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What have you done in the garden today?

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Post by Ploshkin on 4th June 2014, 9:02 am

Yesterday I finally managed to get something into the garden. I sowed carrot seeds and put in a couple of courgette plants that have done very well in their pots. I had to buy some brussel sprout plants because germination of my seeds has been pathetic & left them by the shed overnight & found that a huge slug had decimated half of them (unless it can swim it is now an ex slug).
I seem to be failing completely so far with peas & beans, inside & outside.

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Post by Ploshkin on 11th June 2014, 9:25 am

I've managed to get all the stuff in the garden that I've been trying to, there's just a few squash plants left that are still hardening off.
I planted out the very few mangetout that I finally got to germinate in cells.  I've put some runner & French beans directly into the ground.  Brassicas are all in surrounded by a ring of slug pellets (I'm thinking of trying nematodes) also some spinach beet & parsley that germinated in the GH.  I also put some winter cabbage seeds into a seed bed - I've never not started them in cells but will see what happens.  I'm hopeless at getting my cabbage timing right, I usually end up with a glut of cabbages in the middle of the summer.
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Post by Dandelion on 11th June 2014, 10:32 pm

Ploshkin wrote:I've managed to get all the stuff in the garden that I've been trying to, there's just a few squash plants left that are still hardening off.
I planted out the very few mangetout that I finally got to germinate in cells.  I've put some runner & French beans directly into the ground.  Brassicas are all in surrounded by a ring of slug pellets (I'm thinking of trying nematodes) also some spinach beet & parsley that germinated in the GH.  I also put some winter cabbage seeds into a seed bed - I've never not started them in cells but will see what happens.  I'm hopeless at getting my cabbage timing right, I usually end up with a glut of cabbages in the middle of the summer.

Me too - usually in the hottest weather when no-one wants to eat cabbage (and there's only so much coleslaw anyone can eat...)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 12th June 2014, 7:46 pm

I've just sown another row of peas. That leaves just the celeriac and leeks to go out, then I'm done ! The weather is finally looking like summer, and things are starting to grow at last  grow 
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Post by Dandelion on 12th June 2014, 8:58 pm

Planted out my last climbing French beans, in among the broad beans as they haven't cropped yet. I only had two long canes for the last cane pyramid, so one cane is a lot shorter and it looks a bit odd, but needs must...when you have a free half hour and the weather's good, the planting has to go on!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 13th July 2014, 9:21 pm

Dodging the rain today. Planted out more cabbages at the allotment, weeded, and picked some broad beans for dinner. Then it started to rain, so I came home and dug some potatoes to go with them.

I've had a pile of pyrecanthus cuttings waiting to be disposed of for a while - it was blocking access to the compost heap. I also had an apple tree which has been a model of unproductivity for ten years since I planted it - my mistake really, I tried to grow Blenheim orange, a partial tip bearer, on a dwarfing rootstock as a cordon. Which means that you end up pruning next year's fruit away to keep it small. So out it came, and joined the pyrecanthus trimmings in an encounter with the shredder. Just got done before it started to rain again - so quickly put it on the compost heap with some kitchen waste, wood shavings and some corrugated cardboard in the form of empty wine boxes - which seem to appear like magic  :drinkwine 

Oh yes - not all that apple wood went through the shredder. Some bigger bits are set on one side to use for Smoking some Jalapeno chillies.
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Post by Ploshkin on 14th July 2014, 10:04 am

I managed to get into my sorry looking carrot bed yesterday. Germination has been very patchy & despite covering the bed with a net tunnel one of the cats still finds new & interesting ways to sleep on the seedlings. I could also see up close that the slugs had been joining in with the mayhem. A bit unorthodox, but I transplanted the thinnings into some of the gaps - I've done that before & it worked ok. I reseeded the other gaps with an early variety which has a short growing season so hopefully the carrot stocks won't be too low this winter. Parsnips are a total no show this year (fresh, saved seed).

