Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: March 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

When I went to pick up the Mantis from the service shop today I saw this. I had watched some men in the Wisley Veg garden using one to make the soil fine before seed sowing. It looked "the business" so I decided it was just what I need for my raised beds in the Kitchen Garden. It's a bit pricey (cheaper on the internet), but I spent an hour with it on the beds here at home and it is a dream to use. (I didn't get the really long handle as it wouldn't be easy to manoeuvre in the Kitchen Garden. The man suggested getting the wooden one that is about rake length and it is perfect
I can see that I will use it a lot. If I make sure to leave enough room between rows it will be a wonderful hoe for weeding, as the blade at the back chops them off at the roots. They are easy to either pick up or rake up afterwards as it leaves them whole.
I think it'll also be a boon at the allotment for weeding, and mixing the manure into the soil....perhaps I'd better get another one!

Photo a day.....31st March

Last of my photos from my Wisley trip. Of all the rhubarb plants they were trialling in their two long rhubarb beds this was the biggest, and the healthiest. I think the name says "Merton's Foremost". When I come to replace my rhubarb I'll get this one!!!
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The Mantis Tiller was ready finally today so I was able to have my first lesson in its use and to try it out. I got on so well that I was able to get all that I've previously dug and weeded down to a fine tilth. I marked the deep beds and trod down the paths. Now all is ready for planting.

Tomorrow I'll put the onion sets and shallots in the second bed you can see here. The first bed is for beans, the second for onions and similar, the third for carrots, beets and other roots...for winter storage and for pickles! The fourth bed is for spuds. They'll go in next permitting....!

I have been reading up about these beds and am going to space everything much closer than I would if they were in rows. As the beds are only 3'6" wide I'll be able to weed easily between the plants.

I feel very much better about my plot now that I'm finally able to get on with the planting and sowing. I have been feeling very guilty about it for a while as I haven't been there as much as I needed as life and the weather kept getting in the way. Now I feel like I've left the starting blocks and can get on with it at last!
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Friday, March 30, 2007

Photo a day....30th March.

There is a new area being developed at Wisley......called Witan Street. This is the first of the gardens there....the others are under construction. (I tell a lie....there was one other finished....all decking. But I don't call that a garden!)

This one I could really see as my flower/shrub bit of the garden out at the back of our house. I am going to pinch lots of aspects of the design....except the lawn. I hate mowing!

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Photo a day....29th March.

Here is another photo from Wisley. I know it doesn't look very inspiring.....but I was inspired when I read it. If you click on the picture it will enlarge enough for you to read it.

I'd love to use this (Caliente Mustartd) next winter to "clean" my beds and add some of the nutrients suggested here, but I have no idea where to get the seeds. Wisley didn't sell it! And I've tried Googling for it...plenty of info on it but no stockists.

Anyone got any ideas?
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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

This morning was so beautiful, and I had to be here, so it was wonderful to spend time in my Kitchen Garden. I re-prepared the next Sq Ft bed (cats had used it!!!) and added one layer of worm-post (!) and incorporated it well in. foil the cats....I protected the bed with some tunnel nets and a tunnel fleece. In a day or two I shall sow seeds there.

I also spent time in the tunnel potting on some brassica seedlings (romanesco Cauli, Hispi Cabbage, red cabbage, and some leeks. And I transplanted the dwarf beans I raised in modules into the tunnel bed. Everything in there needed a good watering, so I transferred the hose that brings the water to my in-tunnel irrigation system to a different butt. Two are now empty, one is half full.

I also potted on some Ivy leaved geraniums bought as tiny plants at Tesco's. Also some Petunias (Trailing).

Then I weeded the herb bed.

This afternoon I went to the plot to dig some more. When I'd finished I went towards my old plot to get one of the cabbages for dinner tonight. They had all gone. She'd dug them out! She phoned and asked me to move them (!!!) last week. Then I saw her mother and said I'd come and get them.....she said they weren't hearted yet and not to bother just yet. I took her at her word!...Oh dear! So we had some not quite ready spears of sprouting broccoli from the Kitchen Garden instead. They were tasty.

All in all I think I made best use of a really pleasant day. Tomorrow we are expecting more tunnel jobs to do I think.

Photo(s) a day.....28th March.

