Windy Farm – The DSLR Chronicles

Frosts, Greenhouses, and a new Picture-Taking Device…

Good evening all! Well, it’s evening here in the UK – but hello to one and all, wherever you are!

I’ve had not a very good week. I’ve had a terrible mind-numbing earache all week, so bad that it drove me to the surgery (and this is major, since I tend to lean towards the mindset that you should only go to the doctors’ surgery if you are in a serious situation, and not for a little sniffle or what-have-you), after much to-ing and fro-ing from dismissive pharmacy assistants and jarringly cheerful nurse practitioners.

My car has also been playing up. The Flying Banana is no longer flying! Its get-up-and-go got up and went! A mystery light came up on the dash, and then it wouldn’t build any revs or speed, and I wasn’t about to chug up and down hills for 35 miles with an iffy engine. And now it’s in surgery and I, the girl with three cars, is stranded. A pedestrian!! Unthinkable.

Then it came a hard frost over night. Look at my greenhouse!

25.3.15 A frosty morning

However a package arrived on Tuesday which cheered me up endlessly.

I bought a new camera!

Those of you who may recall my post about the Quest of Week Three (find it here: will remember that I have been searching for my camera for, like, ever! Since I have decided that my role as designated photographer-slash-camera-provider may have, unintentionally and unwittingly, provided somebody with a camera bounty after a night out, a new camera was in order. I use my iPhone but, let’s be honest, the quality is serious iffy.

So I went on tord ‘Bay and had a nosy. I’d heard of these mysterious ‘DSLR’ cameras before, raved about on every single blog and on every Pinterest pin about ‘how to make your blog better’, so I searched for DSLR cameras, looked at the ones ending on Sunday, decided I liked the Canon EOS one, was outbid on two (and went into a consequential rage because of being outbid), my Daddy then found me a buy-it-now, and so I did, and it came yesterday!

I am in love. The photos are amazing! I think I’ll end up looking at my iPhone photos with such derision and contempt now.

Here are some I took this morning!

A little lonely cauliflower... a lot of them seem to have been badly affected by frost!

A little lonely cauliflower… a lot of them seem to have been badly affected by frost!

The "Dutch" tomatoes and peppers, living in the utility room.

The “Dutch” tomatoes and peppers, living in the utility room.

Some onions... wow, the DSLR really shows up the green coming on the compost!

Some onions… wow, the DSLR really shows up the green coming on the compost!

My Ailsa Craig onions.

My Ailsa Craig onions.

Lots of little guys poking up here in my salad starters!

Lots of little guys poking up here in my salad starters!

Tomatoes that, unlike the Gardener's Delight, have resisted the cold - despite being uncovered overnight!

Tomatoes that, unlike the Gardener’s Delight, have resisted the cold – despite being uncovered overnight!

Ooooh, I’m ever so pleased! Expect a lot more photographs now folks!

It’s about to get serious!

I hope you all enjoy.



Getting Ready for Spring… The New Raised Bed Diaries

Hello all!

After a weekend away, I’ve been back in my garden. 

It’s nearly March. March is the biggie month – the start of it all! ‘Spring’ is just around the corner, and things start heating up – hopefully figuratively and literally!

I’ve filled my greenhouse up with trays of sown seeds… as yet not much is happening. So far I’ve sown:

  • Various kinds of tomato (moneymaker, Ailsa Craig, sun gold, black cherry)
  • Leeks (I got free with my subscription to Kitchen Garden magazine)
  • Ailsa Craig onions, as recommended by DT Brown
  • Red Baron onions, which as the name suggests, are red onions!
  • All year round cauliflowers
  • And some cayenne peppers from seed, which Nana kindly gave to me, though with a warning that they were a little out of date, and should be sown with a pinch of salt.

So far, not much has happened, except…

I made a vlog! Check it out:

Who knew I had such a strong Yorkshire accent? Looking back at my video, I laughed for about half an hour over how I pronounced ‘greenhouse’. Anyway! This video seems to chiefly be about my cauliflowers. Here’s a pic of them!

I counted 29 little seedlings here - they're going strong!

I counted 29 little seedlings here – they’re going strong!

