Thursday, 6 August 2015

Take 5

1) It's been a long, long time since I shared any garden news or photos. And to be completely honest, I've not been out there much at all for probably most of the last couple of months - a mixture of being busy with other things, and a lot of very untempting weather as well. But despite the lack of attention (or because of it when it comes to the weeds!) most things are growing like crazy out there. The tomatoes are looking very healthy in the greenhouse...

They have had/still have lots of flowers, but so far there don't seem to be many tomatoes forming, just a couple of green ones hiding amongst the leaves...

I'm hoping they're still on their way but it is getting a little worrying, especially as we really do love tomatoes! Happily we have a tomato plant in a hanging basket which has been supplying us on a very regular basis for a few weeks now and it's still going strong.

The cucumbers in the greenhouse are also doing well.

We've eaten a couple already and there are plenty more small ones growing, good since we love cucumbers too (particularly Sam, who will happily munch his way through several large ones every day!).

Then down in the veggie patch, the sweetcorn and pumpkins are doing brilliantly in the new raised bed I built.

We are particularly excited at the progress of the sweetcorn since - guess what? - we love that too! 

There are also quite a lot of carrots tucked in amongst all that greenery, they seem to be coping with growing in the shadow of the sweetcorn, and I'm having to restrain children from pulling them, I think they're still quite small at the moment.

Then I did get round to building another veggie bed on my old bonfire site. Not only did it get built but I got some courgettes, more pumpkins and a butternut squash into it. All of which are doing really well.

We definitely won't be buying any courgettes for the rest of the Summer. And does anyone know if these freeze well in tomato sauce?

We've never grown butternut squash before but I can now understand why I tend to always see it climbing up things in gardens. Unfortunately I have it growing on the ground and I think it would happily take over the whole bed, luckily there's lots of room in this bed but I am a bit concerned that the squashes, as they grow down there, are likely to get eaten??? We currently have some very promising swellings and we're watching them carefully for signs of nibbles.

No such swellings on the pumpkins yet but lots of lovely flowers.

The peas were a big disappointment. After what looked like a promising start, they just never really took off. We've had a few, but only really enough to taunt us with how delicious they are home grown and eaten fresh from the pods, and to make us wish we'd had a bumper crop.

The beans, however, did take off. No beans quite yet still, but lots of flowers and many more to come I'm sure. I'm very much looking forward to these.

Other than that, our potatoes did pretty well, they've been delicious and we still have a good few meals to come from them. We managed to get one good meal out of our broad beans, and we had quite a few onions. And we're almost into apple season now too. The children are already eating fruit from our earliest tree, although I'm still holding out till they're a little larger and sweeter.

The odd ripe blackberry has also been found but I think they're another couple of weeks off general consumption.

2) As well as the garden, my daily fish sewing has also been seriously neglected of late. I decided earlier in the week to make an effort to sew one more farewell block and then accept that it just wasn't going to happen over the Summer, and plan to start again in the Autumn. So I sewed these 2 seahorses...

This one is double the height of my other blocks.

But I really enjoyed sewing it and remembered all over again how lovely it is to just have something little that I can pick up and sew in isolation whenever I want, whilst still having the satisfaction of knowing it's building slowly into something big. So I decided the seahorses aren't a Summer farewell after all, I won't stress about doing it daily, but I'm sure I'll do more some days.

3) I read an article recently that led me to Richard Shilling's Land Art Blog. Quite possibly you might have created some 'Land Art' at times without even realising that was what it was. It's basically art/sculptures which you create outside in nature, using items you find from nature - like pebbles, leaves, pine cones for instance. I hadn't heard of the label 'Land Art' before but it's very much something we do just as a matter of course, particularly on the beach.

However reading about it and seeing some of the images (have a browse on the blog in the link) took it to a whole new level. We've only ever made anything on the beach, or occasionally in the woods, and it's been fairly unconsciously.

There's also a link to a section specifically for children - Land Art for Kids.

Can you see Venetia's face way down there on the beach now?

I would love to just come across someone else's Land Art, perhaps a sculpture, whilst out walking; so the thought of making something that someone else discovers totally unexpectedly is very appealing. And I also love the idea of photographing any Land Art we make more. It's definitely something that I feel I'll now look out for opportunities to explore further, so watch this space! Is it something that you've dabbled with much?

4) It's been a while since I had a photo dump on here too (in fact it's been a while since I posted at all - we had family staying all last week, 4 extra children and a dog in the house is not conducive to blogging or sewing, but we did have lots of fun out and about!), so here are a few. Some in pretty poor weather conditions...

In fact lots of our swims have been like that! The river within walking distance is still too high and fast for the girls to swim in it. And for a good few days recently it was too dangerous for me to feel comfortable with the boys or me swimming in it. Our Summer doesn't really seem to have got off the ground yet, not round here anyway. But of course we are not letting that put us off getting out there!

And we have had a few blue sky days...

Which feel like quite a treat!

Theo celebrating a little sunshine with a skip and a song across the beach!

Although they're often not overly warm still - on this particular day, the fact that Sam is actually wearing a jumper in the photo below is very telling!

And neither does it put us off getting into the water of course!

But poor Maria is the one who's most affected, so often the water really hasn't been suitable for her to get in there. Here she is huddled on the beach, sheltering from the wind and rain under a towel!

