End of Month View of the Garden: The End of July 2016


The 7 Day summer

Blink and you missed it, well almost.

Summer arrived Mid Month, temperatures here reached 32℃ for most of the week, hot sticky nights which made sleeping difficult, very hot uncomfortable days which had me running for the cooler conditions of the shade.

Continue reading “End of Month View of the Garden: The End of July 2016”

Hasty Harvest, Potential Produce, Sweetcorn Struggle.


Its almost the end of May and I’m fairly confident that the frosts have finished now, however we did have a slight last frost here last year on June 6th, so I’m keeping an eye on the weather forecasts armed with copious amounts of Fleece just in case.

Garlic crop under cover.
Garlic crop under cover smothered in rust.

I’ve been growing my Garlic in a raised bed under a covering of Enviromesh in an attempt to thwart the Allium Leaf Miner,  this pesky beast has moved into the region where I live and has become quite a nuisance in regards to the Onion/Allium  family, I’ve found it particularly bad in regards my Garlic, I had a poor crop of Garlic last year, in-part due to an infestation of the Leaf Miner, so this growing season, my use of Enviromesh is an attempt to see if I can produce any worthwhile crops.

I have slightly  definitely planted too many Garlic Corms in the space I had available, all autumn planted varieties, I planted a row of Spring violet, 2 Rows Of Solent Wight and 2 rows of Early Wight.

I noticed last week that the first row of Garlic, being the Spring Violet, had started to produce flowers and needed pulling, I did battle with the Enviromesh and forked the row up.

Not the most impressive of crops.
Not the most impressive of crops.

While I had the mesh off, I took the opportunity to fluff up the soil in between the rows and add copious amounts of Fish, Blood & Bone to the growing space in an attempt to perk up the plants in their final few weeks of growing.

I think this was fruitless as the plants don’t look very good.  I suspect my anti Leaf Miner attempts have just encouraged more rust which as affected the plants vigour.

The other crops I’ve got growing in my raised beds are showing great potential.

Beginnings of Broad Beans. Var Robin Hood.
Beginnings of Broad Beans. Var Robin Hood.

Lots more flowers growing, and flowers means more beans…   I guess I’ll soon find out if I actually like Broad Beans.

Lovely markings.
Lovely markings.

I’ve just about finished planting outside crops that I have been raising in my greenhouses.

Ooh look.. A Siamese Twin fruit.
Ooh look.. A Siamese Twin fruit.

Courgettes are planted out in big tubs with compost enriched with some shop bought Manure, also in Tubs are all my Potatoes, Parsnips and a mini Squash called a Squaskin..

Scroll over pictures to see captions if your on a PC…..

I’m also growing some fruit in big containers, plants such as Blueberries because they prefer Acidic soil and Red Currants because I’ve not got any room in the sunny part of the garden for them to thrive in.

Incidentally, that picture just above this comment shows the total crop of Red Currants to date.

I’ve also treated myself with one of these new types of Raspberry that can be grown in a container, Raspberry Ruby Beauty from T&M, earlier in the year they had a all plants half price offer, so I bought 2.

Raspberry Ruby Beauty
Raspberry Ruby Beauty

The growing instruction that came with the plants stated that they needed to be planted in a 10 Litre tub or bigger for best results, I’ve planted mine into 25 Litre tubs, and so far they have been putting on leaves. I suspect it will be a good year if I want Raspberry leaves, the fruit might be another matter though.

Peas.
Peas.

Won’t be long before I’m harvesting an early crop of peas.  I’m tempted to re-sow with more peas in the same spot when this crop is finished…..

My 1 and only germinated Carrot.
My 1 and only germinated Carrot.

My Carrots have been an unmitigated failure though…. I’ve sowed 2 packets of seed, with the 2nd packet sowed twice, still only achieving 1 seedling.  I’m wondering if it is possible to get rubbish seed from 2 different suppliers or am I the Anti Carrot Grower.!

