Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Well it has been a time of great excitement in Clueless HQ - the pineberry plant has had a few fruit on - tiny, but fruit nonetheless. I managed to sit on my hands long enough to allow them to ripen and I can now confirm they taste like...

... strawberries.

Bah, I prefer chickens anyway!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A big decision....

Okay, so I admit, by the very title of this blog, that I am clueless. But its getting a bit daft at clueless HQ! I have in the region of 15 rows of things on the veg patch now. The broad beans are looking okay, there are 2 carrots, 1 parsnip, a few potatoes (which is strange given I've not planted any!), a row with a few clumps of radishes in and a row of kohl rabi which have been planted out but is gradually disappearing thanks to the slugs. The fruit is fairing better - the rhubarb has calmed down since I stripped it to make jam, the strawberry and beloved pineberry have a few fruits on and the raspberries are looking pretty laden.

Are you seeing a theme here; if I planted it, it does badly, if it was already there it does well! Therefore Mr Clueless and myself are planning on turning the veg patch into a chicken run over the winter and installing some chooks in the spring! Mr Clueless is currently being smiled sweetly at in the hope I can get some Indian Runner ducks in there too! My premise being that they are better layers and the eggs are even more nutritious than hens eggs.

So, over ducks or not, over the winter we will be the clueless DIY-ers instead as we attempt to build a 5m square run and a chicken house (may just buy one, currently spending most evenings designing and pricing up houses!)

Fear not though, a small amount of growing will continue in the greenhouse. The greenhouse I seem to do okay with; it currently looks like day of the triffids in there! The tomato plants are shoulder height, the squash (which I hadn't realised was a trailing plant) has had to be strung up as there is nowhere for it to trail to and the courgette has eclipsed everything on that side of the greenhouse (meaning the cucumbers are not doing anything!). There are some savoy cabbages and brocolli to go out on the patch but I'm holding back as I am fed up of feeding slugs.

That is I think what I've found so dishearting; the fact that anything I plant directly in the ground doesn't come up and anything I grow in the greenhouse then plant out feeds the wildlife and not us and this is a major reason for throwing in the towel. The slugs and snails aren't likely to steal the eggs, moreover ducks generally love slugs; revenge will be sweet!

So, I will still be blogging, but I am to undergo a makeover; the clueless DIYer...

Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Well well, tut tut me, 3 months without a post!

I kept meaning to post but the longer I left it the more I had to write and the more I had to write the less time I had to do it blah blah etc... but I'm here now (typing while the girls throw pasta at each other!).

So, lovely weather we've been having! Means my gardening has been somewhat sporadic but I shall update you on what I have...

Broad beans are up through the soil and about 6 inches tall...they don't seem to be suffering as much with the slugs as last year, however this weather means I think the slugs are still in the soil with their fingers in their ears singing 'la la la, not spring, not coming out yet'!
Broad beans
The apple tree and the cherry tree have blossomed so hopefully they will produce fruit this year.

No sign of any raspberry blossom as yet but the red currant bushes are TEAMING with buds... Best start searching google for some recipes! Also flourishing is the rhubarb. Again. Just to remind you, last year the rhubarb grew to such epic proportions that I had to fence it off as it as fighting the peas (the rhubarb won, hands down!).
The giant rhubarb... patch... plant.... not sure what the correct term is! To give you an idea of scale, its currently up to my waist.
 Ironically I have the only one in the family who likes rhubarb so I spent an inordinate amount of time last year walking round with a bundle of rhubarb under my arm to palm off on unsuspecting acquaintances. This year I am trying to use it myself so a few weeks ago I made rhubarb and ginger jam (emphasis on the ginger) and it is LUSH. The girls like it too so I'll be making another batch shortly. Also planning to stew some to go on Greek yoghurt instead of buying flavoured yoghurt and I plan to experiment with rhubarb ice-cream if the weather ever improves.

I have also planted a few rows of carrots, radishes... and something else I can't quite remember but its raining too much to go and check now, plus I'm pretty sure none of it is actually growing - there are lots of plant on that area of the patch but nothing coming up in rows so assuming its all weeds, although I've not pulled anything up, just in case!

I plan to plant some parsnips when the weather improves enough - they did really well (okay, relatively well) last year so I may as well stick to what I know works!

Lastly the strawberries are looking healthy but no flowers as yet. The beloved pineberry had gone a bit flat and pathetic looking but seems to have perked up and has a few flowers on which has excited me no end. My concern though is that the instructions said to plant it near strawberries for cross pollination... however the strawberries aren't flowering yet so my excitement is marred by the fact that it may still not fruit.As long as I get one I'll be happy, I'm just so intrigued by the idea of a strawberry that tastes of pineapple!
The strawberries - along the top are the strawberries. The one at the bottom of the shot is the pineberry. Actually there are flowers on the top right plant too however I don't know if this is a runner form the strawberry or the pineberry, but hopefully it'll cross pollinate...

Well that's outside covered. The green house is looking rather healthy at the moment. Tomatoes are doing well (cherry for the Smallest Small to eat and normal for making into chutney/sauce etc) - again tomatoes aren't overly popular in this house so ironic that I'm pretty good at growing them!
The tomato plants and either 2 squash or two courgettes!
I also have either 3 squash plants and 2 courgettes or 3 courgettes and 2 squash... There was a labelling issue! However, all 5 are doing well so I'll wait and see what grows, its vegetable roulette!
3 squash/courgette plants, 2 rather pathetic looking cucumbers and a pepper plant
So that's the grow bags covered, on the shelves I have two trays of salad leaves, and purple sprouting:

Two pea plants (which are in desperate need of something to climb up but I've no worked out where they are going yet) and just over a dozen kohl rabi plants. All these will go outside when if the weather picks up:
 Lastly some rather leggy looking savoy cabbage which went a bit nuts while we were away:

I also have a rather impressive looking pepper plant which is 80cm tall and requires the support of not one, not two, but three canes! Its currently got 13 peppers growing on it but also has green fly which I can't seem to shift! 

