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Garden Smallholding Blog

Blogging about growing fruit, vegetables and herbs and keeping chickens and ducks.
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Is The Pollination Paying Off?

Posted by: admin

Late last month I detailed how I manually pollinated my Pineberry plants (see Pollinating Pineberry Plants). The latest picture of the most advanced plant is shown immediately below the text. You can see the flowers to the left and top of the picture are setting out fruit, but the ones to the bottom and right are shrivelling up, and based on previous experience will amount to nothing.

Shortly after this pic was taken, we reclaimed the polytunnel back from the ducks and chickens with the aim of reclaiming the tunnel to grow things in - rather than it being an extension of their run. The idea was to then extend the chicken and duck run into a flower bed that houses a lot of large shrubs, most of them were not visible from the rest of the garden, so the space was effectively wasted.

We emptied the contents of the fire damaged compost bin (see How The Fence Caught Fire - we think!) into the polytunnel and gave the ducks and chickens a couple of days to scratch around in the compost before sending them back to their run and preventing them accessing the polytunnel again.  The time that the ducks and chickens spent in there paid off - they did a really good job of mixing the compost in with the rest of the soil in the polytunnel. We still had to dig it over, but they really did help matters.

We then planted the Pineberry plants in the polytunnel, along with a couple of squashes, various chillis, and half a dozen different tomato plants kindly donated by my mother outlaw. The second and third pictures show either side of the polytunnel. The second is the left hand side and to the far left are various types of tomato, and the row in front is the pineberry plants - not bad bearing in mind I was only given one plant a year ago! And I have given loads of them away too! 

The third picture is the right hand side of the polytunnel - farthest away are a couple of squashes, followed by various types of chilli, with a basil plant thrown in, and then a couple of strawberries.

Fruiting pineberry plant in pots in greenhouse

Tomatoes and pineberry plants in polytunnel

Squashes and various chillis in polytunnel

Mother-In-Law Homegrown Vegetables

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: In-laws

My mother-in-law whom I have blogged about previously - Mother and Father-in-Law is a keen gardener and gets fantastic results with fruit and veg. She has kindly supplied us with some fresh homegrown produce;

Assorted vegetables grown by mother in law

I was particularly taken with the peppers;Homegrown peppers


Milly Planting Petunia F1 Hybrids

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Seeds , In-laws , Flowers

My mother-in-law (as mentioned before - check out the in-laws tags) has been propagating Petunia F1 hybrids and gave us a shed load of seedlings.

My eldest, Milly was tasked with planting them out a couple of weeks ago. She used bog-standard Homebase Multi-Purpose Compost and some old planters. Have a look at the pics;

Milly planting petunia f1 seedlings

Milly planting petunia f1 seedlings

Milly watering petunia f1 seedlings

Gooseberry - Ribes Uva-Crispa

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: In-laws , Gooseberry

This gooseberry bush was given to me last year by my mother-in-law at the same time as the Goji berry - April 2009.

Gooseberry - Ribes Uva-Crispa

When we first planted it, it was in good health, and as the year progressed it went downhill to the point that I thought it was curtains for the poor bush. Now, just a little over a year since planting it out, it is almost 450mm tall (18 inches) and a picture of health again, with loads of berries on it. Why it is doing as well it is? I haven't got a clue. The only things I can think of are the chickens like to congregate around it when they are out of their enclosure, and that we have put a fair bit of our own compost around it.

Now looking forward to picking the fruit from it!

Doing Something!

Posted by: admin

Right, I have updated the software on this site, and am now aiming to keep you updated. I am going to touch on what we have been up to this year, and will cover it in more detail over the coming weeks/months. The reason that we have been slow off the blocks is that the weather has been terrible - not really the sort of weather for gardening. That's my excuses done with!

We have already planted loads of stuff - shed loads of onions which are going great guns. They are going to be huge! We still have a few left over from last years harvest and because of these, have not had to buy any from the supermarket, which is good going.

The courgettes (kindly donated by the inlaws again) have been planted in the polytunnel, and have been growing for a few weeks. These are starting to go a bit mildewy, so a couple have been replanted in the outdoor vegetable patch. The remainder have been fed with some of our compost and left to their own devices. We have been told that they can get mildewy because there is insufficient calcium in the soil. How true this is, I don't know, I need to find some time to google and check it out.

The herbs are growing crazily - chives, parsley, and now rosemary. We need to get some basil out there to compliment the recently planted tomatoes - all of these are in the polytunnel along with some courgettes and the nectarine tree. We have a number of varieties of tomatoes this year, not mostly cherry like last year. They tasted fantastic, but were a pain to use in some dishes and took an absolute age to pick.

The blueberries are looking good, whether the yield is up to last years standards, I don't know - lets wait and see.

Goji berries - the bush is flourishing, again, more information and pictures to follow shortly.

Raspberries - despite some getting damaged when we replaced a couple of fence panels and cut back overhanging trees and bushes, they have bounced back, and there are lots of new plants growing all over the place, filling in any gaps. The cutting back of the overhanging trees etc seem to have really made a difference to the way they grown. Hopefully, with the extra light and rain, the raspberries on this bed will be bigger, juicier and less woody.

Elsewhere, we have some redcurrants - the yield is a little disappointing, but hopefully will get better as the bush gets bigger during forthcoming years. The blackberries and blackcurrants are looking like they will be off the scale again this year.

Gooseberries - the bush that we planted last year is finally starting to get established and even has some fruit on it this year.

Will be back soon.....


Posted by: admin

Tagged in: Peppers , In-laws

A couple of months ago, my mother-in-law gave us some peppers to put in the polytunnel. They have just started to produce - see below:


Mother and Father-in-Law

Posted by: admin

Tagged in: In-laws , Growing

I have mentioned my mother and father-in-law in previous blog posts, they have a smallholding about half a mile away from where we live, and have been the inspiration for a lot of the stuff we have grown etc. They are pretty experimental with the things that they grow, and how they grow it. Their method is non-linear, and very busy, but it works beautifully. Their plants grow like crazy, and their animals thrive. Have a look at these images to see what I mean. Just click on the thumbnail to enlarge.

This is a compost heap with pumpkins, tomatoes and courgettes growing in it!

Compost heap with courgettes, tomatoes and pumkins growing in it!

Can you see the pumpkin behind the leaves in the image below?

Compost heap with courgettes, tomatoes and pumpkins growing in it


The image below shows the outside of their smaller polytunnel: 

The smaller of the in-laws polytunnels 

The image below shows inside it, the left hand side:

Inside the smaller polytunnel

The image below shows inside it again, the right hand side this time:

Inside the smaller polytunnel

The next image is the inside of their larger polytunnel - this is jam packed with veg also:

Inside the larger polytunnel

Another view inside the large polytunnel below:

Inside the larger polytunnel

Their outdoor vegetable patch:

The outdoor vegetable patch

The nursery:

The nursery

Great stuff eh?

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