The Easter bank holiday weekend was pretty much a washout, rain, rain and more rain. Mind you we had lots planned, what with family visiting on Sunday and shopping in Milton Keynes with the kids on Monday, I hardly had time for gardening anyway. I managed to visit my allotment on Good Friday to plant potatoes, then a quick visit on Saturday morning to plant some raspberry canes and a few other bits and bobs.
Last night was very windy and today we had a hail storm, complete with thunder and lightning. Very strange and unsettled weather at the moment, I’m delaying sowing outside for fear of my seeds being washed away!
I’ve recently discovered field mice are digging up my early pea seeds and eating them (they were just sprouting too). A few of the broad bean seedlings were left half eaten, the mice are digging down to the bean and chomping the top growth clean off. I can keep deer out of the garden but not the mice, it’s just one of those things I’m afraid, gardening alongside nature. All I can do is start the peas off again but in the greenhouse this time, planting out later. I’ve put cabbage collars around the broad beans to prevent the mice digging in for the bean, so far this seems to be working.
I hope you had a good Easter, did you manage to get any gardening or allotment visits done, despite the lousy weather?
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 10, 2012
I wanted to share a few photos of my favourite place to be, our vegetable garden. The photos were taken last summer when everything was looking its best, the plot looks more or less as you see here once it gets going, I just haven’t included the greenhouse or wildlife pond. As you can see, I like to include flowers to attract and help pollinators. Vegetable gardens can be a thing of beauty too.
When we moved into our property in 2008 there wasn’t a vegetable garden. The area we designated to be our future veg patch was a sight for sore eyes, overgrown and completely neglected, bursting at the seams with rubble, rubbish, brambles and the remains of an old stable. Once we finished chopping our way through the dense jungle of brambles, the plot had to be levelled using a mini digger. Gradually and ever so slowly, we began to put the bare bones of our vegetable plot together.
It has gone through a lot of changes over the years, gradually increasing in size and maturing, looking now as if it had always been there.
Do you like our scarecrow? Our children made it a few years ago. It’s very weathered now and blends in a bit too well. The wood pigeons completely ignore it.
A lot has changed since we first started and will continue to keep changing for a while yet. I hope you have enjoyed a quick tip-toe through our vegetable garden.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 5, 2012
I confess to not being a very patient person in many areas of my life, however, I’ve discovered that I am in fact a very patient gardener. For a whole year I’ve been waiting for Early Purple Sprouting Broccoli (PSB) to reward my efforts, I’m pleased to announce the wait is finally over. If you’re not a patient gardener, this crop is not for you. Sow from February, plant out from late spring and harvest the following spring. Now that’s a long old wait.
I will admit, wood pigeons set the harvest period back slightly, stripping the top florets just as they began to grow in February. I could have prevented that from happening by netting the plants, but, as regular readers to my blog will know, that’s not something I feel comfortable doing. The weather was awful in February, greenery and food were scarce for most wildlife (I do put out food for wild birds but the heavy snow kept covering it), with a heavy heart I turned a very blind eye to the destructive survival antics of the wood pigeons, remaining the ever patient gardener for just a bit longer than I would have liked.
At the moment, the pigeons no longer rely on my generosity to survive which means the PSB has had time to recover, right now it’s sending out side shoots of purple florets, just for me. I’m eagerly harvesting these florets, and jolly nice they are too. The more you pick the more you get, just don’t let those pretty purple buds flower, otherwise it’s game over. Would I grow it again? Probably. For the sheer fact that it’s a very tasty crop when little else is available in the vegetable garden. It’s rather expensive to buy in the supermarkets too, another good reason to grow it. Would I recommend PSB to other veg gardeners? Yes. If they have enough room….and plenty of patience.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 4, 2012
The asparagus that I started from seed almost a year ago is growing again, tiny spears pushing up through the soil. I’m certain they’re showing earlier than usual for asparagus, the recent hot weather probably had something to do with it. The plants are currently in large pots in the greenhouse, on sunny days I move them all outside. All being well, I will plant them out in a permanent bed, probably early next year. For now, I want them to develop a good root system.
Growing asparagus from seed was an experiment really, just to see if I could. I started with 20 seeds but only 5 germinated after approximately 4 weeks of watching, willing and waiting. The small seedlings over-wintered well in the greenhouse, they just seemed far too fragile and precious to plant outside straight away (I’d waited so long for them to appear in the first place). Being all male plants they should be prolific in the future, when they really get going.
The plants are almost 1 year olds. I can’t cut spears yet (they’re too small anyway), not for another 2 years at least, but that’s OK with me, they’re worth the wait and I’m enjoying the challenge.
Posted by The Garden Smallholder on April 1, 2012