Forget what we said about seed tapes

There is a downside to seed tapes we found out after buying a bargain assorted vegetable tape off ebay. Turns out the names of what seeds they are, are only at the beginning of the tape (not all the way through) and now we’ve sowed a few we have no idea what’s what except brussel sprouts. Who told us seed tapes were a good idea?

And after a couple of hours hard graft today the front wall (nearest the road) can now be seen, trouble is the mass of ivy on the top right of the picture is covering a piece of wall that isn’t there. We’ll get back to you tomorrow with our solution to the problem.

And the first delivery of guinea pig straw (with added roadent waste) was left on the garden fence in a plain carrier bag with no note but we had a vague idea what it was when we spied it. The contents have now been dumped into the heap and we will keep you updated on its progress. We’re an interesting lot aren’t we? Blame the lockdown.

Can’t wait, won’t wait, will try

Patience, that’s what you need when it comes to this gardening lark. Sadly we haven’t got any.

This week we took the dahlia tubers straight out from under the stairs (where they’ve been hibernating since late autumn) and into the ground even though there’s still a chance of frost. We also left a couple of them in the garden from last season as we couldn’t be bothered to dig them out. Why do we do these things when we know we shouldn’t?

We have got protection for them and the other plants that don’t do well when it comes to frosts though. There’s the seed potatoes under the black membrane that was used under the decking and lots of DIY plastic/wood contraptions (don’t throw out your jam jars!) over vegetable seedlings that are germinating so it ain’t that bad.

All the gardening books tell you to be aware of late frosts, they also tell you that runner beans seeds don’t like sitting in cold soils and “for god’s sake don’t put out your tomato plants out early as they’ll suffer if it gets cold” but we still do it (we’ve a couple of tomato seedlings in the ground at the moment we’re ashamed to say.) It goes like this, we see a period of lovely sunshine so the hoe is taken out from its winter hiding place and then it’s all systems go after that. We don’t think this lockdown has helped in holding back either.

Talking of lockdowns, there’s a new gardening-related game developing here. At least once a week on our (very) regular visits to the compost heap a gloved hand will be thrust into the mass of rotting vegetables, old ripped up leccy bills and single tea bags to “feel the heat”. That’s not normal behaviour is it? Early signs of “lockdown lunacy” perhaps?

We’ve got that “side of the pond plants” blues

Another row of spuds went in on Saturday in the bed we were going to “rest” for this year and beside the pond we started on a mammoth task.A few years ago a friend of ours passed on some plants. A root of Comfrey and a thug of a thing (we never did find the name of but we know the plant oh so well now!) that looks like a low-growing privet that has purple flowers and spreads like wildfire! It’s taken over the bottom corner of the garden now (pic below) and it’s our new “work in progress” during the lockdown.

We did a little bit of hand weeding on Saturday and above is the result. It’s hard work and you know it’ll keep coming back so we’ll have to be on our guard for the next few months but it’s a darn sight better. We will keep a little bit of it about though as we do need a bit of wildness by the pond for the frogs and wildlife to hide but not too much like it is now! #lockdowngardening #there’sneveranendtogardening

Music to soothe the storm

It’s been dreadful here today, the wind and rain lashed against the windows, there’s been horrible dark skies and we’ve been watching the news on the telly with stories of people who have suffered some very bad luck due to Storm Ciara. And the storm still ain’t ended yet…

To soothe those storm nerves, here’s a sneak preview of Free Radio Skybird that’s scheduled to be transmitted via Channel 292 on Sunday 16th February at 1400 UTC/UK on 6070 kHz shortwave including at 42 minutes in One Deck Pete‘s “Less is more” mix. There’s some new tunes from MaiMohammad-Reza Shajarian & Seventh Soul and Blanco. Tune in and blank out that wind and rain!

What? Dahlias on a draining board?

The dahlia experts out there are probably “tut tutting” at the picture above but Friday we gave the tubers (we only took out the ground the other week and will be putting them back in a short while) a little wash and brush up as the mud that was on them when we dug them up had still not dried out and some parts were looking rotten.

We know we should’ve taken them out a lot earlier but sometimes that’s the way it goes. We took off the rotting parts and dried them out in the sun the best we could and now they’re back under the stairs for a few weeks. We’ll inspect them on a regular basis and see how we go, fingers crossed we don’t lose any as we love a dahlia here. Next time we’ll pull them out in the autumn after the first frost like you’re supposed to!

And the best named dahlia of the week goes to…

Ice-cream for crow

It was a lovely day at Weeds HQ today; seeds were sown, pots were moved about and garden furniture was cleaned up for the hopefully forthcoming good weather. And then at 7.30 pm we were visited by the Lewisham Heron (have a look on top of the fence on the left hand side of the picture).

The pond had been netted over after its last visit (post here) so there was no chance it could get his/her beak in there and thanks to a couple of local crows who flew in and shoo-ed the Heron off after it did some sort of pre-dinner routine of bobbing up and down, the event ended with no goldfish being eaten.

This time the bird spared us. Fingers crossed there will be no next time!

Pumpkin’s progress

rat_large_resizeIt all started with seeing the back end of a large rodent in one of our dalek compost bins back in April (post here). The contents of said bin was then emptied into a trench in the bed at the bottom of the garden (below).

compost trench

A pumpkin, butternut squash and a courgette plant were purchased from Shannon’s and stuck on the top of the trench as they love that sort of richness.

Everything has gone green

Then there was that big gardening faux-pas, all the potato peelings in the compost trench started to sprout and threatened said plants (post here). It was dealt with by some continuous hoeing, a few times a week!

Then we had some action on the pumpkin, it started small, then a bit bit bigger but still green.

yellow-pumpkin_2

yellow-pumpkin_1

Then the other week it started to change colour. As long as those pesky rodents don’t have it we might be onto having a giant pumpkin!

yellow-pumpkinThe butternut squash is on it’s way too! All’s well that ends well and all that!

yellow-squash