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Monday, 26 April 2010

Hey Ho! I Think I'm Finally Catching Up, Yippee!!!

At risk of sounding confident, I think I have finally caught up with you other fruit and veg gardeners. OK so my young veg plants may be small and in some cases non-existent but at least the seeds are finally sown and some how I am back on schedule, I just need a 90 to 100% germination to remain in the game.

I’ll share with you my weeks accomplished tasks both in the garden and on the plot by a dad by day account.


OK so didn’t actually get round to doing anything that day except take pictures so I’ll share those with you.

My youngest was an ace at bird watching last Tuesday and excitedly called me downstairs to show me a baby bird, which turned out to be a young mistle thrush. I took loads of photos of him/ her making its way from the hedge, through the wisteria and onto the gate before disappearing behind the bin on the pavement but at risk of making the post just about him I’ll only share a few.

Later that day she also spotted one of the resident green woodpeckers out back in the neighbour’s garden.


I’ll quickly show you what’s beginning to bloom in the garden this past week…

Forget - Me - Nots beginning to open.

Lady's Cuckoo Foot

Water Aven

Violas all blooming now

The water lily has breaked the water's level of its bucket home.

Chives in bud

My Cowslips

Bluebells at home

So what did I do today?
This year as most of you know I have been very slow to start and the gardening mojo has been very scarce if not completely absent at times. I have also not felt like I could cope with all the hassle of sowing seeds in trays and the whole potting on shenanigans that will follow. So this year their will be more direct sowing practiced, I just hope the slugs don’t give me hard time, which is why I generally sow in trays, etc.
So to get this started I sowed my runner beans, French beans, mangtoute peas and other beans into my legume bed which I prepared the week before. There is not much to see as naturally the beans are all in the ground so I didn’t take a picture.
I also decided to grow a few pots of dwarf French beans in the used soil from last year South American root crops, I simply enriched the soil with some well rotted compost from the compost bin. I sowed six to a pot and I have left them for now in the greenhouse with the hope that the extra heat will speed up germination and help them come to crop quicker. By my reckoning by the time they are finished cropping the climbers that are outside would be just starting.

If you remember I shared with you some pictures of the small woodland we have in our neighbourhood, well on our way home we passed along the street that has cherry trees growing at intervals in their grassy verge. Well from the pictures you can see there are a lot of blooms and we look forward to foraging from them this year. Last year we became aware that they were cherry trees just by chance when we passed there end of June and saw the remnants of the fruit, a few that we were able to reach were very sweet. So I vowed to check the trees regularly from June onwards for fruit this year. I’ll have to walk with a step larder at least to reach some of the lower branches but I can cope with the odd stares I’ll probably receive for some free great tasting, generally expensive in the season fruits.

Woke up to some evidence of ground frost this morning but the day soon warmed up nicely. I did some more direct sowing today and some ‘lazy’ gardening too, the best kind really, read on to see what I am on about.
After preparing some beds with the digging in of well rotted compost and rabbit bedding material I decided to get some of my leafy and herby veges sown today. So in went some rows of lettuce varieties and in between the rows I sowed some rainbow radishes.
I also wanted to sow my chard and perpetual spinach so decided to use what was already there. Last year I left some plants of these to flower and set seed which brought in a host of beneficial insects, I never actually collected the resulting seeds and so this year there is a plethora of self sown seedlings.
So the lazy in me said why sow more when there are perfectly good seedlings here. So that is what I did, I dug up some seedlings and replanted them in their designated bed, as a backup I also sowed a seed (from the over wintered stalks) next to each seedling. Between the chard and the perpetual spinach I sowed three rows of spring onions.
Later that day I spied in my neighbours undergrowth three tiny fox cubs, love them I may but I cannot stand to see the damage they can cause in my garden, so I was sure to close the greenhouse doors properly and the gate to my vege patch was also securely closed as well. They are I think to small to be out on their own but that will soon change and I would like them to get used to going around the vege patch rather than through it and seeing all the tempting playthings. As soon as I can get a picture of them I’ll show them here.
Other wildlife I saw were tonnes of worms in my beds, which is always good to see and more ladybugs.
Friday was another frosty morning which then turned into a gloriously hot day. But Friday is my laundry day so I concentrated mainly on that.

Is normally a dud day for me as I normally spend the day on public transport taking the kids to and from the drama classes. My eldest though didn’t go there as she had to join her guide mates to take her pledge which did at the seaside.

