Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: April 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bally mice!!!

Bally mice have dug up and eaten my peas and beans. I have now laid a trap and will resow tomorrow!!!!
I have a new camera and am experimenting to see just how much better the pictures look with a lot more pixels!!! Am quite pleased with what I have learned about it so far but hate the software that came with it....prefer Picasa...

And I spent time at the plot today sowing carrots and sitting to rest my back. It was glorious at the plot but is chilly here at home where we are feeling the east wind.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Back Garden Progress this week

A lot has been done this week. I have managed to sort out a number of the beds which were getting very untidy. And I have set out some of the plants which had been too long in the tunnel. Here is the projected bean bed. Also the one behind for beans and peas. I have installed an irrigation hose in both beds and also put in the sweet peas to start their climb. This year I followed advice and pinched off the top far they are sulking!!!

You can still see some leeks and some fennel in the further bed. As the beans are not even showing in their pots in the tunnel yet I have time to eat them before preparing the bed.
The bed in the background here still needs some attention, but the one in the front has been sown with square feet (actually about 16"x13") blocks of various seed...parsnips, beetroots, carrots, peas, spring onions, spinach etc. At one end is a stand of late broccoli, and at the other some parcel from last year.

In the background here is the strawberry/leek bed. The strawberries are covered in flowers so we can expect to be eating some of them next month.
The bed in the foreground is now planted up with some peas, up the middle with the supports, some broad beans to follow those at the plot, and some pointed cabbage...with cardboard collars as I forgot to get any...!

I still have to tend to the paths which are getting weedy. I suppose there is no such thing as a maintenance free path for a veg garden. I don't want concrete, and bark seemed to be less permanent than what we went for.....old carpet with gravel on top. We still get lost of weeds in it so I resort to killing them once a year.

Today I am having a rest from gardening other than the essential back is complaining...
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Tunnel progress.

Help from my husband to get the beds ready in the tunnel for planting out, and re-installing the path has paid off and I have started planting out the veg. This bed shows our lemon tree by the back door.....covered in blossom which smells divine....

The indoor strawberries have settled in well. And also you can see the two courgette plants I like to have in the tunnel. This one doesn't need pollinating so should give a good yield. The next photo shows that one of them is already flowering!!!

In the pot in the foreground is the physallis from last year which has come through the winter in the tunnel beds. I am going to plant it out again in here soon.
Here is the already flowering courgette..... Parthenon F1
This is the other bed. I have already started off the tomatoes. I am using A-tom frames with grow bags this year as I feel sure that the soil must be getting a bit tired of tomatoes. I know I should do a big soil swap with one of the outdoor beds but the back wouldn't let me this year. So the toms are in fresh growbags and behind them are two tomatillo plants which I am trying for the first time this year. Also along the back wall are luffa plants, still very tiny, which I am growing for fun...

Close to the camera you can see the tops of the spuds growing in bags. I have 4 bags of these which I am trying for the first time this year. I am hoping that if these are a success then they might solve the problem of lack of space for root crops here at home. I have an allotment for the more space hungry stuff such as spuds, pickling supplies such as beetroot and shallots, fruit, pumpkins etc. If I can get less space hungry methods of growing these then I won't worry so much if I can't do the plot as well. My back being bad for so long this spring seems to be the writing on the wall for the plot. DH has agreed to help support me with my efforts at the plot this summer and if it proves too much then we will withdraw to just the back garden and look at ways to up the fruit production here. Fruit bushes instead of ornamental shrubs seems to be one way to go.
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And more...

The fig in the tunnel is laden with fruit. The branches have got a bit leggy so I have bought a book which tells me how to prune it for fruit production...
And here is some of the staging just inside the door of the tunnel. Lots of stuff coming on here and on the opposite side of the tunnel.
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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Shed tidied, and other things.

Yesterday I tore myself away from the back garden and went to tidy the shed at the plot. I can actually get to the shelves at the back for my cup and drink when I need it now, and get my seat out and have a rest!
When I arrived at 12.30 the whole plot was still in shade, but by the time I went home just the bit under the tree was dark. As the raspberry canes are in that last spot to get the sun it isn't too much of a problem.
The bank needs strimming....DH went back this afternoon to do it.
This is a better view of the raspberry canes which are coming up nicely now. Also the comfrey along the fence is growing well. I shall soon cut it to add it to the compost bin.
After clearing out the shed I inspected the spud rows....there are two plants up.....

Then I prepared three further beds ready for seeds etc when I have a minute.

The broad beans are healthy and tall and covered in flowers. Should have a few meals off these......

I still have a third of the plot to clear of the winter weed layer, and the last bed has the green manure crop phacelia just about to that needs digging in soon. That bed is for french beans and for dwarf runner beans. I have decided not to grow stuff that needs tall stakes then I don't have to worry about the wind. I will have all that stuff at home instead.

