Veg Patch

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

Friday, 30 March 2012

Spring has Sprung - Well this week anyway!

Its been glorious this week, more like the Riviera or the Costa's than Hampshire, and the garden has responded beautifully. 

The strawberry plants which were in the greenhouse and had flowers, were just crying out to be planted outside. Problem is this is the UK and frost is always just around the corner. Lucky for me then that a couple of weeks ago Lidl had a gardening week.

Some of you will be unfamiliar with Lidl. It is a German cut price supermarket company and there is one within walking distance of here. They sell lots of strange, but very delicious continental things and its very cheap. I was always a Sainsbury's and Marks & Spencer shopper but now I can be found in Lidl. The other good thing is on Mondays and Thursday they change their non food stock and it always has a theme. So it was with some delight I noted that the gardening week was selling poly tunnels at £5.99 each. 

We got there early as these deals are not restocked. They were going fast but we managed to get four of these little beauties. 

So the strawberries were far to big for the pots now, so time to go outside. I have only ever had a couple of plants in a  pot so this time I bought 12 plants of four different varieties, so that we have fruits though out the summer. I bought  them as a collection from Thompson and Morgan  and am very pleased with how they have progressed.

I decided to use weed suppressing fabric under the plants. Not because I don't want to weed but I thought that as the plants will through off runners, this would stop them rooting and overcrowding the space. I can also then put some straw on top of it when the berries grow to stop them laying on the ground. 

Once the fabric was on I laid out the plants to make sure there was enough room and then planted them.

The final part of the job was to cover it over with the plastic protection sheet. Luckily I have always been good at wrapping parcels and presents so this posed no problem. 

Lots of other things have suddenly started appearing in the last few days. I now have seedlings in the greenhouse for Brussel Sprouts, Spinach, Broccoli, Peppers, Chilli,s and Three different sorts of tomato. Still waiting for the Peas to put in an appearance. 

Outside my first crop of potatoes came up for air this morning.

I have also noticed a couple of very tiny leek plants 

and during the day today my carrots have also popped up. There was no sign of them at 8am but by 5.30pm I could see hundreds of tiny seedlings. I am going to have to thin them out when they are a bit bigger. 

On to the chickens. I no longer feel like a prison warder, checking for escapes every 5 minutes. The Ebay delivery arrived 3 days ago and now the ladies are nicely contained in an escape proof run and they seem perfectly content. The run itself wasn't as big as we imagined so when we set it up we attached the puppy run to the side of it to make it bigger. This had an open top though, so a tarpaulin to provide shade and a bit of fruit netting have sealed the top nicely.

So in went the Chickens and out we went for a stroll with the puppy. Upon our return I walked into the garden and I couldn't believe it, there  was Geri happily ripping up daffodils again. "What the @@"& how did she get out?" An inspection of the run revealed it was secure. I put her back in and got on with jobs on the allotment, About 10 minutes later I look up the garden and she was out again! OK this was getting beyond a joke, has Harry Houdini been reborn as one of my back garden chickens? Another quick capture and return to the run, but this time I set up a surveillance operation, determined to know how she was doing it.

About 10 minutes later my patience was rewarded, although  I did nearly miss it as I was taking the opportunity of enforced rest for a bit of a doze. On the side of the run is a small hatch with a sliding door which goes up and down. I have been using it to put the drinking and food containers in the run. Geri got her head between the bars and then lifted it. This allowed her to put her foot in the gap created and force the door up. She then squeezed out and the door shut behind her. 

I was momentarily pretty impressed, who would have thought a chicken had the intelligence to work that out. So third catch of the day and then a strategically placed piece of string sealed her route to freedom for good. 

Since then there have been no escapes,and no more damage to the garden.  Although I must admit I have enjoyed the challenge of beating my chickens attempts to escape, I am happy they are over, for now anyway, but I am sure they are plotting further attempts!. 

And to finish off more Gibson news. He is growing rapidly now. I can't sit him on my lap anymore, he just hangs off either side. He is now enjoying his trips into the outside world, although it takes ages to get anywhere as everyone we meet wants to play with him.

He goes to the beach everyday and we are getting him used to going in the sea. Jim took some wonderful pictures last week so here are a couple including the last one which I think is the best picture we have of him. 


  1. Hi Lorraine, we almost had the same title to our blog post there! Thanks for the comments on my blog by the way. Although I'm a self-employed gardener/handyman, I'm afraid I'm not one for growing veggies, or flowers for that matter (cobblers'children's shoes and all that) and seem to spend a lot of my time just cutting grass and pruning wayward shrubs, anyway, I like your photos on your site, very clear and well-explained. I Also think your new pup is gorgeous. Happy gardening this year, best wishes - David.

  2. Thanks for visiting and commenting on my blog - Watch those strawberry runners though they are very determined. It's almost a full time job cutting them off and it needs srong will to just throw them away which is why I now have double the number of strawberries that I strated out with!

  3. I LOVE the pub : )

    AND wish I had a green thumb like yours.

  4. Love the garden space and setup wish I had something like that.