Peas & Tomatoes Plus

(Actually written 14th April but not posted until now)

Yes I have enough tomato seedlings already although at least one variety hasn’t produced any seedlings – perhaps just as well really. I’ve now got the growbags ready to put some of them in – most have been re-potted from their original pots to give them room to keep growing in the meantime.

My first batch of mangetout peas are now in the raised bed 6 making up almost 2 rows. The second batch germinated in pots is now acclimatising outside the greenhouse and I’ll plant them in the bed in the next couple of days. The peas were originally protected by some mesh as they are a favourite for the pigeons when young. Now though I’ve created one o f my CD bird scarers to keep them off.

I bought some trays of bedding plants during the week and while buying those I noticed a tray of cauliflowers which I bought so I have some replacements for the ones that may now survive in the raised bed.

Wildlife

I went through  the pictures on the trail cam from the bottom of the garden and found, apart from a number of cats, that the hedgehogs are active now – quite busy going backwards and forwards in fact. Plus a squirrel – which hasn’t invaded the rest of the garden yet though – at least nor while I’ve been looking.

 

April and it’s Not Raining – at the moment

I’ve been able to get into the garden on and off over the last week or so there has been some progress.

Today, for instance I planted out the broad bean seedlings grown in the greenhouse – so the raised bed of beans is now full.

Broad bean bed – now full

I also planted potatoes into bed 7, just in front of the greenhouse. They are ‘King Edward’ main-crop. Only a dozen potatoes could be fitted in, and I have at least another dozen left, so I’ll probably try planting them in the bags I’ve used before, although they weren’t all that successful.

Potato bed after planting

Meanwhile the pigeons and/or slugs have found the cauliflower seedlings and most have been nibbled, and some quite badly damaged. So I’ve had to put mesh over the whole bed and I’ve spread some slug pellets around as well. Some of the plants are so damaged that I’ve put plastic bottle halves over the top to protect them and act like mini-greenhouses while they recover.

Cauliflower seedlings – and mesh cover plus protective ‘bottle covers’

Damages to cauliflower seedling

Inside the greenhouse the one ‘gardeners delight’ tomato has been re-potted into a 4 inch pot. Reminding me every day that I need to get some growbags… Also, the first cucumber to germinate is now in a much bigger pot and waiting for some decision as to where it should go – too likely for a frost to go outside certainly yet.

Gardeners Delight tomato seedling & Cucumber plant

More tomatoes have germinated so I now have enough in theory to fill my inside and outside growing points. In total there are two Pomodoro, two Zuchero, 4 ‘Rainbow Blend’ and 4 ‘Tumbling Tom’.

The Kale seedlings are just growing in their original pots for the time being before I can plant them outside.

Tomato seedlings (front) and Kale seedlings (behind)

The mangetout peas germinated in the greenhouse are now big enough to be planted so as of today they are outside the greenhouse hardening off.

Inside the house on the kitchen windows ledge I now have two more cucumber seeds germinate plus a second one in the greenhouse from the same pot as the re-potted one – so I may have too many cucumber plants now….

One disappointment – no sign at all of carrot seedlings in the container two rows were sown in several weeks ago – I think I need to sow some more……

Oh and I noticed that the blueberries and gooseberries are just coming into flower now.

Flower seeds and seedlings are doing well also.

Wildlife

Not much to say here although I did see a Goldfinch one day and I haven’t seen any of those for quite a while.

The trail camera near the bird table didn’t show up anything out of the ordinary so it’s now been relocated to the bottom of the garden.

No squirrels! but mice in the greenhouse again!

 

More Sowin’ and Plantin’

The weather has been a bit variable with showers and some sunny periods so it’s been a bit of a lottery whether I’ve been able to do much in the garden.

However, have managed a few jobs in the flower and vegetable areas.

First, the flower beds – I’ve had a dozen or so osteospermum plants in pots over the winter and I finally managed to get them all planted scattered around the beds.

