Saturday, 1 February 2020

Greenhouse time

The greenhouse is busy in spring. My potatoes were ready to start chitting, so they are all in there. I have Pentland Javelin, Charlotte, Cara and Sante.
We can only grow late and carrot fly resistant carrots here, so this year I decided to try growing some early carrots in the greenhouse. I picked a deep tub to give the roots plenty of space. An experiment for 2020.
I had some leftover free trial beetroot seed - Subeto. It germinated very poorly outdoors so I decided to try it indoors in order to get a better (and earlier) crop. My hope is to spread the cropping over a longer period. I also sowed some radish.
The broad beans have germinated 100% in their toilet rolls and the violas I showed in autumn from collected seed are also doing well. I hope to have some early flowers.

In November I started some dwarf iris in the greenhouse, bringing them into the house a few weeks ago. They are starting to flower now and look to go on for a few weeks so well worth the effort!

Monday, 20 January 2020

Pruning the apple trees

This has been such a wet winter I wasn't sure I would be able to prune the apples, but we are in for a short spell of dry weather so I took my chance.
Two of my dwarf trees fell over this year, due to (a) supporting them too late (b) allowing them to grow too much towards the light in the east so becoming unbalanced as the wind and rain come behind them from the west and (c) the heavy rain softening the ground.
So I took a lot off them; some lower branches, anything extending too far forwards or outwards and have tried to push growth in a different direction. I hope I won't have any more serious leaning this year but I will have to keep an eye on them.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Battle of the Brambles

The gardening year always begins with pruning and attacking the brambles. Hard to get rid of, I dig them out where I can and cut them back right to the ground if that is not possible. Today I pruned the raspberries and loganberries, tying the loganberries in roughly (more to do here), then a dollop of manure/compost mix.
Loganberries along the wall, raspberries in front, pruned to the ground now

I also started the broad beans in toilet rolls, easy to plant when the time comes. 1 bean per roll, just plant the whole thing in the ground so no root disturbance.
Beans on left, violas top right and dwarf iris in the pot

Sunday, 16 June 2019

A Topsy-Turvy Spring

What a year so far! Hot, cold, dry, wet and very difficult for gardening. Got lots of things started early only to lose them to frost. The tomatoes in the greenhouse today are barely bigger than they were at the end of April.

Having said all that, the new cold frame has been a success, giving me more space for plants and I have been able to grow more herbs and flowers as a result.
We had a period of warm weather in April/May which led to good blossom on the fruit trees and few losses to frost.

 We managed to clear an overgrown corner to create a new manure heap, which will be very useful. More clearing to do yet, but a great deal of progress made before the incessant rain came. The area in front will be planted, currently it has nasturtiums for ground cover.

The ponds have a good population of frogs and newts, and these have been doing a good job of keeping pests down. Slug and snail damage is lower than it has been, especially given the recent heavy rain. So while small, the ponds are very effective for wildlife and for our allotment.

The temperatures are currently very low, and rainfall very high. I have therefore put the cucurbits and baby corn under cloches to keep them a bit warmer. The potatoes are loving it and developing well.


The autumn planted garlic is doing very well, as are the spring planted onions and shallots thought they have been bashed by the rain. Today the greenhouse reached the heights of 19 deg C, which is frankly ridiculous for the time of year!

Sunday, 3 March 2019

January and February 2019

 New year, time to start gardening again,  beginning with a bit of replanting in my plant bowl.  Key is to pick small plants of different colours, it is very effective.

We have a short gardening year here, so I decided to start the tomato plants in a heated propagator in January to give them a head start. I followed these with chillies, cucumbers, peppers and courgettes. We had a couple of snowfalls so keeping them warm was key.

 Meanwhile, life continued in the ponds with snails and larvae ignoring the cold.

 This year I have added a cold frame and seed bed. I anticipate my tomatoes and peppers (sweet and chilli) going into the greenhouse early so will need more space to grow things on. This cold frame was cheap but did come without anything to anchor it to the ground so I made something out of old pegs from other constructions. It may look odd facing to the wall but it will be accessed from behind and the opening faces away from strong winds. The seed bed is next door, being under a tree and in the sun it is too dry to grow anything here long term.

We also cleared some new ground under an old compost heap. It has not been worked in decades, and we found plenty of rubbish, including a tin can and a large cow bone, well I hope it was cow! I also staked some trees which got knocked around last year in the wind.

Spring is moving on now, with flowers starting to appear. Potatoes, broad beans and shallots are started in the ground and the early rhubarb is coming on.