366 Days of Gardening! E31 – W19

A Guy Called Bloke Feature 366 Days of Gardening JPEG

Project Garden

“What Could Go Wrong?”

366 Days of Gardening Directory

E31 – W19

Introduction …

This particular season has been beset with challenges – and l was beginning to think the garden was jinxed …. but it isn’t jinxing! No it’s a combination of problems – organic and manufactured and created and to a certain degree deliberated too.

You will know that l am not the green ‘grower’ gardener from previous episodes of this series, my passion lies in the brown ‘compost’ gardening side so when Suze and l work the garden we have both areas covered pretty well. When l originally started this project 366 Days of Gardening …. life was different. Whilst the series began officially January 01st 2020 – unofficially it began way back in September of last year and l was pretty stoked by it all – very excited.

Despite problems that were already afoot – such as Suze being ill and not long out of hospital at death’s door and Scrappy in the eyes of the vets dying but in truth just going batty. Suze had been terribly ill from June through till October and was in recovery for the rest of that year.  I had worked in the garden in and on preparations for 2020. I had toiled with the compost and that paid off because l have an absolutely excellent system in place that is now set to produce a further 2 tonne of compost a year. I have produced since August of last year 1.5 tonne of workable compost and that has been laid into the ground and used successfully to fill all our containers and raised beds in the garden.

It also has an excellent Soil pH value to it .. what?

What is Soil pH?

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Ok, well Soil pH is basically an influencer to plant growth it introduces bacteria, nutrients, elements and structure. The best pH you can have is about 6.5 and l have achieved that.  6.5 is considered neutral it is neither too acidic or too alkaline. I have worked it beautifully this season. I mean plants will survive and grow in a Soil pH of between 6-7, so to have the balance right at 6.5 l think is pretty good. Soil pH changes all the way through the decomposition process and can vary between 6 – 8 and you as a composter can affect the way your decomposition process is managed. I pride myself on my ability to make compost.

Which is why l guess l am very passionate about that process more so than the green growing side.  That would be Suze’s department and Suze has indeed worked it!

366 was introduced as a way of helping Suze through the potential grieving process of Scrappy who sadly passed away in January. We both agreed the size of the garden last October and what would be planted. We were planning to grow vegetables all year for the table ….. it would be a great hobby for us both. What could go wrong?

Oh Well …. Quite a bit as it turns out!

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Even if you extract the emotional upheaval which drains your inspiration we have the other elephant in the room  … the Lockdown shambles!

It’s been a difficult season … the weather has been odd as well. I remember this time 2017 and the weather was different as in it was warmer. March 2017 had been an excellent month. I had planted early as per normal and nothing went wrong …. 2020 completely different situation. So far this month we have experienced arctic weather fronts, rain and heat, winds and hail and all have thrown the seedlings into turmoil of not knowing if they were coming or going.

Three years ago seedlings this time of year were thriving, three years later and same plants and seedlings are struggling and no matter what l do to try and salvage isn’t working. I am not alone in this blight or plight other gardeners are experiencing the same problems .. l suppose there is ‘some comfort’ even albeit it’s marginal!

Making everything even more damning and l KNOW l sound like a broken record, but plants – slips and thongs l ordered in the fourth weeks of January for delivery March and the fourth week of February for delivery April – so well before the UK lockdown [23rd March] nothing arrived, l received emails that said, sorry there would be delays of 1/2 weeks or they weren’t arriving and once the dust settled refunds would be issued … so l made other plans and plantings and BOOOOM what happens?? Things turn up. Some are in terrible conditions packing wise, or they are dying and you try and salvage what you can.

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Things l received emails on last month stating they would be here two weeks ago have not yet arrived and l am now getting slips and thongs that should have been here in April  arriving so the whole planting schedule is completely out of whack! Which when added to everything else can be quite disheartening.

However in the simplistic language of Socrates which is ‘shit happens’, l just try and get on with things as best as l can. Suze still helps, but is also losing some motivation for everything as well and so a two person garden is now at times a one person interest and that can be draining and time consuming – because that is gardening and if no enjoyment is being found …. oh well.

