Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

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Tomato seedlings transplanted in greenhouse with the beasties!

I’ve now transplanted all my tomato seedlings, there’s more than I thought! They all pretty much protested the move, despite a soak in a dilute organic seaweed feed. These are the heritage varieties Golden Sunrise, Black Russian, Outdoor Girl and Craigella which all seemed to like being in a propagator on the windowsill, if possibly a little leggy. Maybe I might consider a grow light next season.

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transplanted seedings protesting the move

This will be their first night in the greenhouse, fingers crossed they like it! I did sow a few extra seeds so that I have plenty of contingency for losing some due to pests etc. I have already given some as gifts, veggie plants make a great housewarming present.

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tomato seedlings starting to perk up again in the greenhouse

The greenhouse is getting a little full now as I am keeping things high up until the slug pubs do their job. I have two types of trap, but they both have cider in them, mainly because its leftover from our recent BBQ and I’m not a fan of it. It’s working a little, but I did notice one slug had a drink and escaped. The coriander seems to be recovering ok although I am wondering if I need to buy  some real ale instead… just for gardening purposes of course!

I’m not sure when the tomatoes might be big enough and strong enough to withstand the slugs – I need to research!

There is a bunch of ants that want to make the greenhouse home, they had a dose of hot water to get them to move on, it’s not entirely worked. I had a look at something like this, perhaps this might be needed if they’re still there next month.

On Saturday I sowed some more peas and beans for successive crops, they are in propagators in the greenhouse, the blog is showing me that these took 10-11 days to germinate, so just over a week to go. I want them a certain size before I risk a full frontal slug attack in the beds!

I think that my flower seeds were eaten by the slugs, so I have re-sown those today.

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Sprouting garlic, tomato and mini-greenhouse

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garlic sprouting

My garlic cloves are sprouting!

Those who’ve read earlier posts will remember I have had problems with locals cats in the beds. Well I am happy to report that the cats are mostly avoiding the beds these days and part of that I think is down to the smell of the garlic cloves planted recently.

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tomato Maskotka seedlings

The Maskotka tomatoes were really starting to need more space to grow, the other varieties planted later (but in propagators cells) were starting to put them to shame. I think my experiment of re-using egg boxes has been successful in that I now know that it’s not a very good idea! I planted them into both Compostapots and traditional plastic pots, I wonder if there will be any difference between them.

There’s now a hand-made extra shelf in the mini-greenhouse, mainly to give a bit more storage, but to also keep seedlings that like it a little warmer higher up. I have noted that the slugs like the plants lower down so I’ve taken everything off the floor for now and installed a slug trap (cider in a tin can). My poor coriander really was being eaten to ground level every night so fingers crossed this recovers. I hope to reduce the slug population here before I need to plant my tomatoes and cucumbers in the grow bags!

Speaking of tender, I put my cucumber seedlings in the mini-greenhouse overnight for the first time last night and was reading several weather apps worried that it might go as low as -1°C and I possibly went a little OTT in putting a small terracotta oil lamp (fuelled by olive oil) on the grass at the bottom at 2am so as to keep the temperature up above freezing. I checked it first thing this morning and it appears to have worked perfectly, there was no chill in the air inside the mini-greenhouse.

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Sunshine and seedlings!

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propagators

On sunny days I have been taking my seedlings outside, partially to let them make the most of the sun and partially to start the hardening off process. There was another visitor to the garden today; a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, unfortunately by the time I’d popped into the house to find my phone to take a picture, it had gone.

I’ve started to get rather low on potting compost, so yesterday went to 4 or 5 different places in Aylesbury to find some organic compost and tomato feed, I was really surprised to not find any. The last place I bought some (Waddesdon Plant Centre) has since closed. In the end a trip to Haddenham Garden Centre did the job, finding 50 litre bags of multipurpose at £5.99 or on offer; 3 for 2 – bargain! It’s peat free too, even better, peat should be left in its natural habitat supporting our native wildlife.

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organic compost

We picked up some grow bags for the mini greenhouse too, which meant I had a perfect reason to get the greenhouse ship-shape and stop using it as storage!

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items previously stored in the greenhouse

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Grow bags in greenhouse

It’s a bit of a squeeze for the grow bags on the side, but I figure the tomato roots won’t mind what shape they grow into.

It gave me an opportunity to water everything and reorganise the pots that had been in the beds and inspect everything.

Here the pea and chard seedlings are starting to sprout:

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various pea varieties on left, centre to right, swiss chard, bright lights

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compostapots

The pots in the beds are going much slower than I hoped so I have decided to bring them into the greenhouse for now. The catnep is showing a couple of germinated seeds and the mallow is germinating. The wild primrose isn’t doing anything as yet.

