Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Fun in the sun

The weather has been fantastic this past weekend. An unexpected surprise in the middle of March but a much needed one.

By chance I had taken a long weekend hoping I would be able to catch up on some bits in the garden, I ending up doing all I had planned and more.

The front garden had long been in need of some attention, the plants were all overgrown and as with the rest of the garden there were piles of old stone everywhere. The idea is a wildflower meadow effect; the space isn’t particularly large and won’t be used for much else other than for admiring when walking in and out of the house. It benefits from all day sun which is a real help too. Through Saturday morning I cleared all the stone and pulled up the old plants reducing it to something that I could sow seed on. At the back I have built a trough-like planter out of some of the stone which when filled with compost will ideal for my strawberry plants. I spread the wildflower meadow mix over the now bare ground along with some ‘ladybird’ poppy seeds for extra effect. This was then covered with a fine layer of compost and watered well, being gentle enough to not displace the seeds too much. To get a longer flowering period I kept half of the seed back to repeat the process with in a couple of weeks. I’ll watch this with interest as I have sown poppies before with no luck. However this is just a side project, after all the aim was to try and grow all my own fruit and vegetables this year. The ulterior motive for this is that it will attract pollinating insects to the garden which in turn will result in me getting more veg.

A trip to the garden centre saw me come back with a car full of compost to go into the raised beds. Although I’ve got plenty of seedlings growing inside at the moment, these are all destined for the main veg patch. In one of the raised beds I directly sowed beetroot, radish, garlic and carrots. These are sheltered and can be looked after here; once they start to grow I can thin as needed to allow the others room to expand.

At the bottom of the garden half the veg patch still needed to be dug over. So with the ducks in tow looking for worms, I spent the afternoon digging out roots and stones and ended up with quite a good consistency to the soil. Into this I planted some red cabbage seedlings that had grown to a decent size on the windowsill and also some green cabbage. This doesn’t look as good, the seeds were old and germination rates were low but rather than waste them I thought I’d plant them and see what happens.

The sunniest bed in the garden I have earmarked for tomatoes and courgettes. The weeds were removed fairly easily and again I dug over the soil. This backs onto the hedge and is in full sun all day. If Sunday’s weather is anything to go by they should thrive here. At one end of the bed I already have rhubarb growing and at the other a gooseberry bush. At the moment the tomatoes and courgettes are inside on the windowsill having only been planted last week, I’ll look to plant these out late April.

The whole family have been enjoying the garden this weekend with even my five month old coming out to play with the ducks.It feels like a real step in the right direction was taken. After weeks of rain things were looking a bit behind schedule but now, they're right back on track. It's amazing what a bit of sun can do for you.

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