I transplanted winter cabbages into their final positions and thinned the pak choi. Brassicas are looking good at the moment, I put a butterfly net cage over them this year but have actually seen hardly any cabbage whites so far.

The pea & bean section is desperately slow, I can see a single mangetout starting to form. In the squash section the Uchiki Kuri are racing away again - they were a big success last year, the butternuts are slow but look healthy.
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Post by Chilli-head on 14th July 2014, 10:18 am

I have a parsnip ! Just the one left from a row, resown twice. I've given in for this year.

We seem to have quite a lot of butterflies about this year - I assumed it was a good year for them. My beekeeper friends also all seem quite happy this yesr with new swarms of bees landing on their doorstep. My FIL is trying to find an accomplice with a bee suit to help him get some of the honey out of his hives before the bees start to rest on theit laurels, so as to speak !
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Post by freebird on 14th July 2014, 7:51 pm

You two are starting to make me glad I'm not doing much veg this year! My courgettes are doing very nicely thank you, but the runner beans are covered in flowers that aren't being pollinated. No sign of a bean at all.

Still concentrating on the rest of the garden. About three weeks ago I sprayed weedkiller over an entire area that has become badly infested with bindweed. I hate doing this, but most of the roots go into the footings of the patio, or under next door's fence, so is the only way I can hope to control it. Just cleared all the dying greenery away, so the soil is pretty much bare now. I intend leaving it for the rest of the season and blatting any perennial weed that dares show itself. Hoping to work on the area over winter and plant in spring.
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Post by Dandelion on 14th July 2014, 10:24 pm

This sounds like a nationwide thing - my beans are doing nothing in particular as well. The runner has a few flowers, but I think it's too dry for the beans to set, and the two varieties of climbing French beans are only just beginning to have flowers. The peas were fine, but I planted them quite early in flowerpots in the cold frame, then transplanted them in the Spring.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 15th July 2014, 11:33 am

I expected a difficult year this year with pests surviving the mild winter. But I think we need a dose of positivity in case FB or anyone else is put off growing completely by our tales of woe ! SO, some things are looking good for me - the sweetcorn and pumpkins are growing well now - they are not much troubled by most of our local pests anyway. I don't normally expect to have french beans for a while yet, but the beans for drying at the allotment are well up their canes and flowering well. Respectable results from strawberries and rasberries, and a lot of apples on this year - I'm hoping to press some for juice. Early potatoes (Charlotte) have come out nice and clean despite my worry about the slugs. And the greenhouse stuff seems good - just eaten a salad of tomatoes, cucumber and lettuce with oregano in the dressing. Ah yes, my dried herbs are restocked ... there seems to be some magic about hanging them up in the shed - they dry perfectly and the flavour if anything intensifies.

So not all bad  Smile 
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Post by freebird on 15th July 2014, 4:00 pm

It would take more than that to put me off growing veg, CH! It's been hard to step back from it, but I so much want to get the rest of the garden looking reasonable, something has to give. I'm probably going to do the same next year too, as I have other weed problems in the veg beds that I need to get under control. At the moment I'm just covering most of the space in thick black plastic, until I can attend to it.
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Post by Dandelion on 16th July 2014, 10:09 pm

With CH's words about positivity ringing in my ears i went out to water the garden, and discovered that in fact the Kew Blue beans are setting pods nicely. Just goes to show that it's true, that French beans and runners need quite different conditions. The Kew Blue came from the seed swap one year - they're really beautiful with dark leaves, purple flowers and dark pods. Thank you whoever put them in.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by TamaraNicole on 31st July 2014, 8:42 pm

I don't know what kind of weather you guys have been having, but we are getting rain and more rain.
Today was sunny so out in the garden for most of the day but i seem to only be cutting branches and pulling out plants. 2 squashes gone. They all have been looking like a jungle so had to go see what was happening. Started cutting so as to leave 3-4 fruits on each of them. There were 6. 1 had nothing other then leaves -out. Another was looking bad, smelling like mushroom and the only fruit were gone bad -out!
The chili that was amongst them had no more light thanks to those giganormous squash plants so he got moved away.
My tomatoes had huge branches with nothing else than leaves. Cut. Cut. Cut.

