Category Archives: Uncategorized

Already we need rain

Well now we’ve had a few days of warm weather (25degC today) I’ve had to get the hosepipe out to water the beans and peas tonight. The broad beans especially were looking a bit stressed. Inside the greenhouse plants were drying out left right and centre. I’ve even had to fill one of the tanks that I use to provide water in the greenhouse.

A new batch of climbing french beans have come through to replace the lost ones – 4 or 5 of which are just about surviving. I still haven’t planted out the peas that are in pots in the greenhouse yet. Also waiting to be planted out are some basil seedlings that are now getting quite big. The parsley which had finally sprouted in the house are in the greenhouse now and seem to be ok, amazingly another batch in the house hade germinated as well – this after many previous failed attempts.

A batch of mixed salad leaves I planted in a collapsible planted in the greenhouse are just about big enough to put outside now. Speaking of planters – all the potatoes I had (four varieties Pentland Javelin, Charlotte, Bonnie & King Edwards) are now in planters – and I’m adding more compost to those that have produced shoots almost daily, and of course they need a fair amount of water.

On top of that I was cutting hedge and mowing lawn today – while sweating in the heat. 

I have a load of perennial and annual flowers to plant out as well so plenty to do tis weekend.

The wildlife is causing a hold on cutting one bit of hedge near the house as a family of blue tits have decided to use the nest box and now have a family of chicks – so I’ll have to wait until they have fledged. More worrying – the squirrels been in the garden again….

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Winter Has Returned!

Well not quite snow, and just here we seem to have escaped actual frost in the garden, but the last week or more have been pretty cold for this time of year with temperatures below 5deg C at night, so much so that the central heating is back on!

I’ve had to take ‘special measures’ to protect my tomatoes and beans already outside – I’ve put a cloche back over the climbing french beans, which were looking rather sad. Also, I shielded the tomato plants by the house and outside the greenhouse with plastic bags. Sadly two of the plants near the greenhouse seem to have suffered damage from slugs (very unusual) and possibly bird or wind damage – I have one replacement in the greenhouse but may need to start another off.

Meanwhile the plants in the greenhouse seemed to cope ok – the tomatoes are now over a foot high and the aubergines and peppers are coming along nicely.

Another set of peas will soon be ready to plant out, although not all seem to have germinated. No sign of runner beans, or some more french beans I planted yet.

Inside the house, most of the cuucumber and courgettes have come up, and are just about ready to transfer into the greenhouse. A couple didn’t, so I’ll need to plant a couple more (one courgette & one cucumber). Some of the parsley I planted ages ago looks like it has finally germinated inside their little plastic bag tents, and a few more lemon grass seeds seem to have germinated.

The weather is predicted to warm up to ‘normal’ levels from tomorrow so hopefully I’ll be able to unshield the tomatoes and beans.

A squirrel has reappeared – hopefully I’ll be able to take it for a ‘holiday’ soon if the trap works!

Snow Gardening – Not!

With the UK in the grip of a severe winter the garden is currently a ‘Winter Wonderland’ making gardening a bit tricky. See picture below to get an impression of how it looks:

Snowy garden

Garden and snow

The straggly looking plants in the foreground are some broccoli and curly kale plants.

I know by the standards of many places this isn’t much snow – but chaos has ensued regardless….

I suppose I’d better start browsing the seed catalogues and trying to plan for the new season – a big revision of the planned crops and locations will be needed after the failures of last year. Ho hum, at least the beans did well.

Gardening?

Well work and weather have put a halt to almost all gardening activity. The only thing I’ve managed to do recently was prune a bush fuscia in the front and remove some plants that had been finished off by a frost.
Last night we had -4degC, so not much acitivity expected in the garden this weekend.
I guess I’ll have to start planning for the new year soon….

An Indian Summer

Just a quick comment – we’ve had temperatures well above 10degC over the last week, getting up to 16 even. Plenty of sunshine & not much rain.
All I’ve managed to do is to finish hedges on one side (lots of holly & brambles – I have the scars to prove it!). Plus some right at the bottom of the garden which I hadn’t managed to cut for over a year – it was over up to 15 foot high – needed a saw in some caases – still, lots of wood for bonfire night….

Almost Summer Again

Sorry for the break – hols and decorating have been keeping me from paying more than scant attention to the garden over the past 3 weeks.

The time away from home didn’t prove disastrous – although I had set up my drip feed watering system for the greenhouse plants and the hanging baskets plus tomato plants near the kitchen in case there was a heatwave. Although it seemed that it had been fairly dry while we were away it can’t have been too bad judging by the state of the plants.

