Tag Archives: garlic

Feels Like Spring – Again

Now as I write this (Thursday 29th) it feels like spring, it is sunny right now, but we had -1degC last night and this weekend promises to be cold again, though not as bad a previous events!

All this meant that as I had put the cucumber seedlings into the greenhouse the other day, I had to move them onto the bench with a tube heater under to make sure the frost didn’t zap them. This morning they ;looked a little sad but did seem to have survived.

Well whats been done since my last post? Starting with the last couple of days I’ve been busy potting on 72 bedding plants (gazania & bidens) which arrived as tiny plantlets in their little plastic holders and had to be potted into something pretty much straight away.

Since only 2 cucumber seeds germinated, botth the same type (baby), I’ve planted the remaining seeds from the ‘burpless’ variety in a pot (in the kitchen) to see if I can persuade them to produce.

The flower seeds in one of the heated propagators – 4 pots of various sweet peas and 4 pots of various sunflowers haven’t produced much unfortunately. there are  only 7 sweet pea seedlings (out of a possible 16) and no sunflowers. So I’ve sown some more sunflower seeds (teddy bear) and they are in the kitchen with the cucumbers in a plastic bag – hopefully a better environment.

Sweet pea seedlings at the back – sunflower pots nearest with no seedlings!

It’s not the only failure, a half tray of cosmos (2 varieties) in the lounge near the french window have not produced anything. A second half tray, split between nicotiana and rudbeckia, has produced just 8 rudbeckia seedlings – not very good at all.  new batch will need to be sown pretty soon though and I think I will need some new seed.

Also, I’ve sown some coriander in a pot in the greenhouse to see if they produce (oldish seed so not sure of the viability). Plus a pot of mangetout peas (oregon sugar snap) so hopefully to get peas soon…

Also, I’ve now plated out the remainder of the broad bean seedlings into the bed, which is now full (see below)

Broad bean bed now full – mostly ‘De Monica’ nearest and ‘Aquadulce the further half

Last week I had a good go at the ivy and branches of the old pear tree in the middle of the veg garden, hopefully before any serious bird nesting has occurred (the ivy is pretty thick around the trunk and is nested in every year) – it needs to be kept trim so there is less shadow over the beds in the summer.

The garlic bed is now looking pretty good now I’ve filled it up:

Garlic bed – 2 types, bigger plants were planted last year

Finally, I have taken the time to try and properly plan the raised bed contents so I have an idea what other seeds to buy, if any. More on that later when I’ve had time to properly document it.

The very first raised bed I constructed (from a kit, had kale in it last year) suffered some damage to one side over the winter, basically one side has rotted enough to more or less fall off, so I’ve mad a start at moving the soil away so I can add a new side, just needs me to buy the wood now!

Broken side of raised bed

I found some rather large fancy cloches/cold frames in a local shop recently – unfortunately slightly shorter than the raised beds and slightly wider than half the width, but they were a bargain and are over a couple of the beds now – we’ll see how useful they are.

New cloche/cold frame (green) with my old cloches nearest

I think I know which bed the potatoes will go in, and the ‘chitting’ potatoes (desiree) on a tray in the greenhouse have shoots on, but still pretty small, with the weather still pretty poor I guess I won’t plant until after Easter any way.

Wildlife

A review of one of the trail cameras at the bottom of the garden revealed that at least one hedgehog is active. which is encouraging

Another surprise turned up on the bird ground feeder the other day – I took some photos of a bird with my zoom camera, not because I recognised it but it just seemed to be behaving differently from the usual robin or dunnock. Then when I looked at the photo  I could see it was a blackcap (after I’d consulted my ‘bird book’) – as the photo was taken through the kitchen window it isn’t as sharp as it could be but here it is:

A surprise blackcap

 

 

 

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Not much gardening outside just now!

We have been hit by the ‘beast from the east’ so gardening outside is a bit tricky just now! The picture bellow illustrates the situation.

A snowy garden!

You can just see the garlic shoots….

Meanwhile in the greenhouse, the germination rate of the broad beans doesn’t look too good – as you can see below so far only a few are through (2 beans per pot planted). Bearing in mind this weather (-5degC overnight and not above zero during the day) is going to continue for a few more days I’ll try and plant some in pots and keep them on the kitchen window ledge otherwise I’m going to be a bit short of plants once the weather clears….

There are loads of other seeds I should be planting but it will just have to wait until the cold snap ends.

Broad bean seedlings in the greenhouse – still some to appear

Wildlife

The birds are finding it hard of course – I’ve had to go out twice today already to add more mealworms and seed – most of of first lot were eaten, but some on the ground feeder were buried by more snow. One of the blackbirds was so desperate it worked out how to get into the ant-squirrel cage (see top pic) which up to now hadn’t managed to do.

B’bean Plantin

After a bit of a while not actually working in the garden I managed to spend a few minutes in the greenhouse the other day and sowed a few broad bean seeds into pots. Four pots (2 beans in each) of ‘De Monica’ and 4 pots (2 in each) of ‘Aquadulce’. The pots are now on one of the heated propagators

Meanwhile, outside the first shoots of the beans I planted last year have just started to appear. It will be a week or two before I can see if any have failed from that planting. I’ll need to plant a few more beans yet to fill the bed they are to go in (nearest the greenhouse).

The garlic are doing well. The first planting are now well up and the second are just showing. The ones I planted in a container are also just appearing.

Last year’s planting of garlic growing well

So the major job I need to do now is to go through my seeds before it’s too late as sowing both veg & flower seeds will need to start before too long.

There are a couple of beds that still need clearing as well, one with ‘salad’ crops i and the one with kale – which is still growing well though we keep forgetting to harvest any for a meal. There is also a bunch of hedge and shrub cutting to do before the nesting season gets under way.

Here is a snowdrop picture just to show it isn’t all dead plants in the garden:

Sbowdrops

 

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.

 

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!