Six on Saturday: 14 September 2019

Although yesterday was warm and sunny, my neighbour’s trees continue to shade half the garden, but it doesn’t seem to bother this Japanese anemone. Planted late summer 2018 as part of my Shady Border re-design, it only had one flower, so I didn’t fully appreciate this double form, which I  believe could be Whirligig

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The Shady Border ‘jazzed up’ with some pots of fuchsia.

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More fuchsia waiting to be potted on

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And another one. This poor fuchsia has been in this small pot for about five years. It’s about time it moved house!

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The butternut squash ‘jungle’ that is Raised Bed A

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Last chance for these tomatoes after I’ve removed almost every leaf (and added to my compost bin).

I’m away for a week so there had better be some improvement when I return, especially as I’ve now made them their own bubble-wrap windbreak.

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These are mine for this week. Click here to see The Propagator’s Blog and other Sixes.

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Six on Saturday: 7 September 2019

After reading that tomatoes don’t ripen because of the amount of sunlight they receive but because of warmth (but not excessive) and the presence of ethylene gas. So I’ve brought inside the largest of my Super Marmande tomatoes and put them with this (over) ripe banana to see what happens.

It is quite a large banana, which gives you an idea of the size of these tomatoes.

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This morning I finished cutting back the lavenders in the front garden, and gave these rooted cuttings a trim too.

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I made a start tidying the front border. As I’m thinking of removing every other peony to give some space to other plants, I thought I’d cut down the plants I want to remove to see how it would look.

I also chopped off the iris leaves and spent ages trying to dig out Aquilegia seedlings.

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This may no longer be called a Sedum, but it always will be to me. Autumn Joy is coming into her own.

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The sedum and sempervivum bed is beginning to fill out. Though they don’t show here, there are plenty of babies.

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This plant isn’t one of mine, but I want it! Ammi majus – otherwise known as Bishop’s Weed, false Queen Anne’s Lace or bullwort.efb5ff9e-e3b2-4780-a138-83c55dc841c8-38c6731

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These are my six for this Saturday. Head over to The Progagator’s blog to see more sixes – or have a go yourself.

The Allotment Diaries: August (2)

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The filled bed, complete with red clover seeds (and doggy footprints)

I spent a little time raking the soil and removing the odd weed/seedling that had grown since last week.  The problem with buying in topsoil is that you don’t know where it has come from.  This has a fair amount of plastic shreds, bits of string, and pieces of glass mixed in, with a few weeds starting to grow too.

The large clumps are starting to break down, but are still quite claggy.  I broke my rake trying to break a piece down, so resorted to using my hands (in gloves).

As we had heavy rain for most of yesterday, the soil hasn’t really had a chance to dry out, but that doesn’t appear to have stopped some of the other gardeners who have been out planting.

I’m taking things slowly, and getting to know the soil and prevailing wind direction.  In between chasing Harry the Cocker Spaniel off my bed and chatting to his owner, I have sown the entire bed with red clover, as a green manure which will overwinter the bed and will be dug in to return nutrients to the soil as I plant up each section next Spring.

Thoughts now turn to the best way to rabbit- (and dog-) proof my raised bed, and – if I can get them cheap enough (without paying excess delivery charges) – flexi-balls or cane connectors might be the way forward.

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As it’s mainly to keep rabbits out, I’m torn between chicken wire (hardy but not flexible) or netting (which is flexible but could be a danger to birds who may become entangled).

I have settled on the 3-year crop rotation and have been taking lavender and rosemary cuttings to grow on for my insect-friendly strips across the bed.

Permanent Insect-friendly planting.r

So far, the rosemary has done well and I potted the cuttings on into separate pots.  There are no roots showing yet for the lavender.

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The rosemary plants above were rooted in a large pot and separated into single pots. The cuttings below were taken 3 weeks later and placed immediately into single (smaller) pots.

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Monthly Roundup: August

This month got off to a good start, with warm sunny days after the high rainfall at the end of July, and our thoughts are with those affected by severe flooding with homes and livelihoods threatened or lost.  I’m sure the reasons will be debated long and hard, but you can’t stop a flood with words –  solutions are needed.

With such severe weather, though not  in my part of North Wales, I was grateful that we live on the side of a mountain and well away from anything more than a mountain spring or two. But the rain we had did wonders for the vegetable garden, though the flower borders have suffered a little in the dry spells.

My runner beans are cropping nicely.  My freezer is getting full and I’ve resorted to salting them and giving them away. And now the climbing beans have begun.

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And the runner beans (growing right to left) finally met the climbing beans growing left to right.