So … some things are growing remarkably well, some things are not, some are seriously struggling and some things will be a miracle if they get not just C but past A! So on that note … here is some of the garden this week!

This week, since Sunday we have had some lovely sunny days but it has been bitterly and bitingly cold. 

But first an Ava update.

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I am seriously impressed with Ava’s performace and endurability and survivability.  She has now got some wonderful growth on four of her branches from the main stem.

………………. I don’t know if Avacados are gregarious social plants but she has seemingly enjoyed the company of the seedlings.

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Despite remarkably grand growth in the greenhouse, the beans since transfer have really seriously struggled to grow and actual growth is minimal for both French and runner. But so too have the courgettes and the cucumbers struggled – l have NO idea what has happened here – but everything in the way of their needs and requirements have been met so we are literally in the laps of the environment.

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Salads are doing really well – like the radishes [of sorts] rocket, pak choys and wok brocs – spinach is a much slower starter this year for some reason.

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The garlic is doing remarkably well – and as garlic can be a fussy crop to grow in so far as drainage and soil nutrient requirements l know that soils are not the issues here in the raised beds or even in containers. All the soils were changed for the new season. It’s just one of those things l guess. I had thought of planting more seeds in French and runner, there is still time to do so … but with Suze not being hyperfocused and with so many other things l have to be now doing … this will take some serious thought.

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Currently l have Garlic – normal and elephant on the right, kale on the left row, radish running from left to right at the bottom of the picture and young Brunswick onions in the space that you can see mid image.

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This bed has become a hive of activity – in the main it is purple sprouting broccoli on the right, kohl rabi on the left row, fennels in the corners and now an abundance of red and white spring onions that turned up very late and also some young Brunswick onion sets which turned up today a month overdue.

I wouldn’t normally plant sweet potato slips this close to each other, but it was to get them into the ground as they were desperate to be in soil due to poor packaging. If some manage to survive then l can transplant into wider space when they are stronger – if they survive. I have had a flurry of late deliveries arrive this week and some of the crop l have had to give away to my next door neighbour Sam due to thinking they were not arriving and planting in their allocated positions … but late deliveries have been celery slips, sweet potato, onion sets, celeriac slips and spring onions.

A lot l have had to plant and hope for the best. Photos on them soon.

I am pleased with my carrot box however that is doing really well. Despite everything … the garden is finally in the best shape it has ever been since we moved here in 2016 – a lot of hard work to get it where it is at … a great new greenhouse and a brilliant new and efficient water capture system, a fantastically efficient compost system, everything is now in tip top shape … l can’t fail to see a lot of the irony with these statements!

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Healthy Fruit trees

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Healthy hedges, shrubs and bushes.

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Finally have got the mound growing properly.

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The apricot tree is looking very healthy and surrounded by healthy plants and herbs.

Some things are doing seriously well …. my compost – really well! The new system handles everything marvelously …

The wintering worm farm …. really well! Plants in the garden as in ornamentals and herbs – seriously well! The fruits trees …. really well! The Percy’s well, they love the garden and they are so, so friendly, in one of these shots l was literally 18″ away from her/him. They even posed!! They know me and are used to my presence now, so l can get very close to them, they have nothing to fear and they l think know l am the hand that feeds them …or fills up their feeders!!

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Percy a real poser!

In the image directly below on the left there are actually four Percys in the tree!

I received an email whilst creating this post letting me know that our long overdue Tomato plants are now en route! Oh well, better later than never eh!

Anyway, there we go, another update from Project Garden, thanks for both visiting and reading! Catch you next time!

Rory

A Guy Called Bloke Feature 366 Days of Gardening JPEG

6 thoughts on “366 Days of Gardening! E31 – W19

  1. There is still plenty of growing season, so don’t despair. I’m still waiting on plants that were to be shipped April 1st, but with the awful weather we’ve had it’s probably a good thing they haven’t arrived! Hopefully the worst is over, on all fronts! Gorgeous compost set up!

    1. Hey Carolee – many thanks – very true – loads of very late deliveries arrived today as well, but still only part deliveries — we will get there 🙂

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