Currants – the fruity kind, not the electrical kind…

My fruit bed is getting full now, and I’ve just planted out my currant bushes. I planted 3 different varieties: Black currant “Ben Lomond”, White Currant “White Pearl”, and Red Currant “Rondom”. There are lots of different varieties to choose from, so it’s just up to you what you prefer.

If you are able to grow just one currant bush I would recommend it as you will be rewarded with loads of little sweet jewels in a couple of years time.

Come and see how I planted mine.

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Lots and lots of Blueberries

Early on in winter is the best time to plant your blueberries in the garden. They’ll get settled in their new home during the cold weather, and will be all ready to burst into blossom in the Spring. Blueberries need a friend, so make sure you plant at least 2 plants. They don’t have to be the same variety, so choose different ones to get a bit of variation.

Blueberries grow best in large pots as they prefer ericaceous compost. You should be able to find this in any good garden centre.

The varieties of Blueberries I’m growing are Goldtraube, and Blue Crop.

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Time to ward off all those vampires!!

If you want to keep vampires at bay, then why not grow some garlic in your garden. They’re also good for keeping away the carrot fly as well as slugs and snails.

Now is the time to plant you autumn planting garlic. If however you have spring planting do exactly the same way, but plant out in February.

Here’s how I plant mine.

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Tidying the Asparagus bed

There is still lots to do in the garden in December, January and February. If you have a spare bit of time, it doesn’t matter if its’s just 30 minutes, get out and see what you can do.

This is what I got up to today…..

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Here’s to 2019!!

Firstly, Happy New Year to you all!! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to all those wonderful new adventures that await us all in 2019.

I always write myself a list at the beginning of the New Year, it’s not really a resolution list, but things I would like to accomplish over the coming year. I write a list most days, otherwise I’ll forget what I am planning on doing. Whether I complete everything is another matter, but it’s good to look back on the year to see what you have managed to do. I find this gives me a feeling of great satisfaction.

So here is a summary of my list from 2018:

More gardening ebooks – I wanted to write at least 12 more of these in 2018, but was only able to write another 3, still it’s more than writing none at all.

Chickens in their new home – The concrete base of the new chickens home was started at the very end of 2017, but the shed itself was constructed very early on in the year. Then I had to put in their perch, nesting boxes and feeding trough, as well as construct their new run. The girlies moved in early on in the year. They’re still very happy in their new home and have lots of room to play, and it’s much easier to clean them out.

Gardening workshops I wanted to do at least 10 workshops, but only managed 4. But considering as I’m new to the area, and it was my first shot at them since we moved, I guess it’s not bad. Soon I’ll be sending out my information packs to the schools.

Raised beds up and filled – This happened with the help of Mark, my mum & dad, and the kids. Thank you all very much for your help. I managed to grow vegetables in 3 beds, and got the fruit bed filled and planted by the end of the year. The soil has settled, so I need to top them up a little, but that won’t take long. We also constructed 4 small beds and a herb bed. The herb bed is yet to be planted in.

Greenhouses – Both the concrete bases were made, the greenhouse frames were put back together, and the glass was put back in. I had to go and buy a few panes of glass, but the shelving units were soon in and the greenhouses were up and running in no time.

Victoriana Nursery In February I started a part time job, just a couple of days a week, but as they got busy I needed to work 5 days a week. Sadly at the end of December I had to say goodbye, as I’m now gardening for local people in my area. I learnt so much while I worked there and the staff were all fabulous. I’ll still pop in to see them when I can, and order my plants of course.

That’s all on the gardening front. In 2019 I’m planning on making the garden “perfect”, basically meaning that I’ll try and be as organised as possible, and get so much more out of the garden then I did last year. I want to do more school gardening events, get my chicken book published, write a murder mystery (gardening related of course), and get some more hens (we’re down to 2).

I do have a life outside Claire’s Allotment (yes I know it’s hard to believe), so I also managed to do the following in 2018:

As you know I’m a church bell ringer, and I’ve been ringing now for 32 years!! Yes I’m that old. I also set myself some goals for this as well, so here goes:

I wanted to ring in at least 5 different towers, which I did (think I rang in over 10 towers I’d never been to before). I wanted to ring at least 10 Quarter peals, I actually rang 14 quarter peals (all either Doubles, Minor, Triples or Major). I wanted to ring at least 1 peal, which I did, and I learnt a plain course of London Minor, which I now know.

I didn’t manage to ring a quarter peal on 12 bells, though.

In 2019 I want to ring at least another 10 Quarter peals, with at least 1 of those on 10, 11 or 12. I would like to ring another peal, and try at least 5 new towers. Now I can learn a touch of London Minor, and would like to leant a plain course of Lincolnshire Major. I do understand that this will mean nothing to many of you, but some you’ll understand.

Well that should keep me going, and with all the other Claire’s Allotment bits planned. I should be very busy.

Wishing you all a wonderful 2019, and please let me know what’s on your list for 2019. Let’s all encourage each other this year to reach that much further than we think we can go. So that by the end of this year we can all look back and say “Look what I did this year!”

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I’m leaving Orion

Mark Stay Writes

After fifteen years, three months and eighteen days I will be leaving the good ship Orion for the rocky shoals of freelance life.

Why? When? Who? What??

Well, long story short, there was a big sales restructure here and with it came the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy and I grabbed it with both hands. It was just too good a chance to pass up. I have a very long list of things I want to do and now is the time to do them. Like what? Well, the Bestseller Experiment podcast for a start. We’ve had a tricky second year to say of the least, but leaving Orion will afford me the time to do all the things we’ve been wanting to do in the last year, including REDACTED REDACTED REDACTED on a big stick with a sponge on the end.

Orion is an incredible publisher with a genuinely passionate team and…

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Tomboy – A 15 second horror film

Just the sort of film my daughter enjoys, plus she’s the star…..

Mark Stay Writes

Last weekend my friend and filmmaker Dom corralled myself, my daughter Emily and our friend Paul to make a 15 second horror film for the Raindance Film Festival competition. Paul provided the excellent props, Emily very gamely agreed to wear a tree trunk for a hat, and Dom had a very clear vision and showed me how to use his camera. We had an excellent time making it and the finished film brings horror joy to my black little heart…

Here is the extended director’s cut (22 seconds with credits). Enjoy!

Tomboy! from Dom Currie on Vimeo.

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