Happy New Year – 2018

Happy New Year to my reader.

Not much to report from the last couple of weeks, just some pruning of the buddleia and the odd bit of clearing up.

So failing anything else to show here is a picture of one half of the garden from today – good as a baseline for the year.

Half the garden – note the kale still growing on the right! Garlic planted in the front bed.

Wildlife

Some news from one of the trailcams – what looks (briefly) like a stoat or weasel (or possibly a ferret?) crossing in front of the camera. More in time if I get more pictures.

 

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More Plantin’

Yes amazingly I’ve managed to get out into the garden and get some more planting during the last week. It was only a relatively brief visit to the garden but useful.

What did I do? – Well I finally got round to planting some broad beans – ‘Auquadulce’, about half a raised bed of them (bed 7 near the greenhouse, had potatoes in this year). I’ll leave the rest of the bed for planting from seedlings grown in the greenhouse come the spring – probably ‘The Sutton’ then.

Also, a second batch of garlic arrived – all the way from Estonia bizarrely (var ‘Vallelado’) so I planted some of the cloves in a large pot and a few more in the same bed as the other set (bed no. 9) – just a couple of rows. I can fill the bed up in spring.

Apart from that, not much and then the weather got really cold followed by today’s snow:

A Winter Wonderland?

Mind you after this photo was taken it began to melt and has mostly disappeared now, but more cold weather is anticipated.

On pressing job inside is to go through my seeds and see what I need to get for next year while stocks are available at garden centres etc.

 

 

Been Plantin’ Already!

Following yesterdays rather delayed post and review, a sunny but cold day led me to spend a bit of time in the garden and actually get on with some of the planting that is overdue.

I bought some garlic cloves online recently and one batch of autumn sowing garlic arrived the other day (variety ‘Marco’) so they were making me feel guilty. Also, a few days ago I bought a bag of tulip bulbs and a bigger bag of narcissi so I felt I ought to make a start planting them.

The garlic went into half a raised bed:

Bed with garlic in top half

There should be another lot of cloves arriving soon – hopefully still in time for me to plant.

The tulips and narcissi (well some of them) I put into one of the long containers we originally had annuals in during this year.

Of course the Robin appeared within a couple of minutes of me starting work in the garden. I initially was raking the bed where the potatoes were, and the Robin was being pretty bold almost getting raked itself! After I’d planted the garlic  needed to go into the greenhouse, only to find the robin had followed me in! Cheeky thing.

November Catch Up & Review

I feel very guilty at not updating the blog for so long. I could give the excuse that I’ve been very busy but that wouldn’t be entirely true. I just keep forgetting when I get in front of the computer even after working in the garden.

To be fair, over the last month I haven’t spent that much time in the garden. Most of that time has been spent cutting hedges or removing dead plants and carrying out the last bits of harvesting.

So, all the tomato plants are now in the compost bins and the growbags are now stacked on one of the raised beds ready for the contents to be used to bulk up some of the raised beds. The only plants left in the raised beds now are some lettuce which has managed to survive the couple of frosts we’ve had, some beetroot in the same bed which just hasn’t been harvested and are probably become too woody to use now, and the bed of kale, (there is just too much to use).

Having harvested the bed of potatoes a few weeks ago, I noticed the other day that one of the ‘potato bags’ hadn’t been emptied, so that may be a few more spuds! The ones harvested have been very welcome in the kitchen and quite a reasonable crop.

Overall I would say it’s only been an ‘average’ sort of year from the point of view of produce from the garden. The tomatoes were really only ok, no glut this year, and no big glut of courgettes, though that was partly because I missed a few and they became huge while hiding under leaves. The climbing beans were ok, though didn’t produce enough to fill the freezer, the dwarf beans didn’t produce too much and the broad beans were pretty poor. The sweet peppers in the greenhouse weren’t bad – kept us in peppers for a couple of weeks. The mangetout peas also weren’t as prolific as previous years, but did produce enough – in fact there are a couple of plants of a second sowing still alive!

No carrots survived this year, despite several plantings and the salad crops were pretty poor as well with the exception of the cucumber plants which produced enough to keep us going through the summer and into the autumn.

Now I have to clean up the beds, a couple are covered with old carpet so at least the weeds will be suppressed, and the potato bed has been dug over of course but the others will all want de-weeding and probably compost added.

