Tuesday, March 20, 2007

20th March

Over the weekend, the weather took a turn for the worse, and we were fairly busy with visiting family and so on. We collected a lot of our opts from Pamela's garage, and we also collected things from my mum's house as well - including pea netting, some plastic bottles for cloches, toilet roll tubes for beans & sweetcorn, a portable potting sation, and so on. We also went to Wyevale on Saturday and picked up four varieties of potato, a mother's day gift of an azalea, some much needed compost, and two huge whisky barrel pots, as well as this, my mother's day present from Isaac was a hydrangea petilialis (sp?) for the non sunny side of the patio - very excited.

Justin dug over the potato bed and the lettuce bed, a fairly quick job as there was no turf there - so now only the carrot and parsnip beds on that side to do. The previously forecast snow may have missed us at it's worse so I'm wondering when it might be safe to start planting out, but it's fairly wet today as well as blustery, so not for now.

Thyme, Broad Bean, Sweet Pea and Nasturtium are the only thing not germinated yet, the salad leaves are probably ready to thin already. The radishes need potting on (but as I'm not sure where to put them yet, they haven't been).Nearly all the okra has germinated and there are three leeks arriving, also a couple of the onion seeds have germinated as well. There are three healthy looking calendula and nearly all the tomatoes are up too, in both varieties. The mint has one seedling today which looks pretty good. I'm about ready to sow some more, I reckon...

Friday, March 16, 2007

16th March

I did decide to get the garlic and onions in straight away, mostly because we're getting a cold snap soon and that's good for garlic. Not as good for onions, but I'll be sowing some in pots as well in case of any losses. Which might just mean that the bed is done! - apart from watering and weeding, of course. This morning I found a small poo on it - probably a cat I guess - but no signs of digging up, so that's pretty good. Yesterday I also spent a while using the lawn edger to mark out the edge of the bed, at the front (I'll do the back as I go along each individual crop). It's kind of helped us to see where we need to do things, and was fairly satisfying, though also fairly worrying - there's a lot to do and this is the 'quick' garden, we haven't even looked at the long term allotment plans.

Today I went out but Isaac was trying to move stones - INTO the destoned bed. I tried to explain that wasn't what I was after and so he started to add them to pots instead. We came back in. I did manage to slot the bamboo canes into their wigwam holders (couldn't be faffing about with string - at least this way if the boy grabs them, they'll stay together...) and pop them into the ground, so it's something.

Our seeds? The salad leaves are starting to germinate, the radishes are coming along nicely, we have one of the out of date leeks poking up it's head, and quite a few okra are appearing. A couple of calendula seeds are popping up too! No Tomato, Thyme, Mint, Broad Bean, Onion, Nasturtium, or Sweet Pea yet, but then it has only been 3/4 days, so not really surprised...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

15th March

Homebase was a bit disappointing - no washing machine bit, and I didn't really get the chance to look at the garden centre for long as Isaac was playing up. A few good things, and we might go back, but we'll go to Wickes and a garden centre first for a price comparison.

I finally finished unturfing the onions & garlic bed! wooh! At the moment I'm half way through destoning it but had to come in for a wee, which meant Isaac came in too - and I'm not leaving him in the house 'unattended' . it's not ideal to then put the onions & garlic in the bed straight away, but considering the time constraints we've had by not actually moving in until after the last planting time for garlic, it might be better to shove them in quick and hope for the best. Plus, it's still sunny at the moment, which helps. I know we'll have more frost, but garlic needs a cold snap anyway. Dunno about onions, I'll have a look up...

Radishes still going strong, and an Okra seed has germinated!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

14th March

Ridiculously, the radishes are have germinated already! I know they're quick but...anyway, it's quite exciting to see them poking up - at least we know *something* will germinate! (Obvioulsy I hope for more crops than just 6 radishes...).

I dug more of the 'onions & garlic' bed but Isaac was 'helping' - when I found him bringing me all the labels I'd put in to mark where to dig, helpfully, with a big smile, I gave up and went indoors.Later in the day I managed to weed most of the raised bed, to clear it for our herbs & or salad leaves, and I also managed to build the little plastic greenhouse thing, which was harder than it should have been, due to most of the framework bars not actually being in the box and having to make a support from a bamboo cane. It was all there when we took it apart and packed it, so god knows what's happened to that. However, mum called and says she still has the framework of her great big walk in greenhouse and she thinks they'll fit. She's also got some pea netting we can have, which is fantastic!

We're going to Homebase tonight, supposedly to get something to plumb in the washing machine (I'm looking forward to that!) but I want to have a good look around their garden centre bit - it's quite good there, and the local B&Q is rubbish in comparison. Yay!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

13th March

My first day in the house with just Isaac for company - tbh most of my day was spent with him. The weather was a bit gloomy as well. plus I'm lazy. I did start to dig out the grass in the proposed 'onions & garlic' bed, but I didn't get very far as there were LOADS of slabs and stones - big and heavy stones, that would not easily move. Apart from that, the soil was good, dark and loamy, and completely full of worms.

