Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Week 10

Monday, 5th March 2007

Got some OKRA, Chicory Leaf and Musselburgh leek seeds sown. The granadilla plants have come up as well. Will need to keep an eye on them and pot them on soon.
Also managed to put another sweet potato into water to see if I can get some slips off it. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 9th March 2007

The daffodils out the front that I planted last autumn have really come up nicely and really cheer on up when you look at them - although the King Edwards are still not all up yet. The Clematis Armandi is also starting to flower and you can faintly smell that wonderful Vanilla smell. I remember last year when it flowered the smell wafted all the way around to the back garden.

When I popped in for a quick visit to the greenhouse I noticed that the pea seeds that I planted on 28 Feb have just started poking their little heads up from the soil (only 10 days to germinate!) – I seem to have conned the mouse with my nifty contraption that strung the guttering off floor level.

It would seem that I have eventually managed to get green peppers to germinate – only hope that I can bring them to full adulthood and get some fruit off them. The chillis I planted in late January are still not even poking their heads out – don’t think the seed was viable even though I dried it in the garlic container – maybe it was too dry and killed the chilli? Anyway have had a little scratch around and maybe something pops its head out. Will give it another couple of days.
After returning from the hospital and some shopping as ASDA found out that Gardeners World was not on thanks to Crufts. Hhhph!!

Well all was not lost, I spent the rest of the evening finally pricking out the rest of the hellebore orientalis and ex Ballard varieties – it is amazing how big and tough the root system is for such small seedlings. I now have tons of seedlings and Paul (the chap who gave the seed), says that there might be some doubles in the pack. He also said to look out for darker stems which would indicate darker flowers – so far I could only see a couple. Also managed to repot the yarrow for later planting on the allotment as I have read that it is a good tonic plant as are Foxgloves - so I will have to keep my eyes open for any self seeded babies in the garden which I can transplant onto the lottie. They say the Victorians planted them under fruit trees as it improved the storing power of them.

Finally brought the cactus dahlia bulbs (Cerise Pink) and the begonia tubers in from the shed – they don’t seem to have suffered too much and have come through the winter quite well, although I did have my doubts as when I got back in January and checked them there was a slight mould on the dahlias – I just sprinkled some Sulphur powder on them and it seemed to do the trick. I think next winter I must put them into the garage rather. They are now all potted up in damp compost in plastic on top of fridge in kitchen. Must remember to check them occasionally.

The cactus dahlias (cerise Pink) will be planted on the lottie in the flower bed together with the stunning spider Chrysanthemums named – Froggy (lime green), ? and ? (all in shades of pink through green) that I ordered through Gardeners World magazine special – the order is three of each plant so I have decided that I will be splitting them and planting some in the back garden and the rest on the Lottie with the dahlias in the flower garden patch. I also read that the Chrysanthemums are good companion plants on the lottie as they have natural pest-killing properties. They will also give me a good selection of cutting flowers for the house for the entire Summer whilst the folks are here. Hoping to have vases and vases full of lowers. Got some lovely pots of Phlox (pink) and Forget Me Not from the Jigsaw Appeal table in the foyer, at the hospital, for a £1 each, which I will pop, into the back garden for a little extra summer colour. The Okra seeds have already started popping up – gosh they’re in a hurry!

Saturday, 10th March 2007

Spent a lovely day on the lottie – the weather was absolutely lovely and got quite hot at times. Arrived there about 9:30 and Ron later brought me an English breakfast sandwich before going to work. Only got home at about 17:00 – so a good days work done despite the muscles being a bit stiff and achy – had a lovely hot shower and eventually had a cup a soup and toast for dinner. Terrence was not impressed!

The mystery bulbs turned out to be daffodils after all – it was really lovely turning up at the lottie and seeing their cheery faces bobbing in the wind. I also have a lovely cannas coming up which needs to be moved as it is in the middle of the new path besides the potato patch. Will put it into a large pot so that I can move it around to where I need extra colour. Holding my breath to see what kind it is – at the minute it looks like a bog standard as the leaves don’t look variegated. Will lift it next weekend and give it a bit of T&C.