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I did some more work on my very shady border – what I will now call Compost Corner, as I installed a second square compost bin after digging out soil, roots, stones etc.  Now I need to decide what to do with the remainder of this border – another bin or purpose-built greenhouses to suit the size of the border (70cms front to back by 250 cms long – that’s just over 8 feet x 2 feet 3 inches).

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By the middle of the month, the first compost bin was almost overflowing after I pulled up chard, radishes, and lettuce – all had bolted. I topped it off with a bag of rotting leaves (courtesy of my neighbour’s trees last autumn). Then we had to move everything from Bin 1 to Bin 2 as Bin 1 began to come apart. All sorted now, and a good excuse to turn the compost. The green bin is almost empty.

The dangers of growing carrots in raised beds with stones! Tasted nice though.  Now I just need to keep the rabbits away!  We thought we had a problem with moles on one of our outhouses. A hole appeared in a shed that has an external stone wall – on the day we found a rabbit in the garden.  As we are almost a walled garden, it could only have come in by

  1. Jumping over the wall from the field at the back
  2. Being dropped by a (large) bird flying overhead
  3. Through the new hole

It took us an hour to find then catch the rabbit, which we released back into the field.

The week commencing 12 August was a washout.  Constant showers with a few short spells of sun may have helped the vegetables to grow, but prevented me from de-caterpillaring my broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and their leaves have taken on a lovely lacy appearance.

The dreaded Large Cabbage White caterpillars were in evidence.  So far I’ve only seen one green Small Cabbage White (but then I wasn’t looking very hard). This is a lesson learnt.  Pretty though these butterflies are, I should have checked before now.  I’ll be trying these brassicas again in the Community Garden, so better access to the beds should help, and lots of netting. However, by the end of the month, the broccoli appeared to be making a comeback, and the caterpillars have gone into hiding as I couldn’t see any.

BUT  what do you do with the caterpillars when you’ve picked them off?

Everything, or so it seems at the moment, is dependent upon something else happening or someone else doing something and at the right time.

Time has been taken up filling our bed – and others – at the Community Garden and some fence building.

My courgettes continue to flower and begin to produce fruits, but so far they haven’t grown to any usable size before they drop off the plant.  Moving each one into a former potato pot has helped as it has given it more room and some shelter.

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My Japanese/Chinese Anemones are already in bud, and I spotted a lovely dark pink one in the garden centre, but have no room for it until I move some plants from the front border. Apparently, this new one is compact, I just wish I’d made a note of the name.

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These squashes are taking over Raised Bed A. I’m just going to let them do their own thing – and see what turns up.  I’ve only planted Courgette di Nizza (and I know where they are). I think these are the butternut squash that failed to germinate in the greenhouse, and I threw the compost and seeds onto a raised bed.

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The August bank holiday weekend saw dry and hot weather – too hot to work in for much of the day, but I got some jobs done that were on my list.

Saturday – I weeded then added gravel to my Sedum and Sempervivum bed.

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I weeded my herb bed and cut down the woody herbs – oregano, marjoram and thyme.

I made a start on trimming my lavender, doing my best to leave any stems that had new flowers on them.

And the campanula were looking a bit sorry for themselves. It’s always good to have a clear out

Cutting down the lavender allows sedum Autumn Joy to be seen properly now it’s getting ready to flower

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What will September bring?

 

 

Six on Saturday: 31 August 2019

This morning, we were promised rain clearing up this afternoon. Currently the sun is out, but waves of black and grey clouds are hanging around.

I’ve had so many runner beans that I’ve resorted to salting them,

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and now the climbing beans have decided to join in the fun. The pale ones are, I think, from the first sowing of mixed beans that I thought weren’t going to grow, so I sowed climbing bean Blauhilde. Now both are growing.

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My first ripe tomato – Yellow Pear which turns out to be mystery variety B. I picked it this morning while removing some of my tomato leaves (as suggested last night on Gardener’s World).

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These are some of the rosemary cuttings I took a few weeks back. I want to grow these on and put them in my allotment raised bed. There’s another tray of cuttings taken yesterday.

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The Charlotte potatoes I’m growing for new potatoes at Christmas have already started sprouting. I’m not sure if this is because I moved them from the shady patio to the area by the oil tank which get more sun.

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This was a genuine casualty at the garden centre – I picked up a large pot of this sedum to find out the price, and this piece fell off, so I rescued it! I have no idea what it is as I forgot to photograph the label, but it was expensive!

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Those are my six for this Saturday. Have a look here, on The Propagator’s blog for his, and other sixes in the comments.