When I was in the Wisley Veg garden I studied this plan and the planting. (Once again it is the other way up as to photo it in the same direction as the plan meant the lens would be full of sun.)

They haven't exactly followed the plan!

I will photo this regularly when I visit every 6 weeks too.

The photos will enlarge.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Photo a day....27th March.

Went to Wisley yesterday. I always make straight for the vegetable gardens. I particularly wanted to see the plot they are doing this year the same as was on Carol Klein's Grow Your Own Veg programme last year.
The first picture shows the plan on the sign by the garden. (The picture will enlarge enough to read it if you click on it).

The second picture shows the garden as it looked yesterday morning. I have taken it from the opposite side because of the way the sun was....!
As you can see there are only broad beans and shallots in there as yet.

I am going to pop into Wisley and see this garden every few weeks when I go back to Kent (I have to go along the A3) to visit my mother. I will photograph its progress for you all!

More Wisley Veg Garden pictures tomorrow!
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Monday, March 26, 2007

Photo a day....26th March.

I am a real sucker for the dainty blossoms that are out now, whereas the big Flowering Cherry that a lot of people have leaves me cold. My absolute favourite is Apple Blossom, where the flowers and leaves show together, the green and pink is just divine. But this (Cherry I think) that I saw along the road will do until the Apples are flowering! The flowers are small and very dainty. (This was a one foot close up.)

BTW I'm off to Kent for two days to see my mother. I'm going via Wisley so I may have some photos from there!

Photo a day ...25th March.

Spring is on the way judging by the flowers, and some trees are putting on their leaves ready for the show.....but there are still some bare branches around. I like this huge tree that we pass with the dogs most days.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Photo a day.....24th March

One of the delights of finally living somewhere we thought we knew well because we had "done" everything over the years when here on holiday, is finding new spots we didn't know about.
One of these is this duck pond. It is on Harding Shute, a back way between Brading and Ashey. It is private but they have built this walkway along the side of the road so that the public can view if they like. Consequently, it is impossible to park here during half-term!
There are I think about 60 ducks.....mostly pairs of exotic species. I love to watch them swimming about....they usually stick to their pairs.
Can you see these two very colourful ones just to the right of middle picture? They have the most amazing pale blue bills.....really pretty. They are my "particular favourites" (to quote Sarah Raven....!)

BTW If you have Google Earth and want to see the pond from the air go to 50deg41'37.52"N 1deg09'26.86"W
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Friday, March 23, 2007

Just getting back my interest in the garden after a week of head "fog". I have kept up with the tunnel but little else.
Here are the peas which I decided to germinate in modules rather than let the mice have in the garden. These will go outside down the middle of one of the raised beds shortly. They need hardening off and I think the weather is going to improve definitely this weekend, so that will be time to do it.

Here are the other seeds I sowed.... I can't exactly remember what they are, but I think there are some red sprouts, lettuce and other salads.
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Photo a day....23rd March.

Seagrove Bay at high tide today. In summer this is my favourite beach to sit on because it faces I can sit in the shade of the wall. You can't see it here but at the foot of the wall is a long ledge that we use as a seat.
It won't be long before we can sit there again.....!
NB This picture won't "grow" as I took it with my phone.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Apologies about lack of photo a day entries.....have been a bit rough. Back soon!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

This is what happens when you get distracted. As you can see demonstrated here, seedlings need water! I forgot to look at these in my propagator and look what my cucumber seedlings did.......laid down and almost died!
These are cucumber Passandra.......over £2 for 4 seeds.....and two of them are here! I really hope they respond to my soaking (I have added water to the tray to a depth of half an inch expecting at least that much to be taken up!)

And just look at the beans destined for the beds in the tunnel.....8" long some of them! Clearly this gardener took her eye off the ball!

The weather is very very windy here today and although it is also beautifully sunny I don't fancy gardening. I get sinus trouble if I do too much outside in the wind.....and I do have to walk the dogs so that'll be enough exposure for today.

NB the trayful of seedlings are looking better already. If the cues recover I'll post info tomorrow!!!!!
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Photo a day 18th March.

Sorry for trotting out more "holiday snaps" but I haven't had a chance to get more IOW pictures. (DH is recovering but I still can't go far!)

I took this photo at the Everglades National Park in Florida in 2004.

