Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: April 2008

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wisley...on Monday this week.

On my way to Kent to visit my Mother I always drop in at Wisley to check on the progress in thevegetable garden, particularly this corner with its 3x3 plots. The first one is the British Veg version, the other is the Oriental veg garden. I posted the plans of these gardens five weeks ago, on 7th April.

I have no idea what this blossom is but it was exquisite.
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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Maincrop in!

Sorry no photos....a shower came as I did the last spud so I ran for it. Gotta walk the dogs now it has cleared up so no show at the plot now til Wednesday. I am very glad though to have got them in at last. The moon appropriate day for them will be tomorrow and Tuesday but I hope they will forgive me for doing them 12 hours too soon!!!! LOL

I had too many for the designated area for spuds according to the rotation plan, so I put 9 tubers into the carrot/beetroot bed. I had allowed too much for them anyway.


Yesterday being soooo beautiful I had to do something in the garden. I really need to get in my maincrop at the plot, but the best days for that is Monday and Tuesday this coming week....but I will be away then so decided that this afternoon, as late as possible, will just have to do. That left yesterday to work in my kitchen garden at home.

One of the deep beds, which had the field beans in over the winter and will be for peas and salads this year, had rather sunken, solid soil. It needed loosening a bit and some more soil added to bring up the level. I have loads of compost in the making so it was time to start looking at it and turning the piles. One lot was ready so I started sifting it. I don't know why mine is so twiggy, but obviously I need to be more careful what I put into the heaps in the first place!!!

I did half a bed's worth and felt that it wasn't going to be a good idea to do any more as my back was twinging.

After dinner I felt I just had to get outside and the patio slabs were getting a good crop of weeds between the cracks. So I got down on my knees with the little weeding tool and dealt with that.

This morning I woke up so stiff that I couldn't lay there any longer. I must ease it somehow before this afternoon as the spuds really do need to go in today.

Tomorrow I am off to Kent to visit my Mum, with a coffee stop at Wisley along the way. I will run up to the veg garden to snap the 3x3 beds for your delectation!!! I can't stay long this visit because I have a heavy schedule of stuff to do in Kent before I return home to the island on Tuesday.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Oh have we been busy! As it was fine today we decided that it was time to get on with installing the water butts to make maximum use of all the free water that drops from the clouds onto our little bit of England. We had butts sited last year to collect the water from the back roof of the house, the shed, the sunroom and the greenhouse. But we hadn't any way of collecting from the front roof....which actually faces the prevailing obviously gets the bulk of the rain. we now have a suitable drill end for making holes in plastic drums we got on with it.

Firstly I had to empty all the butts. They were mostly low because we have been irrigating the greenhouse with what we had (we are metered here on the IOW so we don't use tap water if we can possibly help it.

Then we put this one against the shed. This is a bit Heath Robinson, but it is tucked away. I have set it high enough to make it easy to fill cans from this one.
This one replaced the one that was here last year. Long time readers of my blog will remember that our water butts all collapsed last year and we were given replacements by Blackwall free of charge. The only problem was that the replacement kits were not so tall as the previous ones and they used to overflow when full. Irritating! So we moved this bigger one in which needed a hole drilled in it and did it to the exact height needed for the inlet from the downpipe.

I need to get another hose connector for the tap on this one. It will be a back up for the greenhouse irrigation system.
This one takes the water from the sunroom roof. It is set up to irrigate the greenhouse continually.
These two are the new ones which take the water from the front roof of the house. They are just inside the back gate and are fed by a hose through the fence to a rainsaver fixed on the downpipe jut around the corner of the house. I was a bit doubtful whether this one would work, but a watering can poured into the gutter produced a gush moments later in the butt.

These two have an interlinking kit.

I need some hose connectors for these taps so that these can also be back ups for the greenhouse irrigation.

When we are doing anything that requires a bit of physical effort and precision drilling we argue a lot!!!! I'm glad none of you could hear us! Fortunately (for us...not him) the neighbour on this side of the house is deaf.
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Water continued

Here is the guttering I rigged up a couple of years ago to take the rainwater off the tunnel. This winter the plastic I use to bridge the gap between the tunnel and the gutter blew away as the adhesive tape I was sold for the job was rubbish. I have got some new tape which works....the polythene is a little thinner than what we had here before, but it was all I had on hand and will do for now..The water butt at the end is easily accessed from the back door of the tunnel and is perfect for filling cans to water the pots and staging.
The bed in front of the tunnel is my new-ish asparagus bed. I grew these from seed and will be able to harvest them next year. I couldn't help but smile when I saw Carol Klein at Berryfields last night...their asparagus isn't even showing through the soil yet. I can't believe our climate here is so far ahead of theirs.
I do feel sorry for Joe Swift with that awful allotment he has taken on. There is so much weed, and he chopped it up so small with that rotovator, that he will be fighting the weeds forever.
I just don't "get" the big triangular beds he has put in....I suppose it makes a talking point. But planning and crop rotation can be problematical with strange shapes like that.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mini-greenhouse/cold frame

Look at this lovely thing I got for £14.99 at Lidl's yesterday. They call it a "hobby greenhouse", I call it my new Cold Frame! It is quite sturdy, and very easy to assemble and disassemble.

It is too wide for my veg beds but I haven't a large enough place to stand it elsewhere at the moment. I don't need that bed for another few weeks as it is the designated bean bed for this year.

This morning I have potted on the tomatoes I sowed recently. They had become very leggy in their rootrainers, so I have put them into the deeper rootrainers and topped them up with more compost. They seem happier now. I have got far too many for my plots, but I always supply my sister with her tom plants and I have just about enough for us both.