In the greenhouses I’ve been moving crops into their final growing positions, it’s not been easy with the cooler weather in the early part of the month preventing many plants from staying outside.

Scroll over the pictures to see the captions if your on a PC…..

And finally, onto the crop I just have to grow each year Sweet Corn.

This is how I grew my Sweet corn last year. (2015).

Sweetcorn 2015. Dont try this at home.
Sweetcorn 2015.
Don’t try this at home.

I just didn’t have any room to do the plants justice, so began a complicated sequence of events where I obtained 28 second hand 10 Litre pots, a growing medium mixture of loam, Multi-purpose compost, slow release fertilizer and a small quantity of manure in each pot, the plants were liquid fed at regular intervals.

I stood back….. and watched the weeds thrive.

Now the ‘experts’ will tell you that you can grow Sweet Corn in pots, and yes you can, just don’t expect any actual cobs to eat though. Of the 28 plants I got about 7 cobs, and they were very small, about half average length.

I’ve had all winter to be bitter, and to formulate a plan.

I decided to build a raised bed over an existing flower bed, and in-order to make it bigger I dug some lawn up.

So my new bed is about 7 ft long by 6 ft wide, full of old compost, soil improver and manure which was added early in the season so the weather could work on it…

I’ve got about 26 plants planted out now, with added Mycorrhizal fungi in the hope that’s the magic ingredient to a bumper crop.

Sweetcorn Swift F1
Sweetcorn Swift F1

In each corner of the bed I’ve planted 2 plants of Pumpkin Winter Luxury, which is supposed to be a small but beautifully formed fruit and 2 plants of Squash Winter Sweet F1 and should also be a smallish fruit with all the good looks and keeping quality of Crown Prince.

So in a way 2 sisters and a weird uncle…..(row of peas along the back).

So I’m hoping for a bumper crop later this year, even if any potential corn cob will have cost in the region of £10 each to produce.

Bye for now.

 

 

 

 

The Decline of the Evil Weevil and The 5 best things at the Edible Garden Show 2016


29-I pod 031Following on from my last post where I discovered an outbreak of Vine Weevil in my Strawberry tubs I set about dumping infected plants, and dumping the compost away from my garden, some new Strawberry Plants ordered and a recommended chemical purchased and applied.

A necessary evil.?
A necessary evil.?

I’ve also started to receive parcels of plants that I ordered earlier in the year.

Newly arrived baby Fuchsia plants.
Newly arrived baby Fuchsia plants.
12-I phone late march 014
Potted and growing on.

12 new Fuchsia plants, a mixture of Bush and Uprights. I’m hoping to go potastic this year and make up a few nice containers of mixed plants. (Vine Weevil Permitting.!)

The Fuchsia plants came from a mail order company that I have used in the past called Potash Nursery they also attend many of the major flower shows throughout the year.

Seed sowing has started....
Seed sowing has started….

I was hoping for some settled weather over Easter so I could potter in the garden and faff with a bit of seed sowing in the greenhouse, however storm Katie blew through last night dumping almost an inch of rain on the garden leaving everything soggy and a bit meh.

So I just thought I’d show you some of the best things I spotted during my recent, and first visit to the Edible Garden Show which was held recently at Stoneleigh park in Warwickshire.

I visited on the Saturday.
I visited on the Saturday.

 

1st.

The first item that caught my eye was this…

The Garden Scoot in bright purple.
The Garden Scoot in bright purple.

A seat on wheels that you can move about sidewards on. (I just thought it had big eyes).

Available from Garden Scoot.

2nd.

This dinky living picture frame and these splendid seed packets on the Sea Spring Seeds stand.

3rd.

Kitchen Garden Magazine stand.
Kitchen Garden Magazine stand.

Kitchen Garden Magazine.

This stand in-particular stood out to me as it was nicely set up with lots of little offers on.

 

4th.

