Thursday 24 December 2009

Sprouts, Snow and a New Garden Helper

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all from Garden Mum, Garden Dad, Garden Girl and Garden Boy.
We are busy preparing our Christmas vegetables and the smell of turkey roasting in the oven is spreading the scent of Christmas all around our kitchen. The pastry for Father Christmas's mince pies is cooling in the fridge and the sprouts are defrosting. I am very pleased that two Brussel Sprouts plants survived and we will actually be able to eat homegrown sprouts tomorrow, something that back in spring I thought might never happen.

I am also pleased to report that Garden Boy braved another trip into the snow and this time he loved it, stamping his footprints all over the garden and even throwing a few snowballs. And when he got too cold he was content to stand in the greenhouse and play peekaboo round the door while Garden Girl and her friend built another snowman.

And finally, the best news of all. By next summer we will have another Little Garden Helper, due to arrive mid May. We had our twenty week scan this morning and everything was well so we can look forward to an exciting 2010!

Have a lovely Christmasday and all the best for the coming year to you all.

Ho Ho Ho.

Friday 18 December 2009

It Was Just sNOw Fun

Garden Girl and Garden Boy are defrosting from our brief adventure into the snow. It wasn't the fun and frolics I was hoping for. Garden Boy hated it.

All morning both Garden Boy and Garden Girl had their noses pressed up at the window in wonder at the white world that appeared over night. They brought me their boots while I was still eating breakfast and Garden Girl would have been outside before the sun was even up had she been allowed. 'It is too cold' I told her 'we have to wait for the sun'. This caused her concern that the snow would melt before she had a chance to build a snowman but I assured that there was far too much snow for that to happen and if she waited for the sun to warm up she would enjoy being outside for longer. By the time we were ready to head out doors, warm and snug in extra layers of clothes, hats and gloves they were both hugely excited and they couldn't get outside fast enough.

Garden Girl took giant steps through the snow making footprints all around the garden while Garden Boy just cried. The moment his wellies first sank into the snow the tears started to fall. I held his hand and tried to encourage him to take a step but that made it worse and in the end I took him inside and sat him on the sofa so he could watch us build a snowman. Garden Girl was disappointed that this meant she would have to build her snowman on the patio rather than the grass but eagerly started to mound the snow. Garden Boy eventually thought he might try again and brought his boots to the window for a second go. This time he managed to happily walk to the mound of snow and even lift up a handful of snow to help out but then he tottered on his feet and the crying started again. This time it didn't stop and eventually we all had to abandon the snowman to go back inside with Garden Boy.

We now have half a snowman in the garden with one eye and two stick arms. Garden Girl is convinced it will melt away quickly because it wasn't finished and is hoping the snow will still be around tomorrow when Garden Dad will be at home to help. Then at least I can stay indoors with Garden Boy to keep him entertained while Garden Girl gets to build a snowman with two eyes, a nose and mouth! In the meantime I think I'll have to cheer them both up with yet more baking. Maybe snowman biscuits will be more successful than the real thing!

Tuesday 15 December 2009

Toddler Gardening Gloves

The soil is too cold for little fingers so there is not much gardening happening at our house at the moment. Within moments of our Little Garden Helpers starting to dig, fingers begin to turn blue. Garden Boy has more stamina for the cold than Garden Girl who gives up quickly saying her fingers are too cold and she wants to go back inside. They do wear gloves and mittens, woollen ones, because these are the only ones available in their size. They are brilliant for days out in winter but not so good for hard work in the garden. As soon as they get wet they let the cold through. There are an array of children's gardening gloves available in the shops but none of them small enough for young toddler hands. Even Garden Girl at age three does not fit the smallest ones we have found.

With the possibility of snow being suggested in the news, I have been thinking back to earlier in the year when we went outside to build a snowman and just how quickly Garden Girl gave up because her fingers had turned numb. She watched from the window while I finished off, then came back outside to add the eyes, nose, smile, scarf and hat. I know that if her hands were warm enough she would have stayed to help and would be eager now to be digging in the garden. Why does no-one make tough gardening mittens that keep out the wet and cold, for very small hands? If anyone has discovered very small gardening gloves or mittens please let me know. In the meantime we are having to find other ways to get mucky, so there has been lots of painting and baking indoors. Great fun, but not quite like soil on our heads!

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Mouldy Herbs and Yummy Cabbage

I left all the herbs we planted a while back in the airing cupboard for a bit too long and some of them now have a white furry mould on them. I had forgotton that the airing cupboard would be a lot warmer at this time of year because the heating is on a lot more, so although the plants were in there for the same amount of time as in spring the extra heat had its effect.

The plants are now sitting on the sideboard in our bedroom, leaning towards the window for as much sunlight as they can get and I have been trying to spray the mould away but it is determined to stay put. Still, most of the plants seem to be growing, so I am hoping for the best at this stage.

Just like these herbs our cabbages didn't get the best start back in spring when they were somewhat munched, but with a bit of attention they grew back well and at the weekend we tucked heartily into our first homegrown cabbage. It had so much more flavour than the shop bought ones, I really hope we can find a bit more space to grow more next year. I am now really looking forward to our Brussels Sprouts on Christmas Day. If they taste as good as the cabbage they might even beat the roast potatoes!

Sunday 6 December 2009

Winter Sun

Our Christmas trees are up and they look fabulous. We also made our mince pies and ate them all. We even started to wrap some presents although there are more to wrap. The sun however is shining today, despite an early morning 'bucket it down', so after we have finished indulging in some festive chocolate we are heading outdoors to enjoy the winter sun. There are some vegetables to harvest for a winter stew tonight and there is some more newspaper to lay out over all the bare soil to keep the weeds at bay. It seems like such a long time since we were all outside enjoying the garden in the sunshine we will make the most of it. And if we are lucky we will spot our friend the Robin enjoying the sunshine too, to complete what has been a lovely festive start to Christmas.

Wednesday 2 December 2009


It has been very wet and very cold and as a consequence we have only really seen our garden from the window. We haven't been idle with our time though. We finally, after much procrastination, decided on our apple tree varieties. We will soon be the owners of a Red Falstaff apple tree and a Worcester Pairmain apple tree. The Red Falstaff is self pollinating but is also good for pollinating other apple trees, so will be the ideal companion to the Worcester Pairmain. Both trees also come in the M27 rootstock, which is very dwarfing and will therefore be OK grown in a pot. We chose an early and a late variety to try and provide an apple supply for as long as possible. Garden Boy will be delighted when they arrive. He calls every type of fruit apple and apart from 'aeroplane' and 'get down', 'apple' is his most commonly used word.

We have also been using our time indoors to get ready for Christmas. This weekend we will be putting up our Christmas tree so we have been sorting out toys, cleaning and tidying ready for our festive fun. Garden Girl is hugely excited. She met Father Christmas last weekend and has been talking about it ever since and we cannot pass a Christmas tree in a shop without a sudden exclamation of 'Wow. What a beautiful Christmas tree.' Each and every time it sounds like it is the first Christmas tree she has ever seen. There was some disappointment when I told her our tree would not be a real one. Not because she didn't want a fake tree, but because she thought I meant we would have a pretend one, with pretend baubles and pretend tinsel. But, having explained that ours would be a plastic tree rather than a tree grown outdoors, the excitement returned and she has been happily helping me clean all day in readiness for the arrival of the tree.

Her excitement is rubbing off. I can't wait. Christmas is arriving.