All in all a good day as I managed to get the onion bed weeded – again!! Must get Gerrard to get me some mulch – must also check the leaf compost bin as there might be some compost there that I can spread on the onion patch and save a bit on the weeding. The onions are looking good though!!

Also managed to plant out the Feltham First peas and erect their peas sticks (from pruned raspberry plants. I then surrounded the whole thing with Pea netting and despite trying to put up some fleece and taking up kite flying in the process – eventually gave it up as a bad job. I will just have to watch the weather forecasts and dash down to the lottie to put some fleece on if frost is forecast.

Also put in the first sweet peas wigwam and planted some companion seeds and planted out the last of the broad beans. Eventually found the Giant Pascal Celery seeds and got them in the propagator. Also put some Thunderbergia ‘Salmon Shades’, Morning Glory ‘Grandpa Otts’ and sunflower seeds potted up for a bit of extra colour on the lottie and maybe a couple of the trellis’ at home. The Sarah Raven seeds I ordered have still not come – only hope they get here in time for me to sow them – especially the Brandywine tomato seeds.

Sunday, 11th March 2007

Lent Phil’s trailer – but had to empty it first – the tip was an absolute madhouse. The boys (Ron and Terrence) came to the lottie with me bright and early and we removed all the old carpets that we have lifted and all the wood prunings from the fruit trees. The lottie is now looking much better with all the piles of rubble gone.

After getting back from the dump and having a late brunch with the boys, Terrence and I went back to the lottie and managed to get one row of the first early potatoes, Epicure in so should be able to garden the first row 10th June. Or thereabouts. Ron was working the late shift so did not come back with us. Also managed to weed and dig over half of the root bed and planted 1 x row Student parsnips (pre-germinated – this is a mew method to me and I will see what the outcome is) – as catch crops planted 1 x row Tom Thumbs Lettuce and 1 x row Wild Rocket with the parnips, 1 x row ?, 1 x row White Lisbon spring onions, 1 x row Early Nantes carrots, 1 x row Boltardy Beetroot – also planted companion rows amongst the sowings.

Terrence sorted out the wooded border for the new asparagus bed and erected the arch over the front gate. I got the grape vine in and attached to the arch (with cable ties) so hopefully that will keep the grapevine and the trellis from being blown away in the wind. I popped the Jasmine that Geraldine gave me on the opposite side. So fingers crossed, we should get a lovely show this summer, not to mention the wonderful smell.

Week 9 ending 3 March

Monday, 26th February 2007

Have taken the week to try and get on top of the jobs to do at the lottie. The weather is not playing the game but managed to get a good couple of hours in. Saw two HUGE, fat bumblebees today.

Planted the last of the garlic and finished filling the new bean trenches since the asparagus bed hijacked the original ones that I dug out in the autumn. At least the asparagus should benefit from all that hard work. They say a well prepared bed should alst about 25 years. Also managed to get the Brassica bed weeded. Should now have enough bean trenches to meet our needs. Also managed to get another couple of bags of compost into the Poop Heap. It’s amazing how the level drops. Also got all the Jerusalem Artichokes planted.

Tuesday, 27th February 2007

The weather was absolutely disgusting so Ron and I went off to check out a possible garden shed up for grabs in Poole. The shed was in a disgusting state and far too big, so back to the recycle boards begging. On the way home we did however stop off and do some shopping at “In Excess” and managed to get some thin trellis for the back garden from Stewarts and an arch for the lottie – so all was not lost.

Wednesday, 28th February 2007

John and Maggie brought me some guttering – Yippee! Now I will be able to sow some early peas for onward planting at the lottie. Will just need to make sure that the mice don’t get to them first. Planted two varieties of peas – Sugar Snap Delikett and Kelvedon Wonder.

