Sunday, 20 March 2011

Deeds and seeds

Blimey, I'm exhausted! 4 hours out in the garden yesterday and another 4 today - what glorious spring weather we had over the weekend!  Doesn't it just make you feel like doing something outside? Whether it's working in the garden, like me, or going for a walk, or just sitting outside enjoying the warm sunshine - the sun makes us feel good; plus I certainly feel like I've had some exercise this weekend!

Sometimes I never know what I'm going to do in the garden until I actually stand in it. Yesterday I had the urge to finally erect the seed cloche/mini greenhouse.  It's been sitting in its box since I bought it last summer, waiting for me to decide where it should go.  With the everlasting rabbit problem, the best place for it is next to the raised beds inside the wire fencing. It was a good job I hadn't actually put the fence up yet; the area I'd marked out wasn't bit enough for the cloche to fit in.  As with every other structure in my garden, I had to dig a level area for it to go on. Oh the joy of having a garden on a slope!

Getting the ground ready for the cloch/mini greenhouse

I can't make my mind up about digging. I find it very therapeutic and in an odd way it relaxes me but - ouch! - it can be a back-breaking exercise sometimes.  Even with the 'bending knees and keeping the back straight' rule, after you've spent 4 hours digging increasing amounts of soil (my garden is on a slope) and trudging up and down the garden a few times with a wheelbarrow full of top soil, you start to make those noises which are a constant reminder that your'e not 20-something any more.  If they're not a big enough hint then the twinges at the base of your back certainly are!

Still, I got the job done in the end and the cloche dutifully erected. It's not quite finished; I need to go to the garden centre next pay day and get some gravel to go in as a 'floor' and to help with the drainage.  But I couldn't wait to start using it and promptly fetched my seed tray containing the cauliflower and leek plants and installed them inside.  Today, I re-potted the cauliflowers into small pots; they're big enough now to handle, but the leeks are still a bit too small and will stay in the seeds trays just a little longer. At the moment they're all sitting on straw which is not ideal I know, but it will help retain some of the heat inside at night for the time being.

Cloche installed and ready for use

Excited and revitalised by my new addition to the productive garden I went out this morning and bought more seeds:
  • Beetroot 'Rhonda' F1 (a sweet tasting beet)
  • Broccoli Early Purple Sprouting (easy to grow and hardy)
  • Broccoli Green Calabrese (easy to grow, yields in autumn of same year
  • Brussel sprout 'Nelson' F1 (produces high yield and has good resistance to being blown over)
  • Carrot 'Flyaway' F1 (easy to grow and resistant to carrot fly)
  • Chives (easy-grow seed mats, good for growing in pots on a windowsill or can be grown with carrots to keep the carrot fly away)
  • Dwarf bean 'Ferrari' (produces high yield, freezes well and is resistant to Anthracnose Halo Blight and Mosaic virus)
  • Lettuce 'Salad Bowl Red' & Green Mixed (good for beginners - like me!, loose-leaf, looks good in a border as well as a vegetable patch)
  • Marigold 'Boy-O-Boy Mixed' (French, easy to grow, dwarf plant, a good companion plant to tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli and squash but not beans)
  • Parsnip 'Countess' F1 (heavy cropper, resistant to canker)
  • Pea 'Hurst Green Shaft' (produces high yield, highly disease resistant, also good for freezing)
  • Perpetual Spinach (not Spinach but a leaf beet; a 'cut and come again' plant that tastes like Spinach but doesn't bolt; winter hardy)
  • Sweetcorn 'Incredible' F1 (produces very sweet large cobs, resistant to rust, freezes well)
  • Tomato 'Sweet Million' F1 (cherry tomato, grows well in a greenhouse or on a sunny patio, disease resistant)
By the way, in case you're wondering.......I got all the information about each plant either from the back of the seed packet or the internet.  Remember, I'm just a beginner at all this which is why I've selected many that are easy-to-grow and are disease resistant. I'm not brave enough yet to try the more difficult varieties.

So next week I'll be busy in the evenings sowing Chives, Dwarf Beans, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Sweetcorn, Tomato and Marigold seeds and filling up my back bedroom with the seed trays.  The rest I'll sow outside as soon as the fence is finished around the raised beds.

Talking of which, that was a job I started today.  I got the first 6 metres of the wire mesh fence up along the back of the beds. As usual, I was joined by the rest of the Tywardreath Highway Gardening Team; no sooner do I pick up a tool I hear that familiar sound "Can we help?".  It's not child-labour, honestly, they love helping! So they held the wire whilst I hammered in the staples. It looks very rough at the moment, I need to add another couple of stakes along the back and screw the posts to the garden fence and the raised beds to make them slightly more solid, but it's a start. When it's all up then I'll clip the top off and use it as a skirt around the bottom, buried under the soil. I know what you're thinking "Why didn't you bury the wire whilst you went along?"  Well, to be honest, I just wanted to get the fence started and when the girls asked if they could help it was easier to get them involved this way; the digging would have been too hard and I can do that myself later.  It least once it's done it should act as a deterrent against those damn 'wabbits'!

Starting to look like a proper growing area

Not exactly the Great Wall of China but it'll do the job


themanicgardener said...

Heavens you've been busy! I'm quite impressed. Our spring isn't nearly that far advanced, over here across the pond in Montana, but I do feel left behind.

BTW, you left a comment on my blog last October--and I'm only just now catching up and visiting yours. I'll be back.

Sensory Dragon said...

Hi Kate, Spring suddenly seemed to, well, spring itself on us here in Cornwall! It definitely feels like we've turned a corner and left Winter firmly behind. Finally! I'm hoping to get the fence finished soon so that I can start to sow seeds outside in the raised beds.

I remember reading your blog last year and was so sorry to hear about your father. But I love the photo you put up of him, he certainly didn't look his age and had a very determined look on his face. Dementia is a cruel disease. I meet so many lovely people at the care home where we're running the project, many of them are funny, intelligent people but lack the opportunity of social engagement. I hope this project makes a difference to that.

By the way, I tried to follow your blog but the 'follow' link wouldn't work for me. I'll remind myself to keep an eye on what you're up to 'across the water'!! Watch out for that Spring, it'll be on your doorstep before you know it.

All the best,