Entries tagged with “tomatoes”.

You may remember this.

Unfortunately the combination of time, wind and rain had taken its toll and something had to be done.   Once again T has worked his magic

Half the roof blew off last winter, littering the surrounding fields with corrugated plastic.  A large sheet of heavy duty plastic was lashed on temporarily but working in there in high winds was noisy and unsettling.  The front had also developed an alarming bulge.

Something had to happen if I wanted to continue growing.  Once again we discussed alternatives to a custom built.  We almost went for a poly-tunnel but the original footprint wasn’t going to fit anything off the shelf and the price for anything half decent that would stand up to Bere island conditions was just too much money.

I must admit to a moment of doubt when the old one was down.  The open space it left was tempting – did I really want a building there again?  Then I remembered freshly picked tomatoes!

So T collected up window frames, a lot bought years ago and never used, some already used in various buildings here before all the extensions were built and others so old the origins are lost in time!

Even the exterior cladding is tongue and groove, rescued from some long since up-dated Bere island cottage.

In other words, another patchwork greenhouse with each part telling a story.  And of course it’s every bit as wonderful as the old one!

The only differences?  It’s slightly smaller.  It seemed the only way to curb my obsession for growing FAR TOO MANY  tomatoes!  And it’s tidy.  I haven’t yet had time to fill it with un-necessary stuff.  And the doorway is at the other end so I walk all the way to where the door once was before remembering that the new door is closer to the house!

And already it has a varied collection of seedlings.  Sweet peas, tomatoes (just a few)! chillies, cucumbers, courgettes, lettuces  are all up and beginning to grow.  It’s been a bit of a juggling act with propagators in the house, cling-film-covered pots constantly on the move to find shelter and seed trays disappearing under demolished timber.  But, as always, things are catching up and I’m looking forward to it being warm enough to work in the Mark 2 patchwork greenhouse.  I even promise to make more effort in keeping it tidy!  We’ll see!!

Garden furniture – ready

New sandals – ready

Roses – ready

Lettuces – getting there

Strawberries – getting there

Tomatoes – ready to go

So come on spring or summer or whatever we’re going to call it when it finally arrives!

We’re ready!

A few days in the garden, digging and clearing in SUNSHINE! But there’s still a way to go before we can say that spring has arrived.

The mass planting of Barcelona in the box beds is growing but still not showing any colour

and the Apricot Parrot still look like brussel sprouts

albeit with a splash of pink.

Fruit trees are trying so hard to blossom

and the tomatoes are still shivering in the greenhouse.

So what’s enjoying this weather?

It was happily in the undergrowth where I was digging, chomping its way through all the sleepy slugs.  I’m not sure if it’s a frog or a toad.  Does anyone out there know?

After weeks of this

things are looking up!

The sky is still there

and it’s blue!

Tomatoes are finally ripening

Sweet Peas finally flowering

Will it last?

Hope the sky is blue where you are.

After a working weekend away the combination of a comfy sofa, a glass or two of wine and something on the telly is guaranteed to send me straight to sleep.  But last night the BBC came up with a stunner and I was still wide awake at 11pm!  Some BBC drama is good, some miss the mark and sometimes they produce perfection -  I’d watched nearly all episodes of The Hour and it never quite did it, although the final episode had tension and finally a storyline that worked.  Page Eight last night was one of those BBC triumphs.  A clever and witty script and discreet direction from David Hare combined with a superb cast made it the best television for ages.  Thank you, BBC TV.

So, that’s the end of The Craft Fair for Cattapilla Designs!  If I felt wrecked last week, I am completely finished now!  And this morning, the first thing I did?  Was it to unpack the car, put props and stock safely away, catch up with orders and emails, sort out the washing and generally get organised?

  No.  I watered the greenhouse, counted  congratulated and plucked the tomatoes and picked yet more sweet peas.  They wouldn’t win any prizes, the sweet peas, due to the short stems, but once in my workroom the strong scent restored and gladdened my spirits.


I’m now ready for the week.

Electric propagators are a great help at this time of year.  For lots of greenhouse-grown seeds, a covering of kitchen cling film is just right, keeping moisture and warmth in.  But to get a head start on plants like courgettes, tomatoes, chillies and cucumbers, a bit of bottom heat goes a long way!

  In three weeks all the seeds have germinated and the propagater is now turned off.  I take off the cover during warm sunny days – we’ve had a lot of those recently – and replace them when the sun goes down to keep them warm at night while still small. 

And what, I hear you ask, am I going to do with 12 courgette plants and five cucumbers?!  I know, I always grow too many but I work along the principle of four plants for us, two for the slugs (Irish slugs deserve a whole post alone!), two that will just not grow and a couple of spares for friends and neighbours.  But yes, we’ll still be sick of courgettes by the end of the summer!  Read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle for brilliant stories of excess courgettes.  It’s a ‘must read’ for anyone who cares about what they eat.

This is my contribution to Katarina’s Blooming Friday found here.