I also went to a couple of talks, and the one below stood out to me quite positively.

The talk was called Growing in small spaces by Mark Abbot-Compton.

A Talk by this chap.
A Talk by this chap.

Mark runs a  website called Learn How to Garden,  Gardening Courses.com it is pioneering teaching using internet courses that give step by step tuition to beginner gardeners right through to the more technical aspects of horticulture and an online monthly interactive publication.

His talk was very interesting, and interesting in which an ‘old hand’ like myself a learned few new bits of info, such as the reason why seed packets state why Cabbage crops should be 2ft apart*.

5th.

Beautifully designed seed packets from Meadow in my Garden.
Beautifully designed seed packets from Meadow in my Garden.

Each of these packets of seed looked like little works of art to me.

The stall was Meadow in my Garden. but  I noticed from the packet that the contents were supplied by Thomas Etty Esq. Heritage Seeds.

 

So that was the 5 best things I saw, to be honest there were lots of interesting things, and many of them were quite pricey for what they were.

The only purchase I made however was a subscription to a magazine which gave out extra seeds if you subscribed at the show. Also it appeared to me that every other stall sold Chilli pepper seedlings, as I’ve already got an increasing population of chilli seedlings in my greenhouse I did without.

 

 

*Cabbages are stated to be 2ft apart because the wheelbase of Massey Ferguson tractors are 4ft apart, and it was so the tractors could move about the fields for harvesting & spraying etc….

 

Bye for now…

Emergency Onions, Poo applied, The rise of the Evil Weevil. #gdnbloggers


In this part of the country we have managed at least 5 days of no rain, hard frosts each night yes…. but no rain.

I had a list of jobs that I really need to accomplish in the garden, and I had a list of jobs that came under the heading: Would be nice to get done, but don’t kill yourself.

I got some fence repairing done, forked over where my footprints were left in the border whilst fixing the fence, forked over the compacted soil around where I built my new greenhouse in my  Last update post.

After all the winter rain the edges of my borders have melded into the lawns so I set about redefining the edges.

Redefining the lawn edge.
Redefining the lawn edge.

 

That should help when edging the lawn after mowing.

I had a poke about in my older greenhouse at my Onion seedlings and I’m just not happy with them.

Now I have grown Onions from sets before, but I really quite like sowing seeds, last year I had an excellent crop of onions which I grew from seed sown over Christmas, they were so good in fact I had to dig them up in the summer to stop them getting any bigger, (I like a medium sized onion).

So late last year whilst perusing a seed sale at a Garden Centre I purchased some Red Onions seeds, these were sown on Boxing Day last Christmas, as I usually do, and nothing happened. For several weeks nothing happened, then just a few pathetic seedlings appeared, unfortunately that was it.

*Hmmm I thought, I’ve been sold rubbish seed.  So I placed an online order with a seed company to get some new, different Red Onions.

(*Crap I thought).

 

These too have proved to be a bit rubbish….  See below.

Onion seedlings looking a bit rubbish.
Onion seedlings looking a bit rubbish.

You see i’m going to run a tight ship this year, when one crop ends another is being planted into the same place a bit pronto, and I just can’t have slow onions holding up crops.

I made the decision to dash to a local nursery today and buy a few loose Red Onion sets in order to try and make up for lost growing time.

Now I know Onions are not rare, expensive or unusual, but I like it when if I fancy an onion I can pop into the garden and harvest one there and then.  So there.

20ish Red Onion sets.
20ish Red Onion sets.

I had a poke about in my shed to see what fertilizers I had that I could apply to my pending Onion bed, and I found a product I purchased early last year.

Rant Warning.

Expensive and Deceptive.
Expensive and Deceptive.

Vitax Organic Potato Fertilizer 1kg.

I paid roughly £6 for this box last year as I was growing Potatoes in sacks, however when I opened it I discovered it was mini pelleted Chicken poo.

