2019: Success and Failure

A look back over the year to see what worked – and what didn’t – for me. Was it me? Was it the weather? Or a combination of both?

Climbing Beans

Climbing Beans Mixed

I grew the same variety – from the same packet – as in 2018.  I direct-sowed them in the same space below the arch in Raised Bed A, after replenishing the compost.  The first sowing was indoors on 24 February.  Not a single bean germinated.  The second sowing was made directly into the soil.  I planted 18 beans, 2 came up but didn’t grow beyond a couple of inches.  In the end I pulled them out, dug over that patch (no other beans in sight) and replanted using a different variety, Blauhilde, which is a dark purple bean (cooks as dark green).  These are not generally available in garden centres; mine came free with a magazine. Continue reading “2019: Success and Failure”

Beetroot : Part 2

Last month, I wrote about my problems growing beetroot.  This is their ‘journey’ from 23 April, when I bought some of them as seedling from the garden centre, through May when I sowed more seeds, to 4 August, as I ponder whether to ditch them and plant something else.

It appears that it makes no difference whether they are grown in a trough or in a raised bed, or whether they were bought in as seedlings (mixed) or sown direct into the ground (red).

And so to that great compost bin in the sky – there is no hope for these trough-grown beetroot – not a golf-ball among them, plenty of marbles though.  Perhaps another month would have done – or not!

I’ll leave the ones in the raised bed – for now.

Growing in a Grid (2)

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Though I have, technically, been attempting grid gardening for two years, it’s been on a more informal basis; a shove it all in and hope it grows basis.  This has worked, but only up to a point.

There are websites and books out there that have already calculated the optimum number of plants that should grow in one-square-foot.

If you want to sow garlic, one square foot (foot-square?) will support nine. Sowing parsnips? You can sow sixteen in one square.  Chard? You can only sow four seeds or seedlings. Potatoes – just one.

If I translate that to a large-scale raised bed, then a way of measuring the area and using the correct spacing is necessary.  I spotted something on the internet a while ago, but it wasn’t too difficult to draw up my own plan, though it doesn’t cover every variation.


This is the template my husband used to make my board out of plywood scraps from the shed.

The square is 12 x 12 inches (well it is called square-foot gardening).  I drew diagonal lines corner-to-corner and measured a one-inch border around the outside, then worked out the distances between each set of holes by trial and error – and a pencil and rule(r).

16 holes (green) are 8 centimetres apart, 9 holes (blue), which include the centre are 10 centimetres apart, 4 holes (red) are 14 centimetres apart.

And here is the finished object.

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It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t have to be.  It will do the job, and I have a spare. I’ll use a small length of cane as a dibber – to mark the space when planting seedlings, or measure the correct depth when sowing a seed.

I just need to make sure I have a list of how many of which vegetable seed per square.

There may be times when I just make it up!




Six on Saturday: 3 August 2019

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Is it me – or is honeysuckle flowering later this year? Mine is only just putting out flowers.

I finally got around to potting on these fuchsias.  They were cuttings I took at the start of the year.  Now that one of Nextdoor’s overhanging trees has gone, I should be able to plant a few of these to make a nice hedge (in a few years).

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In the rest of the garden . . .

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Raised beds A and B – looking full, though not much available to eat.  (Don’t mention the beetroot).

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Climbing beans and Runner Beans – I’m picking and freezing runner beans as I find them.  Sometimes they escape and turn into monsters.

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Sedum Autumn Joy – I never got round to taking cuttings.  Ah well, there’s always next year.

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Mexican Feather Grass – this always looks pretty in the sun.

Sit down with a coffee – and a biscuit of your choice – and take a look at The Propagator’s Six on Saturday blog post.  Be sure to click on a few links in the comments too.