I took the risk and went to my local garden centre last week as well, always a dangerous thing to do as I inevitably come away with more than I intended. So it proved, though in a relatively restrained way. My objective was to get a couple of Clematis plants for a container that lives at the front of the house. Only one of the plants had survived the winter and that was a plant that was rather disappointing. So two I found two plants – a red flowering and a white flowering plants, both of which might have two flower flushes in the year. They are in the container now and growing well. The old Clematis has been taken out and planted next to the arch that divides the flower area from the vegetables – I needed another climber there so it will be useful.

However, I was distracted at the garden centre by seeing a Dicentra plant – now I’ve tried several times to get Dicentra to flourish in the garden but they only seem to last a couple of years at best – so we’ll see. It’s already planted and seems ok so far.

On the way to the cash desk I passed a stand with trays of brassicas and salad plant – and was intrigued by a tray of a dozen mixed type of cauliflower seedlings. I’ve never had too much success with brassicas in general but haven’t tried cauliflower seriously before so I bought the tray – and they nicely filled one of the raised beds. I think they are hanging on….

Cauliflower seedlings – the CDs are to scare off the pigeons!

The bed with the cloches over (2) is intended for salad cops and I planted a part row longways of ‘Leaf Salad’ (mixed lettuce) under one cloche and a similar row of Swiss Chard (Bright Lights) under the other cloche. I’ll hopefully add more of the rows in a month or so to extend the cropping. Once the cloches come off I should able to plant more salad crops. At least the cloches will keep the birds off for now.

No sign of any of the mangetout peas planted in bed 6 yet, and I’ve planted up a couple of pots in the greenhouse in one of the propagators with ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ peas as a backup.

In the propagators the flower seeds planted a couple of weeks ago (malop & cosmos) are germinating now and in the same propagator there are more tomato seedlings through (‘Jon Rainbow Blend’ & ‘Marmande’). Also in another propagator some Kale I Planted a couple of weeks ago are now just appearing.

Tomato seedlings and more

 

Kale – just coming through

Still on the kitchen windowsill are the pots of tomato seedlings (still only 3 seedlings – 2 Zuchero & 1 Gardeners Delight), peppers (none yet) and chives (most germinated). Also in a seed tray by a window is a half tray of Marigold and Nicotiana flowers for the flower beds. One cucumber seed has germinated as well on the windowsill.

Still a few overwintered perennials to plant out – mostly Doronicum and a few spring flowering plants as well but it’s beginning to get under control. The main plants to get into the ground are the broad bean seedlings – looking very much ready now.

Broad bean seedlings ready to go in

Just to show spring is here – here is a picture of one of the Kerria plant – it is actually in the veg area as well…

Kerria coming into full bloom

Wildlife

Nothing much different, the Robins still appear if \i’m doing any work on raised beds. The great tits, dunnocks etc. still visiting the feeders and fortunately no squirrels have appeared  – yet.

Nice Day So Been Busy

Sunny day Wednesday – really spring-like with temp up to 14degC so had a go at a few jobs in the garden.

First I had a go at the old pear tree in the middle of the vegetable section. The ivy has been growing a lot (what’s left of the tree is covered in variegated ivy) and some tree branches have grown since I last had a go at it a couple of years ago. So I spent a while up a ladder with pruners getting rid of anything that might overshadow the garden. I wanted to get it done now as the ivy is  a good nesting site so it needed to be done before the birds stated nesting.

Then I raked the soil in raised bed 6 and planted a row of mangetout peas (sweet horizon) so that’s started the outdoor planting for this year….

I finally planted a couple of flower plants that had lived in pots through the winter and also put some of the polyanthus plants that had hung on over the winter in tray grids.

The sweet peas from inside the house are now big enough to go outside to harden off and one or two tomatoes are through plus the chives.

Well it’s a start…. but there are loads of other things to plant over the next couple of weeks.

Just to illustrate how things are developing:

 

Broad bean seedlings in the greenhouse

Broad Beans in the raised bed – coming on and only  a couple missing

Raised Beds All Ready To Go

Today I finally got the last raised bed cleared of weeds and forked over. A couple of course, are already in use, having garlic and broad beans growing in them and one is full of strawberry plants. but all the rest were just a bit weedy and needed forking over.

