And finally…

I finally got out yesterday and tidied up the family veg plot at the bottom of the garden, runner bean canes were cleaned up and stored away and the bottoms of the runner bean plants were left in the ground as they’ll add extra nitrogen to the soil. It was the first time for a while that I’d got out for a couple of hours in the garden with the fork. I was in bed until midday today, must have been the body going into a state of shock after that bit of hard work!

On a hex tipThe wormery has been covered with sacking over a layer of fleece for the winter (if it gets bad I will move it into the garage as those brandling worms hate the cold!) I also used the old fish tank I found in the street a few months ago as a cloche to overwinter some Peas and Garlic. It could have done with having a few holes drilled into it for ventilation but I still hadn’t got around to it. Also sowed the same combo under the old trusty window frame found last year in a cold frame stylee. God know what will happen what with all the cold weather that we’re supposed to be having next week!

No expense spared (yeah right!)

It was miserable most of today until early evening where there was a hour or so of sunshine. It was nice enough to get out those council worker’s gloves and the secateurs.mint, spudcombination

The combination of sun and rain is now kicking everything off, above is the eau de cologne mint in the nice cement pot found submerged in 12 years worth of old leaves in the bottom of our pond after moving in. The next is a tumbling tomato and assorted herbs in the plant container originally destined for the binmen and the seed potato in a spud sack (procured for free at that seedy sunday event in Sydenham) which is now cracking on. Be warned, don’t do what I did and play “musical sacks” with the bag, this one’s bottom has fallen out and has now got to stay where it is!

Teapot and frame

Also a few years ago I found some left over concrete squares from the garden wall (behind the mint, tomato and spud in a bag) and wasn’t sure how to get rid of them so I laid them on their side (they also form a back for the cold frame) and filled them with compost. I now stick any left over seeds in them (herbs, poppies whatever!) and remember to give it a water as it regularly dries out. Big up cheap style gardening!

Soldier, sailor, tinker, council gardener

cheap and cheerful coldframe

This week has been a lot better on the weather front. Last Sunday I “tipped around” in the back, stuck in the last of the seed potatoes (5″ deep just to avoid any future frosts!), weeding and generally tinkering around and also sowed indoors some different varieties of basil (cinnamon, lemon and also lime, great eh?). I also moved some cabbage and sweet pea seedlings off the kitchen windowsill into the mini cold frame which will start them off on the hardening off journey. I take the window frame off during the warmer days and put it over at night so they slowly will get accustomed to the outside climate.

abucketfulofworms

Tonight I checked the bucket that the comfrey liquid has been fermenting in for the past few months at the bottom of the garden. I think it’s now time to bottle it up as there’s maggots in there now! That’s not right is it? Or are they like the maggot at the bottom of the Tequila bottle, I reckon I should stick them on the garden to see if they work wonders like the Tequila worm is supposed to (it’s never worked for me!).

Also was listening to the great podcast that is BBC Leeds’ “Gardening with Tim and Joe” and they mentioned they were recently featured in the top 5 gardening podcasts in The Guardian online.  That Joe Maiden certainly knows his onions (and his leeks, daffs, roses, rhubarb etc). Always worth a listen and top tips galore, all for a free download. Can’t be bad!

What a difference a day makes

How mad has the weather been this week? I’ve tried to make the most of it and popped out when I could to do the odd bit of weeding and have sowed the odd bit indoors. The combination of the sun and the rain is sending the garden crazy!

I tell you what else was crazy, last Sunday morning as I went downstairs to make a cup of tea I looked out of the back window to see a massive Heron standing motionless by our pond. It looked bonkers, I swear it was three foot high and it looked like it was made out of plastic and boy, the size of its beak! I legged it to get the camera and when I got back, you know it had gone. He must have been right disappointed, as all there is in our pond are thousands of tadpoles and the odd newt!

It was root day last Sunday too so put in the last of the chitted seed potatoes in the bed next to the pond which is mainly going to be just spuds with two rows of onions and a couple of bean poles in a tripod formation style.

As frost is still on the cards for a few weeks I planted them (chitted end up) about 4 inches deep and earthed up the soil around them which will help protect them from any cold snap. The super extra earlies I planted a few weeks ago in the cold frame are steaming on, I swear I am raising the thing with row of extra bricks each week. There’s a log wedged at the back of it now to raise it up even higher. They are doing brilliantly and it’s not even the end of April yet!

Lazy wednesday afternoon

I’m off work this week as it’s the kid’s half term and spending a bit of time doing some DIY on the house. I started early on the painting this morning so I could treat myself to a bit of gardening if the weather perked up in the afternoon, which it did!

Between the April showers I “tipped about” with the hoe, cut the grass and sowed some courgettes and french climbing beans “under cover” aka a jam jar and having ran out of plastic seed labels improvised with a bit of wooden moulding (found in the street last week) and a saw!

I even had to raise the glass on the cold frame made out of the old window as the super early spuds are tearing away. It’s not ideal so I’ll be wrapping them up in fleece while the threat of frost is about and move the frame elsewhere. It’s certainly working well for the spuds and the biodynamic malarky seems to be helping too!

Everything is starting to take off now what with the combination of the sunshine and the showers. The raised bed made out of the scaffolding boards has been filled with plants and in front of that is the salad bed and the seeds sown there are starting to germinate. I ran out of fence protector so need to purchase another couple of tins and the second raised bed needs filling too. This gardening lark, it’s never ending!

A touch of the twirlies

Year ago when I worked as a postman in Coventry, if you were ever late back to the office after the first post your workmates would jibe you with the line “did you get the bus back with the twirlies?” Back then, pensioners could ride the buses for free after 9.30am but you’d get the odd one trying their luck at twenty past using the phrase “am I too early?” (sounds like ‘twirly’ in midlands twang) if ever a jobsworth bus driver gave them the knock-back.

Talking of twirlies, a couple of weeks ago I sowed a couple of seed potatoes in the cold frame and they are now on their way. I’ll have to keep them under cover until the risk of frost has passed which might mean raising the frame up a bit as the plant grows but it’s worth the trouble for those early spuds. I do like a home-grown potato!

On the biodynamic calendar it was a “flower” day today so sowed some Borage and Foxgloves in trays on the kitchen windowsill. I transplanted some hardened off Morning Glory seedlings into the new raised bed, putting some jam jars over them just in case the weather gets cold again (which it might) and also moved some self-seeded Poppies from around the garden in there too.

This is a very busy time in the garden now, preparing for the season to come and to get a bit of a head start on yourself, so sometimes it does pay to be a bit “twirly”!