Friday, 27 May 2016

After the excitement of my day trip to RHS Chelsea...'s back to my own little patch of garden. My plot couldn't be more different to a flower show, not much flowering and lots of weeds. although to be fair, the forget-me-nots are flowering their socks off, but there is a school of thought which considers them as weeds too.

As I am going to be absent next week, I have decided to plant out the french beans. they are desperate to be out of their root trainers and even though it might be cold, I think they will be better off in the soil.  I have rigged up a bit of shelter for them which might help them get through this cold spell.

The peas sown aren't a success, the row on the right is more a clump and the row on the left..isn't, it had a visit from a local cat/dog/fox.

The potatoes are coming up...

... the runner beans are looking healthy and are growing around their canes...

 ...and the winter onions and beefing up nicely....

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

No frosts (so far) but it has gone very cold with a bitter north easterly.  Its struggling to get up to 10C so far today. I'm glad I haven't put my french beans out yet although they will still be shivering even in the potting shed.

Still very dry though, the strawberry bed soil has cracked..

Never mind, tomorrow I'm off to RHS Chelsea  and the sunny south.. not that that is going to do the beans any good...but it will cheer me up.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Now we need to pray for no more frosts....I've planted out the sweetcorn

 And the chrysanthemums for my cut flower crop.

This tomato (Early Latah) is, in theory, a bush, but nobody has told it yet, so it is going on and on upwards. I thought I might nip out the leader of one of the plants to see if it might make it more bushy but I can't find which one to nip out.

So unless it pulls something exceptional from the bag, I'm going back to my favourite Garden Pearl next year.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

 Lots of flowers on the currants, if all goes well, there should be lots of fruit this year

 Even fruits on the two of the jostaberries, this their second summer.

All the apple trees have blossom even the two (one of which is on the right of the photo) which didn't flower last year.

The two pear trees which are supposed to be good pollinating partners have decided to flower at different times, so it is doubtful whether either will fruit.

On the other hand the dry spring has slowed growth of the beans and sweet peas..

I took a chance on planting out the runner beans, but I'm keeping the french beans in at night for a little bit longer.

Lots of the leeks have gone to seed with the dry weather, so I dug them out to use straight away and discovered quite a few "volunteer" potatoes coming up underneath.  If they are Vivaldi, that will be good, they were really nice spuds.  If they are Swift, I can't remember what they are like since very few of them produced anything last year.

Hope it rains soon, the ground is very hard for planting things out.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Bought some pea plants from the allotment plant scheme this morning (Early Onward, which if I remember rightly from last year weren't early at all, but hey, better than nothing)

I turned over one of the raised beds, adding some chicken pellets as I went and then wasted an hour trying to erect an A frame that I bought in  Sutton's sale a couple of years ago. 
I now remember why I haven't used it.  If the assembler is under 5ft4ins in height, it is impossible to assemble without a stepladder.  Stepladders on soil do not work. So I eventually used its component parts to make an ordinary X frame with netting for the peas to climb up. Nice idea but not practical. It didn't help that there was a cross member missing...another mystery.

Very little rain in the past 2 weeks, so the soil is hard and dry.

We have a tomato on one of the Nimbus sideshoot plants!

Only pea sized, but getting there...No earlier than last year, but earlier than the tomatoes raised from seed, probably due to the cold spring..
Still a cold wind, but quite sunny. A high of 14C today and down to 4C last night.

Lots of flowers on the currant bushes, time to assemble the fruit cage.

Easier said than done.  When I disassembled it last autumn I must have been confident that I didn't need any re-assembly instructions, seeing as how I made the cage up myself and had laboriously worked out what and how many parts were needed.
Beware trusting a memory full of 71 years of clutter.

However, with some head scratching I eventually managed to order the right bits in the right places, only to discover that 5 of the connectors were broken.  How did that happen? Did some nefarious person creep into the shed, burrow under the bench without disturbing anything, and villainously snap just some of the connectors? It's a mystery.

So, tout suite, onto Harrod Horticultural for some new connectors at the ruinous price of £12.95 inc postage. Although how it costs a fiver to send 8 plastic connectors through the post, beats me.

A beneficial side-effect of all this is a tidier shed.

After the abortive attempt on the fruit cage, it was a relief to turn to humbler tasks, i.e. weeding and spreading the rest of the pony manure on the proposed courgette/cucumber bed.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Back to normal....9C with a cold, cold wind.
Forecast for a frost tonight.
The beans and sweet corn seedlings have retreated to the shelter of the potting shed.  I'm very glad I haven't planted them out yet.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Another warm day! I could get used to this!

Little soldier still roams the jungle..

Weeded, making a sustained attack on buttercups, trying to clear some ground to transplant the surviving perennial plug plants from last autumn. When I had a closer look at where I had overwintered them, there were more than I thought, but they are all small and stunted. Hardly any of the agastache have survived but there's half-a-dozen each of nepeta, lobelia and gaillardia. Plus all of the foxgloves which are obviously the hardiest of all. I'll give them a bit of tlc and hope..

(the next day a giant snail mowed the agastache...)

I set up cane wigwams for the climbing beans. I decided that this year I would keep the two kinds of beans separate rather than have a row as before.  Don't ask me why except that the tepees are more aesthetically pleasing and the french beans are called Cherokee Vale of Tears, so it seems appropriate.


Sunday, 8 May 2016

Another lovely day, a bit grey in the morning so it looked like it was going to be another one like yesterday, but no, it turned lovely and warm after all.

Let us hope it continues.

My runner (Czar) and french beans (Cherokee Trail of Tears) are nearly ready to go down to the plot..

The sweet corn is looking quite tall too...

But I guess the banana hasn't overwintered...

I wrapped it in fleece and put it in the garage last autumn, but when I took the cover off a few days ago, it was all wet and slimy.  I'll give it a while to see if anything emerges, but I think it is a goner.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Spent some time in the home greenhouse potting up the three surviving Nimbus tomato sideshoots which I overwintered on the kitchen windowsill.

They are a good size, much bigger than the plants grown from seed and already have flowers.

It will be interesting to see if the others catch up.

Finished by doing the most boring job in gardening....

...washing pots!

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Super day... potted up two tomato (early Latah) plants in the shed...Ahh! they are all little...

Remind me not to buy perennial plug plants in the autumn...

May 2016
There were four different sets of plant there last October.  The only survivors are the foxgloves.
Oct 2015

However the space has been filled by Sweet William

...and a beautiful display of forget-me-nots.

Monday, 2 May 2016

A bank holiday weekend project....

I used the fleece cover as it is still pretty nippy every alternate day.

Nicknamed "blowaway", I hope it doesn't.