Veg Patch

To read the story of my Veg Patch in chronological order use the links in the Blog Archive

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tree Trimming

Its early Thursday Morning, far too early for someone who is retired to be out of bed.. (Well its 8.30ish ) and the Tree surgeons have just arrived. The edge of the veg patch was lined with Leylandi by the last owner and they need some serious attention so hopefully in the next hour, I will have claimed back a couple of feet of garden.

Other news, there is a good chance the greenhouse will arrive at the weekend. Its apparently being delivered to our supplier today and he needs to check its all there before it comes out to me, so watch this space for construction photos next week. 

Finally off to the garden centre later for a wheelbarrow. Have set my heart on a rather fancy purple wheelbarrow that I saw last week. After looking on the internet, we can't find it anywhere cheaper so off to get it this afternoon.

Its a County Clipper and is very lightweight and easy to wheel, (Well it was in the shop) so I shall look forward to moving stuff in it soon.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Things are beginning to change

So its been a busy week in the garden but finally my plans are starting to come together. Last week was all about groundwork, and not in the veg patch, but in the main part of the garden.

As regular readers will have seen the lawn is beautiful and the beds either side also very pretty but it was all a bit featureless. we decided that as the garden was a sun trap pretty much all year round, a summerhouse would be the way ahead. Lots of research later the correct one was identified and ordered,

But now we needed a base. I always like to use local tradesmen so after a few calls one was lined up, sadly days before we were due to start he called to say he couldn't make it. Oh dear.... Luckily my brother a not so local builder was able to help out. Of course that meant I had also now become a boarding house proprietor for David and Pete.. 

Last Tuesday morning they arrived and began digging up our lovely lawn. to explain a little further, as we were having a base laid for a summer house, we decided it would be nice to have another patio laid alongside it and then while we were at it also lay a base for a shed next to the summerhouse. This should explain the rather odd shaped hole they are digging. 

Originally we had planned to use concrete paving slabs from a high street store, but once Dave became involved things changed. A couple of years ago he had worked on a building for a stone company near his home and he suggested that we go and look at their stuff.

Off we went and were very impressed, so the stone you see piled up at the side is actually Indian Sandstone and they is the same price as the concrete slabs. If you are ever in the market for pretty much anything made of stone have a look at; 

Work progressed quickly aided by numerous cups of tea and slices of cake!

By Thursday afternoon we had a beautiful patio and all that remained was for the concrete mixer lorry to arrive on Friday and it was done.

Now we just need the buildings to arrive and it will look great. Thanks Dave and Pete for a great job.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Getting ready for the groundwork

Its been a few days but things have been going on and I haven't had much to tell you about the garden. As we have recently moved here stuff in the house needs to get done as well.

The Greenhouse is still not here, maybe this week, I certain hope so. But the glorious weather has made working outdoors a pleasure. After much thought and working out we ordered a Summerhouse and a shed for the grassed end of the garden, we also decided to have a patio laid around the summerhouse in a great sunny spot. Local builders were called and estimates promised, but after 2 weeks one didn't bother and the other said he could no longer do the job in our timescale. Oh ****. Luckily for me, my brother also a builder but not local, found himself with nothing much on next week so the job was his.

Of course that means I have now made myself a B&B, for my brother and his mate for a week and so as well as having work going on in the garden, I have given myself more work inside too. I don't really mind as he is the best builder I know and Im not just saying that cause he's my bruvver! 

Typically there were some very nice plants in the beds right where I want the buildings to go, so this morning in weather more suited to summertime I was out digging stuff up and moving it around. I know I will pay the price later but after a couple of hours the plants were moved and its all ready now for the work to begin. 

Just a couple of pictures below of some very pretty flowers which have come out in the last few days. I know I should be worried about global warming but if it means blooms like these in November and eating my lunch outside in the sun in a T shirt, I say bring it on.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Rather a lot of leaves!

Not much been going on in the garden the last few days, The trouble with having a house attached to it means that sometimes, I have to spend a bit of time doing inside things. 

Stuff is moving on, even though there is no evidence of it outside, after calling an electrician last week, to get a quote for power to the greenhouse and lights in the gardens, (so I can spend time out there even in the dark) it dropped through the door. It was perfectly OK so we accepted and now we wait for the arrival of the greenhouse before work can begin. By my calculation it should come the week after next but I am not holding my breath. 

The other end of the garden often needs attention as well, and thats where the title comes in. The garden is surrounded on two side by trees and at least 3 very large Oak Trees.

Luckily none of them are ours but they do not respect boundaries and so all of them have been dumping their unwanted leaves all over the lawn. Luckily in anticipation of this Jim bought a rather fancy garden leaf vacuum so I think this morning a bit of lawn hoovering is in order!

