Tag Archives: robin

Some Rain after a Dry Spell

Apologies for this post – started on the 20th May but then after problems with uploading pictures it never was finished…….

Over the last few days we’ve had a fair amount of rain, which was needed as previously we’d had a long period with virtually no rain so the garden really needed it. In fact I’d been driven to getting the hosepipe on the garden – and a day later it started rain of course!

There has been some progress – a few things have made their way out of the greenhouse into the garden.

Four climbing beans – different varieties – are now in the garden. Probably a bit early but they were getting rather leggy in the greenhouse.

Climbing beans – after a few days.

One of  the cucumber plants is now under the ‘door’ protection – again it was getting too big for its pot in the greenhouse.

Cucumber just getting going.- it is a ‘burpless’ I think

Meanwhile the kale is hanging on ok and hasn’t been attacked too much:

Kale plants

The potatoes are coming on well:

Potato plants – earthed up already

The cauliflower plants are ok – one or two leaves have been attacked ?pigeons?

Cauliflower plants – still with ‘CD scarers’

and the broad beans are in full flower but I still haven’t ‘strung them’ yet but being ‘The Sutton’ they aren’t very tall and have managed to survive so far.

The Sutton beans in flower

The mangetout peas are thriving (a mixture including ‘Oregon  Sugar Pod’) and now need support canes

Mangetout peas

The one real disaster is the carrots which after only a few germinated the seedlings were all destroyed – slugs or pigeons – I’m not sure. So yet another sowing will have to go in….

Wildlife

On the bird front, not much to report. The robins have a nest in one hedge – I can hear the chicks when I’m working nearby. Not much variation at the bird table – just the dunnocks (on the ground), robins and blue/great tits plus the odd blackbird. There is a pair of magpies nesting in one tree alongside the garden which is rather annoying, I just hope they done’ have a go at any of the chicks that there must be in addition to the robins.

At the bottom of the garden the trail camera has shown the hedgehog(s) to be active and even coming into the main garden at least once.

 

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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 New Year – Not much goin’ on

Well here we are in February and the garden is a wasteland – full of weeds as the winter hasn’t really been that cold (9 degC on Thursday!) so they have kept on growing and the lawn is muddy as we’ve had enough rain just to keep it wet.

All in all I’ve not felt much like working in the garden and there have been more important things to deal with inside in any case. I’m also missing encouragement  from my neighbour (no longer here).

All I’ve done recently is a bit of hedge cutting – particularly in the flower border area as it’s the best time to give it a good cut (the section is mainly holly) while the perennials etc. aren’t growing. I’ve also chopped down the remains of the nettle patch at the bottom of the garden. I’m hoping to insert an open composting heap into that area this year as I seem to be generating so much compost now – three bins on the go!

Regardless of my efforts things are growing – the garlic is coming along nicely and the two rows of ‘The Sutton’ broad beans are now up (see below)

Broad Beans just appearing

Broad Beans just appearing

The fact that the Autumn planted beans are up highlights the fact that I should be spending some time in the greenhouse getting some more beans planted into pots – I’ve just restored the WiFi connection in the greenhouse in anticipation – well sitting in there planting needs a bit of entertainment!

Bulbs are springing up all over the place of course and soon there will be daffodils appearing in flower all over the garden – but first of course are the snowdrops – not quite open yet though (see below) but this year there will be more patches of snowdrops thanks to some planting a couple of years ago.

Snowdrops - not quite open

Snowdrops – not quite open

Wildlife

A recent review of the trailcam set on the lawn watching the bird ground feeding spot near the house revealed a fox having a good look round, as well as the usual cat etc. Some good pictures of robins and dunnocks but strangely no mice at night. No hedgehogs either so maybe they are actually hibernating just now.

A couple of squirrels need to be evicted during the last month as well…

Still Not Really Winter

Despite a couple of nights where the temperature did actually get below zero, it’s been pretty mild since the last post. It’s around 10degC today for instance, though quite windy. We have had a reasonable amount of rain though, enough to curtail work outside on several days.

I have managed to get out and work a few days since the last post – so now six out of the eleven raised beds are clear, and two and a half are seeded with winter green manure – though only one is showing seedlings at the moment.

Green manure sprouting

Green manure sprouting

All the crop plants from inside the greenhouse are now being composted, so what’s left in the greenhouse now are the winter bedding plants from a plant supplier, at various stages.

Speaking of the bedding plants, I did get round to planting some of them out today into containers – all of which are underplanted with bulbs as well so now there are some pansies, bellis and sweet williams learning how to cope with the weather outside the greenhouse.

I have been puling up some of the dead and dying annual flower plants from the borders as well as I spot them, though the way the weather has been they’ve hung on rather longer than they should.

Wildlife

No a lot to report really, I’ve had trail cameras at the bottom of the garden and watching the bird feeders. The first has shown that the hedgehog(s) have probably gone into hibernation as there weren’t any sightings in November, the only thing of not beside the multiple cats was a visit from the fox we’ve seen before (it has a rather non-bushy and ‘bent’ tail).

The bird feeder camera revealed visits from green-finches and long-tailed tits as well as the frequent great tit and robin visits as well as some desperate attempts by magpies to hang onto the fat block feeder. The speed that a great tit can land on the feeder with sunflower seeds, grab a seed and fly off has to be seen to be believed! The feeder needs refilling at least once a week as a result.

