Tag Archives: daffodils

After a week of gardening – Winter Returns!

As I write this first draft (Sunday 18th)  there is a covering of snow on the garden and a temperature of -1degC! Yesterday I was working in the garden in a temperature of 12degC. Quite some contract. We now have a ‘mini-Beast from the East’ affecting our weather this weekend.

Broad bean bed after snow!

As I mentioned, during the week it was fine and I managed to get a few jobs done in the garden. Threee more raised beds are now clear of weeds, had some pelleted chicken manure added and some ex-growbag compost added (if soil level was low enough). That leaves the bed with kale in to sort out – it has some damage to the retaining plank along one side that needs a repair. The only other bed not touched so far is the one nearest the house. That bed has had carpet over it for most of the winter so should n’t need much weeding, though it may need topping up with compost.

The beds here are clear of weeds – honest!

As far as plants and seeds go, the first lot of broad bean seedlings are now in the bed with the seedling from the overwintered plants. I’ve filled in the gaps of the ‘Aquadulce’ seedlings with the ones from the greenhouse – and they look a lot better than the plants from the autumn sowing. The other seedlings were ‘De Monica’ and they are all in. The bed isn’t yet full but there is another tray of broad beans just coming through in a greenhouse propagator. I was thinking of turning the power off but it’s just as well that I didn’t!.

Broad bean bed – with some of new seedlings in. All are now in

The picture above shows how much better it is to start the plants in pots rather than planting beans in the autumn…..

Meanwhile in the kitchen I have tomato seedlings through and cucumber as well. They rather took me by surprise, I hadn’t bothered to look inside the plastic bag covering the post (it wasn’t a clear one) and when I did the other day was rather surprised to find the seedlings already a bit etiolated and about 2 inches tall. Now the cover is off they are looking a bit more normal. Basically it is a 50% germination, 2 each of the tomato seeds (I think I put 4 in each pot) and 2 cucumber seedlings (‘Baby’) in one pot, the other (Burpless’) none so far. The tomatoes are ‘Alicante & ‘San Marzano’.

Kitchen seedlings just after bag taken off. The cucumber seedlings are upright now!

There is a tray of sweet peas in the other propagator and yesterday it looked as if they were starting to come through – well a couple at least.

More updates soon – as I finish this on Tuesday the snow is all gone and temperatures as high as 8degC today so there is some chance of getting something done in the garden again…..

Just to provide a bit of spring – here is a daffodil (taken before the snow):

 

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The Beast has gone – gardening can begin

The ‘Beast from the East’ is no more!

Yes over the last couple of days all the snow hereabouts has melted (still lots in the N and Scotland). The temperature has risen enough to work outside and in the greenhouse – 10 degC outside yesterday and it reached the heights of 17 degC in the greenhouse!

So got round to a few jobs yesterday. and the day before I’ve planted more broad beans both ‘De Monica’ and ‘Aquadulce’. They maay be needed as I can see some gaps in the rows out in the raised bed now the snow has gone.

The broad beans in pots are now out of the propagator and in a tray and some of them are pretty much ready to plant out in the next few days. More shoots have appeared, so the germination rate looks rather better than when I last posted.

Being rather hopeful I’ve also planted some cucumber seeds – ‘Burpless Tasty’ and ‘Baby’ which are now in pots on the kitchen window ledge. Also in the same tray are a couple of pots of tomatoes (new seeds bought a couple of weeks ago) – ‘Alicante’& ‘San Marzano 2’ (rather like Pomodoro).

On top of that I’ve planted some flower seeds – sweet peas, several varieties and half a small tray of geranium and cosmos – in a half tray and inside the house inside a plastic bag by a window.

I’ve also finally cleared the ‘salad’ raised bed and covered it with my rather old long cloches – current plan is to plant beans in that bed (was a garlic bed last year) but I may yet change my mind…

Even though temperatures have risen, the daffodils in my bed of bulbs haven’t recovered yet, still look very sad.

Sad daffodils – knocked down by the frosts

Some spring flowers are out though, berengia (elephant ears) of course, plus some pulmonaria and at the bottom of the garden primroses (see below).

Pulmonaria

Berengia – ‘Elephants Ears’

Primroses

Still plenty of clearing up and other work to be done in the garden yet though!

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!

A Little Progress

What’s been happening over the last few weeks you ask? Well not a lot really in the garden – mostly because I’ve had plenty of other things to do.

I can’t even use the weather as an excuse, it’s been mostly much milder and dryer than it should be – which has meant that in the flower beds plant have been flowering when really they should have been ready for composting.

However, gradually I have cleared all the raise beds bar one with some turnips left in it and the one with strawberries of course. All the potatoes have been dug up (well I’m sure there are some small ones left that will produce annoying shoots next year). Indeed all the potatoes – for there weren’t that many – have been consumed and they were pretty good.

