Thursday, 28 February 2013

seeds sowing

Sowed seeds for the plant scheme in the greenhouse this morning.  Temperature in the mini greenhouse got up to over 34.5C and over 29C in the main greenhouse. It was very pleasant pottering about in there.
Peas (Hurst Greenshaft) 4 x 9 module trays, ie 36 modules with four peas per cell.
Broad Beans (Masterpiece) 15 x 3 inch pots with four beans per pot.
(Some beans had tiny holes drilled in them so I have put them in damp kitchen paper to see if their germination is affected.) Edit: germination unaffected.
Leeks (Musselbrugh) 3 x 5 inch pots with 20 seeds and 1 x 3 inch pot with 10 seeds.

After that I went to the plot to see if my broad beans had survived the frost last night.  They looked quite chipper.

I took the found babybath to maybe make a start on a pond, but, strangely, it was too wet. There was nowhere to stand without sinking into the mire. I'm not sure whether I will use it at all, I might use it as a planter, except that it is the ugliest babybath I have ever seen and is not going to enhance any garden.

Or I could just bin it...

Too muddy more like. I shifted more soil and water about, making a rain pond on the other side of the path.  Memories of the film "Warhorse" came to mind.
Below is the first pond

 And this is the other one, filling with water as I dig. (Yes, I know, a picture of some wet soil, but I think it is interesting even if you don't)

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

sunny day

It has been a lovely sunny day, the first one for a while which hasn't been accompanied by icy blasts.
I thought I might be able to do something in the garden, but the snowmelt has filled every hollow.

This is the "rain garden" - it is full of water! The soil is saturated, so nothing much to be done.

I keep looking at the wooden borders I have made and thinking "Oh, I'll sort that out later" and it is true that I cannot do much while they have plants in and water surrounding them, but I really don't know where to start making them into proper raised beds.  At the moment they are perched on top of mounds of soil, suspended over thin air on one side and buried at the other side.

Maybe all will come clear to me in time.

Some buds are appearing on various bushes.  This is the pear tree looking very willing,
but some other newish bushes which were planted in 2010/11, such as the rasps Polka and the gooseberry Xenia, which did badly last year, don't look as if they will recover.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

more snow

Just as we thought we had made the first tentative steps towards spring, blam!  More snow! The bird feeder has a good two inches of snow on its lid.

So, as I couldn't go and get myself cold and muddy at the plot I stayed home and pricked out the tomato seedlings. There are five 100&1000s in the paper pots and Gardeners Delight in the 12 module tray.  The cells in the tray are a bit small but I will pot the seedlings on again later.
Oh joy! The onion seedlings are growing after all, some the them have developed second leaves at last.  I was worried that I was only imagining that they were getting bigger, because the ends of some of the stalks are dying back already, so I thought maybe they were goners.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

onions, bog plants and parakeets.

Two rows of white onions (Setton) and two rows of red onions (Red Baron). Both from Poundland.    There were a lot more red onions in the 300g packet than in the white onions so the surplus got planted into various gaps- some beside the winter onions and some beside the garlic. I put fleece over to hide them from the birds.

I notice the garlic is just starting to push through, I was beginning to think I had buried them too deeply, or that they had given up the ghost.
I moved some of the bottle edging about and separated a new bed from the rain garden hollow. Rain garden is a bit of a silly name for what is essentially a muddy patch. I am going to try digging a depression on both sides of the path and leaving it to collect water.  I am going to put plants in though, to try and make it look nice.  Most of the rain gardens on the internet use planting that likes dry ground but that can tolerate the occasional flooding.  But for mine I think I might go for planting that likes wet ground but can tolerate the occasional dry spell, bog and marginal plants might work well.  It would be just like it that I will get adapted to a wet garden and we will have six months of drought, but I suppose I can water it if the planting looks like drying out too much.
There are some pretty daisies in the wild flower bed, which have flowered all the way through the wet autumn and winter, so I have transplanted a few to the edges of the new rain hollow on the other side of the path.

I will put in anything that will grow as long as it looks good, even buttercups! I have a couple of spare astilbe plants in the front garden which might work as they like damp conditions.  Some irises might be good too.

Heard the resident parakeets, but didn't see them this time.  Saw a pair of them last week flying over my plot, but I'll never be quick enough to get a photo.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Various updates

The sweet peppers are looking good, with a few flowers on the right-hand one. There have been flowers coming and falling off all the time but these ones managed to make it past the bud stage.  They really seem to like the warmth of the bathroom, but they will need to be moved as it gets warmer (and hopefully, sunnier) outside, or they will scorch.

This is the mystery squash rescued from the compost, back end of last year.

And the orchid has produced another flower stalk from the base of the previous one.

The onion seeds are growing imperceptibly, I think!

The Bunyards Exhibition (broad beans) are just poking through, the one on the left was brought up on the kitchen windowsill the others have been in the greenhouse.