She had at least spent quite a bit of time rock pooling before seeking refuge under cover!
So I am keeping fingers crossed for a week or two of consistently better weather before the end of the holidays. Hopefully you might be enjoying slightly better weather where you are?

5) Those in the UK might have seen that 'The Great British Bake Off' started again last night. It has been a long time since I've watched any tv (in fact I think the last thing was probably 'The Great British Sewing Bee' - obviously a theme going on here!), so I had no convenient hand sewing to pick up whilst listening watching. Cue a new hand sewing project. I've had a hexie urge for a while, so I cut out some of the scraps from Maria's quilt...

And started basting them on to my paper templates as I 'watched'...

These will become a cushion cover to go with her quilt. They'll keep me going through a few more weeks of the Bake Off first though! Those who watched it last night - have you picked out the winner yet?



  1. Your garden looks amazing Sally! So much goodness to come, enjoy! It looks like you are having a really great summer, despite the weather. I do hope it warms up a little and the sun shines for you.

    Cute photo of Maria under the towels :)

  2. Our cherry tomatoes have been really odd this year, too. We are *just* starting to get a few ripe ones to pick, and we planted in March! Odd how things seem to come in cycles. Our Japanese eggplant have been really happy, though, and we've had several pounds harvested from 2 plants already.

    I really like the seahorses and can understand the need to let a project rest for a while to come back to. It sounds like you have been quite busy having fun, though, and I hope the weather improves a touch for some last weeks of summer enjoyment.

  3. I'm curious about your garden. It looks as though you planted your vegetables directly into bags of soil. I admit I've never seen this before. Is the soil deep enough (it looks like it works!). I'd love to find out more.

    1. Hi Kristy, sorry it's taken me ages to get around to answering this. Yes, I find the soil is deep enough, but also I made a few holes in the bottom of the bags so the roots could find their way out if they wanted. I was inspired to give it a go in this situation by this post -, which I referred back to in a previous post. Yanic is an amazing gardener and she made the plan sound very doable. But I think we're maybe more used to growing from bags generally here in the UK, it's very commonly done in greenhouses or on patios for things like tomatoes or cucumbers, you can buy 'grow bags' cheaply specifically for this. It's definitely worked well in the veggie patch for me this year too, just so much more practical when starting off a new bed than having to fill the whole thing from scratch. We'll empty out the bags into the beds at the end of the season and then top them up next year probably and sow directly into the beds rather than going with bags there again. But I have 2 more new beds planned for next year and I'll definitely be starting them off with the bags again. Hope that makes sense!

  4. Mark to win Bake Off! And you need to seriously hack back those tomatoes' if you are going to get fruit, be ruthless and full anything without fruit on it so the plants energy goes to those not making leaves.

  5. Loved seeing pics of your flourishing vegetables. I'm amazed at how you get tomatoes to grow in a hanging basket. Love the pics of the beach. The rocky ends of the beach are, for me, the best part. I love climbing over the rocks. The pic of Maria under the towel would be me, if conditions were at all cool or windy.

  6. Love all your photo's, I am so impressed by all your home grown veggies. Hexies and sea horses are very lovely too x

  7. Brought back memories from years ago when we were up to our eyes in courgettes!! We do land art too and I have seen some stunning stuff on scottish beaches recently. Never knew it had a name though. Bake-off winner? The bloke with the syringe, I think. xcathy

  8. Oh your garden is looking fantastic! And it's lovely to see your pictures of the beach, we've always made land art too but never called it that, giant people to see from the cliffs or maps to mark where we live as a 'beach guest book'. And I love the seahorse sand the hexies, hurrah for squeezing in a little summer sewing!

  9. Your garden is just beautiful! I wish my pole beans looked that amazing. We are not having much luck with them this year. I hope your tomatoes pick up. And yes : most squash can be quite a handful. We trellised many of ours this year and we are happy we did! The beach pictures again are wonderful. What kind of camera do you use?

  10. Your garden is thriving - wonderful! It feels great to get the 'pay off" when things start producing. Yumm!
    I really enjoy your beach and wild swimming photos, but felt a tug of pity for Maria! I'm glad she was having fun before she needed to huddle up!!
    Land Art is a delightful concept and I look forward to seeing what your kids create - and how you capture it with your lens.
    Thanks for sharing your summer with us!

  11. your garden looks wonderful.
    we love to make rock people when we go to the beach, and leave them for people to find. once we found a whole rock family and a dog!

  12. I loved this post, Sally! It's so full of goodness! Your garden looks great...I didn't realize you had such a large garden. Looks like lots of good things to come.
    I also love your photos of the beautiful! I do hope warmer weather comes your way...I'd share a bit of ours if I could.

  13. I loved this post, Sally! It's so full of goodness! Your garden looks great...I didn't realize you had such a large garden. Looks like lots of good things to come.
    I also love your photos of the beautiful! I do hope warmer weather comes your way...I'd share a bit of ours if I could.

  14. I loved this post, Sally! It's so full of goodness! Your garden looks great...I didn't realize you had such a large garden. Looks like lots of good things to come.
    I also love your photos of the beautiful! I do hope warmer weather comes your way...I'd share a bit of ours if I could.


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