Saturday, 10 May 2008

Back at last

After wishing for a wet and windy Bank Holiday last week, so I wasn't depressed by having to spend the weekend marking, I was pleased to find the weather was good. So many of my pupils missed their final deadline that I had little to mark. It did make for a very stressful week this week though, with work being submitted right up t0 5pm on Thursday, and I had to have everything marked, with a sample for moderation ready by Friday lunch time!
Anyway, back in time to last weekend. Fed up with the persistent puddle in the corner of the greenhouse, and unable to place the tomatoes properly without them sitting in it, I invested in a gravel flooring. I have made it about 4 inches deep, to the top of the greenhouse base. Hopefully it will retain the moisture in summer to help with humidity, and warm things up in winter. I still have the flagstone up the middle, so there is a stable path.
I planted out some of my runner beans, and the French climbers. Miraculously they have all survived, no slug damage at all. I also potted up the cucumbers and courgette plants. Why is it when you plant extras they all grow, but if you plant just what you need, they don't? I now have 8 strong courgettes and 4 healthy looking cucumbers, as well as my peppers and chillies to find space for. I counted up that I really need at least an extra 6 large pots, although if we eat the lettuce quicker some of those will be vacant. But wait, what about the small ones coming along? Sigh!
I was trying to work out where my later sowing of broad beans should go, there's no space at all! I thought of putting them up the fence, under the fan trained cherry, but then realised the feathery foliage was the free anemonies I had planted last month! I've still got 30 celeriac plants to find homes for too. Daniel told me it was hopeless when I asked him how I could re-arrange the pots so I could get my comfy chair outside next week while I am recovering from a minor (I hope) operation!
You won't believe, after all the rain we've had, how quickly the garden is drying out. With so many pots I have already emptied both water butts, so now it will be back to tap or recycled water. With the outside tap at the front of the house, and being in the middle of a terrace, watering is not easy. I won't be able to fill up cans and carry them next week, so I had to buy a new hose pipe today. It is on a reel, and the idea is to connect it to the front tap, run the hose through the kitchen window, and out of the back door. That way we shouldn't get any drips of water in the house itself. I always seem to slop it out of the watering can when I carry it through anyway. The other idea is to save all the shower water in the bath, then siphon it out to the water butts. We did that the year before last, when we had the drought. The only problem is that the bathroom is actually in the middle of the house, so the pipe has to go through the back bedroom window and down the conservatory roof to get to the patio! Still everything did well that year, even the camellias, so well worth it.
I'm really pleased that we've finally had useful amounts of salad stuff from the garden. Barbeques 2 days running have been supplemented by home grown lettuce (red and green), as well as watercress. I also sacrificed a couple of the weedier looking garlic plants to make some garlic bread. They looked rather like spring onions, but chopped and blended with the butter in the food processor they made a green speckled paste that worked well with the french bread.
Tomorrow I hope to get most stuff planted into the bigger pots so they are easier to care for and earth up the potatoes for the last time. They need plenty of water in the heat we've been having.

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