Thursday, 1st March 2007

It turned out to be a lovely day so Ron painted the new trellis out front while I pottered around repotting the hydrangeas, delphiniums, split the mint into smaller pots for planting on at the lottie around the brassica bed. Pruned all the Fuchsias out front and started weeding and pruning roses in the front garden. Managed to get the sweep peas seeds and wigwams erected. They don’t look too bad. Also potted up the lily bulbs and the lily of the valley that I got from magazine specials – free - just pay post and packaging (£2.95) – cheap at half the price and practically something for nothing. I now have four pots of mobile lilies that I can move around into bare patches of the garden that need some cheering up over the summer. Potted up some First Early Rocket potatoes into a pot and they are now in the greenhouse – hope to get some really early new potatoes from them – will put the rest of the Rocket onto the lottie.
We then installed the trellis and I spent the next couple of hours typing in the rambling rose and some other creepers and gave the roses a slight pruning. All in all, a good days work.

Friday, 2nd March 2007

Well managed to get down to the lottie for an hour to collect some compost for potting at home. While I was there the windsock was blowing in the right direction and I tried to start a fire! No luck just lots of smoke and very little fire and then to add insult to injury just when I seemed to be coming right with the fire the heavens opened up.

Must remember to put some firelighters into the lottie box in case I get lucky again. Met my new neighbour across but one – name of Kat – she only got a quarter of a lottie so I count myself lucky!

Saturday, 3rd March 2007

Woke up to a lovely surprise – one of the little yobs threw a rock through my driver side window – so with phoning the police, who did not seem to perturbed but merely gave me a case number and said that as they did not gain entry they were not even going to send a patrol car around to view the damage. Also phoned the insurance company to set up the repair of the window (and a £50 excess). So with all this going on I did not manage to get down to the lottie which was maybe a good thing as I had a ribbon embroidery class in the afternoon. No one saw anything and the chap over the road said that it happened about 12:40 and by the time he got out the kids had disappeared.

Did however manage to get a bit of weeding done out front and put some seaweed extract on the fuchsia’s and front beds. Also gave the roses some food and Ron brought out the saw and took off the old, dead wood from the two rose trees that I have not been able to do with my normal secateurs.

Week 8 ending 28th February 2007

Sunday, 25th February 2007

Ron and TD came with me and we went off to Dorchester to the Cottage Garden Association meeting and a talk by Jekka McVicca. It was really lovely and the talk was not too bad. At least I learnt that I should put my Sweet Cicely seeds in the fridge as it has not been cold enough to have enough stratification to enable the seeds to germinate. So I will now pop them into the fridge for a couple of weeks. Also managed to get a signed copy of Jekka’s new book on herbs, which is quite a good read. I was disappointed that Jekka only had seeds on her stand and not plants – I only got one packet on garlic chives from her!

Oh well, at least I managed to get a Fewerfew and prostrate Rosemary from the plant table sale. While I was at the talk Ron and TD went looking for Chessel Beach – they found it but the tide was too far out and they were almost blown away. Stopped off at Liz and Gerrard and he will try and get me some more potting trays and some wood chips for the walkways at the lottie. Fingers crossed!

Week 6 - ending 10th February 2007

Wednesday, 7th February 2007

Ordered the last of the seeds on my wish list from Sara Raven website. Also ordered a couple of companion plants e.g. Morning Glory and Summer Savoury. Also after placing an advertisement on the RBCH swap site have found a swap for an electric mower for a petrol one - Jane Faramus. Am going through on Sunday, 11th to collect and do the swap. Then hopefully I can make a quick stop at the lottie and give the grass a chop!
Saturday, 10th February 2007
Have been hit by the dreaded lurgy so have been unable to get down to the lottie. Have however managed to swop my electric lawnmower for a petrol one – so at least the problem with moving the lottie has now been sorted. Did manage to prick out cabbage seedlings though.