It did mean some rapid harvesting sessions once we had settled back into the house – beans (runner, dwarf & climbing french), tomatoes (plenty, and harvesting every day since), broccoli (though not much – most had gone to flower) and cucumber forming the vegetable part. Then we had brambles (lots in the hedges – I need too make a pie now)) & damsens (the trees at the bottom of the garden only produce every five years or so and this year was it – they go into the freezer for jam making later.

Meanwhile, the lettuce have all gone to seed, as have all the other salad crops – still the guinea pig likes the lettuce. The courgettes didn’t really produce while we were away, but there are one or two coming on now.

The sweetcorn is in full flower- though the plants are rather dwarf compared last year – it looks like the cobs will be small – the lower light conditions in the plot has held them back I think. Still they were worth a try. The celery planted in the same are seems to be growing ok though.

In the greenhouse, the aubergine plant is flowering, but no new aubergine is being produced at the moment. The sweet pepper plants are now in flower, but the hopes of producing ripe peppers are now pretty slim. The grapevine has a good collection of grape bunches ripening up as well.

One slightly irritating point though – after renewing the guttering on the greenhouse side nearest the path a couple of months ago and resetting the water butt – I noticed it was leaking about a month ago. it had split near the base. So I emptied it, let it dry, and mended the hole with epoxy resin. Fortunately we’ve had enough rain to mean it hasn’t been crucial in any case. However, yesterday I noticed it wet below the butt – and the split seems to have spread and it is leaking again, slowly, but perceptively. So, it will have to be drained, dried and fixed again – I can’t even blame frost!

The lawn needed mowing when we returned from hols of course – which I did manage to do, but the bits of hedge that need trimmming will have to wait for now.

On the wildlife front – the robin, and at least on great tit have worked out that it is safe to go into the squirrel trap and pick up the peanuts left as bait! Which is annoying as another squirrel has been appearing during the last week or so. We also had a frog that seemed to think our kitchen was home – it promptly hopped in at least twice when the back door was opened. Also, more caterpillars on the broccoli…..hmmmm

The First Beans

Yes, a first harvest of broad beans – I managed to find just enough on Sunday to mean we were able to have some whole pods steamed with our dinner. There seem to be quited a few pods coming along so the broad bean season is well and truly started.

Broad Bean Harvest

Broad Bean HarvestThe pen in the picture is for scale only....Broad bean Pods

The picture above shows some of the growing pods

We’ve had sunny weather for a few days which has helped get things moving in the garden, which has meant watering for the laast couple of days. Today we’ve had a helpful shower to save me from having to water – and a thunderstorm is rumbling around at the moment.

Elsewhere, the extra peas are now planted – in between the existing peas and the broad beans, and they seem to be happy enough.

I’ve planted  a short row of red mustard as the existing row is close to flowering, and they are through already.

One of the corugettes planted in the garden has flowered and may even be trying to produce a courgette!  The cucumber plants though are still looking a bit glum really – I guess they need some more consistant high temperatures.

All the outside tomatoes look pretty good now, some in flower and even the ‘runt’ in front of the kitchen has grown into a real plant.

Everything else is doing well apart from the salad rows in sections B & C which aren’t really all that good. See the broccoli plants below – coming on well.

Row of Broccoli

Row of Broccoli

In the greenhouse, the tomatoes are almost up to the roof, and tiny tomatoes are growing fast (see below).

Baby Tomatoes

Baby Tomatoes

The pepper plants in a growbag  have got over the initial shock of replanting and are coming on (see below)Pepper Plants

The plant in the lower RH corner is an aubegrine that I thought I would try – I saw it in a garden centre when buying some plants for our hanging baskets.

I’ve pricked out some of the celery seedlings into pots and they seem to have survived ok. The basil and coriander now have recognisable leaves. I’ve added some more seed to the top of the pot that had seed in which hasn’t made a show – so maybe that will get some growing.

I’ve even done some weeding – especially round the beans and peas.

Wildlife – well another squirrel has been evicted, I saw a hedgehog ambling down the path in daylight the other day and toads have taken up residence in the greenhouse growbags as usual – just 2 so far (see below).

Toad in growbag

Toad in growbag

The blackbirds are being very noisy, alarm calls in the morning and evening probably for the cat next door. The male still comes down often to investigate what I am doing in the garden – gets disappointed though as I’m not digging. We still got goldfinches turning up from time to time on the nyjer seed, and the ‘sparrow gang’ is pretty active.