Six on Saturday 16/6/18

Eyeore alert!! I really don’t want to start moaning about the weather again but it would be nice to have a little rain. I think we’re heading for the dryest June on record! We haven’t had rain for 2 weeks and I can’t see any forecast either. My allotment doesn’t have water and my 1000 ltr tank is nearly empty. I have beer barrels, bins and buckets which I fill and take to the plot. The poo car will have to be renamed pool car there’s so much water in it! Anyway my six this week are mostly to do with plants that like each other, it’s more the case that I haven’t been on top of things but hey ho!

1- I already posted the clematis and honey suckle but the honey suckle has flowered and smells amazing. I’ve added a photo to show how it’s taken over, it’s even on the washing line! It slightly covers the archway out so you get a hit everytime you leave the garden

2- In the same court yard as the honey suckle I have this climbing rose, I don’t know the variety but that also has a strong scent. The courtyard also has a large passion flower, I’ve also replaced 2 dead clematis with a jasmine and healthy clematis. My other half has ideas for this area so I have to stop using it as an allotment dumping ground!

3- Passion flower and Rose, again I don’t know the rose, it was here when I bought the house. It can go all along the front of the house but it’s too much maintenance. I cut it right back last year and a passion flower has appeared and intertwined with it. I don’t know where it came from but I’m not complaining!

4- The Blauschokker peas have taken a liking to the clematis. I didn’t realise how high these peas grow, they are way above the pea sticks and have gone over creating an arch, except this one! This decided to go the other way and latch onto the clematis arch. On the other side of the arch I had to plant a cucumber which a neighbour gave to me, I had no where else to plant it!. I’ll be quite interested to see how this develops!

5- I planted out my sweet potatoes, variety Beauregard. I had 12 plugs which I grew on in 5ltr pots. I find sweet potatoes prefer acid soil so I added alot of ericaceous compost. The tubers grow close to the surface but the roots like to go deep! I created this cloche which will give them extra heat. The problem is they need lots of water so I cut holes in the corrugated plastic and cut guttering pipes so they are slightly below the roof and a few inches into the ground. I added canes to stabalise them. I’ve given them a good feed of sulphate of potash so I’m quite hopeful they’ll do well. It’s very effective but the roof slopes so I’ll have to think of a way to save/use the rain. When it comes! Probably when I’m on holiday!

*I’m already thinking of cutting bottle heads to use a funnels!

*I tried to make slips last year but failed. I’ll try again this year

6-Early December I bought a bag of bulbs from Wilkos, the price was pennies due to the lateness and they needed the space for their quality xmas goods. I totally forgot what I had planted, I’ve had tulips, daffodils and crocus. I had these which came up with the tulips but have only just flowered, with a bit of googling I think they are Allium Moly?

That’s all folks, working today but hopefully back early to enjoy any strawberries/peas left by the boys. See you next week

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Six on Saturday 9/6/18

We’ve been away this week at Center Parcs, the boy’s have loved feeding swans and squirrels by hand. Probably frowned upon by the naturalists but it’s still getting them involved in nature. My 2 yr old is obsessed with nature, bees, worms, woodlice and presently tadpoles, it’s a great simple age not affected by Pokemon! Anyway a bit late but I’ve managed to squeeze one in for this week, hope you enjoy

1- Plantain, I was advised by fred @frdvil that this weed can help sooth sore eyes. I have Blepharitus which is blocked tear ducts. My eyes are always red but I’ve lived with it. It gets worse with hayfever which I’ve started to suffer with over the last few years (tree pollen). I put the weed in boiling water and placed in the fridge. I cleanedmy eyes as normal in the morning with warm water then bathed my eyes with the cold plantain tea. It did work and my eyes were refreshed for the day, accompanied with anti histimine! This weed has loads of magical powers!

2- When we returned from holiday this was on my drive. I forgot I ordered it and forgot to tell the missus oops! This was a cherry tree and I’ll use it on the plot for mulch and for paths as well as for my compost. Hopefully there will be some left for next year. All bagged up and ready to go. Ps i did this last year and no crops were affected negatively. It suppressed the weeds, retained moisture and broke down into the clay soil

3- Abutilon, not sure which variety but I was given 3 cuttings a few years ago by a nice Italian lady across the road. Two made it and are now establised bushes. I love the flowers and both plants are at the front of my house so the lady can see that I didn’t kill them All!

4- I have to eat some strawberry humble pie. I had straw under my allotment and garden strawberries. I noticed woodlice were eating them and were living in the straw. I took the straw from my garden plants and cut back the runners and leaves. I made mounds for them so the fruit didn’t touch the soil. It turned out that the allotment strawberries in the straw still did alot better, my garden ones have been a disaster and have brown rusty marks. This could be that they’re older plants and the allotment ones are at a perfect age, or the straw needs to be kept dry. With my garden ones I have used cut up plastic modules to try and save the remainding fruit, we’ll see!