No signs of life from the red epicure or wikiem manita (broad beans)

Green parella (Lettuce) is coming on

The surviving Bambino tomatoes that I pricked out too soon, before they had true leaves, have hardly developed at all.
And these are the other Bambino, not pricked out until they had some true leaves on, left in clumps.
I will thin them when they have better roots.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Still too wet

Attempted to move some soil about, but it just stuck to the spade.  No good, still too wet.

Patience, Anne, patience.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

more raised beds

Then there were three...
Then there were four!

Two more bed borders, hopefully these will be proper raised beds to get them out of the wet.

The leeks in the foreground are expendable, the left-hand bed has some kale and onions which might also be expendable if I have to. But I've got winter onions in the farthest away bed and I definitely don't want to disturb them, so that bed will have to wait until the onions are out before I can level it.

(And there is a whole new problem folks, levelling.  In my experience you go round and round, when the first edge is level the next is not and then you get that one level and the next one is not... and so on. There must be a proper way of doing it, I will have to check Youtube for a demo.)

I have only got one plank left, which is strange, because when I worked out how many planks I needed, I thought I had bought 8 planks, but on checking back through this diary, it looks as if I must have only got 6.  I wonder how many I paid for?

It started to snow a bit and my fingers were disappearing one by one, so I came home.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Mooched about the plot on my way back from getting the Sunday papers.
I made like a JCB with my angled fork and loosened the soil on some of the beds, but it is still very claggy.
I began to make a hollow for a rain garden, but just ended up with two inches of soil stuck to my boots.
I fluffed up the bed where I put a layer of cardboard and have been dumping kitchen waste.  The cardboard has gone to a mush and there are lots of worms.
Pretty cold and wet. 2C

Thursday, 7 February 2013

sowing things

The sweet pea seedlings have left home and gone to live in Our Leader's greenhouse. Their germination has been patchy, there was 20 seeds in 4 pots of each variety, and there were 10 varieties.  In the best, 18 of the 20 seeds germinated,  and the worst, only 12 of 20. Of course, more may pop up later as it gets warmer. They have been in an unheated greenhouse from the start with no heat except that which the sun has provided.

Sowed some lettuce (Parella Green) for the trading hut. 2 trays of 12 modules.  I will sow some more later, now that I have some space with the sweet peas going.
I tried out my new seed dispenser which, suprisingly for a gadget, worked quite well with such tiny seeds. I only bought it because it came with a mini sieve that I thought would be useful when potting plants. But I've used the seed dispenser and the little dibber that came with the set more than the sieve. (Wilko's, about £4)

It was still too wet down ont'plot to do anything on the soil (I'm itching to get my raised bed frames bedded in), so I stirred the compost heap up a bit, not too much as I have a dodgy elbow at the moment.  I added the pony manure, which I had stored in a dalek, to the compost and mixed it up as much as my elbow would allow.  I was going to add the pig muck too,(remember the pig muck?) but it had gone down to a crumbly mass and looks as if I could use it direct onto the soil.  So I put some in between the raspberry plants, and I will try to remember to put some wood ash on a bit later.

Fetched two more barrow loads of wood chippings, we might not get more and I am laying in a stock of path coverings.  I've been looking into rain gardens and I might possibly need some chippings as a mulch at some point.  I'm not sure whether rain gardens work on areas that are wet for extended periods, they mostly seem to be popular in dry areas which suffer from flash floods.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

More broad beans

Snowed a little bit last night and then froze icy patches on the pavements.  0C this morning.

Sowed some more broad beans. 12 Wikiem Manita and about 24 Red Epicure, all in paper pots.

Get the new style square paper pots! Each one is an A4 sheet, a bit trickier to make than the round ones made around a spray can,but they fit nicely into a seed tray, are bigger and so took 2 beans per pot. Also, it seems an appropriate end for the minutes of the Allotment AGM.

Mushroom update: nothing happening except for them getting fuzzier and mouldy spots appearing on the newspaper cover, so I have brought them into the  bottom shelf of the greenhouse. That should either accelerate the growth of the mouldy spots, in which case I can throw them out, or the spawn, in which case I will have to think of a way of sterilising soil for the next step in their development. I was going to microwave some garden compost, but a) it apparently stinks the house and microwave oven out, and b) I haven't got any left, I used it all planting my apple trees. I am told pouring boiling water over soil is a good way to clean small quantities.

Pepper update:  Have given up on the cayenne that I was attempting to overwinter, it turned into a brown twig in a remarkably short time, but the sweet peppers are still looking good.

Friday, 1 February 2013

apple trees potted

The weather continues not snowing, or raining, or being absolutely freezing, just very windy. So I decided that today was a good time to plant the new apple trees.
I carted some more compost on the trusty shopping trolley with dustbin attached by a bungee cord. I thought I had remembered everything I needed for the task, but.....

I just wish that one time I can be organised enough to do a proper job on things.  I forgot about supports, and it was too windy to leave them unsupported, so they ended being staked up by anything I could find.  One is tied up with a piece cut off the hosepipe and the other with the carry strap of the sprayer.  Doh!
I forgot the mycorrhizal fungi too. And on checking previous posts, I had forgotten that they were supposedly better in square pots. Oh well....