There is also some planting to do of course. Broad beans and garlic in particular, once I’ve decided which beds (the garlic harvest wasn’t brilliant either this year). Plus I’ve a load of narcissi and tulips to get in as soon as poss, though they will be mainly going into containers.

Wildlife

The trail cameras have turned up another fox, different from the one seen a couple of years ago with a very thin tail. The hedgehogs have been active until recently as well.

The birds  have not been very active just recently, though a robin seems to think I’m only in the garden to produce food for it – it appears a feet away from me within minutes of me working in the garden and will keep ‘chuntering’ at me until I stand still and allow it a few minutes to collect any worms & grubs I’ve revealed.

Plus my usual battle with mice in the greenhouse has kicked off…..

Photos next time!

 

 

Bean Harvesting Plus

The climbing beans have been producing like mad and I harvested a huge amount the other day plus several cucumbers and a large courgette – it had managed to escape my gaze somehow despite being bright yellow……

Climbing beans (3 varieties), cucumbers & courgette

Meanwhile the tomatoes are coming to an end – the ‘tumbling tom’ variety is still producing, and one plant at the bottom of the garden in a container (planted late as I couldn’t decide what to do with the seedling) is just starting to fruit. The bigger fruit varieties however have only a few tomatoes left to ripen.

Tomato plants in greenhouse – almost finished now

As mentioned the courgette plants are producing and I’m trying to avoid the usual glut by picking them quite early. Most are ending up in stir-fries along with some of the climbing beans.

The pepper plants in the greenhouse now have one or two peppers almost ready for harvesting.

Pepper plants

The cannellini bean pods are quite big now but are they ready I wonder?

Cannellini bean pods

Wildlife

Finches are working through the bird seed like mad and the trail cameras have revealed that the fox with the thin tail is still around plus several (more than one you can tell by the size) hedgehogs wandering backwards and forwards. Plus of course the usual cats of course.

Flowers and Wildlife

Just for a change I though I would post some pics of flower from our garden taken in the last month or so plus some pictures of the birds currently enjoying the feeders and more….

Flowers

A few pictures of flowers from the ‘flower section’ in our garden.

Marigolds – grown from seed

One of the Penstemons in a bed just planted with Penstemons

Cosmos – from seed – with visiting bee

Leucantherium – on of several of these perennial plants

A Rudbeckia – again frown form seed with visiting insects

Achillea (with hoverfly)- several patches of this spread around flower beds

 

Wildlife

Long-tailed tits

Finch on feeder

Blue tit on feeder

 

Great tit waiting for a spare feeding position

Sparrow – a few have only recently appeared in the garden

I have some movies from may trail camera and I’ll try and make one or two available via YouTube if I get time

Summer is on the Blink!

We seem to be in almost a winter weather pattern with lows coming across the UK one after another. So we may have a day or so of sunny weather then rain. It’s been so bad that I only finally was able to mow the (still wet!) lawn this evening after more than a couple of trying to do it when the grass was dry. I finally cracked this evening when I was rain forecast more or less for the rest of the week.

6 days later

Since then we’ve had a shower or more almost every day and the grass is growing like mad!

The vegetables are growing well though and I’m harvesting plenty of climbing beans, together with the french/dwarf beans (almost finished now though). Only a few mangetout peas at the moment although I have one new seedling to plant out (only one out of four came up!). I’ve sown a couple more pots full today.

Climbing beans – note the different varieties

The tomatoes are producing well, especially the small ‘sugar plum’ types but some of the larger ones just ripening now.

Some of the current crop of tomatoes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tomato plants outside the greenhouse – these are ‘Marmande’

We’ve had plenty of cucumbers as well although just at the moment there aren’t any new ones ready but the courgettes are producing and as usual if I’m not careful picking them while they are small we’ll have a glut.

Baby courgettes – they need watching!

 

One unfortunate side effect of all the rainy days is that I haven’t yet harvested the garlic even though they are ready, but they really need a chance to dry out once I’ve dug them up.

The broad bean plants are still there just in case the flowers on them just now actually produce some beans… unlikely but you never know.

Over the last couple of weeks I have harvested all of the blackcurrants and gooseberries (some of which were immediately cooked into gooseberry ‘cobbler’). The raspberries are just about over, but the blueberry bushes are full of ripe berries – and the birds haven’t found them yet! There are a few strawberry flowers so there may be a late crop. The brambles are ready now as well – I’ve had a few already with my breakfasts.

Some of the blackcurrants and gooseberries

 

 

I’ll close this now and add more in a couple of days….