Sunday, 27 March 2011

Things are growing...

The chillies are developing their first true leaves and the peppers are all doing well now too.

Flowers on the top shelf: candytuft, sunflowers and calendula, and bottom shelf has brussels sprouts, cabbages and leeks.

Tomatoes are getting quite big as are the cucumbers, not shown. I have also sown sweet peas, herbs, marigolds and nemesia.

Down at the plot, the broad beans are coming up and the onions are beginning to put up shoots.

It was very exciting to discover today that there are wrens nesting in the hedge behind my compost bins. I hope I won't disturb them too much. There is a road on the other side of the hedge which doesn't seem to bother them.

My only concern now is that it is so dry - we haven't had any rain for weeks and weeks. The water butt is almost empty already. I think the taps are switched on at the beginning of April, and the forecast is predicting rain for Tuesday and Wednesday. I will be on holiday for Easter by the middle of next week so I hope it doesn't rain for too long - short and sharp is what I need.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Spring Sunshine

The last few days have been gloriously sunny and springlike, and I have been making the most of it down on the plot. I have planted strawberries through the weed fabric, which was quite a fiddly job and some of the plants look as if they have died, either because they have not been planted properly, or because the flaps of the holes have covered the plants and deprived them of light. However, at least those that survive shouldn't need too much weeding.

In the next bed along I have sown some broad beans, and next but one along from that has onions in it. Aside from that I have just been clearing weeds, ready for the next crops, namely potatoes, carrots, peas. There is quite a lot of couch grass, mixed in with ordinary grass, which makes me paranoid about accidentally putting couch grass in the compost bin, so to speed things up I have just been stripping off all the grass and chucking it all on the non-compostable compost pile.

Meanwhile, back at the house, the greenhouse crops are coming on nicely. They are all potted on now, except for the aubergines, which have only just come up, and red peppers, which I gave up on and sowed some more from a new packet. Lo and behold, no sooner had I done so than the original ones are now starting to show. Typical.
I had a lovely garden centre shopping spree yesterday, got my 5 shrubs for £20, 8 perennials for £10, several half price bargains, including the most beautiful hellebore, only just slightly past its best, and one or two other items. Tomorrow afternoon I will be planting those out.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Some progress at last

At last - the weather has finally decided to co-operate, and we have managed to get the glass into the greenhouse, the frame went up three weeks ago and there just hasn't been an opportunity to get it finished until today. Well, Friday in fact, but I didn't get very far because I had trouble with the little s-clips with which you support one pane of glass on top of another. The glass just didn't seem to want to fit in the roof, so I had to ring up technical support. They said they would post me some larger, bendier clips, which duly arrived yesterday, but we were out all day, so today it was. It is all done except for three panes in the roof, which seem to be missing. We have been sent too many of the big panes and not enough of the smaller ones. Tomorrow I will take the bigger ones to the glass centre to get them cut down.

Now finally I can get on with sowing some more seeds. I have started my greenhouse crops in the conservatory, which is an ideal environment at this time of year, although I have to cover up the propogator with bubble wrap at night.

On the right are tomato seeds, six different varieties, which have germinated within a week. The rest are peppers and chillies, and aubergine, which look as if they are just about to come up as well.

I have spent very little time at the allotment over the last three weeks, but I managed a couple of hours on Friday. My free strawberry plants have finally arrived, plus free blueberry plant (very small), and I also have some which I picked up very cheaply from Aldi, and they are all now in pots, waiting for their patch to be ready at the allotment. That makes a total of 26 strawberry plants for the grand total of just under £9.50 (that includes the blueberry plant and postage). The previous tenant left a few plants behind as well so I've got quite a good stock to start off with. The transplanted rhubarb has established nicely, as has the comfrey which I was a bit worried about as I planted it when it was frozen. The new raspberry canes are beginning to show signs of life as well as the transplanted blackcurrant bushes. So fruit-wise I am doing fine, but not a single outdoor vegetable has been started yet. Tomorrow I aim to finish preparing the bean area and get my broad beans in.

I have tidied up a bit in my garden as well, and prepared a few areas for planting new plants. My local Blooms is doing some mega offers during March and I have a big wodge of gardening vouchers to spend. 8 herbaceous plants for £10 (9cm pots), 5 hardy shrubs (2ltr pots) for £20, fruit trees £9.99 each (reduced from £24.99) - not that I really need any more, but I might not be able to resist... coldframes, reduced from £69.99 to £29.99... and so the list goes on. I will definitely be getting down there before they sell out. Bargains galore.