Thursday 31st December 2015 – What a year it’s been!

Before I get started, I just want to wish you all a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2016 brings you everything you wish for and much much more. For me this year has been a rather busy one. Let me just recap on a few. In January, Mark and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary (so you know that our 21st is coming up very soon). February was a very important month because that was when we drove all the way down to Southampton to pick up our rather sad looking and nervous chickens. Poor little loves were naked and scared of everything. After de worming them (poor Gandalf had Gape Worm as well) and giving them loads of TLC they are now very happy, and give us eggs every day. Every time they see me, either in the kitchen or the garden, they assume I’ve got food for them because they all get very excited. You’ll be very glad to hear we still have all 6. Gizmo still hasn’t grown a tail, but that makes her “special” in my eyes.

Latest picture of our feathered friends.

Latest picture of our feathered friends.

March saw the first of many school Gardening Events, where I encouraged the children to get outside and see what they can find. We hunted for bugs which they all love doing and with one school, we found some huge slugs which they were all very happy to pick up and hold. I also helped some with planting seeds (I hope they looked after them well and enjoyed harvested and eating). Hopefully I’ll get to do more this year. It’s so important to encourage the next generation of gardeners.

Let's get sowing!

Let’s get sowing!

I was also readying my Lottie and Dottie books at The Edible Garden show in March, which was amazing. I’d love to go back again next year, I’ll have to see if I’ve got time. In May, Lottie and Dottie Sow Sunflowers was published, and this seems to be doing very well. In May 2016 Lottie and Dottie Sow Pumpkins is published. This can be pre ordered now.

My second book of the series. I'm still finding it hard to believe I've got 2 books published.

My second book of the series. I’m still finding it hard to believe I’ve got 2 books published.

I was obviously very busy on the allotment. The year started off a bit slow, because if I remember correctly the weather just wouldn’t warm up (now it won’t cool down), so most seeds were a little late going in. Still most of them caught up and all turned out very well indeed. I managed to get a personal best on my heaviest ever potato, which weighed in at an impressive 1lb 15.9oz!!

My heaviest ever potato. Variety Sarpo Mira.

My heaviest ever potato. Variety Sarpo Mira.

Then the infamous Butternut Squashes, well you know how they turned out, not one normal one in sight, but then would you have expected anything less? My heaviest was 2lb 12oz and a bit. I ended up with 22 in total and we’re still working our way through them.

Little and large. Now I don't know about you, but I can't see anything rude about the large one!

Little and large. Now I don’t know about you, but I can’t see anything rude about the large one!

The Pumpkins also did well. I harvested 7 in total and the heaviest was 26lb. Not a personal best, but still a very good sized ones. They’re still sitting in the greenhouse waiting to be used. I’ll figure out what to make with them soon and let you know. Over the summer Robbie came and helped me on the allotment. He was brilliant and very helpful. I did work him very hard, and we were even up on the hottest day of the year (July 1st) for a couple of hours. I think the temperature reached 36 degrees! I dropped him back home for his lunch, then went and had mine, and then I went back up the allotment for more in the afternoon. Looking back on it, I think perhaps that was a bit silly, but I had stuff to do and didn’t push myself too hard, and took lots of water with me. I harvest my first purple Cauliflowers this year, and the most amazing cabbages, the best I’ve ever grown.

What a lovely Cabbage you are, and with a wonderful firm heart to.

What a lovely Cabbage you are, and with a wonderful firm heart to.

The Parsnips were brilliant, to be honest most things were. The only things that were pants, were the Onions and some of my Carrots were a bit small, but others were very good. I harvested the first of my Horseradish, which I was very excited about and am getting excited about harvesting the first of my Asparagus next year. Although because the weather has been so warm this winter, it’s starting to come up already. I was able to get on my allotment until the kids broke up for Christmas which is unheard of. Hopefully when they go back next week the weather will still be kind and I can get up and continue. Knowing my luck it’ll snow and that’ll be that until February. Now 2016 is approaching very fast (tomorrow in fact) and I’ve got loads planned for the allotment for next year. The it was Christmas. I cooked for 14 on Christmas Day, and we’re having the whole family over again for dinner tomorrow, but this time it’s 12 because my parents have gone back to Spain. Dinner is easy and is all ready for the oven tomorrow morning (not early mind you). Pudding is cupcakes. I’ve made 5 flavours: Chocolate, Plain (with Oreos on top), Lemon, Coffee & Walnut and Cherry & Almond.

Yummy Cupcakes for pudding tomorrow! There's 12 of us, so do you think 30 will be enough?

Yummy Cupcakes for pudding tomorrow! There’s 12 of us, so do you think 30 will be enough?

I would like to thank you all so much for reading my blogs and listening to me waffle on about various gardening things. Also for those of you who watch my videos and comment. I do read every single one of them (even the occasional rude comments) and answer as many as I can. It’s great to hear that some of the little pieces of information I give are used and you find them helpful. Here’s looking forward to 2016 which WILL be a brilliant year and I will finally grow a HUGE pumpkin bigger than 48lb!! HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!

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12 Responses to Thursday 31st December 2015 – What a year it’s been!

  1. Mud Cakes and Wine says:

    What a lovely year and keep up the blog really enjoy reading it x

  2. Allotmental says:

    Love your blog. Have a gr8 2016😃

  3. Awesome Claire wishing you and the family a Healthy New Year and growing season

  4. Helen says:

    Happy New Year, Claire. Good luck with getting bigger and better produce this year. And having lots of fun 🙂

  5. Thank you for sharing your journey! Wishing you all the best and success in 2016 😊

  6. keith says:

    Another great blog. I big “Thank you” for sharing your thoughts & knowledge. Have a Happy New Year 🙂

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