5- Free stuff! We all like a freebie, I won some seeds from Mr Fothergills for their longest bean competition, one was a pack of dwarf climbing beans. My allotment ones that I struggled to germinate still don’t look great, something may be taking a liking to them! Anyway Olly helped me plant them inbetween the normal beans. I also received an email from my local allotment society, alot of gardeners have lost spuds due to the weather myself included. They run a shop at the weekend and were giving away bags of potatoes. I took a main crop called Kingsman and Olly helped me plant them where my lost spuds should have been

6- My first Spring cabbage was harvested last night along with the other goodies. Steak night tonight so they’ll be a great accompaniment. I may not need steak, there were so many slugs in the outer leaves that there may be a meaty supprise when i cut it open!

That’s it for this week, lots of work at the allotment next week. Sweet potatoes need to be planted out and I need to create some sort of poly tunnel for them. I need to wood chip every where as well. See you next week

Six on Saturday – 2/6/18

Temperatures have risen and we’ve had a few tremendous storms. Streets have flooded and car alarms set off from the Thunder. It hasn’t affected any of my seedlings or plants thankfully!

It is also blight weather so keep an eye on your spuds and toms!

1- update on our sunflower comp. I did have them close to the edge of the pot and tied to the canes. I saw that others that were in pots and left to fend for themselves looked stronger and straighter. Without disturbing them too much I took them off the canes and placed them in tge middle of the pots. They get blown quite a bit but they are stronger for it. I may have to attach them at some point.Anyway Will has taken a slight lead 😒

2- Clematis and Honeysuckle, these plants are creating havoc, they obviously like each other but they’re growing everywhere and creeping across the archway. I get a soaking every time it rains as I walk passed it. Very pretty though and the honeysuckle smells great

3- Iris in the raspberries. I’m not sure why this is here, it adds a nice splash of colour to my fruit garden but I think it’s wasted. I may move it to my pond area

4- Phacelia, I love the stuff and so do bees. My brother in law visited the plot with Ols. My boy loves nature and the Phacelia I sowed early spring was buzzing with insects.

5- My purple Rhododendron Goldflimmer has finally flowered and it’s a shame because all the others have dropped theirs and I wanted a group photo. I’ve put them all in a photo anyway

6-The pond is looking good and we’ve got lots of shrimps already. Fingers crossed for more visitors. I really need some frogs to protect the Hosta!

That’s all this week, I’m away next week on holiday, hope you all have a great gardening week!

Six on Saturday 26/5/18

Here is my six on Saturday for this week and guess what they’re all flowers! Veg next week!

With the warmer weather and rain the garden has come to life, too much really as the weeds are in force. I still have bluebells which need to die back as well! Overcast and wet make good photography conditions I’ve learnt

1- here is my first, my favourite red hobbit Aquilegia. It was attacked a few weeks ago by greenfly maybe because of the cold spell, and the flowers had shrivelled. I sprayed it with bug spray and fed it and it has been revived. I love the colours and structure of it and it reminds me of that Alien film where everyone dies, can’t remember the title, it wasn’t great!

2- cornflower, I should plant more of these, they were from a pack of wild flower seeds about 5 years ago and they have survived all this time. Again structurally I think it’s great and love the contrasting colours (get me)!

3- Calendula, again like the cornflowers they keep on coming back, they add a great splash of colour to the borders, other than my azaleas I don’t have any other orange plants

4- White Aquilegia, I don’t know the correct name, these have already been shown by the Propagator, I’ve always taken them for granted because they were in the borders when we moved here in 2009. I now look at them thinking of a group of doves having a heated discussion!

5- Alliums, my alliums are in full bloom, all 2 of them, they look great though and I’ll definately be putting some more in for next year

6- My real view, the borders are wild and really need sorting. I really want to dig everything out and start again but for now I’ll just enjoy the natural look 😂

That’s it for now, have a great weekend and bank holiday everyone, some good thunderstorms on their way but lots of nice hot temperatures

Six on Saturday 19/05/18

Lots of weeding this week, weather was hot and sunny then cold at night. We had 3 degrees on Friday morning which upset my squash. My prized beans survived so I’m happy. There are a few disasters I want to share but hopefully not too depressing for you

1- I received my sweet potato plugs from Dobies. I potted them straight away with normal comost and a bit of ericaceous. I have a patch which was prepped in February and has had a black membrane on ever since. I’m looking to plant out early June. I have 12 plugs and the variety is Beauregard. I use the leaves like Spinach!

2- disaster 1, not many carrots germinated, not sure why but I’ve sown some more. I have 2 buckets at home where we sowed into compost. I also fleeced it and all the seeds germinated!

3- disaster 2, temperatures plummeted from 21 to 3 degrees on Friday morning. My beans and sweetcorn survived but some squash were not happy. I have lots of back ups just in case these don’t recover!

4-disaster 3, over half of my green/french beans didn’t germinate. I have 19 plants but need 40. I purchased a small tray from a plant seller on our market. I then potted them, there were 50 plants of blue lake beans all together! Whoops!! I noticed when emptying the unsuccessful beans there were tiny white maggots in the compost, could they be eating the beans?