Our new neighbour Maureen says that there is some bindweed about, but we've dealt with that before, so we can do it again - at least we know what to look for. The proposed cabbage site is quite shady due to the (other) neighbours large shrubs shading it, which worries me a little, so I think I might juggle it a bit and move cabbages about - put the kale and perpetual spinach in there instead - the cabbages can move down to the pumpkins & courgettes area as it's big enough to fit lots of cabbages in, and the pumpkins and courgettes can go in pots on our cobbled area that gets the most sun in all the garden. I think that should work fine...

Monday, March 12, 2007

We moved into the house on Friday March 9th, and took 3 hectic and sunny days to look at the garden & allotment, invite friends over for a curry, and to generally unpack our clothes and deal with a newly moved 2 year old. Priorities, I suppose...though I was itching to get going in the garden.

There's an unknown tree, quite pleasant and a nice size. An unknown shrub, recently trimmed back. A cobble stone area which was once a water feature but is now a bunch of stones, with a couple of sedums growing in it. There's a gorgeous fern which we will be keeping, oh yes we will. There's 2 palmy things which neither of us are very keen on, but my mum likes them, so I guess that's Mother's Day sorted. There's a weird 'raised bed' with bricks stacked up, kind of falling down, but it'll do us for a while.

The neighbours overgrown shrubs shade our garden on one side, but the rest of it gets a lot of sun. It all has potential...

11/03/07 - started to lay down the outline of one bed in the garden with sand. Didn't get very far, what with the aforemantioned 2 year old and a hubby wanting to unpack boxes and so on rather than getting on with the garden. Still, he'll be back to work soon so I can get on with it then...

12/03/07 -
We planned out the bed outlines for each crop, and outlined the opposite bed as well. Labels were added to mark out which crops are where, so we know where to start first and where to manure or not. I also did my first seed sowing, in windowsill propagators: Tomato (Gardener's Delight and Tigerella) ; Radish (Rainbow Mixed); OKra (Clemson's Spineless); Thyme (Orange Scented) and Mint; Broad Bean Express, Onion Bedfordshire Champion, Leek Musselbugh - as well as Nasturtium, Calendula, and Sweet Pea.

The Tigerella, Radish, Mint, and Broad Bean are all newly bought this year, the Gardeners Delight, Okra, Thyme, Onion, Leek and the three flowers are all unopened but have been sitting about in my seed collection for varying amounts of time. The Onion and Leek are both six months out of date, but we also have onion sets and my mum has some Leek Musselburgh seeds, so I might as well at least try them. They were part of a vegetable seeds collection with a 'mass' use by date of six months ago so it's entirely possible that they might still be fine.

Either way, it feels pretty cool to be starting, at last. Actually, it feels completely mad to be even in this house, let alone sowing our first seeds...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Planned gardening

Right - everything is in place and we exchange TODAY. (Insert eyes-rolling icon here). I have now heard that for a week so you'll excuse me if I sound a little suspicious. Anyway, we're moving in in a weeks time - March 9th - and as this is going to become mostly my garden / allotment record, here goes - MY PLANS.

I'll post you all a picture of my blank canvas as soon as I'm back online - obviously I want to wait for a little while to see where sun & shade fall - but not for long as I want to get my vegetable garden started!

We're going to lay out string / sand for where we want the curved beds, it's still going to be mostly lawn as Isaac is looking forward to playing in a garden at last. For the first year, we're going to use the beds as a vegetable patch, with annual flowers in as well for colour - we'll plant up a few of the perennials we've bought with us from this house but not that many, and I'll have to try & restrain myself from buying any!

Over the next year we'll be working on clearing & planning the allotment, which is through the garden but currently all grass & weeds. We'll be building raised beds, laying a pond, etc. As we start planting up next autumn, we'll gradually be able to reclaim the 'garden' part [I]as[/I] a garden, and have more pretty things. It will very much be a wildlife garden - I've had one here for three years so I roughly know what I want to do. The allotment will also have it's fair share of wildlife attracting plants - and the pond of course - as I want it to be away from my toddler. I also want a few trees at the top of the allotment to a) attract wildlife b) be useful fruit & nut trees c) help shade us from the field that our allotment backs on to and d)give us somewhere shady for the majority of the plants we've brought from our current garden - mostly ferns and hostas so far as the entirety of my current garden is permanently in shade. Although I want it to be a 'proper' allotment with plenty of space for produce, it [I]is[/I] garden shaped and tagged on to the end of my garden so I want it to be our 'secret garden' in appearance as well - that way I won't feel bad about Isaac (my 2 year old) having his 'own' garden with plenty of lawn and toys & the odd football kicked into my plants.

All money saving of course - I've collected lots of seeds and got garden vouchers for Christmas, I know that I'm going to have to spend a fair bit on a pond liner and trees so I want to get everything else as cheaply as I can manage it - and of course save money on buying fruit & veg over the course of the year!

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