Archive for May, 2012

Beetroot

My wife decided to thin the beetroot last night.  I’m surprised how big they were, they’re now well thinned and I should have some monsters in a few weeks!

We’ve grown two varieties from the real seed people – one is sanguina and the other white.  The mistake was probably eating the sanguina first, it was so earthy and sweet the white beetroot (forgive the pun) paled in comparison.

We’ve already emptied one of the full IBCs during the last week.   Because my IBCs are linked at the top it means I have two full IBCs and one empty one with a pump.  A few months ago I bought connectors for the base of them which I could use with a length of hose to connect them and balance them.

Unfortunately however the hose connectors don’t fit the IBCs perfectly – I’ve had to use several polystyrene washers scavenged from caps to pad them out and plumbers PFE tape.  We got a good thunderstorm and cloud burst last night and it’s meant the IBC I’d emptied had filled about half way – about 500 litres in one 20 minute storm.  It’s good having a large catchment area!

My iPhone parts arrived yesterday, fingers crossed the screwdrivers will also be here tonight so I can get on and fix it.  It’s not as convenient to use the digital camera to upload!

 

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iPhone

Unfortunately due to a lack of iPhone, updating this blog is going to be much more difficult and much less pretty.  I’ve broken the charging pin and a new dock has arrived, but is currently sitting at the post office.

Yes, the very first flowers are coming out on the tomatoes!  I’ve already started to remove what I lovingly call tomato armpit growth, otherwise known as suckers or side shoots.  Other people identify them as being in the crotch of the tomato, so perhaps I’m just being more polite.  We gardeners are a dirty lot.

Pruining ensures the plant puts more energy into main stem.  I have never pruned tomato plants before and the result is that the first year I grew them in the greenhouse, they became the greenhouse.  When I removed the plastic outsides, they retained their greenhouse shape until the wind pretty much destroyed them.

Leaving them to get into such a state means that whilst you’ll get more tomatoes they’ll likely be smaller.  Also the internal leaves get less sun, go yellow, die and rot if it’s moist, potentially weakening the plant.

Pruning gives all the leaves equal sunlight.

I can’t remember the type of tomato I’m growing.  Determinate tomatoes actually don’t need pruning.  I’m fairly sure however I’m growing gardeners delight which is an indeterminate variety.

I’ve been pruning all my 12″ high plants and the first flowers are starting to grow.  I’ve staked them outside and inside I’m running them up garden twine.  We’ll see how they both do and report back.

One thing for sure is I’m very likely to get a few tomatoes off the vine this year, unlike last year where it got tall, bushy, fell over and destroyed by bind weed due to overall neglect – in truth, I completely forgot about them and suprised they did as well as they did!

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Lawn Levelled

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To add to our fun today, Dave came to finish levelling the lawn. It’s mostly clay and has levelled out the lumps and bumps, but obviously will take quite a while before the grass reclaims it. I’m thinking of mixing up some top soil with lawn seed to see if I can speed it up a bit.

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Woodworm

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What I really fancied doing on my week off was clearing the house so that a man can cut our tongue and grove flooring and eradicate (well, prevent further damage) by our wood boring friend the humble woodworm larvae.

Mmm, chemical spray. I don’t imagine marigolds will prevent this one from settling.

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Insect box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember those insect boxes I made? Well, turns out they’re of use in the garden.  My wife hates bees, but only due to a fear of being stung.  Generally I find bees tend to leave you alone if you do likewise.  Here they are happily flying too and from their nests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what type they are, but they seem solitary, there’s no hive.  Though there are quite a few setup in there – It’s been a bit like bee central in the garden.  I’m pleased, it’s probably the most useful thing I’ve built yet.  I’m still awaiting bats, though only on the side of a bungalow, I doubt I’ll get any.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this shot, you can even see the little pollen sacks that get scraped off as they enter the rough bamboo

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DIY insecticide

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Having forked out £4 for a bottle of organic bug spray (which confused me? I swore the idea of organic growing was about leaving the chemicals behind) I’ve decided to make my own.

Rhubarb leaves rotted in water apparently does the trick.

Be warned, like nettle and comfrey tea, it stinks.

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The bar is open

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Beans. Squash. Unfortunately they’re big fans of the slugs and snails.

As is beer.

I like beer, not a big fan of Becks which was bought in for a friend. So the slugs can have it. Few years ago I tried Kaliber on them. They liked it as much as I did. To be honest, I wouldn’t enjoy drowning in it either, but then again Becks is off the menu for me too. Perhaps a good real ale would be better. I’ll wait before pouring a good ale away for their benefit!

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I’ve even found one to fit between the flowers I’ve put out.

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The plot so far

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It’s all looking pretty good sitting on my new patio. Now I only need to get the fence panel behind me to stop rattling!

We’ve got the water butt pump working and the IBCs are really coming into their own. Only last week it was torrential rain, but now the clay is cracking and I’ve got beans that need a healthy supply!

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Sweetcorn day

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Today was sweetcorn planting day. 12 rows, mostly with two plants in each, three squash in the middle for our two sisters bed.

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Now with added cat protection!

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Helen planted some blue azure

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And I put down some weed suppressant membrane under the beans with holes for squash, Helen then back filled them with different real seed ones.

Loads more beans in the ground. We have three types. I’ve also dug in some tomatoes in the greenhouse and potted a few for outside. About a month ago Clive our neighbour gave us a couple of cuttings from his rosemary bush. They’re well established now so I potted them up.

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Another wedding weekend

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Not your standard start to a wedding weekend. Scouts were out camping, as was I. Well. Hammocking.

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Rhubarb seems to be suffering from something. I think it’s become too waterlogged and the late frosts have done bits in.

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The blue azure looks great. No idea what it tastes like…

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Lots of stuff to go out though!

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