To some of them I’ve added the spent compost from the tomato growbags of last year where there is space to do that. I’ve still got two more growbags full to put somewhere though – probably onto some of the flower beds.

The raised bed I use as a sort of cold frame with an old door propped over it needed a bit of work as the soil was leaking out thanks to a ground level change so there was a space underneath one edge (it’s been like that since I built it but I’ve ignored it so far). So I finally put another board inside the bed to plug the leak – then re-spread all the contents along with a growbag of compost.

In the greenhouse most of the broad beans are now showing shoots – need to wait a bit longer to see if there any failures and if so I’ll stick some more beans into pots.

‘The Sutton’ shoots a few days ago so there are more now

There is still plenty of clearing up to do and I have still some flower plants in pots to plant out yet – they have been hanging on all winter so they must be hardy!

Inside the house,  the sweet peas I sowed a couple of weeks ago are now shooting. No sign yet though of the tomatoes and peppers in their plastic bag covering.

The daffodils in the main flower bed area are in full bloom now and odd little clumps are popping up in the flower borders. The first primroses are in flower in the ‘wild’ part of the garden so spring is really here…

Daffodils in flower

The first Primrose

Wildlife

Not too much to report, just the birds, and the most notable point is the way the robins seem to appear as soon as I start work on a raised bed – once they gain confidence they are happy enough looking for food around me while I’m digging.

Friendly Robin

Maybe next time I’ll have something to report from the trail camera which has been out a few weeks now.

More Planting – and Some Preparation

Well the weather was reasonable around 8degC and dry so I felt compelled to get out in the garden and get on with something….

Firstly some work in the greenhouse – and a check on the mouse traps. I’ve been afflicted with mice for a couple of weeks – they eat most of my first sowing of broad beans – but a couple of traps seem to have sorted that problem out.

I have resown my broad beans – now they are all ‘The Sutton’ since the mice seem to have preferred the ‘Aguadulce’. I noticed this morning that one bean was just through – I guess one of the original sowing.

Also, while in the greenhouse I thought I would sow some tomatoes and peppers for germinating inside the house (my heated propagators are full of broad bean pots – not with heating, just because the covers keep any mice away). So some ‘Gardener’s Delight and ‘Zuchero’ tomatoes are in pots plus some Sweet pepper ‘Blockie’ and some chives (the garden clumps are looking a bit thin).

Then some work in the garden, I cleared one of the raised beds (no. 2) and added one of the bags of compost from last years growbags giving it a good fork over.  Then I put a couple of cloche tunnels over ready for – well I’m not sure yet.

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Then cleared another bed (6) and half of one (it has some plants waiting for transplanting to the flower beds in one end). Still several beds to go but t’s a start.

I’ve put the cover over the rhubarb now as it was just starting to shoot – makes me think of rhubarb pie (and custard) mmmm.

Daffodils are mostly out now and the snowdrops are m mostly over flowering now. One or to other flowers are out such as some cyclamen!, pulmonaria and ‘elephants ears’ (Bergenia cordifolia)

Daffodils (this bed is undeplanted with  perennials

Daffodils (this bed is underplanted with perennials)

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

'Elephant Ears' -

‘Elephant Ears’ – Bergenia

WIldlife

Robins always in attendance when I’m gardening and anxious to get any grubs they can find. The blackbirds are also very busy but I haven’t seen any territorial disputes yet. Also, long tailed tits keep appearing on the feeders as well as the usual blue & great tits.

No more squirrels so far!

Bean Plantin’

Yes, in a fit of enthusiasm this morning I planted some broad beans – mostly ‘the Sutton’ with a few ‘Auquadulce’ I had left over from last year. So now I have around 24 beans planted – mostly two to a pot, enough if they all come up, to fill the raised bed that already has the two rows coming up (as in the previous post).

So I can say my gardening year has actually started now! Lots more to do though…..