Archive for ‘Gardening: Plans’

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Garlic, and other musings.

I finally made it out into the garden today to plant my garlic. The bulbs from last year did well, and I still had 2 hanging in the kitchen (still absolutely fine to eat, I’m happy to say) so one of those got split up and replanted, along with 1 bulb bought fresh from Wilkinsons (and I have some left over). They just went in large pots (reusing the same compost from last year that had held carrots and onions), with fleece to cover.

At the same time I noticed a few familiar looking shoots amongst the self-propagated strawberry runners that had made their way into last year’s garlic pots – 2 bulbs from last year had somehow escaped harvest and were growing well. One of those I split up carefully and popped into a barely-used growbag (from a courgette that decided it just didn’t want to grow), the other I’ve popped into a pot whole to grow on indoors – I believe you can use the young shoots for cooking, and it’ll be interesting to see how it grows anyway :)

Finally, I tidied up my herb pot a little – rosemary and oregano have both survived the winter, and are starting to regrow, so I got rid of the dead bits to give them a bit more room.

This year I’m actually planning on scaling down the garden, but doing it in a more carefully planned way. Carrots and onions I won’t bother with as they both need too much room for their yield. Courgettes and tomatoes I’ll definitely be growing, as usual, as buying decent ones in the shops is expensive. Fresh beans and peas are another thing I love, so they’re another definite. I need to look through my notes from last year to see which variety of cucumber it was that I was impressed with, and I might grow one or two chilli plants – and only one or two! I love how they look but I really don’t use chillis much ;) The main thing I want to do this year is to see if I can get a decent salad crop, as last year was disastrous – it’s *so* cheap to grow lettuce leaves, baby spinach, spring onions etc and so expensive to buy them!

And finally, indoors I hope to get myself a venus fly trap plant and a bonsai tree. I love them and have been yearning for one for years, so this year I might treat myself!

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Planning The Garden

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I spent a while this evening sketching out my plan for the garden. It didn’t scan all that well (and nor can I be bothered to mess around with it), but it’s at least nice and clear. You’ll notice half of the bed is clear – I haven’t yet fully decided what to plant there – and there’s also clear space under the washing line, which I may use for something like spring onions. The squash I’m still thinking about the placement of – they work well behind the greenhouse as it gets lots of sun and they also help protect it from the wind but… I’ll admit last summer when I was rushing to water things say before work, those were always the ones that got forgotten. So, not sure about them. Everything else I’m pretty confident on, though :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Seeds, 2008

Well, I’ve finally got around to sorting through my seeds. I’ve thrown any out of date ones, and sorted the rest into envelopes by type (ie, all the tomatoes together). Hopefully this should stop me buying things I already have! I also picked up a cheap plastic storage box today, so they’re all in there, nice and neat and easy to find what I want.

There’s a list below of everything I currently have – I have a few more on the way from seed swaps (mini peppers, sage, mint), which should leave very little to buy this year apart from some cut n come again lettuce. There are some things I’ll need to research a little more thoroughly before picking the variety to devote space to – ie courgettes, many of which I got free or as part of poundland bargain multipacks.

As you can see from this I’m picky about what I grow – as I have limited space I tend to go for the veggies I really love, or those that are expensive/best really fresh (ie, peas from the pod!). At the moment I have no plans to grow standard onions, carrots, potatoes, etc. There are a couple of things on my ‘maybe’ list at the moment – broccoli (space intensive?), fennel (I’ve never even tasted it – will have to try some before I devote precious space to it) and winter squash (butternut/gem – as I like them but don’t LOVE them, and they take a lot of space).

I plan to plant garlic this weekend and chillis soon – let the growing commence!

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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Venturing Into The Garden…

I ventured into the garden today (the first time since late summer last year). Due to the appalling weather last year  (constant rain) I pretty much gave up entirely on it, let things go and didn’t harvest things I could have (beans and tomatoes got well past usable before I noticed them). Come the end of summer I just left it all as it stood! The only thing I got around to was taking off and binning the plastic cover for my mini greenhouse – it was ripped to shreds by repeated storms.  I left the frame up intending to measure it up to see if I could get a replacement but… well.. I never got round to that either!

So today I cleared all the old plants, dismantled the supports (canes/netting) and dug the bed over. It’s still lovely crumbly soil, so at least all the hard work I put in digging it over and adding compost was worthwhile. I also cleared out the big pots of strawberries – there were plenty of dead leaves in there but amazingly the plants are thriving!

Finally I cleared the remains of the courgette plants from their pots and tipped the used compost onto the bed – it won’t have enough nutrients for more pot-growing, but should be fine mixed in with the soil to help make it yet more crumbly.

