Sunday, 28 March 2010

Tidy Backyard

Spent Saturday at the plot - got another 5 square metres dug over, only another 20 or so to go. Unfortunately it's the section I was planning to plant potatoes, so may have to whittle down the number I was hoping to sow or reduce planting schemes elsewhere. Hey ho. The last bit won't be easy either, as a few tentative fork pokings & exploratory spadings have revealed that at some point in the past some kind of structure - probably a shed - has been built there, as proved by the vast amounts of stones, bricks & lumps of concrete buried just under the surface of the soil. May need a period of good weather & some prolonged hard work with a sieve to properly deal with that area. Still, the stones are proving to make fantastic path material, and being of the sharp broken flint variety make brilliant slug barriers.

Hey! I'm making myself my own personal corral! an encampment of vegetables protected by razor-sharp flints from marauding slugs and snails! Well, it will be once I've pelleted all the ones I've encircled. With slug pellets of the organic variety, of course - wouldn't want to put anything down that harmed other wildlife. Or maybe I'll just drown them in beer (bit of a waste of beer though).

Today weather forecast suggested rain (which is only just starting to fall now at 7pm in the evening! Grrrr) so spent the day tidying up the back garden instead, which has been sadly neglected since we got plot last October. Insane really, as it's the backgarden that I look out onto everyday. Still - all nice & tidy now, everything trimmed back, and ready to receive the tomatoes, aubergines & chilli plants that I think'll do better in my sheltered back garden, rather than up at the exposed plot.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Garden Envy

On Sunday, went for a walk over in West Sussex, near the village of Bramber, and fantisized about what it would be like to live somewhere rural with a beautiful view.
Whereas my reality is rather more like this:

I do grow climbing plants over the back trellis to hide at least the ground floor of the houses facing onto my backyard. But it does obscure their sunlight, so they do hack it all back once every couple of years.


Sunday, 21 March 2010

Crunch Point

My windowsills are now groaning under the weight of seedlings reaching for the light and I'm starting to feel like I'm looking at the world through a pair of green-tinted spectacles. Obviously space is limited (I don't live in a giant greenhouse, nor do I have a house with full plate-glass shop windows). So an interesting hierarchy of favouritism is developing. Tomatoes aubergines & chillies are all top dog in my house - right there living it up on the window sills. But I foolishly also sowed a few squashes & pumpkins - take a quiet moment to watch these, and they grow right in front of your eyes like stop-animation of the kind you see on a nature programme. Oh Lordy, I am undone.

I confess, the pansies (first time I've ever grown these from seed - previous years I've always bought these each spring as plug plants) are probably furthest from a window - indeed, they're currently sitting on a kitchen work surface in front of the boiler. These are (oh, how embarrassing to admit this) more leggy than Elle Mcpherson (or some other 6ft giantess 1980s supermodel type with pins insured for a million dollars). If my pansies were people they would look like this.

How will these survive? As soon as they go outside, one gentle hint of a breeze and they'll be over like a teen that's had one too many alchopops - stems snapped & dead as a dodo.

What to do?

Methinks a re-shuffling is in order. A trip to the pound shop is to be had on Monday, for half a dozen nasty plastic 12" pots. Squashes are going to have to take their chances down at the allotment shed. I call it a shed. Actually, it's more of a summer house affair with plenty of windows, frequently used as target-practice by the local yoofs roaming the allotments on a Saturday night (good grief - is that really the best idea they can come up with to entertain themselves?). Glass windows are pane-by-pane being replaced with perspex. Hopefully, before the final piece of glass is broken whatever the yoofs are lobbing at my windows will bounce off the perspex and donk them right back. Right back atcha.

Saturday, 13 March 2010


Hello my old friend

Lots of foliage has died back after the harshest winter in 30 years. An old mannequin head I planted 5 years ago is suddenly very visible again, after nestling & hiding away for a number of years. Good to see it again - think I might grow it a topiary wig this year with a leafy annual.

Still cold at night - we've been frost free this week - but any water in pots froze over last weekend. Leeks are coming up in the 4-tier greenhouse outside. Purple Sprouting broccoli is doing well & needs potting on this weekend - will hang on to those a few more weeks in my sheltered back garden before taking up to the more exposed plot.

Aubergines doing well. These are indoors on window sills over warm radiators, and will stay indoors till May I think.