Monthly Archives: February 2014

Talking to plants..

They say that talking to your plants can help, so maybe all my impatient sighing about the slow progress of my chilli seeds has had an effect..

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That looks much better than last week, so I’m a bit happier now (still impatient though…) The tomatoes seedlings are coming along nicely too, a couple have wilted and given up the fight but most of them are still going strong.

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So that made me turn my attention to the sweet peas sown in my new deep root trainer. I did two batches but cleverly managed to mix up which variety went in which half – note to self – REMEMBER TO LABEL STUFF! So one half is doing very well, albeit going a bit leggy and the
other half not looking quite so healthy but getting there. I gingerly pinched out the leggy half, I always worry that I’m going to kill everything off doing ‘technical’ stuff like this but I’m gradually getting braver.

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So far, so good. I’m resisting sowing anything else just yet, but I think I will sort out all my seed packets this weekend and do a bit more planning – can’t wait to get out in the garden now,
I really want to be more organised than I managed to be last year when all the rain meant I didn’t get round to doing much at all until April so everything was really late.

Some lovely colours popping up in my pots and window boxes outside the back door too:

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Patience needed

I find the hardest thing about growing things is the waiting… and these chilli peppers are really trying my patience. I was on the verge of emptying the propagator and starting again – I still might if a few more don’t appear soon.

We were away for the weekend and before we left, I found this:

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At last, a sign of life – hopefully at least one chilli plant then! We got back home again this
afternoon and look what has popped up over the weekend:

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So I should at least have a couple of chilli plant seedlings to pot on – and now I know that they can take this long to appear I will try very hard to be a bit more patient! I’ve got some more seeds sown a couple of weeks later and I also put in some extra hot peppers a week ago so I’m hoping for a great harvest now. 

Preparation

One of the raised beds is ready, thanks to my other half who has dug it all over for me. I sowed some green manure towards the end of last year once the cabbages, cauliflowers and spring onions I’d grown were all done.  This year, I’m planning to put carrots and parsnips in this bed.

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Behind it is the second hand greenhouse we bought at the end of last year – I’m not sure if all the glass has survived the move, but we’ll find out when we decide exactly where it is going to go and put it up. When I say we, I mean the royal we, otherwise known as Gary – I’m not renowned for my practical DIY skills, but luckily for me, he is! Can’t wait to have a proper greenhouse, I’ve had a couple of the cheap plastic ones so far but they are not really big enough for all the things I want to grow.

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I still have a few things growing – this is garlic which I haven’t tried growing before so I’m
hoping it will be good. I’ve also got a few onion sets in and some cabbages which in spite of my best efforts in protecting them under netting, seem to have been munched a bit…

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I’ve got high hopes that the frogs, which we keep finding every time we lift up anything in the garden, will see off all the slugs this year. This is a tiny one, with a little newt beside him but there are quite a few bigger ones too and we think there is some frog spawn in our little pond so we could well be host to a whole frog community by the summer!

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Hot, hot, hot…

Have had another go with sowing some chilli peppers as the ones I put in earlier don’t seem to be doing anything. Not sure if it is the seeds which were left over from last year, or if I’m
keeping them too hot/cold/dry/wet/dark/light… 

Bought these seeds when we were up at Batsford Arboretum at the weekend – hopefully we’ll get to find out if they are as hot as they claim to be…

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Book Review: Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea

This book is by Barbara Demick, an American journalist who spent years in Korea. This quite
incredible book is the story of 6 North Koreans who managed to defect to the South and who told their stories to Barbara.

Although it isn’t a novel, the stories are very well pieced together and straight away, you
become engrossed in the very difficult lives the subjects lead in the secretive and controlling
country. Several sections of the book are very hard to read as they cover the horrendous time of the famine when at least one-fifth of the population died.

It kept reminding me of Orwell’s 1984 – a real nightmare and yet the subjects of the book
manage to survive and eventually escape, otherwise we would never have heard their
fascinating and very moving stories.

Not an easy, relaxing read but all the same, a very well-written and accessible way to find out more about this totalitarian and fearsome regime by hearing the stories of people who
survived it.