Thursday, 31 March 2011

exciting times...

...I have been a fairly absent blogger, but I most certainly have not been an absent gardener the last couple of months.  There are seedlings on every available windowsill in my house, weighing down the shelves of my little green house and even a few outside (though some naughty snail/slug has devoured two of my baby marigolds).

march in the garden

Here is a little list of what is currently growing in some form or another in my garden/greenhouse/house:

march in the garden

Fruit ::

  • strawberries : some from last year and some newly purchased runners, some of these are already flowering which seems crazy!

  • march in the garden
  • blueberries : 3 newly purchased little plants

      march in the garden

  • raspberries : again a new addition, I have 3 varieties and 3 canes of each.  Planted in big containers and currently covered with some plastic sheeting in an attempt at a little polytunnel for them!

  • gooseberries : this is a bit of an experiment, I took some cuttings from a huge gooseberry bush just over my fence (which is currently a building site, I imagine they will remove the bush in due course) and have just popped them a pot of compost, I have no idea if this will work, apparently it's fine to take cuttings like this but it should be done in the autumn, these are already flowering so we'll see how it goes!

  • watermelon : from seeds, I know this is probably a massive long shot but thought I'd give it a go anyway!

Vegetables ::

  • aubergines

  • borlotti beans

  • carrots

  • courgette

  • cucumber

  • french beans

  • garlic

  • globe artichokes

  • kale

  • leeks

  • onions

  • peas

  • potatoes : 6 different varieties

  • purple sprouting broccoli : some forming florets from last year and some new seedlings for next year

  • march in the garden
  • runner beans

  • salad leaves : various kinds

  • spinach

  • spring onions

  • sweetcorn

  • tomatoes : 7 different types this year!

Herbs ::

  • basil : regular, purple and thai

  • dill

  • mint

  • oregano

  • parsley

  • sage

  • rosemary

  • tarragon

Plus a whole lot of flowers, including ::

  • calendula

  • dahlias

  • marigolds

  • nasturtiums

  • poppies

  • sunflowers

It's such an exciting time and seeing it all listed like that makes it seem even more promising!

march in the garden

All of this was already going on and growing away destined to become potted plants in my entirely decked little garden, when on Sunday I received a fabulously exciting email telling me an allotment had become available if I was still interested and wanted to make an appointment to view it!  I had a couple of reservations (namely time and that's it a bit of a distance away, about 30mins on foot) but the thought of having a proper proper space to grow food was just too tempting!  So I am going to view my little space this afternoon, I cannot tell you how much time I have spent day dreaming allotment plans since Sunday!

I am throughly daunted don't get me wrong, I really have no idea what I am doing, I have had 2 years experience growing in pots, I have read a fair few books and I did attend a weekend permaculture course back in October, but as for proper practical work I am very inexperienced.  I have no doubt the old time allotmenters will be watching me with raised eyebrows and little smirks, but at least I am not to be sniggered at alone as the lovely Bex of stuffed nonsense has vowed to help me out.

So back to dreaming of spiral herb gardens and little ponds full of wildlife, beds bursting with lovelies, necessary new purchases such as tools and wellies and a bike (with a basket of course), whilst I twiddle my thumbs waiting for 2 o'clock to arrive when I can go and view my little plot.  In my head this little plot is covered in weeds and throughly neglected a little smaller than I'd like without a shed and in the furthest spot imaginable from the entrance and water. I figure if I picture the worse, I can only be pleased with what I get!


**I actually took these pictures from the garden about 10 days it's amazing how much has changed in that time, the raspberries are full of leaves now and the broccoli is huge, ready to cut any day I think!**

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

D ::

I did it!  I stitched together my first garment from a pattern and in Japanese at that.

D ::

I am so proud of myself, I mean the shirt itself is no where near perfect, but it is wearable, just about!

D ::

I decided that I should start with something reasonably simple looking and that wouldn't require too much fabric and I only used an old sheet.  That way if it did go terribly wrong I wouldn't have ruined some beautiful, expensive fabric.

I am so glad now that I decided to just get stuck in and have a go, because I learnt so so much by actually doing it and it wasn't until I started putting all those techniques in to practice that they started to make much more sense, some a little too late for this garment unfortunately, but that is of course what practice runs are for!

D ::

I really struggled a lot with the binding on the neck and the sleeves, it just didn't seem possible!  I actually ended up making some larger binding for the neck piece and handstitching the sleeves.  I'm not sure how to prevent this from being such a disaster next time, but I'm sure with a little more book reading and internet searching I'll get there.

I also didn't even consider raw edges until I'd finished!  For this garment it's not the end of the world, but next time I will definitely consider how to finish the edges.

I used Built by Wendy's sew u book for a lot of the technical stuff, I've had this book for ages and ages, but I've hardly even flicked through it before (I think I may have read a bad review of it just after purchase and it just got neglected after that) however it was actually really really helpful and I had it next to my sewing machine for constant reference throughout.

So next up....a dress!  Well maybe anyway.  I really want to make a dress to wear for my cousins wedding in April, but I'm not entirely sure I'm brave enough to make that big step of cutting up beautiful, carefully purchased fabric just yet!  Maybe another practice run first would be best.

  • pattern D from stylish dress book 1 available here

  • burdastyle notes here