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Friday, 27 February 2009


Today was a great sunny day, it was warm and bright, full of bird song and life. I enjoyed it by taking photos and by sitting on my living willow bench soaking up some long overdue rays.

Here are a few photos I took today to mark the occasion:

Dwarf Iris

Double Petal Snow Drop

Yellow Crocuses

Lilac Crocuses

Pink Primroses

Thursday, 26 February 2009

The Beat Goes On.

The sun has been attempting to break through all day but has only managed a hazy appearance as you can see.

Nature though sure appreciated the slightly brighter and warmer day and after days of keeping their buds shut the crocuses were blooming again. The yellow native primroses on the left has also burst into flower for the first time this year and a dwarf iris on the right decided to show off its blooms.

A sure sign that spring is on its way for me was my first sighting of bumble bees I saw three in total two queens and a worker. They were working the crocuses in my garden and a flowering shrub in my neighbour's garden.

I also took advantage of the milder brighter day and got some seeds sown, tidied up the broad bean bed and harvested some fresh herbs for this evening dinner.

The seeds Riesenbutter (a giant radish) were sown directly into the vege bed. I prepared the area by raking in a little blood, fish and bone fertiliser into the amazingly crumbly soil, sowed the the seeds and watered them in. I then covered the area with some corrugated plastic to help the area retain heat and moisture which should help the seeds to germinated successfully.

The broad bean area was planted up mid autumn with 18 plants, which were all doing well till the snowfall early January. I think because the snow stayed on the ground for such a long time the plants got bent under the weight which caused their stems to become too damaged to continue growing (see the picture on the left). I was left with one plant that was healthy and upright (see the pic in the middle) and there were a few plants which appeared to be shooting up fresh shoots (see the picture on the right).

After removing all the dead plants and mounding the soil around the surviving plants (a measly four in total), I resowed eighteen seeds in cells in a seed tray which have been placed in my permanently open mini greenhouse. they can be sown directly into the soil at this time but it increases the risk of mice talking the seeds and or the seeds rotting in the ground due to cold and damp. As soon as they are all germinated and develop a decent root system I'll pop them into the ground, that way hopefully they will grow up tough which in theory is suppose to make them more resistant against blackfly, this is the reason for autumn sowing over spring sowing.

The seedling update is as follows; non of this week's sowings have yet germinated but at this time I have;

  • 100% germination of my melongene seeds.
  • 90% germination of the annual salvia.
  • 75% germination of the celeriac.
  • 25% germination of the torsha.
  • 75% germination of the hot pepper.
  • 25% germination of the sweetpeppers.
  • 66% germination of the rudbeckia.
  • 22% germination of the echinacia.

So once I don't kill these seedlings I should have something to plant out early July.

And to end my day in the garden the local Robin decided to give a song and oblige me the opportunity to take a picture of him doing so.

The day ended with the collection of two benches from a freecycle member for our dining table. Although I told the lady the size bench I was interested in they still turned out to be too small for the space. Never mind the would work in the interim and when we get or build the size bench we need I'll pass them on via freecycle too.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Gathering Momentum

Well the day greeted me with more gloomy weather and even a little drizzle thrown in but the excuse of putting of seed sowing because of depressing weather cannot be used too regularly or I won't get anything done, after all I am in England.

So with that in mind I scraped together some motivation and did some seed sowing today. The seeds I sowed were;
  • Melons x three varieties one set was home saved from a supermarket purchased melon.
  • Lemongrass to replace the plant I lost to early frost last year.
  • Wild Teasel, the seeds are a magnet for some birds, mainly the goldfinch.

I also wanted to sow some radishes but the soil in the vege beds were too wet, hope to get them done by the end of the week though.

I also was able to completely full one of my bean trenches with kitchen scraps, I then refilled the trench with soil and levelled the area, its now ready for planting the runner beans in June. The second trench as you can see in the picture is now lined with shredded paper in readiness for kitchen scraps.

The seedling update is as follows; on the 22nd the hot pepper and echinacia seedlings began to show them selves and on the 23rd some of the sweet pepper and a torsha seedlings began sprouting.

Well that's it for now will catch up again soon.

Saturday, 21 February 2009


Well today was absolutely glorious with clear blue skies and warm sunshine (although a little chilly in the shade ). I would like to say that I took advantage of the beautiful weather and got some work done in the garden of which there are loads but circumstances proved that goal to be unachievable but not unproductive.