What a horrible feeling.

Have any you guys had mushroom in your soil? Should i be worried about it?
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Post by Ploshkin on 31st July 2014, 9:40 pm

I sympathise Tamara, the last 7 years in Wales have had really wet summers but at last we're having a good one here. The garden's growing well especially as I haven't watered it at all in the hot, dry weather. Rain tomorrow so I'm hoping to extract some honey without thousands of bees knocking on the windows.
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Post by Chilli-head on 3rd September 2014, 10:51 am

I went down to the lotty on thew way home from work yesterday and picked off a lot of sweetcorn cobs for dinner and to freeze whilst they are in top condition.  Very nice they were - I've been growing Lark for the last few years, it has a well deserved AGM.

Whilst there I did a quick scout around -  lots of carrots; too many pumpkins, looking promising for drying beans (Borlotti Lamon,  Greek Gigandes, flageolet Soissons) if the weather holds to dry them.  

But what pleased me most were my leeks.  I think I mentioned before that I normally sow them in modules but thought that the compost ran out of steam before they were ready to be planted out, so this year I tried the old fasioned way; sown in a seed drill in my sandy garden plot and then forked out carefully, wrapped in wet newspaper for the journey to the lotty whare they were watered into 6-8" dibbed holes (no trimming of top or roots - can't see how that would help).  So far they look much stronger and healthier than normal.  Very promising.  Looking forward to prasopita !
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Post by freebird on 28th September 2014, 9:18 pm

It's been a productive few days in the garden. Last year I completely cleared out a bed that was infested with bindweed. All this season I've been blatting the wretched things with weedkiller every time they dared show their heads. But I've had a lot of refugees in pots that have already done one winter, and loathe to let them go another, I've been replanting. And my neighbour has given me some plants too, so plenty to put in.

Also cut out some dead wood from my viburnum bodnantense. That's been shredded along with some bark from logs for burning, and makes a good mulch for the new planting.

And I've been planting up some large containers with shady plants, to hide the falling-apart fence.
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Post by Dandelion on 28th September 2014, 9:38 pm

That all sounds good FB. BY the sound of it we might be getting some windy weather at the end of next week, so your falling apart fence might appreciate something standing in front of it. We've finally had The Man round to work out an estimate for replacing our decrepid fence, but he's very busy and hasn't got back to us yet, so the fence will have to take its chances.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 29th September 2014, 12:12 pm

Well done FB - it's nice when something starts to take shape after a lot of preparation.
I'm going to take the plunge & try & sort out my overcrowded flower & shrub patch which has just got totally out of hand & impossible to manage. I've posted a picture of it below. I think I'll start by chopping down all the shrubs (the berberis is 10' high now) as they take up so much planting space & then try to divide the area up. It's currently a 36' square with the top corners cut off if that makes sense (a U shape) so I can't easily access the middle.
Here it is:
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Post by freebird on 29th September 2014, 12:16 pm

Crikey, Ploshkin, that's as big as some people's whole garden!
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Post by Ploshkin on 29th September 2014, 12:24 pm

I'm back again, I wanted to make sure the picture was actually there. The window is the one I am sat at in the office & I can no longer see past the shrubs to the bank opposite & I like to be able to see across when we have animals on the bank (lazy shepherding!) It's very pretty in spring & early summer, loads of primrose, daffs, snowdrops etc. Some nice hostas, hellebores, lupins & delphiniums & hardy geraniums. However it gets out of hand as the summer goes on & there is no room for planting any nice late summer flowers so there is no colour once the main lot are finished flowering. The bit by the house is permanently in the shade. I think I'm going to try & divide it up with some paths between & rescue as many plants as I can as I go along. I will try to leave things like hostas & hellebores undisturbed if possible. Any thoughts would be welcome.
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Post by freebird on 29th September 2014, 3:03 pm

I like Heucheras, especially those with patterned foliage. The flowers aren't showy, but the bees love them. I grow them more for foliage than flowers. They seem to put up with sun or shade providing they don't get too dry, or crowded out.

