Little and Large Rondo

Back in late March I planted some carrot “Rondo” seeds.  What attracted me to them was their small globe-like shape, which I thought would lend itself to my container garden brilliantly.  At first I scattered a few seeds in some potting compost in a small propagator which sat on my front windowsill.  Within a week seedlings had started to appear under the misted up, closed plastic lid.

When the seedlings were a little larger, probably about three weeks after I’d planted them, I transplanted them into one half of one of those windowbox style troughs, which I’d filled with compost in the greenhouse.  In the other half of the trough I added a thin layer of potting compost on top, sprinkled a few more seeds into it, and covered them.  It wasn’t long before those seedlings began to appear, too.

As the weeks went by the carrots grew, and I was very pleased to think I would have carrots coming through at different stages.  In fact, believe it or not, I have even dreamed about these carrots on a few occasions!  I dreamed they would taste sweet, and to be fair they do.

Several weeks ago I began picking the carrots.  Raw or cooked, we liked them.  So I randomly added more seeds to the trough for the sake of continuity.  And then I added some to the “False-Bottomed-Seed-Tray” (but that’s another story) a few weeks after that.   Unsurprisingly, there have been a few clumps that have grown together and so I’ve had to thin them out a bit, eating them at slightly different stages.

As a rule, most of the carrots have probably been about the size of a table tennis ball, if I remember rightly, give or take either way a bit.  Until today.  Seeing some rather grotty leaves, I went to pull them off, thinking it would leave the green stalks and the better leaves to fend for the under-soil carrot.  Not having seen its head and shoulders bursting up through the compost like so many of the others, I’d just assumed it wasn’t ready yet.  Wrong!  The leaves did not come up by themselves when I pulled, but lugged a hefty (well, relatively speaking!) carrot, probably larger than a golf ball!  To say it was like a turnip would be a gross exaggeration, but it sounded good to exclaim that when I victoriously carried it indoors, so I did.  Unfortunately, however, there was a casualty:  one of the tiny later plants…a carrot smaller than a marble.

On the whole, I’m chuffed to bits with this variety. Having only grown one other variety of carrots before, I’m not comparing them to any other kind, though.  These are the perfect shape (mainly round, but sometimes a little longer if left longer) and size for my containers, they are tasty, easy to grow, and seem to come along quite quickly.  I wonder how many more batches I could grow before autumn?! 😉

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Ode to a Rainbow Mug

It made me smile,
Now there could be tears.
I had it for a while –
Eleven years
In actual fact –
But now it’s cracked.

Ripping at tape,
Causing a rift
Until paper gaped,
Revealing the gift
Marked “fragile”
From the birthday pile.

I pulled out
A mug: green inside,
With a handle stout,
And a top so wide.
Outside it’s like a rainbow
And just perfect for cocoa!

But also for coffee,
And tea with a lemony zing,
A hearty builder’s tea,
Or just about anything.
Colours to make me glad;
Held hot drinks for when I was cold or sad.

Now today I despair
At my momentary lack
Of much needed care
That led to a bump, then a “crack”!
Easing down and right through,
Meaning it won’t see another brew.

Rainbow, Daisies and A Sunhat – But Where’s the Sun?

Back before Easter I saw a cheap straw hat for sale. From the shop shelf it was begging me, telling me what a blank canvas it was, and that I really should buy and customize it. Thinking I’d quite like a sunhat as it goes, I allowed that docile domed hat to twist my arm.

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After several possible plans I settled on the idea of crocheting a rainbow striped band to go around the hat. I LOVE rainbows and rainbow-themed colour schemes.  I always have, and so they often seem to be one of my first choices for colour combinations when I’m seeking inspiration.

Wanting the rainbow pattern to be horizontal, as I did, I had to crochet in quite a long row. Of course that meant I had to decide on a length and have courage in my convictions on the matter! On the up side, I didn’t have to make that many rows. Not wanting an overlap, because I thought that would stop the band from fitting very well, I decided I would join the tips of the ends together back to back, thus also making a little feature of them. It quickly became apparent to me, as I was crocheting, that I needed to reduce the stitches at even intervals throughout subsequent rows to make the band mould around the dome of the hat effectively.