The Biggest Small has become an Alfalfa addict so we have that on the go in the kitchen at all times too, and that is about it. I've loads more I want to plant but it just feels like throwing seeds away attempting to plant when the weather is still so changeable. 

Hopefully I'll have more to update with soon....

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Hanging Baskets

Hi all, a quick update on the seeds! I am pleased to report that 5 of the 6 cucumber seeds have germinated so far and are currently uncurling themselves on the landing window! So today I bought them a grow bag to 'graduate' into when they get big! So far no sign of the Kolh Rabi but the packet did say 7 to 21 days and they've only had 14 days so fingers crossed they poke their heads out soon!

I have also purchased some bargain hanging baskets (special offer at Aldi for this week for anyone inclined to follow in my footsteps!) Given that just a basket would usually be around the £5 mark I decided that the basket plus compost and plants was a good deal - I have 3 hanging basket hooks on the front porch so I figured this was good use of space - I already have one basket and some cherry tomato seeds to plant in it so I got two more baskets, one chilli pepper and one strawberry. They have been planted and have joined the cucumber party on the windowsill upstairs. For anyone with a love of non-functional growing (i.e. flowers!) they had flowery baskets too.

Fingers crossed they grow well (or at all!) because I love the idea of exiting my front door surrounded by the smell of strawberries, chillies and tomatoes! The Smalls can pick their own packed lunch on their way out of the front door in the mornings!

This puts my current planting total/growing potential to: 6 chilli plants, 3 basket strawberry plants, 2 garden strawberry plants (inherited), 1 pineberry plant, 1 redcurrant bush (inherited), 1 raspberry bush (inherited), 1 blackcurrant bush (inherited), 1 apple tree (inherited) one cherry tree (inherited), a big patch of rhubarb (you guessed it, inherited!), 6 cucumber plants, 6 kolh rabi....

So, watch this space!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013


Snow, wind, rain, ah the trials and tribulations of a Welsh gardener!!

We finally made it outside today in an attempt to get the veggie patch started. The Madams were determined to thwart the attempts; 'Mummeeeeeeeeee' my hands are cold', yes, that's because its 4C out here and you've been splashing in the bird bath, dear child of mine! The Smallest Small also ended up with an unexplained bump on the head (she didn't cry out at all!) and a muddy mouth... I don't want to know what she was eating!

Anyhow, in the brief time spend out there some constructive activity took place. The ground has been composted, probably could have done with a bit more on there but there was no way I was going to be allowed! Biggest Small stopped whinging long enough to plant some broad beans. She planted two rows, albeit in a slightly wonky manner, but I lost count of how many - maybe around the 15-20 mark?!? All will be revealed when if they come up. I hope they do; I LOVE broad beans but they are so expensive, if you can find them at all and the frozen ones are foul. If mine don't grow I'll have to fight a path to my Nana's door and compete with the rest of the family for her stash!

A small row of early carrots were also sown. This is from a packet which last year produced a whole carrot (which if you remember I stuck my fork through!) which is why I didn't use up too much growing space on them. Will be interesting to see if it is more successful this year but I won't be holding my breath, especially as the packet with the instructions on went sailing off in the breeze!

My beloved pineberry was given a new home next door to the strawberry plants (As recommended on the label for cross pollination purposes) and The Smalls have been threatened with living in the garage if they stand on it (although as we are currently out of heating oil its entirely possible that the garage is warmer than their bedroom anyway!). Can't wait to try a pineberry - that plant is on a very high pedestal at the moment!

In other news 6 cucumber seeds have been potted up and taken up residence in the landing window. Apparently they need to be at around 20C... so with our current (lack of) heating situation I'm hoping they aren't too fussy, they apparently take 7-21 days to come up so here's to a tense 3 weeks at Clueless HQ! Five kohl rabi seeds are also in the greenhouse (instructions said to grow in an unheated greenhouse so here goes!) - the plan is to plant a few every month to try and ensure a constant supply. Kohl Rabi? I hear you cry! Surely that goes against the KIS mantra?? And yes, maybe so. But they are apparently easy to grow and I was intrigued thanks to Mr Bloom....

For those uninitiated in the world of children's television, Mr Bloom is a kids gardening program featuring some talking vegetables and a rather trippy 'composterium' called Compo. Once upon a time in Mr Blooms Nursery they once grew some kohl rabi. The Biggest Small spent the next day shouting about cold rabbits, so they stuck in my head! No idea what they taste like.... or, now I think of it, how to eat/cook them... hmm, hello Google!

Friday, 18 January 2013

more snow!

Meet the newest member of the Clueless Household! He doesn't say much, maybe he's just a bit shy... (plus his mouth appears to have fallen off....)
Looks like not much gardening is going to get done here today or the rest of the weekend!

I have discovered that the girls are complete and utter pansies! Mini Madam wouldn't walk in it, even when I dug her a path and Madam stood by the back door crying that her hands were cold within about 3 minutes of being outdoors... C'mon girls, you were born in Scotland! You're supposed to be 'ard!

Thursday, 17 January 2013


Not much for me to add today, but thought you might like to see the snow at Clueless HQ!