Monday, 28 April 2008

Welcome to Amanda

I will start by congratulating Amanda on her new projects, both in the garden and in the blog. Amanda has started her veg plot, and is keeping track of her progress at Amanda's EightBySix. Do stop by to see what she's been up to, the link's on the side.
Last week I was given a number of plum tomato plants, some more chillies, and a greenhouse cucumber. I swapped them for some of my 'insurance policy' tomatoes and peppers, as well as some watercress plants and a Vietnamese coriander. My original tomatoes have quite large buds now, but I need to sort the base of the greenhouse to avoid all the flooding before putting in the canes for them. I think I will invest in some gravel for the floor, held in place by boards. The watercress is growing really well using the capillary matting (perhaps I should plant in the base of the greenhouse), and the celeriac will be ready to plant out in a week or so.
I have used all the spinach tops, and cut down the stems to a couple of side shoots. The stems were used in spinach and tomato soup, using frozen tomatoes from last year. I also added fresh chives, and some of last years garlic cloves. Althought they are getting a bit dry, the flavour is still there.
I've stopped putting the propagator cover over the cucumber and courgette plants at night as they are growing well and I will need to plant them into bigger pots soon. This will give them a chance to harden off a bit. The french beans and runners are coming through in the peat pots, and I've got the supports in place ready for planting out. In the garden the radish markers are showing through, although the slower germinating seeds are still languishing underground. Since moving here I just can't get my radishes to 'radish', usually plenty of top, but no decent size roots. If I get the chance I will post some more photos soon, so you can see how things are progressing.
I've found the best way so far to keep the cats off is to place canes over the ground, because they can't scratch so easily. The netting didn't work well, as they scratched it out of the way, and probably caused more problems than if nothing was put down. The carnations are all still there, but they dug up a pot of onions covered with the netting.
Life is really burgeoning in the garden now, every time I go out it seems everything is bigger, but the weeds are growing too. I must do the 'front garden', a tiny strip that, because we don't use the front door much, I keep forgetting. The thistledown, or 'fairies' as we used to call them, that floated around late last summer are now getting established anywhere they can! Some glyphosphate will kill right down the roots, but I need to know it will be dry!
With not a ladybird in sight, I thought I'd try an organic solution to the greenfly that were infesting the lettuce. It is supposed to be a solution of rape seed oil that disrupts their systems, but I found that it burned the leaves, leaving small brown spots all over. The inside leaves look OK, so we'll still be able to use those. I have to say I never had this problem with the chemical sprays I used to use.
I hope the bank holiday weekend is wet and windy! What? Is she mad? No, but I will have the final A level marking to do, and I will be much less distracted if I can't get outside to the garden!

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