5- cucumbers, tomatoes and peas are doing well. It will soon be snack time with the mini cukes and peas

6- we bought some garden furniture, I’ve cleaned the cardboard of selotape and staples and stored it for some no dig beds next year. I’ll also take the pallets to the plot for my new neighbour!

Anyway off to enjoy the wedding with a glass of pimms with some chopped up mini cucumbers. Hope you enjoyed it and hopefully more positive next week

Six on Saturday 12/5/18

Temps have cooled a little especially at night, so I’m mindful not to water the greenhouse in the evening. I’m still struggling with my climbing/green beans which is not the seed’s fault it’s mine. Anyway here’s my six for this week, hope you enjoy.

1- Although Azaleas and Rhododendron’s go together so well these two are normally either side of my lawn entrance. I placed them together for effect. I need to balance the colour out so I will have to move the Rhododendron back, maybe later!The Azalea is stunning and the scent is so powerful I can smell it anywhere in the garden. I have a purple Goldflimmer which flowers late May, I hope these two are still around.

2- The big plant out! On Thursday I took my Runner beans, Sweetcorn, Squash and Sunflowers to the plot. I managed to plant out everything apart from 2 Sunflowers and some sweetcorn runts. I repotted the sunflowers and sweetcorn when I returned home. It’s only a 1 minute drive so I drove like Miss Daisy! Hopefully no more frost!!

3- I had big hopes with my sweetcorn but along with the green beans I’ve had problems germinating it. I was supposed to have 3 blocks of 3 different corn with 30 in each block. I planted out 25 Earlybird, 20 Double red and I still have 20 Vanilla Sweet runts in the greenhouse. It was quite windy so I used wind breaks to give them a chance, I can’t afford to lose any! I grew the corn in root trainers and found a perfect dibber with a bean pole offcut!

4- Asparagus and weeds, with all this sun the Asparagus is growing nearly a foot a day. The below photo shows 24 hr growth! I had a few Marestail shoots next to my beans so I took some of them as well. At home I have ground elder which is invading. I cut this down and harvested the new shoots, it tastes like parsley! I also have wild garlic and chives so all this was a perfect accompaniment to my poachies. I also made Marestail tea which is very good for you. God I wish bindweed was edible!

5- Homage to the lakes, this is my lake district border. I have Conniston slate, Azalea, Rhododendrons, wild garlic and bluebells. In the Autumn I will take the Azalea out and put it in a pot to give it some tlc. I think where it is needs better soil. The Rhododendron below struggled until I dug deep and retrieved half a car. Next door’s conifers also steal the nutrients.

6- I created a small pond area on Sunday. It was the hottest day so it was one of those jobs I wish I hadn’t started. No plans for fish yet, it’s mainly to attract wildlife. I may a wild flower area, I also have to think of safety as I have an inquisitive 2yr old

That’s all folks, hope you enjoyed it. There were some photos that didn’t quite make it so let’s here it for Strawberries, Comfrey tea and Runner beans 👏

Lot’s of weeding next week but mainly bindweed! 😢

Six on Saturday 5/5/18

Here is my six on Saturday for this week. Temps have picked up and I’ve stopped using the greenhouse heater. I have struggled with germination and I believe the reason is too wet and too cold. Anyway I still have time to re sow, just about

1- Spring cleaned the garden, tidied the kid’s toys, power sprayed the patio, cleaned the bbq, tidied the borders, scarified and mowed the lawn, getting ready for the lovely long summer! 👀

2-Home veg patch is filling up. Planted out sweetcorn (Earlybird) and tomatoes (Roma) in the fruit patch. I also have leeks, broccoli and peas on the other side. This is my overflow from the allotment!

3- Ground elder, this stuff has appeared out of no where. It says cut it back then paint the new shoots with round up. It also says you can eat the new shoots. Well I did and it was very nice with my poached eggs. It tastes of parsley and with the wild garlic it made a tasty garnish

4-Plastic free? I tried toilet roll holders and cardboard pots but suffered mould and poor germination. With the pots they need to be squashed together or they’ll collapse. They then developed this orange funghi. The reason has to be too cold and wet. The plastic pots drain better so I’ve transferred them all from the soggy cardboard to plastic pots

5- Jeremy Baggins- I’m very pleased after tidying my borders that my Red Hobbit Aquilegia Caerulea is still doing well. I had it a few years before I moved house in 2009. I loved it so much I dug it up and brought it with me. Must be around 12 years old.

6- Annual sunflower comp. Every year we grow sunflowers at the front of the house. My 5yr old usually wins to stop him being stroppy. Well he is old enough now to deal with defeat so it’s game on as far as I’m concerned. Variety is Russian Giant which can grow to 6 metres !

It’s going to be a nice sunny bank holiday so plenty if planting out next week. See you soon, happy gardening