Friday, 9 September 2011

Who Needs a Roof when The Sun Shines?

September Sunshine
After several dull and rainy days, the sun shone for most of the afternoon yesterday, so blogging fell by the wayside in favour of being out in the garden.

It's sunny now, but I've already had my coffee while sitting out watching the rabbit bouncing around the garden, helping herself to whatever she fancies. Not much damage to be done at this time of year and I don't grudge her the bottom leaves from the brussel sprouts or kale, nor do I mind that she nibbles the carrot tops.

It costs nothing to sit out and enjoy the afternoon, frugal fresh air, the chance to appreciate nature and, if lucky, a walk about to gather in some of the fruits of your labours.

Who needs a kitchen roof when the sun shines? It's a case of making the most of the patio, even although that probably won't be fully cleared before next year. We did get the Saffron crocus bed made (seen on right) and all 60 of the bulbs planted, so I'm happy with that. I've had to lay wire mesh over the top of the bed to keep the cat from going in and digging, though!

Despite all its flaws, we bought the house to develop it into a home and, most importantly for us at the time, for the potential we saw in the garden.

Compared to how it looked  6 months ago, it's now unrecognisable. I'm really pleased with progress and I'm delighted that everything is growing so well.

I do sometimes look in dismay at what still has to be done out there, but the blog and photographs serve to remind me of how much we've achieved so far.

Decided to check on the pumpkins, as I'd really like to have one ready for carving in time for Halloween. These are meant to be giant pumpkins, but I had my doubts at the start. That was then...

Now, my football-sized pumpkins are approaching medinice ball size and seem to be growing by the day. Not sure what to do for the best, as I have never grown pumpkins before this. Having had to double the size of the bed they are in, I left a few marigolds scattered among them - mainly because I couldn't think where else to move them!

Watch this space for pumpkin news.

Further down the garden, behind the rhubarb, I had thrown a handful of sunflower seeds. It was rather late for planting them but they have managed to survive.

Yesterday morning saw the arrival of the first flower, so I'm quite optimistic that a few others will follow suit, assuming the weather doesn't suddenly deteriorate. Fingers crossed that the garden birds get the chance to enoy the seeds this autumn.

The garden is an absolute haven for birds, as long as we can keep an eye on the cat! (She's now onto her third collar with bells, as she keeps losing them while scrapping with the other neighbourhood cats.) One of these days, I'll be lucky enough to snap a photo of all the goldfinches and the bull finches that frequent this part of the garden. Item to be added to the next 'to do' list - tie up the sunflowers, as they have long, since, grown up over the top of their current garden cane supports.

The broccoli is now sprouting all ways. Not sure if I like this as much as being able to simply walk out and cut one large head off the plants, but the sprouting variety is certainly productive, so might prove to be more economical.

The raised beds are planned for next year, so I'm hoping to get back to some more 'square foot gardening', as I like the variety it produces, all from the one smallish space.

In the micro-orchard, the nine home-hatched ducklings are now almost fully grown. At only 9 weeks old, it's getting difficult to tell the white ones apart from Phoebe and Joey, the adults. They all seem happy together and spend much of their time waddling around the pond. Soon, however, a few will be leaving to go to their new homes.

Thankfully, 'Custard Cream', the pale coloured one, and 'Orio', the black and white one, both seem to be ducks, so they have secured their longterm home here in Frugaldom.

I'm not sure how many of the others will remain but I was intending keeping half a dozen ducks for eggs. We now need to decide which three of the others can stay before rehoming the other four. It's a tough decision to make, as I like them all!

Hopefully, my spring bulbs will arrive in the next week or so. This will let me get a bit more done at the front of the house, as I'll can plant up all the tubs. The nasturtiums are still flowering, as are the marigolds. The 'Millions of Bells', given to me by a neighbour, have started to flower and the tiny violas rescued from the cobbled gutter seem to be surviving alongside one tiny begonia.

Seed collecting has begun, from both my own flowers and by way of packets traded through the Galloway LETS group, so next year should be a colourful one. It might not be frugal as far as growing edible produce is concerned, but the splash of colour and the extra bird life it encourages is well worth it. Bird corner should take on a life of its own in 2012.

That's almost it for today. I did manage to make a huge batch of carrot and lentil soup, which has now been split up and frozen. The last of the heritage 'blue' potatoes got eaten with dinner last night and I still have a bucket of carrots, loads of beas, courgettes and the big tub of broccoli to blanche and freeze but space in the freezer is at a premium, so some creative thinking is required, especially knowing that the kitchen has to be emptied completely for the roof work starting. But tomorrow is another day. For now, I'm off to do a bit more weeding before it's time to make dinner.


  1. You've had sun up your way? Lucky you! :-) Glad you were able to enjoy it in the garden. I am enjoying reading about your amazing progress and still can't quite believe how much you have achieved so far. It is very encouraging. I am moving into another house soon, albeit on a kind of temporary basis, but one of things I am really looking forward to is in bringing the huge vegetable garden back to life and further developing the rest of the garden. I'm guessing though that it is perhaps not the best time of the year to be doing so, but certainly worth a try. Now to convince my husband that I need a couple of ducks and chickens...

  2. Excellent news of a move to a place with huge garden! Not too late to get all year round cauliflowers, early carrots and cabbages sown, plus the salad leaves seem to grow all year round if kept frost free.

    If I've learned anything from all my housemoves, it is that ANYTIME is a great time to start doing the garden. And now is great for foraging, then there's seed collecting, then hardwood cuttings then garlic needs to go in before the frost and... it's like an all year round circus ride that costs nothing to get on and have some fun. :)

    As for the ducks and chickens, they're a must have in this household. If you were in my neighbourhood, I'd get you started with a couple of ducks no problem. :)

  3. Well - that garden is certainly looking pretty good by now. Obviously been a lot of hard work going on there....feel exhausted at the thought of how much work it must have taken LOL.

  4. Hi Ceridwen, thanks for stopping by. :)
    It's a work in progress but at least we can call it a garden now. Trouble is, it's starting to look smaller and smaller every time I think of something new to add.

    My next great 'plan' is to salvage what we can from the old kitchen roof to fix the outbuilding roof, thus freeing up cash from that challenge budget to transfer elsewhere. :)

  5. You have done amazingly well, I'm so impressed. It's looking fantastic out there, if only your kitchen looked half as pretty!!

    I don't know if I've ever really fancied having ducks, maybe we'll try a couple if we end up in a suitable place.

    Sue xx

    Sue xx

  6. I love having my mucky duckies, can't imagine not having any now. Have you seen how much pasta you can make from just a single egg? :)


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