Tuesday, 26 June 2007

And Even More Rain ...

Another downpour this weekend has given the garden a good soaking. Fortunately, not as much rain as they've had further north where they've had severe flooding. A couple of heavy showers and there's plenty of water to fill all the barrels and top up the pond.

Unfortunately the slugs and snails are now starting to have a go at the runner bean plants and two of them have been almost totally stripped. Hopefully the others are growing fast enough to withstand the onslaught - or the blue pellets will have to come out again.

The beetroot - such as they are - are growing well, even the chard is starting to look more chard-like but the carrots and radish are barely there - in fact I can't distinguish anything that looks vaguely like a radish seedling, so have given up on them.

Have now planted up a chilli pepper, cucumber and squash and will keep fingers crossed that they don't get devoured either. Out with the garlic spray again.

Saturday, 23 June 2007

Cheating ... (Just A Bit)

I've had to resort to a veg box this week, as obviously my veg is either getting munched, not emerging or not nearly ready for harvesting. A lovely selection of home grown veg turned up - surprisingly no courgettes but a lovely cucumber, pepper, spinach (complete with ladybird), beetroot, a few carrots and tomatoes.

I did however, pick my very first courgettes!

Wednesday, 20 June 2007

Rain At Last!

I've been expecting rain every day for about the last week at least. It's been forecast every day but other than a very light shower last week which hardly wet the ground - there's been nothing. The rest of the country has been deluged by rain with heavy flooding but nothing down here.

Last night we finally got rain a whole bin-full of it. Having emptied out the compost, I've now got an additional bin of water for the garden. More expected, so by the end of the week I'll have a full supply.

I've been watering every couple of days and now watering the courgettes daily as there are some good courgettes coming through on the plants. I always find the first ones are never that great until they get going.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Admitting Defeat ... At Least With The Beans

Well, I've finally give up on the idea of growing my own beans from seed and last weekend I bought a selection of plants to replace the failures, my 'Last Man Standing' finally got munched in the week. It was either that or miss out having anything this year.

Due to the restricted space within the one foot squares - it makes for a bit of a squeeze when planting. This is something to consider when creating your SFG in the first place and when planting it up. You need to be able to get to each of the squares fairly easily, so need access from all sides. Either that or practice your flexibility and balance by stretching across from one side to the other or standing on the edge boards.

It's now planted up with Runner beans and French beans I got from the Springwatch Event last weekend. It's a bit blustery out there, so they'll need a little persuasion to climb up the poles as they get started but once that's done, they should be off and climbing. I've got all of three beetroot seedlings and just three tiny carrot seedlings, oh and I think there's one Ruby Chard emerging.

I don't know whether it's just not been a good year for seeds, with a mix of sun, rain, wind and cold or if I'm just not good at seeds! I also realised that the purple sprouting broccoli haven't emerged either. Probably too late in the year to plant more of them now. I think I'll definitely start seeds off in pots first next time.

There are a few hopeful looking plants coming up in the salad trough, in the sections where I planted salad, rocket and spinach. Time for the next lot to go in to keep the succession going - not that there seems to be much for them to succeed.

There are two lovely new flowers on the larger of the courgette plants and lots of small courgettes coming through pretty quickly, so I'll be keeping an eye out for those pesky snails

I've had to move the tomato plants around. The Ailsa Craig was looking very sad so I've replanted it in a separate pot and replaced it with one of the rapidly growing seedlings of unknown variety. The two of them are looking far healthier than the one's I bought at the garden centre.

More snails collected and dispatched to the park.

Friday, 15 June 2007

It's War!

Last night I donned the tin hat and armed with a torch went on the warpath. With everything growing like mad, I need to protect my plants from further damage so some action was needed.

First pass - just 10 snails and four slugs, it was still early in the evening and not quite dark yet. One even had the temerity to be munching away at my hosta, having by-passed the copper tape, egg-shells and other barriers and obviously preferring the added piquancy of the garlic flavoured Nasty Niff spray. Most of these were lobbed over the fence onto the road. I wonder what the dog walkers must think the following morning, at all these semi-crushed snails lying in the road. Either that or they'll make a tasty morsel for a passing fox or badger on night patrol.