Week 5 Sunday, 4th February 2007

Was going to give church a miss today to allow me extra time to work at the allotment, but in the end decided to go. I was so stiff when I woke up – not sure if it was the digging or if I’m coming down with the dreaded lurgy. Everyone at work has been infected and TD is not doing to well either. Just as well I ended up going to church as Joel was looking a bit down in the mouth and I ended up standing on a chair and giving me a huge big bear hug.
Measured the potato patch and it is 6ft x 27 ft long. So more than enough space – might even get the corn in as well. Have decided that I am going to interplant the FE potatoes with bush beans which I have read make good companion plants. Also will add a row or two of Jerusalem Artichokes at the start of the bed (closest to the shed). If nothing else the flowers will make a good show! The sweet potato I was trying to use to get slips has collapsed in on itself and been assigned to the compost heap. I will have to go and get some more – possibly a little smaller will be better. Will now split and put one in water and another in damp soil – see which method works!
Autumn Raspberry Patch – no its not weeds but green manure! OK with a few nettles in between !Franco was going to meet me at the lottie today for a cup of coffee and a look around but never turned up. Met my neighbour from across from me, Janet – she seems quite nice and is also a woman working her plot. Finally introduced myself to Martin (the Brit flying flagman) and he seems OK. Managed to get the Autumn fruiting raspberries cut down and was quite amazed at all the dead wood (even after the great chop last October). There was a lot of nettles around so I pulled them all up and popped them into a bucket to make some nettle soup for putting onto the early crops. Waste not, want not.
Woody did a runner and when I eventually went to find him he has throwing himself at the chicken coop down the road with the chickens going mad. Only glad that he did not manage to get one of them. Managed to get a couple more broad beans in along the brassicas and root bed. Should be good for mid season beans. Also have nearly managed to fill up the Poop bed – a couple more loads and it should be filled. Can then put some soil on top and have a lovely hot bed for the squashes. The grass in the orchard and out front of the lottie is really long and in dire need of a cutting. Will have to make a plan about a petrol lawnmower. Also a shed will not go amiss either. Then I can make myself a little hideaway and spend hours down at the lottie no matter what the weather. Bought a bucket of chicken manure from the lottie shop and managed to spread some over the onion bed, spinach patch and the broad beans. Will have to think about putting some kind of mulch down soon. The garden at home also needs a good seeing to and a good layer of chicken manure. The Clematis need to be pruned and a general tidy up will not go amiss.
Emptied out the potato barrel at home and found tons of little potatoes. This was the King Edwards from last season that I had not had a chance to harvest. Looked good but when we used some they were glassy and inedible. Well - I won’t be doing that in a hurry again. At least I can now clean the barrel for planting the Valor in and got quite a bit of good soil to use as a mulch in the back garden. Not sure if I must leave it at home or put it on the lottie. Space was a problem last season with it next to the shed.

Week 5 – Saturday, 3rd February 2007

Managed to move two students onto next week’s class so had the whole day to me at the Lottie. What bliss!! A whole day to dig worms. Went down to the Lottie with the preparing of the asparagus bed at the top of my list of “To Do things”. However after digging and weeding for about one hour I have hit the roots of the fruit trees. So its back to the planning and find another spot for the Asparagus beds. One option is to move it to the plot of land that I prepared for the beans (next to the strawberry bed). Will have to check the PH though as I dug two deep trenches in that part and filled them with fresh horse manure.
Neville turned up for a chat and a bit later with about 10 Summer fruiting Raspberries – I did not have the heart to say no so ended up putting them in a small bed where the asparagus bed would have been - next to the Orchard. Managed to get the Agapanthus clump thinned (nearly snapping the shaft of my fork), out and made a whole row backing on the Summer raspberries. Should make a lovely show when planted up with some Cosmos later in the season. Neville has also showed me how to prune the autumn fruiting raspberries so I will have to give that a go when I get time.
Will have to read up about them in the Fruit Expert. Went to the tip before going home to drop off a couple of bags of weeds that I don’t want to put on the heap and managed to bag a bunch of bamboo canes and a rocket like thing which I will use in the back garden to grow something up and over – only cost 25 pence each. Cheap as chips!