E28 – W16
Well Suze and l were pretty busy this weekend just gone and more so Suze in many respects as she had the task of planting out the seedlings – marrow, courgettes, cucumbers, French and runner beans whilst l managed the compost spinnings, weedings and shreddings.
Everything is going well, although l have run into a few small problems that require some additional thoughts –
1] Is a soil shortage – l am about 125 litres short of top soil and am now debating digging up and out a small section of my garden – quite possibly at the end of the compost bins and next to the established rhubarb plant. It’ll not be screened, but l can sieve it and that’ll make it slightly more beneficial to me.
Whilst l am a total supporter of raised bed gardening there are disadvantages to be experienced one of which is a potential lack of actual and natural surplus ground soil. I bought several bags of screened top soil at the start of the year and have used up all bar one 25 litre, which has now become almost a gold dust material.
2] The Coronavirus has made things awkward – l know how that must read – and it honestly isn’t meant to – what l mean is that plants, slips and thongs l ordered in January [long before lockdown] for arrival in the month of March were delayed and l was unable to cancel them due to all the administrations being haywire. I received emails informing me that plants were not arriving at the designated planting out times, only for them to arrive unexpectantly and much later than initially scheduled in.
These are NOT end of the world problems, but they are slightly irksome all the same.
The garden is really starting to take the shape of the 2020 season, and whilst last week we experienced cold winds and slight temperature drops, this week we are experiencing another mini heat wave. I do feel this may be the shape of the spring, summer and autumn months of 2020.
Here is the line up of all the garden sections and their current status.
2 – The Front Back Garden
Planted here are French and Runner Beans, Cucumbers, Long Marrow and Courgettes. The small black canvas fabric pots are awaiting the arrival of the sweet potato thongs. Due in last week but currently delayed. The small earthenware troughs at the front hold spinach and rocket.
Still to be planted into this garden are [#Sweet Potatoes] and Sweet Pea.
1 – The Patio Garden
Suze has now laid this garden out, but it is a herb and fruit garden and as of yet, the plants ordered for this section in January are still to arrive through the post. I did plant some herb seeds ten days ago and they are now performing pretty well in the greenhouse. Some of those will be transplanted to here … but l am not totally sure how this ‘garden’ will pan out this season with regards the other produce.
3 – The Main Beds
These 7 raised beds form the very core of the produce garden this year and have an abundance of vegetables planted to them and over the course of the next few weeks the photographs will display a lot [hopefully] of crop and colourful vibrancy.
Apart from the obvious Garlic many knew to be planted and growing here … we will see in addition the following produce harvests this year …. Kale, Radish, Fennel, Kohl Rabi, Purple Sprouting, Nasturtum, Marigolds, Nigella, Giant Parsley, Chives, Turnip, Giant Mustard, Sorrel, Leek, Beetroot, Spinach, Pak Choi, Wok Broc, Rocket, Spring Onions, Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard, Lettuce, Corn Salad, Wild Rocket and Chicory.
These are for the summer and autumn months and when they are removed, winter plantings will be sewn into their vacant rows.
4 – The Retreat
This small garden is just starting to show life from the seed plantings, but it also had some French beans planted to it on Sunday as well. The Horseradish thongs [my own plant] and the Rhubarb crown have/has just taken.
The two boxes are one box each dedicated to assorted Carrot varieties and the remaining box is for growing Celery. The Carrot box is doing well but the Celery trenches are not showing much of life at present – still early days though.
5 – The Bug Hotel
This garden is mostly flowers with some herbs – l planted to the containers and tubs and troughs …. Comfrey, Borage, Fennel, Parsley, Mixed Flowers, Nasturtum and Giant Parsley. I am looking forwards to seeing how this does … this part of the garden is quite sheltered so it will be interesting to see how it fares.
6 – The Shady
Again a mixture of herbs and flowers – such as Cutflowers, California Poppies, Corn Salads, Mixed Salads, Sorrel, Giant Mustard, Lupins and Swiss Chards. It will be interesting to see how this new section of the growing garden does this season also.
In the next week or so, l can remove the glass covering cloches and replace them with the low frames. I decided against building square frames to fit over the beds and opted to use netting where and when we could and then also to simply lay the old square foot gardening frames directly over the beds whilst the seedlings got bigger. Sometime this week l will staple netting onto the frames and this will act as further protection against birds but will still allow bees and other pollinators access to the crops.
Once all plants and crops have attained a certain height, covering will not be a huge issue and if it does still need it, then l will use netting similar to how l have protected the garlics.
Over the last two weeks also the next door neighbours have been giving me all their garden debris – this serves well as well as quirksome at times. It’s great getting someone else’s garden rubbish, but not all the rubbish is ideal – like the palm fronds which are a hard enough plant part to destroy anyway.
But l have found a use for them. Inbetween the end of the shed and my other neighbours garden is a small strip of limbo land. I have been slowly building this up with fronds, rocks, branches, twigs and bracken and every four inches or so sprinkling on a 5″ layer of both Strulch and shredded mulch to make a new wildlife habitat. It looks a mess above, but it is just awaiting a new layer of mulch but currently is about 12″ depth in mass.
This strip measures 8 feet deep by 18″ wide is set right next to the underside of the shed and close by to the bug hotel is an already known habit to some of my wildlife garden residents; hedgehogs, grass snakes, slow worms, frogs, toads and newts. These are all friendly residents for a garden to have and many are enemies to slugs and snails and any enemy to those two is a friend to me!
But l have welcomed the other debris from their garden, and this has aided me with keeping my hot composting heap seriously hot and allowing for a very nice and balanced burn. I will be starting a new compost series soon and it will hold the progress and processes of hot composting but also it will be introducing the new No Rules compost practice that l now follow in comparison and consideration to previous methods followed which were perhaps more conventional.
The new shredder ‘The Monster does a fantastically awesome job with shredding and doesn’t care what you feed it, just that you KEEP feeding it and don’t stop!
Green, brown, woody, mis-shapen, gnarled, slightly wet, damp, moldy – matters not to this beast! It reduces absolutely everything down to a manageable pulp that l then add to the bottom of the hot compost piles as they are being spun.
However more on this in the new series …
Additionally they have also given me their kitchen wastes which are added to my existing working pile – the heap that is still awarding me valuable compost every couple of weeks. So for this, well l can accept a few palm fronds, you know? But with their kitchen wastes and ours – it makes the working pile travel much further as well as allows me to continually build up my own winter worm farm and with the additional food scraps it means these worms are able to really attain good sizes.
My philosophy was to create this farm whilst l am hot composting and usually during this period the worms are below ground, however if they are in my farm, when it comes to winter composting, l can add these worms to that cold composting heap in November as an almost advance party.
In Other News Areas ….
Our existing Raspberry plant is doing remarkably well …
Ava the Avocado is now starting to sprout leaves and they seem to be healthy. So that is excellent news.
You can see behind Ava that we still have a lot of pots on the go filled with herbs, spinach, rocket, flowers, sunflowers, cucamelons and the list is quite long … but they are all growing pretty well. I add to these plantings with new seedings once every five days or so .. ensuring that we hopefully will have a continuous supply for the season.
Anyway, my thanks to you all for reading and l’ll catch you next week with the newest update from Project Garden and the next post for 366 Days of Gardening will be to wrap up the mini series concerning survival gardening.
Anyway, until next time,
Thanks for reading – Rory