As an amateur gardener I like use this Blog post to share some of my experiences - good and bad - as I continue to experiment with different crops and different growing techniques. On occasions I may also share some of my close encounters with the wildlife that I come across while tending my plot.

January 1, 2020
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Bird of prey visit to my garden

The amount of wild life activity in my garden continues to surprise me.

I happened to look out my window and noticed that my car appeared to have white fluff on the body work. Getting closer to the window I could see this sparrowhawk on my lawn with a wood pigeon it had obviously just caught and the white fluff on my car was from pigeon feathers.

Because this is something that you do not see very often I quickly grabbed my camera and took a number of photos and a short video to record the event.

Sparrowhawk

Video of the sparrowhawk feeding on the wood pigeon it has just killed – https://youtu.be/ZXof_eMERtI

December 17, 2019
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Winter in the garden

A short winter update on progress in the garden. The continuous rain is making it difficult to complete many tasks outside in the garden at the moment. However the one positive is that I am collecting plenty of rain water for the coming growing season.

So far my polytunnel has survived the high winds so fingers crossed it will still be in place come the spring. I have completed the set up of my experiment to grow strawberries in the polytunnel in a raised bed. Hoping this will give me an early crop and reduce the impact of mice and slugs on the fruit. Come the new year I will be looking to start off some seeds in the polytunnel and hoping that storing sensitive plants like my bougainvillea wrapped in fleece will prevent frost damage.

I had high hopes for my sweet potatoes this year. I decided to try growing them in grow bags for ease of harvesting. While they did produce many tubers it was obvious that the use of grow bag restricted the ability for the tubers to grow to any decent size. So may have another go next year but with larger bag.

One big plus this year has been the growing of peppers from plants. Although I have grown peppers from seeds in past they tend not to produce any crops that ripen beyond green. However this year I decide to go with plug plants from Marshalls. This has been successful and I still have some plants growing in greenhouse plus I have a prize sweet pepper that has turned red!

Red sweet pepper grown in my greenhouse from plant supplied by Marshalls seeds.

October 15, 2019
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My first polytunnel

As I get more and more successful with my plant growing from cuttings I need more and more space to keep the plants particularly those that may be a susceptible to frost as my small greenhouse is now getting very cluttered.

So I thought I would give one of these a go ..

Looking around I found an offer on Groupon that seemed to offer reasonable value and a decent amount of space. So I purchased one and without too much effort managed to get it set up. The frame and cover seem to be of reasonable quality. The only issue I have is that there are very few ties inside to connect cover to frame but I think I have found a way around that issue for now.

I have anchored down the frame with a number of bricks for now but if it survives the winter I may look a more robust option. As well as using for plant store I have plans to grow my strawberries in raised beds in the tunnel as well next year to see if it improves the crop. Fingers crossed for a relatively wind free winter.

August 19, 2019
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A good year for grapes.

Hoping for a good crop of grapes this year. All the research on best ways to grow and feed vines seems to have paid off this year. Still not sure what variety of grape I am growing but they definitely have an Italian connection. May just about get a bottle of wine this year :-).

July 11, 2019
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Summer fruits ready for harvesting

The first summer crops available in my garden. Strawberries, Raspberries and the first peas. The numbers of strawberries are down on last year but that may be because the plants are new. Noticed I am losing several to slugs and birds which is a shame. The golden variety of Raspberries are doing well and have a sweeter taste than the standard red. peas have done well and have received seal of approval from my granddaughter. However it does not take long for the plants to stop growing pods so not the most prolific of crops. Carrots are also starting to be ready for picking and have had my first early potatoes. Sweet corn looking good again this year so hoping for another good crop. Having to keep watering as we still have not had a great deal of rain and my lawn continues to suffer.