And they’re off!

Spring may be springing or maybe not but we’ve got in and sowed some seeds in the propagator on the windowsill. We’ve done some miner’s lettuce, giant sunflowers some tomatoes and some chillies along with some rows sowed outside (we’re pushing our luck but having a try anyway, what we got to lose?)

Years ago we bought some wild garlic bulblets on ebay and they’ve popped up yet again down the shady area behind the pond and are kept safe under the watchful eye of a plastic dalek. And the second lot of the giant garlic we bought is starting to peep through the inch or two of the leaf mulch in the raised bed. We don’t know if it’s the plastic protection on the top that has helped or the the fact that one of the Weeds cats spends a lot of time sleeping on top of it! Who knows but something is working!)

And here’s some spring inspired dubs to get those plants on their way.

Garlic update, garlic update

We took the protection off the raised bed this afternoon so we could pop the foxgloves in pots in there. No idea if the cold nights will knock them for six but we’ll take a chance. When we took the frame off we were chuffed with what we saw of the giant garlic. They’re starting to make a break for it.

Garlic for Eno’s waterlogged garden

We obtained more Giant Elephant Garlic bulbs off ebay this week and actually put it in the ground even though it’s January and God knows what the weather will be like in the next few weeks. We’ve put them in raised beds without protective covering over them but we may change that situation over the next few days, who knows.There’s protection from the squirrels with the wire shelves from an old mini plastic greenhouse over both beds and more leaf mulch. Fingers crossed they’ll be okay over the winter. Viva la garlic again!


Take a chance on me

We’ve all heard stories of keen gardeners on seeing the sun in the early months of the year getting the seeds out or travelling to the local garden centre to buy plants. Then come the day after the seeds or plants have been put in, the weather changes and then there’s a frost.

We’re not immune to it here at Weeds even though we know the risk. Over the last week we’ve had nice sunny days so took a chance to stick a couple of the seed spuds in the raised bed which has protection from some plastic and another couple under some old seed propagator tops weighed down so they don’t get blown away by the cold winds. Fingers crossed if we get snow they may be protected. It’s worth taking a chance, you’ve only got a couple of seed potatoes to lose if the weather gets too cold. (Please) roll on spring.


It can’t be June already!

It’s all gone a bit bonkers in the garden here what with the good weather of late plus the combination of the rain we had a few weeks previous to that. The veg in the raised beds (above) are tearing away and the spuds are almost flowering.

We’ve let the grass go a bit wilder due to No Mow May and we’re beginning to like the idea. I think it’s the council gardening background made us a bit reticent to let the lawn grow more than a few inches. The only thing is now that we can’t see where our old cat leaves its “presents” so we have to go by smell and tread very carefully in the evening.

The pond is going great after the big pond liner change. The fish seem to like it and we’ve even got tadpoles in there now and we didn’t even spot any frogspawn beforehand. We were told many years ago by a workmate that down the Walworth Road one Sunday in the 1960’s “It rained frogs” (a report of raining frogs in Croydon here), perhaps it could’ve been raining tadpoles overnight in Forest Hill recently?

And the bed next to the new fence has come alive with new plants procured from the market, garden centre and seeds off ebay and friends. The comfrey plants that usually go mad have probably been checked when the fence went in so the comfrey feed has suffered so far but you never know as we’ve got a few months yet. But can you believe that it’s really June? We cant.

Whilst we’ve been writing this, the below was the musical background. One of the best music shows on the shortwaves!

The weather it is a-changin’

Wow, it’s December can you believe? No wonder it’s freezing out there and the rest of the week looks like it’s going to be getting colder. We’ve heard from our gardening pals in Cincinnati  (Cheers Justin!) and Freiberg, Germany (Cheers Jazz’min) where they’ve had their first dusting of snow so I doubt it won’t be long until we’ll get some.

Those dahlias were still looking fine last weekend but we reckon it won’t be long till the frost comes and blackens the plants when it will be time again to dig them all up and stick them somewhere frost free and dry for the rest of the winter, keeping an eye out for any rotting or mouldy tubers while they’re in storage.

We can’t complain as those spikey orange ones have been great this year, flowering right up until we last looked so going to the effort of digging them up and storing them indoors is a small price to pay for a few more years of the same.

And the nice plastic looking pink variety we were given this year was great too (cheers Marc).

And the beds in front of the Dad corner (that has been productive this year thanks to the new raised beds) have been tidied up a bit and now ready for the winter. In the pic you will notice a couple of cabbage stalks that we left when we cut the leaves off them. Not sure if it will happen over the winter but usually when you cut them off like that, the leaves grow back again. Value for money or what?

This is a pepper

We filled some of those raised beds a bit tight at the beginning of lockdown and it’s starting to look a bit like a jungle in some of them now. Perhaps it wasn’t the correct way of using them what with all the plants fighting for space, soil and water. In the raised bed (below) we’ve two tomato plants and a load of peas at the back, a lettuce and two cabbages in the middle row and in the front row either two chilli peppers or more than likely two peppers PLUS some spuds. Can we put anything else in there? Talk about square metre gardening!

With raised beds they do tend to dry out easily so we’re forever giving them a water during the morning. The great Joe Maiden would say never water at night as the slugs and snails would be attracted to the moisture and suggested always early in the day is best for watering and we’ve also started giving the raised beds a comfrey feed once a week too.

The peppers or chillies or whatever they are, are flowering (top and bottom pics) and there’s some mini-fruits too! We love those raised beds!

About the weather (in June)

Weatherwise it hasn’t been the best week this week but tonight looks like it may be taking a turn for the better as we had a little bit of warmth and even a hint of the sun an hour ago. It was nice to be out there.

The raised beds (below) have been doing great, there’s all sorts of stuff in them, spuds, carrots, beetroot, cabbages, tomatoes and even peppers. Talk about square metre gardening and sticking in as much as possible! They’ve come on a long way since that first week of lockdown when the local shop had the 3 spuds per person rule that made us think that we must obtain some seed spuds and any packs of seeds we could get our hands on.Now we’re off the furlough we’re only spending the lunchhour and after work gardening and much of the big work was done when we were off. Once you get a good headstart on yourself, gardening gets a lot easier but it’s getting that start. We managed to keep the bed on the right hand side (below) a lot tidier than usual and even stuck in some tomatoes, cabbages and spuds amongst the flowers. The comfrey we use daily, pulling off massive handfuls to stick in the compost heap and for putting in holes before we transplant something. That keeps the comfrey under control as it can swamp everything if it gets its way!

Something we forgot to do on most of the tomatoes was to pinch out the sideshoots of the variety we have, so the plant can put all it’s goodness into the trusses on the main stem. We’ve been through all of the plants now and there was only one that had two stems but that doesn’t matter, we’ll keep it as “an tomato experiment”. More on sideshooting tomatoes here.

And talk about best laid plans and all that, this bed below was supposedly going to be rested this year and was going to be full of the Thompson and Morgan wildflower seed mix. Well we sowed them at the back with the borage and we’ll see what happens. Can we now have the sun back please? It is June.

And here’s a wonderful piece of music to welcome the sun back when it does finally return from the great Blundetto called Paseo. Tune!

What did YOU do in your lunchtime during the great corona virus?

In 60 minutes how much gardening can you really do especially when you got to wolf down some tuna pasta first and then wash the bowl?

We managed to tack some clear plastic sheeting onto the top of the two empty palettes that were sitting around waiting for compost which have now gone on top of the raised beds. We also put in two more spuds and brought out into the sunlight the seed trays that have some cabbages, tomatoes and peppers in them in an attempt to “harden them off”. Talk about the genre called “speed gardening”!