Sunday, August 12, 2012

Post-vacation harvest

What survives, survives. In this case, it was summer squash and greengages which greeted me on arrival. Not as many greengages as last year but they alternate in years. There are a few tomatoes which should be ready in a couple of weeks (good for the cold and rainy weather we've been having) and the raspberries are gearing up for another harvest.

What didn't make it through: gooseberry bushes have again been stripped by caterpillars and they are now officially abandoned (also, I didn't like their spiney defences). No white beetroot this year either. No jalapeno peppers. Not a great gardening year...

Saturday, May 19, 2012


Finally the weather is improving and I had some time so the great planting exercise of 2012 was launched. Everything went in at once because it's really late in the gardening year to get going.

Although it doesn't look like much at the moment, I got the tomato plants and the lemon cucumber plants in there, along with two different kinds of mixed salad leaves and what I believe may be some raddichio (the packet it came in was not in English). Also I direct-sowed some climbing beans.

In the back of the garden we have rows of carrots, white beetroot and kale, topped off with patty pan squash, zucchini, and a mysterious plant which could be one or the other (a snail ate the label off the pot so I couldn't tell).

I may have to invest in a bigger watering can because the hosepipe ban is still in operation (and the hosepipe connector doesn't fit onto the tap anymore anyway since I changed the tap). Now let's hope for some nice weather, and hopefully my bamboo defences will deter the cats from digging up the seeds and the snails and slugs will leave the starts alone.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Prepping the beds

A break in the monsoon rains gave me the opportunity to finally sort out my veg beds. I've managed to grow a nice crop of dandelions! After an hour or so of weeding the beds with a garden fork, I also whizzed round the rest of the garden which gave me a big blister on my right palm from using the hand trowel. I managed to fill two big bags of garden waste, luckily there is a collection scheduled next week (thankfully Hackney takes this stuff off your hands).

Since the sunshine continued I also cleared out my compost bin and the scrappy heap of all-sorts (a mixture of woody clippings, old bits of timber boards, a pallet, guinea pig litter, ...). Injury number two was a nail that protruded from a board I moved and which I managed to drive into my thumb (left hand this time).

The compost from the bin itself was not a great success: compostable bags obviously need much longer to disintegrate and I had to pull them out from the usable stuff. Messy business. In future I won't put them in anymore, not worth the bother. The scrap heap yielded quite a bit of compost at the bottom of it, thanks to the guinea pig litter. It now is a bit tidier too but it could do with removing completely, however I am not sure how I can dispose of it.

I had enough muck to spread onto the veg patches and dig it in. It's still a bit to horrible to plant anything out, even the lettuce, beetroot and carrots would find it a bit too chilly at the moment. Better to wait for a couple of weeks and hope the weather improves. Can't wait till the planting starts!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Fixing and transplanting

The recent blowy weather knocked over my mini-greenhouse and put a huge hole in the side of it. After a week, I finally managed to get myself to a shop to look for replacement or repair options. Of course, it was the nicest weather this weekend which meant that the gardening centre was hopping and most supplies were stripped bare. No replacement cover to be had and I didn't see the point in getting a new, smaller mini-greenhouse (never mind the more expensive aluminium ones). This meant that transparent repair tape had to do. To be fair, vastly cheaper and it'll do for now. Can hardly tell where the hole once was... ;) Now the bottom of the greenhouse is weighed down with a brick and my garden implements. Hopefully, that should steady it.

Once that was sorted it was on to transplanting the seedlings. They were doing almost too well on the window sill. Everything came up nice and strong -- except the patty pan (only one germinated) and the cucumber "Crystal Lemon" (there seems to be movement on one of them but I am not that hopeful overall). Probably the seeds were old as they were left over from last year.

Have to have a peek at the rest of the seeds soon as lettuce, etc can be sown out in March and April. Time is moving on!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sowing for 2012

First seeds are in the propagator: cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, patty pan. Although it's a bit earlier than the packets suggest for sowing, I like to get them started early and then they can go out to the mini-greenhouse to harden off and grow a bit more before planting out. Sowing them now means they are ready in about 4 weeks to be potted up and go in the greenhouse, then even tender plants can be risked in the garden mid-April, beginning of May is usually safe in London.

Getting an early start means also that the tomatoes have a chance to ripen before September :) Have got some very early ripening ones this year so see how that goes. More stuff to sow but they can go into the greenhouse or direct into the soil.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seed list for 2012

Time to review this year's efforts. I have to say, it's pretty difficult to make a decision as it was such a strange growing season. Some veg may have done much better given different circumstances. So...patty pan squash are possibly in (I think I still have some seeds), tomatoes suffered from blight so different kinds needed, carrots were ok, climbing beans were a pain to get started, Turk's Turban was a wash-out and the kale was so-so. Beetroot was ok, as always.

I also took the opportunity of a discount offer from Thompson & Morgan to get new seeds. Here's what I ordered for next year:
  • Tomato 'Orkado' F1 Hybrid
  • Carrot 'Caracas'
  • Runner Bean 'Scarlet Emperor'
  • Courgette 'Zephyr' F1 Hybrid
  • Cucumber 'Crystal Apple'
  • Tomato 'Red Alert'
  • Salad Leaves 'Baby Leaf'
I'm sure I pick some more seeds up on the way. Already have some saved seeds from a squash I bought at the shop, which I remember did pretty well the year before (green skin, orange flesh). Not much to do now for the rest of the year, other than sorting out the compost bins.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Autumn yet?

Didn't manage to post something last weekend when I was actually doing the work in the garden. It really felt autumnal then but of course the English weather threw a googlie this weekend with pleanty of sunshine and high temperatures.

Anyway last week I ripped up the tomatoes (damn that blight) and consigned the beans to non-harvesting mode (only waiting for beans for sowing next year now). Found a patty pan squash which had sprung up unnoticed. The only things that are left now are raspberries, kale, carrots, some beetroot (mainly for the leaves) and patty pan squash (I live in hope). I have some potatoes tucked away and a the world's tiniest Turk's Turban squash is growing up the fence.

Had a good browse through the seed catalogues and I think I got some ideas for next year...October is usually ordering month.