I also have a lot to do around the globe artichokes and the rhubarb which are on the far part of the bank. Perhaps tomorrow...

I have been spending a lot of time in the tunnel and in the back garden veg area, and I will take piccys and blog all of that tomorrow..
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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Getting back in harness...

Had a tummy upset in the night so couldn't go far from home today. But I did feel like starting to tidy up the back garden.

A few weeks ago I decided to re-vamp the inside of the tunnel with raised beds either side and one down the middle. I had half done the job when my back went out. The tunnel has been a mess for the last few weeks and I was beginning to despair of ever getting it ready for the season.

DH sensed that I wasn't happy with the situation and thought that I ought to revert to a central pathway again for this season so he rotovated away all my hard work and we leveled the soil, and added a central path of spare slabs. I raked all smooth and added a 3 inch layer of manure to the LH side. After it has settled, and I have re-installed the irrigation system (that takes the ewater from the butts fed by the house roof) I can start planting up the beds. I have a number of plants that I have brought on in the tunnel that will fill the beds very soon....
Here you can see some plug plants that I have potted on til they are sturdier. I got them at Wisley yesterday. The ones I bought there 3 years ago did very well so I am hoping to repeat that success. There are 6 plants each of cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese, sprouts and kohlrabi.
Whilst DH was rotovating inside the tunnel I weeded and loosened the soil in the onion bed and the asparagus bed. I have now mulched the asparagus bed anew with fresh grass cuttings. I think the warmth they produce encourages an early crop. It also conserves the moisture.

Then later after a sit down I weeded and loosened the soil in the bed that was outdoor tomatoes and cucumbers last year (no photo). There are some Kale plants at the end of the bed that are still producing so I have left them alone. This bed will be beans or peas this year.

I have had enough now so am cooking dinner. When the football has finished I will sit and knit and watch the No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.......very relaxing.

Hoping to do a bit more gardening tomorrow...
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Yesterday at Wisley

On my trip to Kent on Friday/Saturday I had two goes at visiting Wisley. It was pouring on Friday so I returned on Saturday. As it is spring I made for the fruit garden display area, and although I'd seen it before this particular one completely entranced me. It is a model allotment with fruit as the main feature.

Along the edge of the plot is this row of trained apple trees. The trunks are trained up for about two feet then along a wire for about 3 feet. They were laden with blossom, and had heaps of manure around their roots but not touching the trunk....lots of tips there.

The plot is divided into quarters by by three cross paths, lined with various herbs and flowers. At one end of the plot are 5 raised beds for vegetables. Nearest the camera is asparagus (already showing, like mine at home) to the left, manure to the right. The next bed was rows of carrots under the fleece, radish, lettuce, and spinach (from memory). The next bed was strawberries, five different varieties. This bed had fixed irrigation hoses. The next two beds are manured and waiting.
Behind the raised beds is a path with fruit bushes trained up and over, making an arch over the path. There were no labels on these plants so I shall have to visit this area regularly to see what they are.

Behind the path is a fruit cage, missing its side netting, with all sorts of fruit bushes within.
Beyond the next path is another fruit area....but I can't remember any more about that bit.
Here is the on it to enlarge.
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Wisley continued

The polytunnel has been used for cabbages and salads all winter, and the other side is waiting for tomatoes etc. It has a goodly layer of manure on it.
In front of the greenhouse are two clumps of rhubarb, one being forced.
Another view up the plot.

All in all a perfect allotment plot. There is no shed, and I can't see that they'd have all the vegetables they would need, but I think they'd probably get enough fruit from these trees and bushes.
Something to aim for...
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Thursday, April 02, 2009

Spuds in at last.....

Sunshine from dawn to dusk (we hope) today and very warm outside, and my spuds were reproaching me from their egg boxes on the sunroom windowsill and I felt sorry for them.
So DH made the holes with the long bulb planter, I ripped up comfrey leaves to put in the bottom of the hole and placed the spud in carefully, sprouts upwards, and DH put back the plug. After all was finished I earthed up the rows a bit.......and stood back and admired our handiwork.
The first two rows are Charlotte, the next two are Desiree.

There is still a lot to do there. The grass path along the plot edges needs strimming; the bank needs strimming; the globe artichokes need weeding underneath....likewise the rhubarb. The top beds need a bit of hoeing and the very top bed needs the phacelia digging in ready for planting up later.
Next door have been and "tidied" up a bit; but there is still lots of carpet everywhere and no soil has been turned yet. Early days I know.... you can see....the shed needs a good spring tidy up. I can't find anything!!! I shal,l do this tomorrow....

Anyway....I feeel relieved to have got the year off to a sort of start. Lots of seeds to sow soonish...tomorrow some and more next week. The soil has warmed up a lot so there is hope that they'll come up if sown now.
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