With an offer of three bags of grit for £12 at our nearest – and smallest – garden centre, we nipped out between showers – and before lockdown – to collect some for the next slug and snail deterrent experiment.
I am re-thinking my plan to use the potato growing bags for salad crops, since the slimy ones decimated the plants I’ve already sown – radish, parsley and most of the mizuna mix. Even after the eggshells went down.
The saga of the logs continued for much of Saturday.
We found another supplier and sent a message, yes he could deliver to our area, ring his wife to make arrangements. We rang, and the wife said NO! Not delivering to our area.
So I moved onto the next one on the list and was waiting for a response when someone from our own village (who we had called last week and said he couldn’t deliver until next month) rang to see if we still wanted some and he’d be there in 30 minutes. We said yes.
This was at 5 pm, and it was still raining. But we have waterproofs so got togged up with boots and gloves at the ready.
Twenty minutes later, a tractor drove onto our drive and dumped logs from a bucket on the front. Hubby filled the wheelbarrow and brought them in the back, while I stacked them inside the log store (they have been seasoned and kept under cover so didn’t want them to get wet). We’d finished by six.
Sunday morning – still raining, but not as heavy – and I;ve persuaded my husband to fix a cross beam in the Tiny Greenhouse and add some screw-in eyes for hanging baskets.
For now I’ve moved the two lettuce baskets inside so I can hang the bird feeders in their place. There are still enough leaves for a few more salads.
Mindful of the time it takes for seeds to germinate and develop into plants large enough to plant into the bags of compost waiting in the wings of the Tiny Greenhouse, I made a start on 22 August.
A point to note is the inclusion of coloured clothespegs to hold the plant labels. This guarantees means that even if the labels fade in the sun or through watering – and provided the clothespeg stays in the pot – I will know that the blue signify Parsley, the purple are American Land Cress, the white are Mizuna, and the pink are coriander.
I ordered lots of herb and salad seeds.
Amaranthus – The leaves turn intense red as they develop – giving added colour in salads. It is more vigorous than the green type. Use the leaves individually or pick as sprigs
Cress – plain
Misticanza misculglio – Mixed Italian salad of chicories including red radicchio. This mixture contains no lettuce and is ideal as a perennial mixture for cut and come again. Red radicchio can be left over winter to head up or blanched for tender pink leaves. Green varieties can be left to grow on.
Mixed oriental leaves – This mixture contains : Mibuna (17%), Mustard Red Giant (16%) , Pak choi shanghai (17%), Komatsuma Tender green (17%), Mizuna (17%) , Chinese Cabbage Wonk Bok (16%)
Mustard Red Frills – Mustard Red Frills produces superb deep red and green shoots with a mild fiery mustard flavour that is easy to grow and fast growing.
Pea Serge (for shoots) – Tender cripsy shoots and tendrils of young pea plants make a wonderful edible garnish and a perfect snack. Ideal replacement for Samish (a variety of spinach).
Radish Red Rioja – Radish Red Rioja produces large purple red cotyledons, (first leaves) which will always show a small proportion of green seedlings. This variety is very popular for its colour and makes for a fantastic and colourful addition to salad.
Sorrel – red veined – Sorrel is a perennial plant with a sharp lemon flavour, one of the last to die salad leaves to die down for winter and one of the first to appear in spring.
Spinach Red Kitten F1 – with its attractive red stem and oriental shaped leaf, this salad leaf is very sweet in flavour.
On 25 August, despite gales and torrential rain, I escaped to the potting shed for more seed sowing.
Chinese Kale x 3 pots
Chives x 2 pots
Radish French Breakfast x 1 pot
Radish Spanish Black Round x 1 pot
Spring Onion White Lisbon x 2 pots
A week later and both radish were growing well, with the Chinese Kale not far behind.
Time for the next round of seed sowing
In the Tiny Greenhouse, the Claytonia (Winter Purslane/Miner’s Lettuce) I sowed on 9 August, has its first true leaves and will soon be large enough to plant.
Time to plant up some bags.
I look forward to eating the results in a few weeks. Should there be any sign of slugs and snails, I have a supply of crushed eggshells at the ready.
This morning, I sowed another pot each of Radish French Breakfast and Black Spanish Round. Then four pots of Mustard Red Frills. It may be that this is something that should be direct sown into the bags to mingle with other leaves, or when I plant the seedlings into a bag, I also sow seeds in the gaps.
As you can see, the pot of spring onions and the two pots of chives sown on 25 August are still quite small. I expect the mustard will be ready to plant before them.
With plenty of seedling growing in the potting shed, and hundreds thousands of salad leaf seeds to sow, I was determined to get the salvaged bubble-wrap pinned to the inside of the greenhouse. I used drawing pins – easy to remove and minimal damage to the wood.
The bubble-wrap originally protected the polycarbonate sheets while in transit.
Bubble wrap can’t be recycled or burned so it would have ended up in landfill. As it is estimated that it takes 500+ years to decompose, that is not something I’m comfortable doing until I have re-used and re-purposed it many, many times.
I’ve been looking at possible ways to warm the greenhouse – and protect my salad leaves – when the temperature hits zero or below. Preferably at low or no cost.
There is power point nearby for electic heaters and I have bad memories of smelly, smoky parafin heaters.
I found information on the internet about using candles to heat nested terracotta pots; the idea being that instead of the heat from the candle rising up, the pots (linked with a steel bolt suspended on nuts and washers) will warm up and – similar to storage heaters – will retain and then release heat.
Though it is still officially Summer until 22 September 2020, thoughts turn to which crops I can sow and grow in the greenhouse to eat through Autumn and into Winter. I’ve not had that option previously as we only built the greenhouse in March.