Whoa! Look at these bad boys! I counted, and I have 29 cauliflower seedlings! These, added to the two strong cauliflower plants that have overwintered on the bed itself, bring me up to 31 of the vegetable! Now, if you read my blog last year, you will recall that I had an issue with cauliflowers…

They all got eaten! They came on great, grew to a couple of inches high, and then I sowed by them some infected radish, or maybe there was already something nasty in the soil. Either way, a whole crop of radish, turnip and my cherished caulis were wiped out by nasty horrid maggotty things. Many tears were shed!

So this year I’m doing things proper. I’ve got my cabbage collars. Those pesky bugs aren’t getting anywhere near my brassicas! I’ve bought netting and all sorts. Last year was a trial run. This year it’s serious stuff!

What have you guys started at the moment? Have you got any seedlings coming up yet?



January Start

This is a post I apparently started on January the 21st, and didn’t get any further than the title! Whoops.

Anyway, here I am, rectifying that moment of madness on my part!

It is January! Hurrah! Or rather, it was January. It’s now February, but we’re doing this retrospectively. This means it’s the start of the growing year. And since I have my greenhouse, I can start! And if you perhaps saw my other post (Windy Day at Windy Farm,, you will have known that my poor greenhouse suffered a major casualty earlier on in the year: in the bad winds, all the glass in the back wall blew out! Thankfully my lovely daddy went and got me some more glass, and then he worked some magic on my door, and now all is well!

I’ve been looking forward to getting out in my greenhouse ever since the end of summer, really. I guess part of it was probably because I was so unhappy doing my teacher training, and doing something physical and quite personal, like starting off my garden (properly this year) was something so removed from what was making me unhappy – and yet, in December certainly, was looking like something I would never have time to do.

Time to get started!


As you can probably see from the pic, I have sown out:

  • Cauliflower (All Year Round)
  • Tomato (Ailsa/Alisa (?) Craig)
  • Onion (Red Baron)
  • Leek (Autumn Mammoth)

It may seem early, but I did them as per packet instructions! It was the best feeling to be out in my greenhouse (it was very cold, so I had a nice flask of hot chocolate with me), working with compost and seeds – though my back was aching at the end of it!

Now, if you recall, I have had issues with cauliflowers in the past… My last batch fell prey to horrendous grubs: some cabbage root fly or other such pest. But this year I am taking no prisoners! They do say cauliflowers are the hardest things to grow, but I will give them my all! I’ve ordered cabbage collars (I’m not going to lie, a little bit in love with that alliteration) from the Dobie’s catalogue, and I also ordered some netting (from Achica, of all places!), so, fingers crossed.


Heaven in a picture! A flask, a Sharpie, and a mess!


And so here they are! The tomatoes are in the propagator, and the rest in modules. It’s relatively warm (ish) in the greenhouse, and a little bit more so in the prop, so hopefully, with a bit of luck, in a few weeks I can have pictures of little green nubs!




The Best Moment for a Gardening Virgin – The Raised Bed Diaries #3

What is the greatest moment for a trainee gardener, starting out? After all that hardwork, digging and shovelling manure and topsoil, stamping the plot down and raking it over and over, and then setting up my trays, planting teeny tiny little seeds in their little modules, I have some rewards!


If you look really closely, you can see the tiny little buds! These are my salad leaves.

The sense of pride and achievement I felt I think was greater than anything else!

And a few days later, they started springing up everywhere!




Nurture & Nature … The Raised Bed Diaries #2

So I have begun starting my seeds off! Mum showed me properly how to do my trays. As you can see here, they’re only half full, so I’m about to drop my seeds in.

Seeds planted in their tray


So far, dead pleased with my green-fingered efforts!

Five trays and a propagator

I have so far done: mixed salad leaves, spinach, radish, beetroot and courgette (the latter of which I don’t have the greatest of faith in – I think it’s too early), plus the freebie tomato seeds I got in the propagator.

These are all now to go in the cloche!

In the cloche

After erecting the cloche, which was so straightforward I’m sure I’ve not done it right, we picked a nice sunny spot to start them off! Also in the cloche are a few plants I bought, ready sprouting: onions, mangetout, and broccoli. Mum also put her sweetpeas in to fill it up.

The cloche

And here we have it! My babies! So pleased. Just got to wait and see if anything happens now…