So today I finally removed the tomato plants and growbags from inside the greenhouse – I’d been hoping some remaining green tomatoes would ripen but no luck. So that’s cleared some space in the greenhouse now. The chilli pepper plants are just about hanging on – some chillies are ripe but I suspect not many more will ripen fully. We have one plant on the kitchen window, on which most of the peppers are ripe, and they have been used in our cooking already. I removed the last sweet pepper plant today, it was only there as I hadn’t got round too it since I had harvested the last pepper a couple of weeks ago. I also moved a couple of lemon grass plants (growing in small pots) into the kitchen before they could be zapped by frost (one plant was already in the kitchen).

The big news though is that some planting happened today! Yes one of the raised beds is now planted with garlic (White Casablanca) – in fact in the ex-potato bed. Plus three cloves in a large pot (I’ve grown garlic successfully in it previously.

The only other work was to plant the last of the pack of 50 daffodils at the bottom of the garden. There are a fair number of daffodil bulbs there already, but most are ‘blind’ so a few more flowers will look good in the spring.

No pics this time. but I may add later.

Wildlife

The trail cam revealed hedgehogs still active into October and greenfinches have been active on the feeders.

Only one squirrel has been seen round the feeders in the mast coupe of months – and that one has been evicted!

Tomato Seedlings Aplenty

As usual pretty much every tomato seed has germinated already meaning I already have more than enough! To make matters worse the current set doesn’t include and small types so I’ve just planted some ‘Tumbling Tom’ & ‘Zuchero’ seeds.

Meanwhile, most of the tomato seedlings (see previous post) are big enough to pot-on so all except the ‘Pomodoro’ are now in individual pots, currently in the lounge waiting to be settled enough to go into the greenhouse (see below).

Repotted tomato seedlings waiting to go into greenhouse

Repotted tomato seedlings waiting to go into greenhouse

 

'Pomodoro' seedlings waiting to be repotted

‘Pomodoro’ seedlings waiting to be repotted

The pepper seeds have been a disappointment though, of the two pots of pepper seed (one chilli, one sweet) only one seedling has appeared – a sweet pepper.

So I’ve planted some more seed now in hope that I can get a better result….

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse the flower seeds have all produced seedlings, though they can be left for a while before I need to pot them on. Also germinated are the ‘winter salad’ seeds in the container in the greenhouse, so hopefully in a couple of weeks or so there will be salad leaves to harvest.

Winter_salad

‘Winter salad’ seedlings

The potatoes in the greenhouse are shooting but only reluctantly, they need to get a move on as they should be planted soon….

Potatoes - with small shoots

Potatoes – with small shoots

Outside, the strawberry plants are coming on, and I have some replacements for the ones that didn’t make it so there should be a bed full of plants and if the information is to be believed a progression of strawberries through the summer.

Strawberry plants - new ones bottom left

Strawberry plants – new ones bottom left

The one worrying thing is the absence of any sign of broad bean seedlings in the bed outside as yet. Just as insurance I’ve planted several pots of beans in the greenhouse and they usually produce ok, but I’ll have to keep a close eye on the situation.

Broad_bean_bed

Look no bean seedlings!

Just as a contrast here is a picture of some of the daffodils in the garden:

Daffodils

 

Wildlife

Nothing to report beyond the birds consuming seed at an increasing rate.

 

I’ve Bin Plantin!

Yes, progress at last. Weather is still all over the place with rain, wind, some sun and this morning a frost (first for a while) and temperatures varying from 0 to +13degC in the last couple of weeks.

Anyway, I was finally prompted into action by a bit of sunshine and planted a whole raised bed with broad beans. I should have planted some last autumn really but  somehow I missed that opportunity. Two varieties – ‘aquadulce’ and ‘the sutton’ – about half the bed each. Planted, as usual, much closer than recommended but who has the space they want you to use? This is more space dedicated to broad beans than usual but I do have more beds to fill!

The garlic plated a couple of weeks ago is now just producing shoots although I notice the tops of some have been nibbled – I suspect pigeons!  The strawberry plants are now coming on – apart from a few (see bottom LH corner of pic below) – I will be talking to the supplier about them!:

Strawberry plantlets mostly growing now

Strawberry plantlets mostly growing now

Just today I’ve had to cut the holly hedge on one side of the garden – which has been growing regardless of the time of the year, plus I’ve pruned some of the blackcurrant bushes – though there are still more to do….

Just to illustrate further the way things are growing here are the daffodils in my lawn – they have been in full flower for more than a week now (compare with last post):

Lovely daffodils!

Lovely daffodils! Now fully out

Wildlife

The trailcam at the bottom of the garden has revealed that at least one hedgehog is still active thanks to the warm winter. Also I’ve spotted a different fox from our regular visitor – which is easily recognisable by having a very thin tail, not very brush-like. The new one has a proper ‘brush’, the the ‘thin tail’ one is still around.