Second foray - yielded a good quantity of slugs in the slug pub - lots of big juicy ones as well as the small ones - a slightly greenish/yellow mottled array. However, this time there was a troop of snails stampeding up the sides of the SFG having ignored the band of vaseline (ok, it probably needs frequent replacing to keep being effective) and heading for my newly planted French beans. Now I'm NOT having that, having already lost the previous eight, so I'm afraid I resorted to the good old blue pellets. Liberally sprinkled around the SFG and the two courgette plants which are losing their flowers to the hungry hoards.

The final foray this morning when I returned from my run - yielded about thirty to forty snails - some had been attracted to the blue pellets and most of them were picked from the foliage nearby. I didn't quite have the heart to dispatch them in the water barrel, so having collected them in a large flower pot I've just taken them over into the local park on a central island of vegetation surrounded by grass and gravel paths, so less chance of them finding their way back - either into my garden or someone else's. Again, a meal for a fox, badger or thrush. Better that than making a meal of my garden.

Thursday, 14 June 2007


My strawberries are starting to ripen up - just a few of them starting to turn red and plenty left still to ripen. However, I think I'll be lucky to get a punnets worth out of them this year. Not bad at least it's one less to buy and less food miles getting from the door to the strawberry pot and into my mouth. There's a good chance they won't even make it to a bowl.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

A Good Night At The Pub

Well, for me. Not such a good night for the slugs! At least they died happy. I'm guessing feeding them to the birds might not be such a good idea.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Nasty Niff

I was helping out at the Springwatch Event up at Stanmer Park yesterday and came across a stallholder selling, amongst other things, something called 'Nasty Niff - Slug Repel'. Her own secret recipe which you spray on susceptible plants and they won't get eaten. Not sure it comes with a money-back guarantee but anything's worth a go.

Will report on it's success - first off that poor hosta which is still being eaten and then my veg patch.

It smells strongly of garlic - so there's a clue to one of the ingredients, oh and another one will be water, it comes in a 1.5lt container.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

June - What's Happening In Pots?

My courgette is in flower and looking pretty healthy. At least one of them is. The other is still growing and also has a flower but it's not looking as good. It's been plagued by black fly and I've been relocating a few of the newly hatched ladybirds (which are all over the garden) to have a quick snack - slightly gruesome to watch but I'm not that squeamish.

I've been watering them regularly since planting out, just to keep them as healthy as possible and ensure that suffering from a lack of water is not something they're goi
ng to succumb to. I'll also start feeding along with the water.

My tomatoes are sadly not looking that happy - probably doesn't help that they were battered by strong winds shortly after being planted and then drenched by rainfall so probably suffering from being water logged. The plant on the left is one that seeded itself when I planted up my blueberries and is the healthiest of them all. I have no idea what variety it is so will wait and see.

There's a tumbling tom version in a hanging basket which is currently hidden away behind the flowering current but is also looking healthy and has several flowers on it.

The blueberries have a reasonably healthy crop forming - not bad for the first year. The berries are still very green but just starting to turn a shade of blue. I have a few strawberries coming on nicely but again it's not exactly going to be a massive crop. I have no idea if the birds will venture this close to the house to share in the crop - depends how tempting they are. The gooseberry twiglet is growing well but it will be a while before it produces any fruit.

Thursday, 7 June 2007

A Lovely Pair

... of pears. The last of three remaining on my small fruit tree. Well, they've lasted longer this year than most of them do. Having been moved to a slightly more sheltered spot as the rest of the sets had dropped or been blown off in the wind earlier this year. I'm also ensuring it gets regularly watered. I can't remember having actually had fully grown, ripened pears from this for years.

Sunday, 3 June 2007

Last Man Standing

My one remaining French Bean plant. I'll try hard to preserve this one and hope that the replacement seeds that I planted out come up soon or I'm going to have lots of space in the square foot garden. I've just liberally sprinkled Slug Stoppa around it to stop the slugs or snails munching the poor thing to pieces.

The beetroot and carrot are finally poking through and there's a variety of seedlings in the chard, radish and salad plots but I haven't worked out what's what.

Still no sign of the runners and mangetout ...