Monday, 30 April 2007

Lack of water

It's only April (just) and I'm already decanting water out of the bath onto the garden. Second time so far. Saving the rainwater for the vegetables but the garden is looking so dry and parched already. The lawn which got mowed this weekend already looks much as it does in July.

The early sunshine is all very nice but not so good for the garden. Just my luck that I've decided to have a more productive patch this year and it's the driest so far.

Determined to get some pears on my pear tree this year as in previous years I've lost most of the pearlets (?) to wind or lack of water.

Sunday, 29 April 2007

Plant and sow

I took a quick look at the lunar planting calendar this morning having heard great things about how it can improve the success rate of planting, propagation and cropping. Not going totally by the book (as I don't have one) but will see if I can follow the principles.

That said, today's effort ...

Planted up two courgette plants in a mixture of well-rotted (and pretty old) manure, bonemeal (ditto) and home-grown compost.

Tomato plants - Sungold and Ailsa Craig planted up in a grow bag.

Seeds planted - runner beans, mangetout, butternut squash.

Lawn mown, weeding, topped up the pond, shed cleared out a bit - found the mouse that has been hiding away in there and eating the birdseed.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Shopping spree!

Off to the garden centre this afternoon and stocked up on grow bags. Have also bought:

Tomatoes - Ailsa Craig, Sungold and Sweet Million.

Courgette - love growing these but don't have much success as they're thirsty and hungry plants.
Cucumbers - standard long, straight greenhouse variety but it says you can grow them outdoors
Aubergine - wasn't on my shopping list but they were in a multi-pack with the above two, so I thought why not!

Strawberries - Cambridge Favourite - supposedly, juicy, full of flavour and disease resistant, if the birds don't get them.

I also dug out my packs of seeds from the shed earlier this week - viability dubious but I'll plant them up and see what pops up.

Soft Fruit

Already planted up:-

Rhubarb, blueberries - two plants and a gooseberry offshoot.

The rhubarb and blueberries I bought at the beginning of April and have planted up in containers. The blueberries are already in flower and looking pretty healthy. I'll need to cover them in netting to keep the birds off any fruit when it appears. The gooseberry was not much more than a twig which I brought back from friends I stayed with over Christmas. It had a small bit of root and amazingly it was sprouting this spring, so it's also been planted up in a larger terracotta pot. I'm not expecting any fruit from it this year as it's so small but you never know.

The rhubarb was looking a little worse for wear after the Easter weekend but recovered with a good watering and is now growing well.

Thursday, 26 April 2007


OK, I know you're supposed to plant these in the autumn for the best bulbs but I thought I'd plant a few bulbils and see what happens. I've planted out six in three different areas of the garden - two in full sun and one in partial shade.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

In The Beginning

Having recently returned from a trip to Slovenia, I'm feeling even more inspired to turn my humble garden into a productive area. Most of the villagers have their very neat vegetable gardens close to the house. I'm not sure I could take on a full blown allotment and they're in such high demand these days but have often planted tomatoes, courgettes and a few salad vegetables over the years.

This year I want to plant even more, so that I have a good supply of vegetables and maybe even fruit throughout the remainder of the year. I intend to outline my progress in this blog with information on what I'm planting when and how I get on. I'm not going to grow any major crops but want to plant fairly intensively and productively.

I live in Sussex so the soil is pretty chalky but enriched with my own home-made compost which gets all the prunings, weedings, clippings and cuttings from my garden as well as all the vegetable waste from the kitchen. Waste not want not. Last year I gave most of one heap to a friend for his allotment as I didn't need it all. He grows a huge variety of fruit and vegetables, so I'm not even going to try and compete on that scale. I have a double compost bin and cleared out one side earlier this year by giving most of it to a neighbour and shifting the rest into two large dustbins. One side of the composter was filled a few weeks ago and is now being left to rot down and the other side is filling rapidly but fortunately settles down just as quickly.

There's a large population of slugs and snails with which I'm going to be competing. I expect to be battling with them most of the year as well as the visiting cats, which take great pleasure in using any new areas of soil as their toilet! However, I'll be using environmental pest control as much as possible.

I've been reading a few articles about square foot gardening, so my idea is to have a 3ft x 5ft square (ok, rectangle) as the main veg growing area, maybe some smaller squares and several pots. The garden faces east and gets sun for most of the day from early morning until about five or six in the evening. The patio area where most of the pots will go is in sun until early afternoon - around 2pm.