Bin Clearing Away the Tomato Plants

Finally I’ve managed to find the time to start clearing away the tomato plants in the raised bed – all 12 of them. They were of course complete with some rather rotten tomatoes – so this almost certainly means I’ll have tomato plants appearing from where I’ve used compost next year. This year I must have removed a dozen or more baby tomato plants in various places around the garden this year.

Now the compost bin is full – and as I went back into the house after thinking I had finished with the tomato plants – I spotted the container outside the kitchen – complete with several tomato plants, and some green tomatoes. So that’s another job…

The Last Tomatoes!

The Last Tomatoes!

The weather has been ridiculously mild recently though with temperatures rarely below 10degC, and up to a ridiculos 17degC today for instance. We have had rain showers as well, but the warm weather has confused some of the plants as well, particularly the flowers – I’ve go rudbeckia still in full flower for instance. The courgette plants though not dying have stopped producing courgettes at least.

Rudbeckia still in Flower

Rudbeckia still in Flower

One last harvest will be the lemon grass I’ve had growing in the greenhouse – I’ve been saved from having to harvest it by the lack of any frost but it won’t last! Though come to think of it – there are potatoes left yet….

A positive job I have managed to do was to sow some winter ‘green manure’ seeds in the bed which had held the beans, I also added the compost from one of the growbags. There are a couple of the other beds that I’ll sow as well once they are ready.

Raised bed - it has been sown with seed honest!

Raised bed – it has been sown with seed honest!

Wildlife

Well the great and blue tits and the odd robin are going through the sunflower seeds with great rapidity. Also, the ‘fat block’ is being pecked away fairly quickly, I’ve had to put a new one in today.

Other than that, there is a squirrel which is ignoring the allure of peanuts leading into the trap – in fact it goes straight past my offerings in to next doors garden where the pickings are easier….. darn it!

Maybe Summer Is Here?

Well a couple of days where temperature have topped 20DegC, maybe – but we still had high winds and morning temp of less than 14DegC only the other day so I’m not yet convinced – and neither are my plants, particularly the climbing & french beans.

However the big emphasis over the last couple of weeks has been planting out lots of flowers, both perennials and annuals as in just over a week our garden will be open to the public for a coupe of days! So panic… The other major task has been sorting out the paths between the raised beds which of course I’d not bothered with when I put the beds in since there was only me wandering between them – still it’s a good thing to have got them done – almost.

Meanwhile I’m harvesting mangetout peas and broad beans plus strawberries (just enough to go with my breakfast cereal).

Broad Bean & Mangetout Harvest

Broad Bean & Mangetout Harvest

One or two minus point – I planted a half row (along the length of a raised bed) of ‘lollo rosso’ lettuce, which germinated nicely along the whole low, then I sowed the other half with a different mix of lettuce, which also germinated along the whole length – until…. a few days later half the row disappeared! Either slug or pigeons, so I covered it with an old fireguard and scattered a few slug pellets around. The lollo rosso is ok I thought – and then half that lot went! So more slug pellets and a covering – so we’ll see.

I do have one cucumber on one of the plants but the others (2 of them) don’t look like producing anytime soon. I have managed to plant two courgettes at last though.

Some other sowings have been a bit disappointing as well in particular some ‘baby leeks’ which I’ve grown before, to be fair the seed was a bit old but also the cos lettuce (maybe also got by pigeons?), leaf beet, beetroot and spinach only have produce a few seedlings.

The french beans and climbing beans really haven’t groen much at all over the last few weeks thanks to the weather – so if we do get some more sunshine now maybe they will take off – I’ve still got a few more dwarf bean plants to plant out.

The tomatoes are all going well and I’ve ‘stopped’ all of those in growbags in the greenhouse as they gave 3 or 4 trusses now and all have the first truss set at least so I’m feeding them. Those outside the greenhouse i growbags aren’t quite as advanced as you might expect but some have tomatoes on already as have the ones in the raise bed. The plants near the kitchen don’t seem quite as happy, not sure why as they get the best of the sun.

Wildlife

Plenty of frogs after rain last week and a few toads, and as usual they are occupying some of the growbag holes in the greenhouse – so whenever i water it creates a bit of chaos as they all seem to bject.

The robin (or a robin?) has appeared whenever I’ve been working in the garden – so keen that I as was kneeling and clearing some weeds it hopped right in front of me to investigate – so now I’ve learned just to stay still when it appears and it will happily hop around my feet collecting morsels. I suspect it is feeding chicks (again?) as I can hear them calling in the hedges when it flies off.

Dried mealworms are still very popular on the feeders and on the ground station plus sunflower seeds are going at a fair rate from the seed feeder and a ‘fat block’ is being pecked through with enthusiasm. It’s been encouraging that some of the birds are house sparrows feeding chicks so maybe a few will stay around.

The trail camera shows hedgehog and fox still around but no new sighting of the badger. I’ve been working in the area that they pass through so maybe the changes have put the badger off for the time being.

A new squirrel has appeared and seems not to like peanuts so can’t be tempted into the trap for now – keeps climbing the bird feeders and wrecking the feeders trying to get at the seed etc. – I’ll need to keep an eye on that situation.