Now, nowhere on the packaging is it stated what it’s made out of, surley if it comes out of a chicken’s bum then it should say so.  If I had known it was Chicken Poo Pellets then I would have just bought a big tub of Chicken Poo Pellets from the DIY store for half the price for 3 times the amount.

So please note: This product is expensive shit.

Literally.!

:Rant Over.

My late winter sown Broad Beans have enjoyed the sunshine that we had recently that i’ve had to stake each plant as they were starting to suffer with wind rock, with 15 short canes in place should mean that I get a decent crop later in the year.

Broad Beans at the stake.
Broad Beans at the stake.

Now the eagle eyed among you may have noticed a large white addition to the raised bed behind the beans, according to the non-gardening man of the household it’s a tent for Ronnie Corbett.

Or as I call it, a cheap fleece tent for when I plant out some early peas.

Although I admit I prefer the tent story.

 

 

 

Finally today I noticed my Strawberry plants that are growing in a wall planter were looking a little under the weather.

Strawberry plants do generally die back over the winter, but these looked…..odd.

I had some potted runners from last years plants and I intended to plant these into gaps in between the existing odd looking strawberries…………..

 

I tipped out the containers…..

 

And found my worst nightmare…….

 

 

Luckily only 1 Larvae..............or was it....?!?
Luckily only 1 Larvae…………..or was it….?!?

Horror of horrors….. Vine Weevil were eating the roots of my Strawberries, this is the reason why my plants looked *odd.

 

*Dead.

But only 1 Larvae, I could easily control 1 larvae.

 

 

But then I emptied another container…

SCREAM!!!!!!
SCREAM!!!!!!

This is terrible news, I last had Vine Weevil in my garden about 3 years ago, it infested my Fuchsia containers, I controlled it back then by dumping all my containers into a skip, and I’ve not planted up any containers until recently.

After that I was confident that Vine Weevil was no longer a problem, so that i’ve got arriving in the next few weeks 12 baby Fuchsia plants from a specialist nursery, and a box of plug plants for hanging baskets and other containers.

I am also planning to grow quite a bit of edible stuff in containers this year, so this infestation is terrible news….

I’ve got to work out how to control the current infestation and work out how i’m going to protect all my new containers throughout the coming year.  Sodding warm winters.!

 

To Be Continued……..

 

 

 

Raised Beds, Mud and Big Plans….


One of the changes I wanted to make to the garden layout, was to build a new raised bed for veg growing, my current raised bed number far too few for what I want to grow.

In 2015 I grew Sweetcorn in big pots in blocks in a bit of an experiment to see if it was a suitable way of getting  a good crop, they had to be in pots as I did not have any room on the sunny side of the garden to plant in the ground, the experiment was a stunning failure, even with a very rich growing medium mixed up by me, lots of liquid feed and lots of watering, I only got about 10 cobs from 25 plants, and they were small cobs at that…. but very delicious.

A decision had to be made,  either give up or invest time creating a decent growing space and go all out in the pursuit of a splendid harvest……

 

I decided to dig up a round flower bed I made a couple of years ago, it never really reached its full potential, it was horribly clayey, and I dug in several sacks of shape grit and old compost only to be rewarded with a mediocre flower display.

So first job was to re-home all the perennials, these were replanted in other beds around the garden, then I bought some treated decking boards and fixed these into place and used some old cardboard and newspaper to cover the grassy corners. I used sacks of old saved compost from my failed sweetcorn pots, some sacks of soil improver and at least 5 wheelbarrows of compost from my own Dalek Style compost bins to top the bed up.

1-jan 2016 019
Finished bed.

It just needs to settle down now, and I can top it up when required.

With all these jobs done, I planned more work in the greenhouse the next day, and I wanted to start lifting the old slabs from where my 6×6 once was.

1-DSC_0016

Unfortunately the weather had other ideas.

The next day……

Dam.

To be continued………………………..

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