One thing I didn't realise when we visited (probably a good thing or I may not have gone) was that an average of 60 visitors a year are killed by the alligators!!!!!! No-one told us that. Imagine if there was an attraction here with that kind of safety record.....!
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Saturday, March 17, 2007

I was really tied up with weekend things like visiting neighbours and shopping today so only managed an hour again at the plot. I did three buckets of nettle roots from around the herb bed. The soil was a pleasure to dig and although it was windy it wasn't cold. So I was happy to have achieved something however small.

Metcheck is predicting snow here for 6pm tomorrow....we'll see. I'd be flabbergasted if we did get it as we rarely get it in winter, let alone this far into spring. I doubt if I'll get to the plot though as they forecast rain all afternoon.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Just an hour digging at the plot nothing worth photographing!

I saw my first butterfly of the year...a peacock.

There were dozens of people digging and seed sowing today....but I heard that it is turning chilly again this weekend so I'll be delaying mine. I'm not ready yet anyway....! I hope the ones I sowed in the back garden don't sulk!!!!!

We got the Mantis rotovator out of the garage and had a look at it. I felt it needed servicing. As it is 7 years old and never been looked at I'm probably right (its not had a great deal of use so not as bad as that sounds!!!) I took it to the mower repair place and he said it would be a week. Perfect......I have time to spread the manure where I want to rotovate.

As the part of the plot I'm digging now has so little white roots in I'm considering just rotovating that without the preliminary dig. I'll carry on digging for the next week then I'll make up my mind.

Photo a day.....16th March.

Life is a bit hectic at the moment so I've resorted to some old pictures. This one was taken of me in my computer corner (in the hallway) last summer by a friend. Perhaps I'll start a fashion for PAD bloggers to do photos of themselves in their computer about it?
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Photo a day....15th March.

Something a bit different today.....! This was one of the display rooms in the museum we visited in Florida two weeks ago sorry....forgotten its name but it was just "everyone clearing their attics" as my friend said before we went. I loved it!) It was a kitchen from the twenties. Aren't you glad we don't have to use equipment like that today?

Actually I wouldn't be too bothered about this kind of cooker, and I've always preferred a table to worktops. The bits I'd hate about olden times kitchens would be the way the laundry was done. Thanks to modern life that sort of drudgery has gone for good!
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Managed two rows of digging and three buckets of weed roots this afternoon. We spent the morning at the hospital getting DH sorted out. (The surgeon removed the "packing" from his ear and he now feels much much better!)

As well as the digging I set up markers for the permanent beds.....3'6" wide with 18" pathways. I know 4 ft is the optimum but I can't manage that deep. I have room for 8 beds like that running east to west across the full plot, but not running up the bank. 8 beds fits nicely into a 4 year crop rotation.

I also hoed around the rhubarb and the fruit bushes. I can see some sprouting from the raspberries but most of them are dead twigs at the moment!

This is the bit I have left to do....just about half the plot. The plotholders who want the greenhouse frame will be moving it shortly and then I can start on the manure. That will go into the first two beds for the spuds. I'll spread it before we rotovate.

It was really lovely weather there today.....! Now I'm off to walk the dogs ...probably through the allotments!
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Since I had an osteopath visit this morning, and we had a bit of a situation with DH and the possibility of a hospital emergency visit (now scheduled for tomorrow) I didn't go to the plot to work today. I will tomorrow though. it is a "roots" day I sowed some roots in the Kitchen Garden. Starting at the top of the picture these were
Carrots "Early Nantes 2"
Beetroot "Boltardy"
Spring Onions "White Lisbon"
Parsnips with radishes
Black Salsify "Duplex" (first time for fact I've never tasted it.....
Radish "Rat's Tail".....(for the radishes and the seed pods...also new to me).

This bed is the one I put the compost trench down the middle of on Monday.
It will have the runner beans later in the summer. I am bringing on some lettuces to occupy the middle stretch until mid May when the runners can go in.
The other side of the bed will have some dwarf beans and some broad beans in soon!
These are the beds I cleaned you can see the net is in place against cat interference over the strawberries. The RH bed is the asparagus. It is still evident that I have made this bed over what was a flower bed before. The bulbs are still coming up through it.
I noticed today that my broad beans sown last Autumn are flowering! Ho ho....soon be eating them then!
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