After all the work that we’ve been doing, we decided that we were due a much needed break. We decided that a long weekend in the Lake District would be the perfect way to unwind.
Freshly unwound, we’re ready to really hit the garden this weekend (so long as it stays fairly dry).
The garlic that we planted hasn’t done anything, so I think we will need to decide to do something different with those squares. I bought “Grow Your Own” magazine to read while Steve was driving home from the Lake District and it came with free fennel seeds, so I might try these in the garlic squares.
We have tried to grow 32 tomato plants this year, so far, and of those, only one has sprouted. I’m going to try planting some more this weekend, and really keeping my fingers crossed. It’s so disappointing after we ended up with so many tomatoes with really trying last year.
On the plus side, the spinach, lettuce and rocket are all doing well so at least we should have some salad in the summer.
Also, the first early potatoes are nearly at the top of the potato bags and the second early and maincrop potatoes are doing well too.
Unfortunately, I’ve been busy with work at the moment, which has left not much time for gardening and even less time for blogging.
Luckily, the garden has been doing fairly well with little involvement from me.
The first early potato plants have nearly reached the top of the potato bags and the second early and maincrop potato plants are doing pretty well aswell.
The strawberry plants have a couple of flowers already and so it is looking hopeful that we will get some strawberries this year. The raspberry plants are looking good as well.
We bought two patio cherry trees a few weeks ago and these are doing well.
The plants in the vegetable patch and the cold frame are having varying results, which I will talk about in my next post, which hopefully won’t be too far in the future!
Spring is finally here and it has brought some fantastic weather with it. It’s been 20 degrees here – we even managed a bit of sun bathing at the weekend!
We haven’t planted anything new in the garden yet, but the potatoes are doing well. They have reached 7cm above the initial soil level, so this weekend I will be adding some soil into the potatoes bags.
The courgette, broccoli and leeks are doing well in the cold frame. I am considering whether to repot the courgette into a bigger pot in the coldframe in case the weather turns cold again or whether it will be OK to plant it in the terracotta pot outside this weekend.
I have just seen Ed at Garden at 8505 ’s potato tower. It would definitely be an idea that I would “borrow” if we had some more space in the garden.
I forgot to include in my last post that I also planted potatoes last weekend in the potato bags that I bought at the same time as the potatoes.
They’ve been planted on a 5cm layer of compost and then covered with another 5 cm of compost. The idea is that as the shoots begin to appear, more compost is added until the plants and the compost reach the top of the bag. Once they reach this point, they are left to finish growing until the potatoes are ready to eat.
I’m looking forward to a freshly dug up baked potato in the summer!
The other exciting news is that a couple of garlic bulbs that I planted in the raised bed are showing shoots above the soil now! I am hoping that the garlic that I planted recently in the vegetable patch and the garlic that I planted in pots in the autumn will keep us stocked up with garlic for most of the year.
This weekend, I finally got to start planting in the raised bed.
First I added some compost, then I screwed eyelets into the raised bed at one foot intervals and tied string between them to mark out my square feet.
I had been hoping to move the carrots and parsnips that I started in modules into the raised bed, but there was no sign of any seedlings, so I planted some seeds directly into the bed instead. I planted one square of carrots (16 seeds) and one square of parsnips (9) seeds).
I was also planning to plant three squares with garlic, but one of the bulbs had rotted, so I only had enough for two squares. I decided to plant half of the spare square with pak choi (2 plants) and half with beetroot (4 plants).
I moved the onions that I started a while ago into the raised bed – 2 squares each of red onions and white onions, with five plants per square.
Other seeds that I planted into the raised bed were:
- one square of spinach
- half a square of lettuce (2 plants)
- half a square of rocket (2 plants)
- one square of peas (8 plants, planted in two rows)
I am also planning on using three pots for growing courgette, broccoli and leeks, so over the weekend I spread the broccoli and leek seeds in a seed tray and planted the courgette seed into a small plastic pot to get them started.
I also planted six varieties of tomato into modules which are now in the cold frame. These will be moved into the raised bed later in the year.
My onions were still not quite looking right at the weekend so, as the weather was quite spring-like I decided to put them in the cold frame to see if more sunlight would help.
Unfortunately, this morning we’ve had a frost. I didn’t get chance to check the onions this morning, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that they are doing OK.
There’s still no sign of the carrots, parsnips or peppers but I am hoping that the warmer weather will hurry them up.
I am now two weeks later than planned for planting the garlic, but I should finally get it planted this weekend.
We have been considering how to protect our vegetable from the cats this year.
Last year the cats enjoyed sitting in the raised bed and eating the sweetcorn leaves. While this didn’t cause any problems for the cats, and I think the sweetcorn would have failed whether it had been chewed or not, we would prefer to keep the cats off the vegetable patch.
We achieved this last year by building a huge frame out of garden cane which we covered in netting. The netting was then held down at the bottom by threading twine through both the net and some eyelets that were screwed into the side of the raised bed. This did keep the cats out, but it also made it difficult to get the frame off for weeding and harvesting.
This year we are trying to design something that makes it a bit easier for the humans to get to the vegetables, but that still keeps the cats out. Our current thoughts involve a wooden frame with panels that can be individually removed when we want to access the plants. The plans will need some refining, but we are hoping to get building this weekend.
My other job for this weekend is to start of some parsnips and carrots. I am planning to put them in modules in the coldframe as the temperature is much higher now than it has been for the last few weeks and if the temperature does drop, they can be temporarily moved into the house.
In other vegetable news, the potatoes that started chitting last Sunday are already showing some tiny shoots and the onions are still growing but they still aren’t looking to healthy. I am considering whether to start some more onion seeds off, just in case these ones don’t work.
There’s no space in our vegetable patch for potatoes, we we’re going to grow them in bags on the patio.
We went to Webbs on Saturday and bought three potato growing bags and got a fantastic deal for seed potatoes – 10p per seed potato.
We chose Ulster Sceptre first earlies, Marfona second earlies and Ambo maincrop. As we have only ever grown potatoes by planting supermarket potatoes that have sprouted before we’ve eaten them, so didn’t have any prior preference for certain types. We made our decision based on what the potatoes are best for – we usually bake or roast potatoes, rather than boil or mash.
The onions are coming up well now, but they are flopping over, rather than standing upright, which I though could mean that they aren’t being watered enough. However, they are developing a white fluffy mould on the surface of the soil, which could mean that it’s too damp. If anyone has any suggestions, I would be glad to hear them!
After seeing a garden plan done by MarcelleDanielle on growveg.com, I though I would have a go at putting in my own plan for my vegetable patch, and this is how it turned out:
I was particularly impressed that they have a square foot gardening option, so that you can turn off the “number of plants to a row” and have “number of plants to a square foot” instead. These are given in the top left hand corner of each square.
The number of plants to a square agree with most of the plans that I had already made, but the number of onions per square is much higher than I had planned.
I will probably experiment to see how many I can get away with squashing into a square.
This site is also useful because I am considering putting my name on a waiting list for an allotment, so I have been using it to get an idea of how much I would be able to grow in all of the extra space that I would end up with.