Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

Gardening Blog

Day 26 on the allotment!

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I planted my chitted potatoes (Anya new potatoes and Maris Piper main crop) on the 5th May (the Bank Holiday Monday) and although expecting them to grow a little quicker that the 30 days they took planted 1st March in the garden as the soil is warmer, I didn’t expect that they’d be poking through the soil already!

The weather has been rather rainy in the last few days so that and the fact I sliced my thumb with a parang, plus other commitments have meant that I haven’t been to the plot since the weekend, it’s good to see that things are starting to grow. Unfortunately so are the slugs and I perhaps need to invest in some more organic slug pellets.

I’m really impressed with the efforts the rhubarb has made in the last few days and that the potatoes sprouted after only 18 days is fantastic.  The jerusalem artichoke is settling in ok, despite the slugs.

This weekend I have to fit in time to plant the rest of my onion sets, pot on the strawberry plants as well as the butternut squash plants and give the mini-greenhouse at home a lot of attention.  I need to plan where I am planting the outdoor tomato plants too.  Fingers crossed the sun shines for us all!

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Baby spiders and sweetcorn

I took these photos about a week ago in the garden, not long after our last frost, unfortunately I lost most of my cucumbers (apart from two that were still in the mini-greenhouse) and I had no seed left. My friend kindly gave me some of hers (‘Masterpiece’) so I have sown them, hopefully they will catch up!

There were some baby spiders that had made some garden string their home for a day, with a bit of forethought I should have put a couple in the greenhouse, one or two made it in with my tomatoes – which also didn’t look too happy with the frost but survived, I had hardened them off pretty well, but the last frost was a lesson learned.  The frost also caught a good proportion of my French beans, but they are still growing new leaves so hopefully no lasting damage. Lastly, I lost a couple of squash plants, but the rest look happy enough and will need potting on soon.

I am very excited by my baby sweetcorn plants, they look very cute! I shall plant them on the allotment using the 3-sisters technique, a type of companion planting with beans and squash, as mentioned in another post.

In the garden the broad beans are growing very fast, as are all my potatoes, I should have earthed these up already but have been so busy I haven’t gotten around to it, they by rights should have also been affected by the frost but no issues there at all. All my salad plants are growing bigger, but not ready for harvesting yet but there will be spinach and rocket and radishes soon. The herbs seem to like the longer days and are responding well, soon I shall be using my garden herbs in cooking.

Finally I have noticed a few lavender seedlings starting to germinate, perhaps I sowed these a little early, but it is two months since I sowed them.

I am really pleased at the pace at which everything is happening, I just need to speed up my soil prep in readiness, it’s a shame I didn’t get the allotment even a few weeks sooner so I wouldn’t be playing catch up, and I could have used the frost to break up the soil, it’s slower waiting for rain and sunshine to do so!

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Companion planting

I have been doing a lot of reading up on companion planting recently to refresh myself on what plants grow better together, those that don’t like to grow together and those that help deter pests. The garlic already sown should repel slugs (as well as cats!) and carrots and garlic grown together helps both. Onions sown with carrots helps to mask the smell of carrot fly (and the carrots confuse onion fly) and there is some evidence that garlic may help peas, but possibly stunt the pea’s growth, so it’s nearby, but not too near. I also read that lettuce helps onions and carrots and vice versa. I have sown in the marked rows: spring onion, Lilya on the left, then carrot, early Nantes 5, then spring onion white Lisbon, then a row of Garden Lettuce seeds – a lucky dip from a seed swap, all I noted down was ‘Lactuca saliva’ so it could end up growing as anything! Around these rows I have transplanted a few French marigold seedlings, with the hope that the slugs might give them a chance to grow, if not, I have held plenty back and have enough seeds to re-sow if needed. Finally at the back I added in 3 types of peas (in soda bottle cloches) with the intent of training them up the fence. There’s room in the bed to do successive sowing.

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the layout

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French Marigold, Naughty Marietta seedlings near garlic cloves

Once the carrot and onion seeds start to grow, I will consider what other herbs I might want to grow interspersed between the veggies. The garden still seems to attract bees and a Peacock butterfly even landed on my head the other day as I was watering. I just wish the slugs and ants would find a new home! The cats are learning not to visit so often, this could be garlic related, or it could be that I just made their favourite facilities too wet for their liking. I had a chance to try some herbal medicine today; I stung the back of my hand on a nettle whilst planting and it wouldn’t stop itching, so I did as I learned as a child, found a dock leaf and rubbed the bruised juices on the sting – instant relief! Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

Weeds or wildflowers

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There are a few bee friendly wildflowers flowering in the lawn at the moment, some of which are edible, all of which are pretty. Some folk would be weeding them up, but I’m happy enough for the early bees and butterflies to have a feed. I’m slightly tempted to try making a salad if they grow a little more.

 

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French Pink Garlic

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Garlic being planted at the front of the bed

A little sunshine today warranted digging in compost to the beds and planting the pink French garlic. As I understand it, these cloves will be a deterrent to cats (and any mice that might be in the vicinity) and a few spare cloves in the greenhouse given a squeeze now and then should deter white fly. Three huge bulbs managed to supply 45 cloves, the fattest of which I’ve planted for growing in the veggie beds, the smaller ones in the flower beds to try to deter cats, if good garlic comes of this, ah well! There’s some more to be planted, but they can wait a while until the next bed is ready to start being filled.

I’ve had to plant them at the front of the beds as they shouldn’t be grown too close to peas and beans as they stunt their growth. Peas and beans will eventually be grown up the fences on these beds, with outdoor variety tomatoes hung from the fence posts. The garlic is however good for a lot of the other plants I am growing, as would several of the herbs I am growing.

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overnight cat poo prevention

More cat protection was required as previous efforts were ineffective, we have very acrobatic cats in Waddesdon! Hopefully the above will mean I no longer have to dig carefully.

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Daffodils and bees

 

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Daffodil and snowdrop fruiting body

The daffodils have been out a little while now and the snowdrops have most definitely gone.

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We had a few bees visit the garden whilst I was there today, a honey bee got caught in the mini-greenhouse and needed extraction. He was a little peeved by the time I found him so I had to be careful not to upset him further. There were a couple of bumble bees in the garden too

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bumble bee near the apple tree

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bumble bee exploring a hidey hole in the grass

I sowed beetroot ‘boltady’ and aubergine ‘black beauty’ today so we shall see how long those take to germinate.  My nasturtium seedlings were getting rather big and needed thinning so I re-potted four of the five seedlings and they are now in the greenhouse. I am hoping they are ok there as I haven’t fully hardened them off yet. I’ll transplant them into beds as the risk of frost disappears.

Yesterday evening I sowed courgette and coriander seeds from a friend in the pots they came in so fingers crossed they are happy.

I am debating whether to grow garlic at the moment; I use a lot in cooking and so it’ll be interesting to see what flavour I could get out of the garden.

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Recipe and lots more seedlings

First blog recipe published! Check out: Gardener’s puy and French bean salad one of my current favourites and one I hope to make from my produce soon.

Please do let me know if there’s anything in your garden growing you’d like recipe ideas for, or submit for inclusion your own favourite recipe from your garden produce!

There are now 9 maskotka seedlings and two cucumber, plus nasturtium marjoram, thyme, dill and basil are all happily sprouting away – very exciting!

Surprisingly, there’s also a marigold sprouting and it was only sown 3 days ago, exciting times!

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