With the entire band crocheted, I then racked my brains to decide on the kind of embellishment I would like. Memories of making daisy chains on warm, sunny afternoons as a child in the sprawling grassy school meadow danced around my head. It seemed obvious that daisies dancing around my hat would be the answer!

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The band was made from double knit wool, but I wanted the flower embellishments to be smaller in comparison. However, the crochet thread I had at my disposal was just a little too small for what I had in mind. So I decided to try to use embroidery thread for my crocheted daisies. And it worked a treat! Though the skeins didn’t go very far, I ended up with very neat, dainty flowers that were just the right size, and they have a lovely silky feel to them.

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All that remained was for me to sew the daisies onto the band, stitch the band’s ends together in the right place, and fit the decoration onto the hat.

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Not being as organised as I could have been, we had gotten into the fourth week of this July before I completed this particular little project, but never mind, it’s finished now.

 

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The only thing is, the sun seems to have hidden up behind that forest of grey clouds!

The Sliding Pumpkin Plant

Scratched and sore (and that was just me!), my pumpkin plant and I had had a spat. We’d both said things we didn’t mean. But calm was restored.
During the afternoon I discovered that my smooth orange-sized flecked green pumpkin was not where I had left it. The pride and joy of my “Jack O Lantern” plant had taken a distinct nose-dive. Just hours before, a canopy of large fresh green leaves had climbed hopefully up the cane, pumpkin in tow. Later, all that could be seen was a green heap slumbering on the large compost filled shopping bag that “Jack O Lantern’s” roots call home.
Naively, I thought if I tied the main prickly stem of the plant back to its cane, but in a lot of places instead of just the one, that might – might – prove supportive enough. How wrong was I?! The pumpkin, itself, has quickly grown too heavy for the plant to stay tied vertically. (Floor space at a premium notwithstanding, that is a good thing because it means I have the most success I’ve hitherto had with trying to grow not only a pumpkin plant, but an actual pumpkin. And in a container!) So one somewhat adventurous small pumpkin sat peeping cheekily out of a mass of tangled leaves and stroppy stalks, having all taken a slide down the cane like a flouncy skirt falling to the floor!
What was I to do? Well, on trying to decipher the anatomy of the plant, I attempted grumbling and sulking because my hands and wrists and arms had suffered the pumpkin plant’s needly wrath at having been handled. Then I did screw my face up because I couldn’t think of any alternative to letting the plant fester in a heap, if it were to stay in the greenhouse. That was all fun, but I thought it would be even more fun to actually come up with a solution. Funny how they can so often be staring you right in the face!
The pumpkin’s big bagged-up base stands next to one of my shelving racks. So I threaded the majority of the pumpkin plant’s limbs as carefully as I could through the side of the rack. As it happens, it is just the right height. Now stems, stalks, leaves, flowers and the pumpkin itself can sprawl out on the second from bottom wire shelf to their hearts’ content. I hope that proves to be a useful solution.
Having gotten rid of any yellowing leaves and mouldering leaves, which had previously been hidden, my main concern now is that in untangling and moving the stalks, stems and leaves, some of the stalks have gotten a bit kinked in places. (Apart from the few that I cut off accidently, that is. Oops!) How resilient are plants like these? Can they tolerate a certain amount of bending or, if they’re not used to being handled much because of spreading across the ground, is it likely that I have cut off valuable life supplies to the extremities of the plant? I hope not, not least because one of the interuptions to the main stalk is right between the pumpkin and the rest of the plant that leads down to the root. I’d hate to think that after all the time and effort I’ve put into growing this plant from seed, that large parts of it could die before it really comes to fruition. Well I will have to wait and see. It will be interesting to see what lessons I may or may not be able to take from this and apply to my “Jack Be Little” pumpkin plant.

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