Time For Some Green Fingers?

As the weather starts to get better and the days are getting longer, I now have another project on the horizon, one that was started last summer.

Where It All Began

The Small Bed Where It All Began

Early last summer Ellen and I decided that we wanted to give the garden a good crack and look at starting to grow some of our very own fruit and veg.

In the past my Dad had grown lots of different Veg in our garden.  Some successfully and some not so successfully.

So to begin with we decided to just start by digging over a small border at the side of our greenhouse.

When my Dad got older and found he couldn’t tend to the garden as much due to his ill health he decided make the garden pretty and put in lots of flowers that would come up annually and didn’t need too much looking after.

The bed after a couple of afternoons hard graft.

The bed after a couple of afternoons hard graft.

So Ellen and I began the task of removing the flowers, roots and all, and turn the bed into something we could have a go at growing some veg.

It was very hard going with so many roots from all the plants that had been put in.

We had already decided that we were going to grow some potatoes in growing bags from the pound shop and after purchasing some home guards we got them all bagged up and settled in.

Potato Growing Bags from the pound shop are a nice easy way of starting to grow!

Potato Growing Bags from the pound shop are a nice easy way of getting to growing!

Other items we grew were Spring Onions, Radishes in window boxes. Lettuce, Mini Cucumbers and Tomatoes in grow bags.  We also then had a go at Carrots, Beetroot and Courgettes in some larger grow bags,

Finally in the bed that we had cleared we grew some Shallots that had been reduced along with some Sweet Corn.

The first crop harvested were our Home Guard Early Potatoes which were fantastic and we had a really good crop.

Home Guard Earlies, a great first crop! A good yield too.

Home Guards, a great first crop, good yield too!

The potato growing bags make it really easy to grow spuds and we were even able to use the same bags and soil for a late crop as well.  I would certainly recommend using them to get started.

You may not get as many potatoes as you would putting them in the ground but for us 4 bags worked perfectly.

As the summer went on we found that everything seemed to grow well, even the beetroot after it had been attacked by slugs.  We also came across some bonus crops with 3 rogue blackberry bushes and also a bit of scrumping from next doors apple trees.


Nothing Wrong with a bit of Scrumping!

The only veg we did struggle with was the Runner Beans and also the Carrots.  The beans never pollinated properly after the flowers came out, so we never actually saw any beans appear despite the plants growing nice and tall.  The carrots on the other hand never had space to grow in the bag and by the end of the summer we just had tiny mini carrots!

So after so much success in our first year we are now starting to plan out for 2015.  Although we do still have lots of work ahead as we try to get so more bed space, hopefully a few days off work will help with that.

After taking out a subscription the Kitchen Garden Magazine we also have plenty of free seeds to have a go at.

An NFL Franchise For Wembley?

This weekend saw Ellen and I make the trip to Wembley for Game 2 of this years NFL International Series with the Atlanta Falcons facing off with the Detroit Lions.

This game saw an unusual kick off time of 1.30pm as the US had a full day of NFL games going all the way through to the Sunday night late game.

The game itself was fantastic, possibly the best game yet, with the Lion’s winning 22-21 with the final kick of the game.

The atmosphere was also much better with the Falcons actually treating Wembley like a home stadium, as opposed to the Raiders who seem to lack the game presentation of the home team.

The only downsides for me though were:

1) The Early Start – as someone who drove down on the day it seemed that everyone had arrived at the same time and the lack of a tail gate meant that we had to rely on Stadium food rather that the usually excellent tailgate party.

2) The Pre Game Show – over the last couple of years we have had some great pre game shows at the international series but the choice of ‘Little Mix’ for this one for me was very disappointing, hopefully the Jags will do better.

So following the games the Big Question of whether there is a possibility of an NFL franchise based in the UK?

My initial thoughts are ‘Yes’ it’s possible but the question for me really is, is it sustainable?

This season the international series sold 33,000 season tickets and once again wembley is sold out for all 3 games, apart from the odd returns here and there!

So it is clear a fanbase is there but would fans stop supporting the teams they already support and support the London team? I can’t see this happening, however I could see people supporting them as a second team maybe.

For example theres no way I’d drop my Eagles to support the London team, however I would probably support them as long as they’re not playing Philadelphia.

Speaking of the teams, realistically an expansion team is not an option as the restructure would be a nightmare so where does that leave us?

Well having spoken to a couple of my good friends we narrowed it down to 4 teams.

1) The St Louis Rams – The Ram’s are a potential decent pick for London with some good players and a base for a decent team.

2) The Oakland Raiders – A team struggling once again in Oakland following their move back from LA.

3) The Jacksonville Jaguars – Already committed to 3 games here and with their owner also owning Fulham could that be the link?

4) The San Diego Chargers – A good side with a decent QB in Philip Rivers but there is a rumour that this team could be bound for LA!

So will it happen?  I believe so, the NFL had made no secret that they want a London Team but when is a different matter!

5 International Series games next season was the rumour floating around Wembley this weekend but it appears the Rugby World Cup has put a stop to that and it’s looking like 3 next year with possible ‘back to back’ games to once again test the fanbase.

I guess the questions will be asked again next week as the Dallas Cowboys arrive in town to take on the Jaguars but for me as long as teams keep coming I’ll certainly be attending whether it’s a London franchise or not!

I guess I should start saving for a season ticket now!

Although I do pray that the pre game entertainment is better!

A New Venture Into Blogging!

So here we go… my new venture in Blogging!

Several years ago I was part of a blog to do with a group of Nottingham Panthers supporters but after a couple of years it all fell by the wayside! So now I feel the time is right to go back into the world of blogs.

So where do I start with my first piece on my new blog, well how about a brief introductory piece and what you can expect to find on this blog.

Well my name is Mark although most people probably know me better as Sammo.  I live in Nottingham and currently split my time between living in Lady Bay and also at my fiances in Kimberley.

During the summer you will probably find mostly ‘cricket’ related posts on here as I open the bowling for Thrumpton, hence the blog name, in the Gunn & Moore South Nottinghamshire Cricket League as well as coaching 2 age groups in the Leics & Rutland Cricket League.

Then during the winter I spend most of my time following the Nottingham Panthers, Belleville Bulls and the Buffalo Sabres in Ice Hockey.

I am also a very keen NFL fan, supporting the Philadelphia Eagles and have only missed 1 Wembley game (that being the very 1st one)

I have a keen interest in Heritage Railways, N Gauge Model Railways and I’m also in the process of starting a veg garden at home, so expect some project news on these as things progress further.

I’m sure you will also see plenty of mentions and references to my fiance Ellen, who I actually do a hell of a lot of this stuff with and to be honest shes allowed me to rediscover some of my passions that I’d lost in the past.

Hopefully this gives you an overall look into my crazy life and hopefully you will find at least something of interest on here.