Wednesday 30 May 2012

Scrap Heap Challenge

I snapped this as I left  the plot last night, very proud of my efforts. There's the Blueberry cage, the runner beans protected by fleece and two patches of French beans also fleeced. To the left are strawberries to the right the broad beans.

...but in the cold light of day it looks like a trash heap. The fence in the foreground isn't properly suspended and the bunk bedsteads are materials looking for a project.  (I had thought they would make the basis for a rudimentary polytunnel )

Things don't look much better in daylight.

There's the pipe redeemed from a skip and behind the shed the contingency woodpile including about 20 10ft lengths of wood....     ....OK I admit it - I AM A RECYCLER

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Sun Stroked

Been busy.  For the most part I've been on my knees grubbing up weeks with a trowel.  Not a nice picture. But yesterday I finally got to do some planting!  The courgettes were coming on strong in the good weather so 4 of them took the trip to the plot. (Hope they survive until I return with the slug pellets)

Leeks and Courgette
 It won't be long before these beans need to be planted out too.  I've prepared the ground (more weeding) and last thing yesterday I put up the climbing bean poles.
Bean Go
Also begging to be moved on to the plot are the brassicas.  No chance of these moving until I've got the nets sorted out.

Brassica Bed

Elsewhere the potatoes have appeared and I've started mounding them. Things are really looking up. 

That leaves the carrots, parsnips and onions from seed - so far a complete no show! Roll on the 4 day weekend!

Thursday 24 May 2012

Do they know something?

There are a couple of swans on our local pond and they have been incubating a batch of eggs for simply ages. During that time we had wind hail and about 6 weeks of rain. Then last Saturday they hatched:

Since then the weather has been glorious.

They sure picked the right time to make their appearance!

After my last experiment I don't expect this video to work. But I hope it does:

Sunday 20 May 2012

Golly, Garlic!


Last autumn I tried garlic for the first time for over a decade. My previous attempt produced such pathetic results. What little that grew was small and subject to white rot.  So this time I put in a generous handful of sand into each planting hole. There were three varieties in one Jamie Oliver pack from Homebase.One bulb white one bulb purple, and one clove (only) Elephant garlic. The purple bulb had more cloves than the white. That's why the rows are different lengths - and one is out on it's own.

Elephant garlic to the fore

Looks like the  purple row
Now due to my lack of experience I not sure when I should start digging it up. The books all say "when the leaves turn yellow".  How yellow?  Any garlic growers out there?

Saturday 19 May 2012

Sluggish? The worm does a turn,

I was weeding this morning when this worm emerged. It seemed to be on a mission. 

I can confirm that it went to ground before the birds got it.

In fact I'm especially delighted to see earthworms because we have the New Zealand flatworm on our site, They eat earth worms.

Thursday 17 May 2012

Bedding the Strawberries

It's time to pamper your strawberries.

Strawberries bedded down
There's a reason they are called straw-berries.  I have used mulch mats in the past but since locating the nearest animal feeds supplier I have been using straw.  It's so much more - fun!  Benefits: Suppresses weeds, warms the soil, retains moisture(!),  reflects sunlight, discourages slugs, lifts the fruiting stalks off the ground...  You know it makes sense.

Strawberries and Rhubarb

Hmm.. Maybe I got a bit carried away.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

May Gobs

 For May the weather has been awful. Rain and now wind, hail and more rain. Mind you May was windy last year.  In fact bad weather in May is a tradition. In the north of Scotland they have a name for the May bad weather. It's known as the "May Gobs". I think it is a very descriptive term!

I had high hopes for my strawberries as they were flowering already. Here's a tell tale snap. Those black centres mean these flowers will die rather than bear fruit.
Ox Eyed Strawberries
 Here's what they should look like!
Healthy Strawberry
The high winds blew out my shed window, but a neighbour has had a worse experience

Oh oh

And just in case you think I made that term up here is a recent newspaper headline from that part of the world:

Something else happening in our neighbourhood. The swan has been nesting for weeks now. The heron is storking the swan and in this video a cat is stalking the heron. Hope it works as a bit of an experiment . Apologies for the poor quality. (The dog lost patience and dragged me off at the end)

Saturday 5 May 2012

Diagnosis Murder

Don't you just panic when you see signs like these:

Cucumber seedling with yellow edges

Yellowing leaves!!! What does that mean? Too much water,  too little water, not enough light, too much light too suddenly, lack of nutrients (magnesium deficiency?) . It's murder making up your mind. Thank goodness it's only the first two leaves (cotyledons) and the true leaves are coming in.  I think on reflection it's cold that has caused this in my cucumber seedlings, but that is one factor not referred to in any of the books I consulted.

And thank goodness the courgettes seem to be a bit more robust:

Courgette Seedlings