Monday 23 May 2011

Order Restored

The last few weeks in the garden have been something of a salvage operation. Firstly we had to clear out all the pots from the greenhouse that had been raided by mice, or scorched by the sun. This reduced what we had growing by over half. I was unsure whether to reuse the compost or not, so in the end, rather than waste it completely, I decided to use it all for earthing up the potatoes. The potatoes were one of the crops that were still looking lovely and healthy when we returned from our trip so this job cheered me up a little bit.

We then set about re-sowing anything we could. It was too late for tomatoes and cucumber, although a few did survive, so we will have some to enjoy later in the year. However, there were some things for which I had run out of seeds. We had decided that this year we would just use up the seeds we already had. Unfortunately, this means we will now have no homegrown Brussells Sprouts on Christmas Day and no homegrown pumpkins for Halloween, as along with the sunflowers, they were all lost. We will also have only one variety of courgette and one variety of squash, but I made up for this by sowing a huge number of french beans. We also re-sowed basil, parsley, coriander, lettuce, cress and mung beans.

With new seeds nestled happily in their pots we gave everything a really, really good soak, including the rosemary bushes we had planted at the front and the grass we had sown before we went away. I think we have lost some of the rosemary bushes, as they are looking very brown, but at least we have a few healthy looking cuttings we can replace them with next year. And as far as the grass goes, it is patchy - but then so is the old lawn, so at least it is 'in-keeping'.

We have also moved the runner beans outside, planting them with support from a bamboo tee-pee. Weeds have been pulled up, although you wouldn't know it if you looked at our patio and the three surviving dwarf french beans have been planted out. I also spread out all the surviving brassicas, which in the end proved quite successful - the wood pidgeons had essentially thinned them out for me, leaving me with just the right number to fill my rows. Maybe it was in fact a Garden Fairy all along, helping me along the way, but we are not taking any chances and at the weekend Garden Dad built a frame for the netting and we did what we should have done weeks ago and covered them up!

New shoots are now startimg to appear in the greenhouse, there is some healthy looking growth in the raised beds and the flowers at the bottom of the garden are even starting to bloom. Order has once again been restored to our garden - just in time for another week away, but hey-ho - it can't be worse than last time, right?

Monday 16 May 2011

I blamed the cat...

 It might be obvious from the lack of posts here in recent weeks that I have become a little despondant with our garden. You see, we went away for a week at Easter to visit family. I left in good spirits. I was up to date with sowing seeds, the potatoes were in the ground and unbelievably there wasn't a weed in sight. Garden Dad had even finished laying weed fabric and bark chip in the front bed and around the fruit bushes and apple trees. All was well in our garden and I was confident that when we returned there would be some lovely green shoots in the greenhouse and the raised beds.

But, when we returned, there were numerous casualties. Firstly, a mouse had discovered our seeds and tucked into a feast while we were away. I sowed 102 peas and only 4 survived the mouse! Not a single squash or courgette seed was left behind by the mouse to grow! And the mouse was not dining alone. No. While he was tucking into the greenhouse seeds, the wood pigeons were enjoying their own feast of newly appearing brassicas from the raised beds.

Shamefully, my first instinct was to the blame the cat that has been using our garden as a toilet. I mean, if he is going to use our garden for his personal business he could at least scare away the mice and wood pigeons! For all cat lovers out there however, I have since admitted that I had some part to play in the destruction of our crops by my failure to close the greenhouse door and put netting over our brassica seeds.

Sadly, for many of the greenhouse plants that managed to escape the greedy little mouse, the sun did its worst and despite the best efforts of our friends to water our plants daily, many were left scorched. We returned from our lovely week away to a graveyard of seedlings and all my optimism turned to despondancy.

This past weekend however, I have made friends with my garden again and optimism has returned. With a bit of work we once again have a greenhouse filled with seedlings and there is hope for some homegrown vegetables later in the year and conseqently for some frequent posting here.