get over here.

Mind you at least I don't need to do any watering and with 2 new water barrels I can reduce the amount of tap water used. Definitely a good thing when you are metered.

Greenhouse has arrived and is waiting patiently to be constructed tomorrow. My Dad is coming over with various tools though he is under strict instructions from his wife not to over do it as they go on holiday for 2 weeks on Saturday. So after a nice lunch (his wages) we'll see what we can put together.

In the meantime I've managed to get some fruiting plants out as today was a good Fire/Fruit day. French beans, peas and a couple of yellow courgettes (Zucchini) in the square foot plot at the front. Potted up a couple more courgettes and a couple more tomatoes ready to go in the greenhouse when it's ready.

Sowed a few more peas, a dwarf bush variety called Kelvedon Wonder (first batch already flowered and pods are growing) and a climbing sugar snap that I plan to dual plant with my tomatoes. I've used 6' canes with the tomatoes so the sugar snaps with have something to climb.

And just to cheer everyone up here are a couple of photos of an Iris a neighbour gave me last year. This year it has produced 2 triple blooms and on the close up you can just see some tiny raindrops from a brief shower yesterday on the petal at the top of the picture.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

What a difference a month makes!

Well it's almost a month since my last post because short of taking a photo of every inch of growth there hasn't been much to say.

The weather has been much warmer at the end of May though still dry so the hosepipe has been out a couple of times. My pear tree had leaf curl which is usually lack of water or aphids. No signs of bugs so it got a few good soakings and seems to have perked up a bit.

I've ordered a greenhouse today from eBay which should be here in the next few days. When we moved in there was a shed on a concrete hard standing which we didn't see the point of as it only housed a few tools. We don't have a lawn so didn't need a lawnmower or anything big so the tools went into the back of the garage and the shed went to a friend's garden. So we have a solid base to stand the new construction on. It will be a 2 person job to put it together....Dad !!

It has polycarbonate glazing instead of glass which is supposed to be better at filtering some of the harmful sun's rays and with 2 windows I should be able to keep things cool on a hotter day. Best thing of all is that we can grow things through the winter. We are quite sheltered here in the lee of a hill and it will have a hedge on one side and a fence on another. I'm planning on some winter potatoes, broad beans, brassicas and some salad leaves. It will also mean I can have somewhere to put my seedlings rather than on our windowsills.

Latest photos are here. Potato forest in the back garden with a couple of courgettes at the back against the fence. Growing those in bags for the first time. Empty 60 litre compost bags filled with Alpaca poo and a thick layer of compost. Courgettes can be quite greedy plants so I hope they like the conditions and grow well.

The square foot garden at the front is coming on well with broad beans, peas, beetroot, carrots, radishes and spinach all thriving. Got sweetcorn still in medium pots which will get planted into their squares next week in a block and 5 in pots will go into the greenhouse to see what happens under glass.

Some of my tomatoes are in their final pots behind the square foot bed. Again I will move some into the greenhouse to see if we get a better result.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

New shoots now showing

Not much has been happening for the last few weeks after sowing on the Roots day. I waited in anticipation for the new shoots that signal what has germinated and what may grow this year.

As the weather has now warmed up it has produced the first signs of growth though we have had some air frosts so I have only sown a small quantity directly outside with the rest safely inside, in pots on the windowsills.

At the left of the photo in my square foot plot, I have 8 crimson flowered broad beans with canes for support. They were sown indoors in March and have grown to about 8" tall. Alongside them I have sown some dwarf french beans, both purple and a green variety. I much prefer them to runner beans. I have some others indoors in case I lose any to frost and have also sown some dwarf borlotti beans which look so pretty with their dappled pinky brown colour.

To the right at the back of the plot are some radishes showing. They are sown between the rows of Paris Baron carrots, a round carrot that has yet to show signs of life. The radishes are a long white one called Icicle and the usual round red variety. There is a second lot in one of the small troughs in front of the bed next to some shallots and garlic.