As soon as something a bit more interesting happens, I will let you know.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Its all about compost

So the last few days have been dominated by compost. How to make it , where to get it, how to store it, what to make the storage from, and so on.

After a bit of thought Jim said that pallets would be the best sort of wood to use to make a bin of some sort, in which to store compost. An appeal was duly launched on Freecycle for unwanted pallets. A very helpful lady said that Travis Perkins gave theirs away so I made a quick phone call to the local branch. They were very helpful and said normally they would be very happy to give away pallets but had given there entire stock to the local Round Table for a bonfire. I was not surprised as we had attended the rather good bonfire and firework display last Saturday and the number of pallets on the fire had been cause for discussion. 
Another member said that they had 5 pallets that we were welcome to take, and so arrangements were made. The new trailer was off for its first outing, we did a bit of multi-tasking and went to the local tip on the way to deposit some garden waste ( Not suitable for the current project) and then onwards for the pallets. They were perfect for the job so after a bit of heaving, they were loaded and strapped and on the way home. 
Yesterday Jim got out his tools and started the job, I was inside but could here all sorts of banging and sawing going on. I wandered out to offer Coffee and saw he had done a great job. It was only part done as we needed to carry it the length of the garden and put it in place before he finished it.  

Now we had the component parts for a bin, we needed some manure. Freecyle again and in about 10  minutes we had more offers of horse manure than we knew what to do with. Living in the New Forest, poo is not in short supply, its just a matter of collecting it. Again an arrangement was made and this morning the trailer was hitched up and off we went. A short drive away we met Steve  and his Shetland pony Ellie and her companion a beautiful 1 year old Arabian horse whose name we never got. 15 minutes with the shovels and the trailer was loaded with some very well rotted manure. Homeward bound.

So this afternoon, the trailer was hauled through the garage into the back garden and the part built bin carried to the end. I decided to put it in the same place I had originally put my plastic composting bin. 
Tools were located and the banging and hammering resumed. As I was not required at this stage of construction, I had other things to keep myself occupied. Earlier this week as predicted another white van arrived outside with the missing plastic compost bin. I cleared a space next to the original and set up the new one. I must admit, I was less careful this time, I decided a spirit level is not really required to garden! It was soon in place alongside the other one.

Meanwhile across the garden the pallet masterpiece was finished. 

All I had to do no was move the extremely heavy manure from one end of the garden to the other, I managed two bags on my own but after much huffing and puffing, Jim joined in and we quickly relocated the other three bags. Another 10 minutes with the shovel and the manure was relocated to its new home, that's it until next year when it gets dug into the garden. All that effort and it was only about a foot deep.

Oh well another visit to see Ellie and her friend is on the cards for later in the week!. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

The bin gets fed!

The trailer was the next new toy to arrive. Jim went off after breakfast yesterday to meet a chap in the next town who was selling his small trailer, I only just had time to get myself dressed and he was back with his newest toy. 

A photo shot was duly organised and I felt it was time to get the new Wellies on. 

After a quick demonstration of how it tipped up I headed of to my garden. It was once again a beautiful day, 31st October and no coat! It was time to set up the composter. I had previously chosen what I thought was the most appropriate spot so armed with a spirit level and a spade I started to level the ground. 
About 20 minutes later the job was done. I had picked the spot because it was in a corner and out of the way. I suppose it would have helped if I had read the leaflet that came with it before I did this. My spot is deep in the shadows of a Leylandi tree and it doesn't get an awful lot of sun.
Sentence one of the leaflet "Make sure your composter is located in a sunny and warm area, this ensures the contents of the bin warm nicely and make good compost"  Oh Dear ( Well thats not what I really said but I don't know who is reading this). Time for  a cup of tea and a rethink. 
Suitably refreshed I started again, this time on the other side of the garden in another corner, but this time a sunny warm one. Luckily it wasn't quite so uneven on this side so 10 minutes later the bin was done again and starting to receive content. 
This time I had a quick look at the list of possible compostable items. Weeds was top of the list and as the plot has a fair few at the moment it was time to dig a some up. I had planned on hiring a rotivator once the hard work began, but full of enthusiasm I found my fork and off I went. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. The soil was nice and dry with small stones in it and each forkful was easily turned and shaken off the fork. Compared to digging in my old garden which was London Clay, it was a dream, no sticky gloppy mess to scrap of the fork each time. Before I knew it I had turned over a very large square and had a nice selection of weeds for the bin. 
Garden interlude over, I headed indoors and contemplated what to do next.
I decided to write this blog as a way of recording the Genesis of my new Garden. I hope that if you have taken the time to read it you will enjoy my story. I also hope that if any of you are gardeners and have experience at what I am trying to do you will share that with me. I look forward to your comments and suggestion as time passes and the bare earth starts to look a bit more like a proper vegetable patch.