This is how I have laid everything out until the tomatoes and cucumbers need to go in:

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full greenhouse

The broad beans aren’t doing anything, so hopefully some greenhouse time will give them a chance to get going. The coriander is just sprouting, the time in the greenhouse appears to have done it some good.

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These are the cucumber seedlings, just starting to get their first pair of true leaves, it’ll be time to pot them up soon! I tried leaving the lid off them the other day, they didn’t much like it, I think the small amount of wind we had was stripping them of their water as they went papery thin and a little droopy, fortunately another watering and quick replacement of the lid had them recovering in 20 minutes.IMG_9840

The same with tomato maskotka, the first true leaves are starting to grow so they’ll need potting in the next few days.IMG_9841

The Hungarian wax chilli plants are coming up nicely, they’ll stay in the propagator a while yet tho.IMG_9843

My mutant marigolds are doing as well as the regular ones, nothing to report there.IMG_9844

Lavendar seedlings are just starting to sprout – if you look ever so closely!IMG_9845I read the labels of some cat repellant in the garden centre the other day (not organic) but the active ingredient in quite a few was garlic… so that and the persistent acrobatics of the local felines has swung my decision to grow garlic! This bag has 3 massive bulbs in it, each clove of which should result in a bulb. These were 25% off too and they have a lovely pink skin which I rather like. I’m going to have to do a little research as they don’t actually tell you when to plant them.

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Getting started with seeds

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River Thame bursting it’s usually steep banks. Car is driving through water over bridge

We’ve had unprecedented amounts of rain in recent months and so planning to start off the gardening year has been a little problematic.  The ground may be too wet or more rain may cause germination problems. Soil preparation hasn’t really been possible. The growing season has already started, the weeds were looking really healthy and the snowdrops & daffodil are out in force.

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Snowdrops

In the last week I decided to prepare for a nice day so invested in a propagator and bought fresh seeds and seed potatoes and shopped for the required paraphernalia.  I thought I’d try to germinate some coriander seeds I had laying around in the kitchen (you never know), these have been in for about a week now (nothing happening yet!). My herb seeds have been sown in terracotta pots ready to be placed outside the kitchen door, although it’s too cold for the seedlings right now they are being germinated indoors. For info; Dill, Chives, Garlic Chives, Spearmint, Nasturtium, Sweet Marjoram, Thyme, Sweet Genovese Basil, Plain leaved Parsley and Giant Italian Parsley.

Finally, with a whole weekend of rain forecasted (and camping plans cancelled), I awoke 7am this morning to beautiful sunshine and lots of blue sky!  Needless to say the wellies were on and the fork and spade were on duty digging and weeding all the veggie beds in the garden. I don’t know what the soil in your garden is like but I have grown up gardening on clay soil so I expected this to be very heavy going. Surprisingly the soil was easy enough to deal with here in Waddesdon, also a little help does come in handy!  The lawn is still a little soggy tho.

Digging completed, random gladioli bulbs and a foxglove rescued for other beds, chitted seed potatoes untangled from the netting and I quickly realise I need twice the space I’d planned for the potatoes – ah well!  Potatoes in (Aaron first early’s) and a quick glance over the shoulder at a few clouds later I decide there is still plenty of time to get going on sowing some of the earlier seeds outdoors.

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Sowing wild primrose

Armed with those ‘Compostapots’ (the biodegradable pots that allow you to either remove for planting or just plant intact), my organic compost and some Rootgrow (first time trying this stuff – some friendly fungus that aids a growing root system organically), I get sowing catnep (have you ever used this in tea or as a seasoning?), mallow, wild primrose (great in salads) and broad bean (bunyard’s exhibition) and labelling them up. Adding the Rootgrow layer makes the process twice as long but I’m sure the healthy root growth will lead to more abundant tasty veggies!

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Poo prevention

These were all placed under a 3 metre length cloche in situ, which also served as cat poo prevention on the recently dug beds. Other poo prevention measures included garden canes criss-crossed over the potatoes and an old green gate laid over an empty bed. We seem to get the cons of cats without the benefit of ownership!

Tomato (maskotka), cucumber (bush champion) were sown in the propagator and slotted onto the kitchen windowsill.  The coriander was kicked out under the cloche so as to make room. We decided the bed viewed from the kitchen would be flowers, so the rescued foxglove took centre stage:

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Foxglove

Starting to get a little chilled and with the promise of a cup of tea I decided to call it a day, everything tidied away to what I am assured is not called the potting shed as it’s for specific man things. Whilst in town another propagator was acquired as was a mini greenhouse – lots to do tomorrow if the weather holds!

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