Greenhouse planting

Last weekend I was all geared up for a wriggle round the garden and looking forward to a fair bit of pottering and pruning. However, the weather had other plans. A glance out of the window told me that rain was back with a vengeance.

No matter though… earlier in the week, the other half had returned home brandishing gifts for me. Not flowers or chocolates – even better than that… an assortment of chilli seeds. Seeing that any outdoor jobs were well and truly scuppered, I trotted off down to the greenhouse for a planting session instead.

As well as the chilli seeds, I also sowed some peppers, courgettes, tomatoes and cucumbers. I’ve also sown a couple of trays of flowers to pad out the borders later in the year: larkspur, petunias and nicotiana.

In between the rain, there were a couple of sunny spells and it was amazing to see the temperature soar in the greenhouse from 14 to 25 degrees in just a matter of minutes. It will soon be time to remove the bubble wrap that’s insulating it, but I think I’ll wait until the end of April when the risk of frost should be much less.

There is further evidence (although sometimes it doesn’t feel like it) that the days are indeed getting longer. Mildred and Maud have finally got their act into gear, and for the first time this year we collected an egg from each of our chickens. True, they were a bit of an odd shape, but still they signify the start of the laying season. It’ll be cakes and quiche all round before you know it…

After the marathon planting session, the greenhouse bench is now chock a block with potential offerings, and I’m now spilling over onto the floor space. The leeks and onions are slowly but surely showing their heads, and the broad beans are positively bursting through the soil, looking healthy and strong.

Beans in toilet roll tubes

Beans in toilet roll tubes

I’ll wait until the beans are a nice manageable size, and indeed the soil outside dries out a bit before planting them into the vegetable plot. The spot I have earmarked for them is a relatively high bit of the garden, so should drain off and warm up over the next couple of weeks or so.

However, the middle part of the veg plot is currently still under water. Sitting on clay and having continual wet weather does not a good combination make. As we lost so many plants last year due to boggy soil, this year we have decided to install raised beds.

The other half has been rootling round on the t’interweb for some likely materials, and will be ordering some packs of pre-treated timber gravel boards very shortly. When they arrive, we’ll be after a long enough dry spell to construct them.

The Hinckley Times 21 March 2013

The Hinckley Times 21 March 2013


The start of summer?

Flinging open the blinds at the weekend,  it was great to see that our old friend the sun had decided to pop back and pay us a visit. With not a moment to lose, I dashed off into the garden before he changed his mind.

After all the rain, there were a gazillion and one jobs I could be getting on with. The greenhouse is overrun with plants which need moving on at some point, the weeds are taking over the universe, and the bean wigwams aren’t going to pop up by themselves.

First job was to plant out my sweetcorn plants that I bought from a garden centre last week for the unbelievable price of 10p a plant. I wasn’t planning on growing it this year, but they just jumped into my trolley when I saw the price.

Next, I set to work on the beans. The broad beans are looking rather pleased with themselves, and I think I may end up with rather more than I bargained for. Thinking that not all of them had popped up over winter, I shoved a few more in – and lo and behold, they seem to have taken the hint. I put a cane in at each corner of  the bed and wrapped some string around, to keep them in place.

On a roll now, I built a runner bean wigwam along a similar vein. First I put some black weed suppresant fabric down to (hopefully) keep the weeds out, the moisture in, and the soil warm. Next up came the canes, and before long I had myself two handy frames for the beans to climb up. I planted out the runners (slightly got the two varieties mixed up, but hey ho…).

Two bean wigwams

The borlottis can live in the  greenhouse for a bit longer,  as they’re still small. You may have noticed the peas romping away behind… we have a few tiny pods already, which is all very exciting. The last little jobs were to plant out some rudbeckia and nicotiana plants, and to mow the lawn. That all done, I’m pretty chuffed with how the garden’s looking at the moment…

From the house looking down

The pond and the veg plot

The fish look happy