Now not sure of how many of you have heard of the organisation Freecycle before but in their own words "The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,684 groups with 6,463,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills" .Well I stumbled across this group last year May'08 when I had surplus young vegetable plants and was looking for a way to rehome them. Those plants went like hot cakes and I decided to explore this group further with great success and received a few choice items that I have since used to improve my garden.

This week I saw in the postings that there were some paving slabs available to a good home and I luckily was chosen as the recipient . They turned out to be seven very large, very thick and very heavy slabs, plus a further six smaller but still quite thick and heavy slabs. The person home was very far from the road so we had to go home for a wheelbarrow as they didn't have any, plus to not damage the car's suspension we had to carry the slabs home in two trips (picture a not to happy husband ). I now believe I have enough slabs to pave the area around my compost bins, which will have to wait till another day after I level the area. In the mean time all my free slabs are neatly stacked.

Though the day was taken up with this task I was still able to enjoy the lovely weather and the warm sun had crocuses blooming every where we passed including ours.

The primroses which have been in bloom since December seem to shine with fresh beauty in the bright almost spring sunshine.

The seedling update for today is; the celeriac seeds (on the left) started sprouting yesterday and I noticed the melongene seeds (on the right) have started to sprout today as well.

There is some damping off occurring with the thyme seedlings, hopefully most of the seedlings will survive, if not I will have to resow. Damping off is the term used for a number of different fungal caused ailments which can kill seeds or seedlings before or after they germinate. The warm, wet conditions which speed up germination and seedling growth are also conducive to fungal attacks. A given seed can become infected with a fungus, often causing it to darken and soften. This can kill it before the seedling emerges, or cause the seedling to be weak, sometimes getting "wet" patches on it which decay until it falls apart. Likewise, a seedling can be infected after it sprouts, before it leaves the ground, or even after it appears well-developed, the latter often resulting in the plant mysteriously thinning right where it touches the ground, until its stem at that point rots and it falls over (as in the picture shown).

One last thing I lost my sweet potato tuber which I was attempting to grow some slips (ie young plants) from it. For what ever reason it rotted off in the water so it has been added to the compost bucket . I won't try again this year as this crop needs a long growing season and I was really hoping to have some slips potted up by now. For next year's crop I will try to start earlier like in December.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Well its been a few days since I've posted on here. Myself and the girls spent a lovely long weekend at a friends home and returned on Tuesday 17th of Feb mid afternoon.

On my return I found that out of all the seeds I have sown the thyme had sprouted.

Wednesday the girls and I visited the Maidstone museum & Bentlif Art Gallery where they learned how to tell which Greek pottery was older and which was newer. Then they got the opportunity to create some clay art in the style of the more modern decoration technique.

On waking this morning There were more seedlings to
discover; the rudbeckia and the annual salvia.

There has also been a surge in spring flower activity with most of the snowdrops in open bloom and the emergence of crocuses in bud.

The daffodils are also up but are a few weeks away from blooming.
So in the words of my first born; "Woo hoo!! Spring is coming".

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Wow!! Winter is Sure Serious This Time

12th February, 09 - Well they did forecast heavy snow but I thought yeah right! three snowfalls in one winter in the South East ain't going to happen, but like I said in the title Winter is Sure Serious This Time :). It started at about 18.00 with sleet and its now 21.21 and there is already about an inch on the ground with lots more falling steadily. We'll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings, as its due to have light rain showers for an hour or two from 03.00, but don't it look pretty :)

Friday the 13th of February, well there was evidence of the rain falling during the wee early hours of this morning as there was quite slushy snow to walk through on the school run today.

The back yard still looked pretty and their was evidence of the local bird life as well.

I have sown some flower seeds today, once they have grown successfully some will go into the herbal flower beds and some will be used as companion plants in and around my vegetable plants.

The seeds I have sown are;

  • Thyme - to be planted both in the herb bed and at the edge of the footpaths surrounding the vegetable beds.

  • Echinacea - to be planted in the flower beds.

  • Rudbeckia - to be planted in the flower beds.

  • Salvia (annuals and perennials) - perennials in the flower beds and the annuals as companion plants in the vegetable beds.

I have also planted a couple seeds of the Torsha plant a.k.a Luffa. this plant loves it hot and humid so I plan to grow it in the greenhouse in a container. If the summer turns out to be a scorcher (fat chance) I will bring outdoors.


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