The other jobs still to do are to clear the dwarf bean plants from their pots on the patio – and again empty the soil out, clean all the pots thoroughly (at the moment the outside tap is switched off at the ‘mains’, so it’ll have to wait), and measure the greenhouse up for a new cover. I also need to plan what’s going where – I will be making some changes this year, for example slug-prone things won’t be going in the bed, but in pots; the courgettes (in pots/growbags) will be back on the patio – they thrived that way the first year, and i think being on concrete rather than grass dissuades the slugs.  I definitely want to concentrate more on some peppers and chillis this year – which will be in the greenhouse – I’ll use pots rather than growbags as again it makes it easier to control slugs.

I’ve started writing up a list of my seeds, with planting times etc. Once I’ve completed that I’ll upload it to the blog as a seperate page and an easy reference for myself.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Things to buy, and Seed Varieties.

So plans for this year.. hmm…

~Planting Materials~

*Buy a few more large, round pots – for courgettes, beans, tomatoes etc. Drainage with polystyrene, as last year, but with smaller chips (‘packing peanuts’ rather than large chunks), and a brick or two as needed for the taller toms etc.

*Also plan to stock up on some fleece from poundland, and construct myself some basic hoops to hang it over for the inevitable ‘argh planted it out too early’. I have plenty of liquid seaweed and tomato feed so should be good for those.

*Compost is of course the big issue, as I don’t have a car. A ‘bargain’ shop local to my work have 40litre bags for £1.99 so I may look into cadging a lift from someone and loading up.

~Seeds~

*Last year’s courgettes were a success, so I’ll be carrying on with them – but maybe in a pot rather than a growbag (or a growbag-in-a-pot!). Last year i started with small plants bought from the garden centre, this year I’ll be going from seed.

* Tomatoes – ‘gardener’s delight’ as last year, but also ‘tumbling tom’ – another cherry variety more suited to pots as it’s ‘bushy’ rather than tall-and-susceptible-to-wind. I also have some ‘Tigerella’ seeds which I’ll get going if I have space, but I’m only really a fan of cherry tomatoes so these aren’t high on the priorities list.

* Salad crops – mixed salad leaves, rocket, and scarlet globe and french breakfast radish. All of these should be quick croppers so i intend on regularly planting these in whatever pots are to hand.

*Basil, chilli, and any other herbs that seem interesting – inside on the windowsill.

*Beetroot – another new one for me, I picked up some ‘boltardy’ seeds the other day. Packet recommends to harvest at golf-ball size so should be okay in pots?

*Beans – I grew ‘kitchen favourite’, a drawf french bean, sucessfully in pots last year, and will give it another go – this time in larger quantities. Both me and the boyfriend can’t get enough of raw beans so whatever I produce will get scoffed down :)

*Spring Onion – picked these up on a whim the other day with Wilkinson’s BOGOF seed offer. I’ll have to look into how to grow them :)

*Blackcurrant plant – I bought one of these from Poundland as it looked healthy (new green shoots), and I can’t resist a bargain. That said, I have no idea what to do with it :)

I’m a bit of a sucker for seeds so no doubt I’ll find some others over the next few weeks :)

Friday, February 9, 2007

Plans for the garden, raised bed and container issues.

Now, garden wise…

I live in a rented house with an appalling boggy clay soil. Last year i did start the beginnings of digging up some overgrown ground at the end of the garden, before realising a) it would take months of digging, and b) the soil was sodden, even with little rain, and full of weeds. So that went on hold.

This year, I decided that a little spot behind the shed would be perfect – it’s raised a little so the soil should be drier, if still clay, protected on two sides from the rather gusty winds we get in the garden, but still open to sunshine. The only *slight* stumbling block is that smack in the way on this patch is an old metal bin full of bloody engine oil that the previous occupant left behind. So I have to find some way of getting rid of that – or at least moving it. Or, I dunno, working round it at this rate :P

… Anyway. My plan is to build a small raised bed there, maybe 6-8ft square. Haven’t actually decided on building materials yet – there’s a pile of bricks behind the shed as well, which once I’ve gathered up the courage to move (ick spiders and things), I can figure out if there’s enough of them. Wood is another option, but reading other’s people’s stories I don’t particularly want to have to replace it every few years. I think I’d dig to maybe 0.5-1ft, and the mix with compost to double the volume and raise it.

The other plan is to continue my container planting from last year. I did fairly well last year with just a couple of growbags, 2 smallish ‘window box’ type pots and a larger round one with a wigwam of dwarf beans in. The box pots had cherry tomatoes which did surprisingly well, hindered only by the fact that they got blown over by the wind a couple of times :D

… Will ponder further on varieties, exact planting etc in my next post :)