Veg Patch

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

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Now all I have to do is wait!

And for those of you that know me well, you will be aware that patience is definitely not one of my virtues ( if I have any at all.) 

The reason for my wait? Well yesterday I planted the final seedling from the greenhouse into the beds outside. The beds are well and truly full now, so its no longer up to me what happens, now I am relying on Mother Nature. 

After my last post, it was time to give the leaning tower of Barton a bit of company, so with my newly acquired tower building skill I set too. The last experience showed that 4 stakes were not enough to keep it upright, and using gardening wire just pulled it out of shape. So this time, five bamboo canes and string, it was certainly much easier and quicker. In no time at all there were three cane towers in the bed. 

The Peas were soon in and next was the Rocket.

Next on the list - Spinach

Closely followed by Tomato's 

A nice green hairnet, to save the Spinach from the Pidgeon's 

A random planting of Kos Lettuce

A couple more hairnets, 

and it was done. My project started in the depths of winter is now established. My first ever fully planted Vegetable Garden! Cue trumpet Fanfare!!!! 

What a difference to the header picture on this blog. No longer a clean tidy sterile garden, now a living, growing thing. Once it gets a bit more established I shall change that picture. 

Don't think that's the end though, Oh no, I have lots of other things to bore you with. Of course, I have to share the first pick of everything with you, and on that note, I have had more success. The first 6 strawberries were wonderful, and we have had quite a few more since then, but now it was the turn of the Italian salad leaves. 

By Saturday, they were of sufficient size and quantity to make the ultimate sacrifice. A quick snip with the scissors and they were in a bowl on the way the the kitchen. 

A very vigorous wash, to ensure there was no lurking protein in the form of slug, snail, ant, etc and then a quick spin 

They looked lovely, so an hour or so in the fridge whilst I did other things .

and then onto the plate for Dinner.

Delicious. Shame the tomato's in the greenhouse aren't ready yet, but we have them to look forward to.

On to the Animals. Margot is continuing in her efforts to escape on a daily basis. I have given up now. If she wants to be out then I let her, its usually not long before she is trying to get back in with Bab's and Geri and as all the plants are now established, she can't do too much damage. Because of her frequent escape attempts, I am considering renaming her after Steve McQueen's character in The Great Escape. He was called "Hilts"" but was known as "The Cooler King" I think if I start calling her that instead, she may begin to think she will be joining her pre packed relatives, that I get from tesco, in the freezer. That may cause her to think a little before she heads off down the garden!

And then the Puppy. I know he is growing but he is still a baby. This has been his first experience of warm weather and he has found it a bit hot. So the other day when I was watering the plants (No we don't have a hosepipe ban) he decided to cool off a bit and have a nice cold drink.


And finally we had a day out on Monday and went to Exbury Gardens . The gardens are in full  bloom at the moment and it was a beautiful sight, here are some of my highlights. 

Hope you enjoyed the blooms as much as I did. Oh well time to do some inside jobs, Banana loaf in the oven and washing ready to go outside. Enjoy your week and don't work too hard!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Someone likes my Sprouts

After the visit from my guest blogger Niki last weekend and a few days of Kayaking with my family its back to business as usual. 

I was carrying out my normal morning inspection last friday, dressed appropriately for the occasion in dressing gown and wellies, (I think my neighbours must think I am bonkers) suddenly  I was stopped in my tracks. The previous evening my two rows of brussels sprouts had been blowing jauntily in a gentle breeze, now I was looking at a row of stalks. Something with wings, either a bird or a bug had been feasting in the previous 12 hours. 

And worse news, my broccoli had suffered the same fate. How could so much damage be done in such a short time. 

Luckily I had spare plants so it wasn't long before those that were worst damaged were replaced

Next on the list of things to be planted was my Savoy  cabbage. I had been on a trip to the local garden centre a few days previous and noticed these rather nifty little collars which apparently protect the cabbages. 

The first row went in next to the sprouts. 

Then each plant acquired a collar

And finally to keep the flying things away another enviromesh tunnel.

Now to save the Broccoli, once again I had some extra plants so they were soon in, and there was room for another row of something else. Kos Lettuce was chosen.

As the lettuce was going in alongside already decimated broccoli, pak choi, and two rows of carrots I decided to try and ensure the plants were not going to become the dish of the day for another winged creature, so I planted a whole pot of marigold seedlings around all of the plants. 

Then in true Blue Peter fashion I constructed a frame from garden wire, bits of wood, bamboo canes and some of my poly tunnel poles. 

Lastly a quick wrestle with a very large piece of enviromesh and it was finished. Its been up for a week and I am still waiting for my Blue Peter Badge in the post!

So now I have a sea of white rather than the sea of green I was looking forward too, but at least the plants are safe. 

The observant of you may have noticed the date at the top of this post is Monday 21st May. Well thats when I started it, but its now friday 25th May. Its been a very busy week here with lots of family members staying. We try and do something together as a large group every year and this time it was Kayaking . Luckily one of our number lives with a very talented chap who runs a company with his friend called New Forest Activities we have had a glourious three days in the sunshine on rivers and in the sea. I can seriously recommend them if you are in the market for that type of activity. 

I digressed slightly. Now you should  understand why. The imminent arrival of all these relatives meant the rest of the garden needed a bit of attention and some new bits and pieces. First the front of the house needed to be a bit more welcoming so a trip to another local nursery saw us come home with some beautiful hanging baskets. 

Then in the back, we needed more places for people to sit and relax. I have always liked outdoor sofas, so quite a lot of research later we located an ebay shop that had what we wanted. Even better, their warehouse was only a 20 minute drive away and a quick phone call meant that later that day, we were in day glow jackets in the warehouse, testing the sofa before we bought it! 

Purchase made they delivered the following day.

I was very pleased with the end result and having now used it for the last 3 days, I must say its been brilliant. Very comfortable and extremely sociable.

To close, its back to the animals. The chickens are allowed out a couple of times a week now but only in a penned area, The damage was too extensive. They like a dust bath under their favourite bush and the other day I saw Gibson watching them intently through the bars, whilst they had a quick dust and brush up!

All out guests have now departed, so tomorrow its back to the vegetables for me, with all this sunshine, the stuff left in the greenhouse has gone mad and needs to be in the beds, so a busy weekend ahead. 

Happy weekend, I hope its hot and sunny wherever you are.