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.

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.
April 27, 2019
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Spring planting …

It has been a busy few weeks getting the soil prepared for the early direct planting and the seeds started in the greenhouse. Despite the fact we have a dry winter and still not much rain some of the salad crops I have put in – spinach and lettuce – are starting show some good early signs of growth.

In the greenhouse progress is also good. The sweetcorn, courgette and climbing french beans doing well. Tomato and pepper seedlings also starting to show.

Sweetcorn

Sweetcorn seedlings doing well in greenhouse heat, getting a good return on the seeds sown.

Courgettes

Courgettes coming up well but have had some issues with snail attacks so covering them up.

Climbing french beans

Climbing french beans also target for snails so having to cover them as well.

Apple blossom

Elsewhere in the garden the blossom is out on all the fruit trees. My ancient apples tree has a lot of blossom so hoping for another good crop this year.

Cherry blossom

The flowering cherry trees are also full of blossom but as usual as soon as the blossom appears along comes the strong wind and it is not long before the ground is covered in a pink carpet. Hopefully it will not last long so we have a bit more time to enjoy this colourful display.

February 11, 2019
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Combining seed growing and re-cycling

I thought I would have a try at a gardening tip I heard mentioned on a radio gardening program involving the use of cardboard tubing to start off seeds particularly parsnips. I have used a similar technique for growing leeks but never tried this particular process.

So I have been collecting to cardboard tubes from toilet rolls and other paper towel products. The longer ones I have cut into two equal lengths and generally this means they are roughly the same length as the toilet roll tubes.

So the first job was to collect the tubes together ready for the compost. I found that putting a small amount of compost in the bottom of a tray helped to keep them upright.

Then I filled each tube almost to the top with a mixture of seed compost and
vermiculite to help keep in moisture. Then I have placed a parsnip seed in each tube. I did consider putting more than one in each tube but thought I would give this a go and see how well they germinated.

I then covered over with some more compost and gave the whole collection a soak. So now in greenhouse and fingers crossed to see how we get on. I will continue to collect tubes and use for starting off some leeks plus a few more parsnips.

December 29, 2018
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Soggy Season

This is not the time of year when there is much that can be done in the garden as the ground is generally sodden from the amount of rain we have been having over the past few weeks. The one big gain however is that my water butts are full to the top.

The incredibly mild weather means I am still getting tomatoes from my plants in the greenhouse, I still have geraniums in flower outside and many of the spring bulbs are already pushing their way into the sunlight.

If there is little to do outside then now is time to start planning to next season. I have placed my order with Marshall’s but this year I have decided to go with purchasing plants for Peppers and Tomatoes as my seeds germinated late this year and I lost what could have been a good crop due to late maturity. Going to try again with sweet potato plants even though this year was disappointing again in terms of crop.

I think I might focus a bit more on soft fruit next year and I think I will move my blueberries back into tubs as they produced far less fruit last year having been planted direct into soil. Although it could be that they did not like being moved.