So on returning home with the little one, I quickly ate something changed my clothes into my lotty gear and went to meet my eldest at her drop off point which is a five minute walk away from the plot. So she and I went to plot after and while she chatted my ears off (she did help a little) I dug and raked over the recently weeded bed and proceeded to sow myself four rows of parsnips. I had hoped to plant out my onion seedlings I have at home but stupidly I forgot to bring them with me (so that job will have to wait till tomorrow when I go to do some watering).

I was pleased to see that I’ve had a pretty good germination with the previously sown carrots and beetroots, even some of the flower seeds the girls sowed in our last visit are starting to come up.

But there was a snag, there are foxes on the plot, I know this because I have seen adults on earlier visits, which was why I covered the sown seeds with some sheets of corrugated plastic. When I visited on Saturday I saw evidence of foxes most likely young ones ( I recognise the damage they can reek from past experiences in my garden). They had filled in some of my potato trenches with their larking about, no real loss there but they had also pulled out a few of my plant labels for the spuds (so much for diligent labelling), there was also chewed through twine which marked the edge of my beds as well as deep holes in my beds as well and a couple of dead slowworms which were right next to each other (probably surprised while mating). If the corrugated plastic was not in place over the emerging seedlings they would have dug them up for sure.
So I had a bit of dilemma, the seedlings were up and needed to be uncovered but the foxes in the area would have undone all that I had done if I left them exposed. So I laid bricks in between the rows laid the plastic on top and then lay bricks upon that to keep them wind proof. Hopefully this will give the seedlings a little bit more growing room without the risk of fox sabotage.
Before we left the plot we sowed some more French marigolds around the newly sown parsnip bed and dotted some seeds of sunflowers of the smaller multi headed varieties for cutting at different intervals around the plots perimeter.
The weather was obviously ballooning weather as when I looked out the kitchen window the morning I saw this sight on the left filling the window. And later on the plot my eldest and I saw on the right these two.


I wanted a nice lay in and my body clock woke me at 08.30, thankfully I didn’t feel cheated of my lay in as I woke up full of energy.

I spent a great deal of time outside in the garden yesterday, initially I did a bit of transferring of plants from the vege patch footpaths to the flower beds, why is it when you plant self seeding plants they always come up everywhere else other than where you want then to come up, arrgh!!!
I also wanted to save some self sown poppies of the red field variety and the opium variety from a vege bed that would be soon dug over. Now poppies don’t like being disturbed but before moving to this home I have succeeded in moving them before (and these I wanted to move as you can see in the pics were big plants with a lot of healthy roots). The slugs and snails in this garden though always decimate my attempts to transplant poppies, I think they can smell the disturbance and before I could blink they eat out the centre of the newly transplanted plant rendering it dead. So this time I have decided to re-pot them and to wait till they have a new healthy root system and maybe even some flower stalks before replanting them into the flower beds. I know they look bad in the last picture but I promise I’ll show you them again once they have got over the shock.

Then I moved into the greenhouse for a seed sowing marathon, it was time to catch up with you lot.

First up was tomatoes I plan on growing 12 salad varieties and 3 sauce/ paste making varieties.
Charlie Green

Largest Striped Roman
Broad Ripple Yellow Current (a repeat from last year)
Japanese Black Trifle (a repeat from last year)
Black Cherry
Peacevine Cherry
Orange Banana (can also be used as a sauce tomato)
Great White
Summer Cider
Ailsa Craig (a repeat from last year)
Paste/ Sauce:
Roma (a repeat from last year)
San Marzano 2 (a repeat from last year)
Roughwood Golden Plum
I then went on to re-sow the sweet peppers that didn’t germinate from my February sowings.
Then it was on the brassicus family. I had only planned to sow what I would me planting down on the plot but then decided that since my garden beds designated for brassicus were not yet ready for direct sowing I would go ahead and sow the garden brassicus crop seeds too.
For the Plot:
Brussels sprouts
Collard Greens (never done these before)
For the Garden:
Pak choi
Kohl rabi
Kale - Red Russian and Nero di Toscana
Early Sprouting Broccoli - white and purple varieties
Chinese Leaves
Sea Kale (for one of the perennial veg beds)
I also sowed what I simply assumed was a brassicus (due to its name and labelling as you can see in the pic) till I saw the seed , when I researched it further last night I found that it is a edible member of the chrysanthemum family, which I am looking forward to trying, hmmm! I wonder if it self sows readily (I do like a spot of lazy gardening).
PS I updated my other blog with info a cool blog I came across yesterday, why nor check it out.


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