Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

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Veggie Plant Sale

This afternoon I held a little plant sale, I had been worried whether to hold it at all due to the weather forecast, but the day before I decided to go for it and advertised.

Thank you to those who popped by, a reminder; plant info is located here.

The sun showed it’s face for a while and in the end it didn’t rain! I sold a few plants, enough to pay for my allotment for the year anyhow!

I must say I rather enjoyed it, it was lovely that a friend popped over for a natter, plus in the downtime I had the chance to plant my beetroot seedlings and pot on my nasturtium.

There’s still quite a few plants leftover so I might see what the weather is like next weekend, maybe another sale will pay for some organic compost from Haddenham Garden Centre, any leftover can go in the allotment if not!

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April showers

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There’s been a few sunny days with lots of April showers recently, which I guess is only to be expected!

Here are a few things happening in the garden currently:

I’ve had a couple of dramas trying to get an allotment, which I shall mention in another post, but suffice to say the plants I have been getting ready to go on the plot are pretty much ready and I have no plot to put them on!

I’m thinking of having a plant sale to sell my excess plants but I’m not sure what the weather will be doing from one day to the next so it’s difficult to organise. Although I might just have a couple over a few Sundays and advertise locally. I’ve also been toying with the idea of setting up my own garden services business. Watch this space!

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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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Chillies!

On the 12th March the jalapeño seedlings started to sprout, this was taken first thing in the morning [middle two rows]:

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This is late afternoon on the same day:

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Here they are this evening [central 8 cells]:IMG_9831

I must confess to ‘helping’ another seedling out of its seed case and ripping the leaves off, so only 7 jalapeño seedlings unfortunately. I will have to curb my impatience and let them figure it out themselves. Anyway, here they are again with cayenne and the yellow bell pepper seedlings that came up a couple of days ago:IMG_9830


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Peas, flip-flops and Common Frog

This morning I had to break the ice in the bird bath, proving that it’s still a little too cold overnight for a lot of my seedlings, I’ve those that like the warm inside in propagators or terracotta pots in the case of my herbs, but today I have sown a few outdoor seeds in propagators ready to sit in the greenhouse.

I decided to plant seedlings indoors rather than catching a chill outdoors, but still had one or two jobs in the cold!

When I am working I obviously stick my wellies on but I have to say a little trip to open up the greenhouse and check on things I often wear my bright red flip-flops bought in Asia. I happen to keep them handy near the door at the moment and every time I put them on it does remind me of crossing a threshold when living in Asia, sliding them on or off in one movement often without stopping, each end every time I smile.

IMG_9767Another reminder of Asia; I stumbled across a large frog in the garden, turns out she is a Common Frog, and a welcome sign the garden is doing well, I hope she eats as many slugs as she finds!

IMG_9771A quick internet search suggests that my coriander seed now residing in the greenhouse should really have gone outdoors in April so that may be why it’s not sprouting yet. Ah well, it either grows or it doesn’t. I’ve sown quite a few sweet peas, pea ‘Lincoln’, sugar snap, pea early onwards in propagators in the greenhouse, unfortunately it’s too early for beans just yet. Wild strawberry seeds are also in a propagator, as is swiss chard. I am a little naughty in planting the chard just yet, it’s a few weeks early, but I had some spare cells in the tray and a few seeds to risk. And I am impatient.

I took a chance and sowed night-scented stock seeds directly into the front of the flower beds, mainly because if a flower isn’t going to be edible or medicinal the it need to smell good. everything that needs it had a water and the empty beds had some organic fertiliser added.

Indoors, next to the maskotka and the cucumber I added some peppers I forgot yesterday; Hungarian Wax, they have the curious characteristic in that they are sweet when young and get fiery when left on the plant. In another propagator there are a few lavender seeds and some french marigolds, again, a little early but I had the room and there are more seeds if they don’t take. I’m growing these to act as a companion plant for the tomatoes, cucumber and peppers.

I’ve completed my seeding for the next few weeks, so now the hardest part happens…. waiting!


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Tomato seeds in the propagator

There was limited time available in the garden today, it got dark before I was finished with all my jobs.

I spent an age making paper seedling pots for use in  the propagator, which is possibly why I ended up buying 6 propagators with cell inserts. They make life far easier!

I de-cat-pooed the beds and rigged up a new prevention system, a blog follower suggested moth balls but I wasn’t sure how organic that might be so went with garden netting rigged over bamboo canes. I also had a sheet of glass, which is now protecting the potatoes until they start growing. Fingers crossed this works!

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After, I added organic compost to all the cells and brought 3 trays indoors to sow in the warm. Tomatoes Black Russian, Golden Sunrise, Craigella and Outdoor Girl are now on the front windowsill above the radiator (saving the need to buy heated propagators) as are hot peppers Jalapeño and Cayenne Red and sweet pepper D’Asti Giallo.

Plant List  is here.

Lots more sowing to do tomorrow!

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Installing a basic greenhouse

Today the weather has held, no rain as yet tho it is a little overcast. Just to update the interested, the poo prevention measures failed in part, despite the obstacle course the local felines decided I had installed a brand spanking new facility just for them. A redesign is in order. The wind isn’t too strong so this morning’s task was to build a mini-greenhouse (check out local QD, Wilkinson stores). I’d considered various options for growing tomatoes, cucumber and peppers as well as seedlings in general from a dedicated mini tomato house (£5-£8) it was small and held about 2 plants. There was another contender with staging on the left and tomato area on the right at £25 but in the end went with a mini greenhouse at £30 giving the most options during the growing season.

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building in progress

Bearing in mind the bargain price the build wasn’t without its issues; one of the plastic connectors split but nothing a bit of gaffer tape couldn’t solve.

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gaffer tape is wonderful stuff

There was also an issue with the ‘shelves’ not actually fitting where they should, so cable ties sorted that one out!

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Getting the cover over the top is fun when there is a slight breeze, don’t attempt in winds stronger than this unless you have an extra pair of hands. The end result isn’t too bad, tho I won’t add anything to it until it’s been wind tested overnight. There’s a couple of bricks on the base section and I’ll be lashing it to the wall with paracord shortly, those who’ve spent time with me in Borneo will know how useful this stuff is.

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