You might consider Rudbeckia or Echinacea for some late summer/autumn flower, Ceratostigma for its intense blue flowers and crimson autumn foliage. Japanese anemone are in full flower now - can be thuggish, but you can get varieties that are a bit more well-behaved. A Hydrangea would probably fit your situation. Although they are really summer flowering, the foliage can be very attractive in the autum.

How about some clumping (as opposed to spreading) grasses? I particularly like Miscanthus, and most grasses produce their flowers now, and carry them right through the winter.

If you can spare the time, get out to a garden centre and see what is flowering now. It will give you some ideas.
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Post by freebird on 1st October 2014, 4:53 pm

Today I planted my rowan tree at last. I saw it at the garden centre a couple of months ago, in the bargain section. I've been waiting for enough rain so that the tree went into moist ground, but still warm enough for the roots to start getting away.
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Post by Chilli-head on 17th October 2014, 4:03 pm

Well, not today but yesterday. I took the day off while the sun was shining, and pruned a tree in the middle of my garden. It looks to me like some kind of cedar, possibly Atlas, that has been kept in a shape far from its natural one. Whist is a mercy because it would be taller than the house otherwise. It still needs a double ladder to trim the top. One day, not that far away, it will be furniture Very Happy.

Anyway, the reason I mention it is that I tried out some new Japanese hedge shears I bought a litle while ago from Dieter Schmidt's Fine Tools in Berlin. A strange choice of retailer perhaps, but their prices are good, the Euro is not so strong and the delivery by DHL is only 10 euro. And they are brilliant. Sharp as can be, and stay sharp. Very neat result, and go through surprisingly thick stuff. I notice that there are other japanese gardening tools too - I could become a convert.

I also cleaned out the bird boxes - and to my astonishment one of them actually had a nest in it ! I relocated it last year because it had never been used. It is made from an old single bottle wooden champagne box, bought for our wedding um, ages ago. Must have been in an unappealing spot before. Still, this year it had a nest lined tidily with bits of old green carpet (don't know where they found that !) and the remains of one, pale pinkish buff egg with brown speckles about 20mm long. Blue tit, I presume.

Nobody wanted to use the box with the wireless camera in it, unfortunately Rolling Eyes
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Post by Dandelion on 17th October 2014, 10:54 pm

Bird boxes with carpet in? Very upmarket! (But what we would expect from someone whose garden tools come from Berlin!!) Have you used them for woodworking tools as well?
Well, here the main work in the garden is clearing up after the new fence went in at short notice on Thursday. (The first we knew of it was when we got back from work to find the fencing materials stacked by the side of the house!) He's done an amazingly neat job of it, and worked on it by himself, getting 85ft of fence completed in a day. Now it's the tidying up part - lots of ivy and other plant material and little bits of rotten wood to rake up. I worked on it for a big chunk of the afternoon, and filled three huge sacks with debris for the green skip at the tip, but still have about 2/3 of the length left to do still.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Ploshkin on 18th October 2014, 9:22 am

I put some wallflowers & bulbs in pots between heavy showers yesterday. I struggled to find wallflowers - garden centres are becoming a rarity here now, the remaining nursery about 10 miles away has just closed down. I did, however, discover a tiny little garden place tucked away next to the A40 near Llandeilo (that's 20 miles away) & what an oasis it is. The lady there is absolutely lovely & the plants were excellent quality & I couldn't believe just how much is packed in to a small but slightly rambling space. I will definitely be visiting again.

Ooh, I also have 4 stakes in the ground to mark the position of my much wanted polytunnel - a small step but a bit closer. I did have a man with a digger here last week but he got a puncture & when he brought the wheel back he had to take the digger away to bury a horse.
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