I've also sown some purple carrots just for fun, some beetroot and some spinach which has come up on the far right but as it's in shadow it isn't visible in this shot.

Before sowing any of these I had put down a thick layer of the Alpaca poo and topped with a layer of compost. So once the root systems have established there should be a good source of nutrients to encourage healthy growth. This Alpaca manure is known to produce good "greenery" so we'll see if we get a jungle this year then.

At the very back of the picture, up against the front of my house for a bit of protection, I have got 3 more green troughs. Salad leaves in the left one, wild rocket in the middle one and then a Valmaine cut and come again lettuce. This last one is related to the Romaine lettuce and produces crisp sweet leaves. Great for a Caesar Salad.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Good Roots Day

Having got the Easter weekend out of the way it was time to be prepared for my first Moon Planting Day. Thursday 8 or Friday 9 April were down as the best time to plant out the first of my potatoes. They had been chitting quite happily for several weeks so were ready to go.

First off I had to lift a couple of Fuschias left over from last year. Not sure if they have survived the cold winter so I've put them into pots for now and will plant out into new positions in the garden if they show signs of life in the next couple of weeks. Fortunately my Dad is a big grower of Fuschias having about 25 in pots on his window sills ready to go out once any chance of frost has gone by. Which is just as well as we had an air frost last night.

Anyway back to the Roots Day. Having lifted the Fuschias, I dug 4 trenches, put in the seed potatoes and sprinkled in some Growing Success organic potato fertiliser. Covered over with the soil dug out of the trenches and then added a THICK blanket of Alpaca Poo on top as a nice "Duvet" to keep off any frost.  

Had a good tidy up of the pots I had used last year, tipping out the old compost on top of the Alpaca Poo so the potatoes are now under about 8 inches of soil, poo, compost and a topping of slug pellets. Next batch due to go in later this month.

Tidied up the front bed as well ready to mark out into squares and will be sowing some beetroot and carrot seeds directly into their allocated squares later this week. It's another Roots Day 17th or 18th. Too soon for the 2nd batch of potatoes but can do other Roots like the shallots and radishes as well.

My ex boyfriend came over on Saturday to help with a couple of heavy lifting chores as my shoulder injury still hampers what I can do. No power in the muscle to lift anything too heavy for the time being. We also did a seed swop so I've got a couple of other tomato varieties to try and a couple of yellow courgettes (Zucchinis), one round the other the usual long variety.

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Spring Forwards

Clocks went forward last weekend for British Summer Time. As we head into the Easter weekend the winter has had a last gasp with a chill wind and snow on the Moors.

Indoors we have our first daffodils picked from our garden to remind us that Spring is really here. 

Next good Moon day for Roots is the 8th April so I'm hoping to plant out the first of the potatoes. I could have done them last Tuesday but with the weather turning cold I wanted to avoid any potential frost. They are happy chitting so no problem waiting a bit longer.

Which also means that everything else will slip back by a week or two. No hard and fast rules, I'll keep an eye on the longer range forecast and sow seeds or pot on seedlings as and when I can.

Happy April Fools Day!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Sprouting Seeds

It's amazing how each year when the first few signs of life appear from the seeds you've sown, you still get a thrill that something will grow, hopefully survive whatever Mother Nature throws at them and in the end may be able to pick some nice fresh veggies for supper.

The Broccoli and Calabrese are romping away with some of the herbs and grasses starting to show their heads above the potting compost.

And the sweetcorn have all come through too. No sign of the broad beans as yet but last year they took quite a long time so I'll just need to be more patient.

I've also got my second set of seed potatoes set for chitting. They had already started in the paper bags even though they were in a cold porch. Won't be surprised if they catch up with the first batch. I'm hoping to plant the first set out at the end of the month, the next good Moon day for Roots being the 30th March. However, the forecast is for possible snow next week which may delay that idea. Just have to wait and see.