I also potted on some red geraniums got from B&Q yesterday. They look so good in a row of 12 on the sunroom windowsill when they are flowering, and 2x£3.98 isn't a lot for a full year of pleasure. When they finish I put them outside the following year and get more pleasure out of them.

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Another picture of it!

I like the fact that it has a net screen....keeps the cats out! They will sit on seed trays....why I don't know.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A couple more pictures

This is the other polytunnel bed. Under the cloches are some Courgettes (Little Gem) hoping for an early crop. I know I'll have to hand pollinate them.
The irrigation hoses are partly buried. I was waiting for them to settle into their shape before wrestling them into the ground. Must get on with it now.
My brassicas...almost ready to go into bigger pots. Tomatoes behind...for the tunnel. The outdoor ones are still indoors waiting for me to transfer them from modules into 3inch pots. Perhaps tomorrow.
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Progress at the plot, and at home.

Look at my spuds in the tunnel. These were 5 Kestrel which I didn't have room for at the plot. They were planted the same day as the ones at the plot...look at them. They are smothering my strawberries....I planted them too near. Behind them are some trays of flowering plants for my front garden, also some for the plot (poached egg plant for under my raspberries). Behind that are the Growpots waiting for the tomatoes.

I sowed all my squash seeds today, and the sweetcorn. All in Rootrainers. The sweetcorn are Sweet Nugget, and Tuxedo (Kings Seeds). The Squashes are
4 modules each of
Uchiki Kuri,
Virginia Rooster (Heritage Seed Library)
Bon Bon
Pumpkin American Tonda
Gourd Golden Nugget
Squash Pink Banana
Marina di Chioggia

This afternoon I was able at last to get some of my pre-sown modules planted out at the plot. The shallots are in....on the left of the picture, and the broad the right. I sowed that whole bed of broad beans last autumn, but only two actually came up...the bigger ones in the top left corner of the bed.

Up at the back of the plot is the long bed with manure on ready for the squashes, courgettes and pumpkins. Then the two beds with the dries up grass on are the early and salad spuds. Kestrel are showing already...titchy compared with the ones in the tunnel...see top picture. The next grass covered bed is Charlotte. The next bed has the onion sets in that I planted a couple of weeks ago. Nothing showing yet there .

Up to the right the dark patch is the bed where I will be planting my Desiree seed potatoes, together with the next one. This will be all one bed this year rather than two separated by a pathway.

The bed behind the broad beans is for beetroot...still not sown. The one behind that is for carrots....some sown, but the succession sowing is now overdue.
In the next photo you can see the raspberry canes coming up well along the fence at the back. In front of that is the rhubarb....flourishing.
And in front of that are the globe artichokes which have produced all winter. They are putting up new shoots so I'll be cutting off all the older stuff soon.

As you can see there is a load of hoeing to be done on the paths between the beds, and some of the beds need a tidy up too. We have had a lot of visitors this last fortnight, but I am getting back to it now.
This is the Montana that I am training over the archway into the kitchen garden. I had one at my old home which I here is my replacement. I want it to grow thick and heavy.

Tomorrow is another "fruit" day according to the moon so I'll be planting out the peas and sweet peas in the kitchen garden.
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


A comment by Matron on yesterday's post reminded me that I've forgotten to post about my visit to Wisley a fortnight ago. I took these photos of the plans for their 3x3 beds this year.
You'll see that they have started another bed (alongside the first one) for Oriental vegetables.
I might have a go at this in '09 (beds are all planned out for '08) but I'll watch their efforts this year with interest first.
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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A terrific day today.....sun, sun, sun!

It started a bit chilly but has warmed up to be a beautiful day. So I have been working on the back beds. (It is a bit difficult to believe that the photos in the previous blog post were taken only two days ago!)

Firstly I moved all the peas, broad beans and shallots that I started in modules in the tunnel, out to the fleece cloche to start the hardening off process.

Then I cut off the field beans which were green manuring the rh bed seen here. The bed seemed to have a lot of bindweed in it so I have tried to kill that with some weedkiller. If that doesn't work then I'll dig it all through again. I left the bean roots in so that the nitrogen fixing goes on.

The newly cleaned bed behind that one (with the tepee) was gladioli and some salads last year. I retrieved all the glad corms this morning and really went through the soil to get out the bindweed roots. I have now sown some Robinson's Show Perfection Peas that I got at Chelsea last spring. I've sown two per cane hoping that at least one comes up. I'll pour some meths around the stakes to discourage mice. I haven't got any petrol so it'll have to be meths....hope it works the same.....!

The marigolds you see in the bed to the left of the tepee have flowered all winter.

It was really really nice to be back in harness.....really really nice!

An added reason for good cheer today.....DH put the nets out last night in the bay near us and left them for the tide to go in and then out. He was delighted to find 6 Sea Bass in the net this morning ranging in size from 1lb9oz (scaled and gutted) right up to 2lb10oz . All now in the freezer as the boys (3 x 15 year olds) who are staying with us are going to take them home when they go as souvenirs of their holiday.
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Sunday, April 06, 2008

Hello Snow!!!!

We have lived here 4 years now and this is the first time we have had proper snow...look at it! It started at 8.30 this morning and by 10am was 3 inches thick on the lawn.
It won't last long because the outside temp was a good 8deg C before the snow arrived. However I am unlikely to do any gardening today....!

I did manage to get to the plot a couple of times this week. I planted the Charlotte potatoes and my onion sets on their correct moon days. I also mulched the Kestrel potatoes (a few tubers just showing tops) with a really thick layer of grass mowings from the home grass. Given what we've got coming down from up there today I am glad I gave them that protection!!

I also had a good hoe round, and promised the plot some better attention this week coming.
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