Veg Patch

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

Monday, 17 March 2014

Where did the last month go?

I have been getting on with lots of jobs at home in the garden and in the house and suddenly realised that its been a month since my last blog . That sounds a bit like a confession, and I suppose it is. Its not that I haven't been gardening, its just that I have been doing lots of jobs that I have written about before, and to be honest it would bore me to read the same thing over and over again, so I didn't blog about them. 

I have done some new stuff though so get yourself a cuppa because this may take a while, as I am on a very busy schedule the next few weeks, I shall tell you about it all now in case I don't get back here again for a while. 

Where to start? Well its the growing season again and I have once again made far to many plans for the space available, so I decided to buy myself a cold frame so that I can shift stuff outside but still protect it until all danger of frost is past. To be honest we have lived here nearly three years and there have only been a couple of days where there has been a very minor frost. But, I don't want to risk us having a really cold morning just as I put out all my tiny plants. 

I spent ages looking online, its amazing the number of cold frames available and the variation in cost. I didn't want a cheap one as they have a tendency to fall apart in a slight breeze, but as much as I would of loved a very expensive one, that was also a non starter. So after a bit of thought, I went for a middle of the road one from Ebay. 

We have as steady procession of delivery vans here every week, mostly with bits for Freda, but this time the van was for me, and the cold frame arrived. Of course it was flat packed .

I gave it a coat of stain and left it drying whilst I went off for an afternoon at the charity shop. When I got home I found I had been visited by the flat pack fairy (Well Jim) who had put it together for me.

I already knew what was going in, mainly my huge tray of overwintered sweet peas, which have taken on triffid like status. I shall be planting them out in the next two weeks so they need to get used to the cold. I also have a lot of garlic in pots and loads of penstemon cutting. (More on them later)

It took a whole minute to fill, and then I had freed up a little space in the greenhouse. I think I may get another next month, as there is space alongside this one . 

Inside the greenhouse, seedlings are popping up all over. This year, as with every other, I set myself a few gardening challenges at the beginning of the year. The main one this year is to use my hobby to raise money for Oakhaven Hospice. I decided the best way I can do that is to have a plant sale and grow everything myself. This means that shortly my poor greenhouse will be overflowing with plants. I have a date in mind but will want to make sure I have enough grown before I announce it. Anyway, a couple of my neighbours know about it as I have been begging old flowerpots from people. One of them was dismantling her run down greenhouse and turned up at the door with the old staging, wondering if I wanted it? Err of course I did. 

I cleared a spot where all my overwintering chillies had been standing and after a quick spray and wash down with Jeyes fluid, they were in and fully loaded. 

Now the chillies. I couldn't bring myself to throw them on the compost at the end of the last season, so they have spent the winter wrapped in fleece in the greenhouse. They were supposed to be dry, but as they were stood on the ground and a couple of time, the floor of the greenhouse flooded, they have been wet most of the winter. I don't think it has done them any good. 

I unwrapped them to find mold and mushrooms..

I am pretty sure they are all dead but shall give them a few weeks to see if there are any signs of life. 

My cut flower bed is coming on nicely, at the end of last summer I planted a few seeds to overwinter and see what happened. They have been very successful, as have a load of self seeded ones that have popped up in the last few weeks. Not wanting to waste perfectly good plants, I have tried to tidy the bed up around them 

The Calendula have done so well they have flower buds on them already. If this nice spell hangs around, I may be able to cut some soon. 

And then another new project. Regular readers may remember that Georgie, the Flower Farmer let me have a load of Dahlia's that she no longer needed. I have kept them safe in the summer house all winter and now they needed a permanent home. 

This bed at the side of the plot has just been allowed to grow whatever took its fancy for the last couple of years so now it was going to be organised. 

I dug everything out

Painted the fence and hung some pea netting ready to receive sweet peas

Then laid out and planted some of the dahlia's

And I put loads of clumps of ranunculus around them as well 

I am hoping that it will now provide me with a long summer of cutting flowers and a beautiful display as well. watch this space. 

Out and About, the seasons activities have got into full swing for our Car Club. Last week was the annual duck race on a river in the New Forest. It was a glorious day so out came Freda and with Gibson on board as well we set off for the event with our Standard Class rubber duck 

The race was fun and took quite a while, my duck spent the whole time on its side no matter how many times I fished him out. He is the blue one top left of the picture

 And then amazingly I won a prize. Sadly the booby prize for coming last but it was at least useful, a bottle of toilet duck. Maybe next year. Well that all for now time to get outside again today. Enjoy your week and I won't leave it another month to write the next one.