Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

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Day 33 on the allotment!

Wow what a busy week! Lots of rain too so not really an opportunity to get to the allotment so I am a little behind on potting on and planting.

A quick update; My onions are peeking through the soil, I have had a chance to get the seeds in I wanted: carrots, parsnips, lettuce, beetroot, chard, celery and some French marigold for good measure. My potatoes are really going for it and need ridging up, the beans and sweetcorn are a little slow-growing tho.

I have been working hard and buzzing around a lot (and someone texted far too early this morning) so I am afraid it all caught up with me a little today, I wasn’t at the allotment for as long as I would have liked, I still had daylight hours and a jobs list to complete! I decided to leave a few tasks for tomorrow, but did make a point of raking over the beds again, particularly where I plan to add in a greenhouse, I am trying to level this off.

I also decided that I want to plant more peas and beans, I have the space to do so if I plan carefully, and I have the extra plants anyway. I added in some canes in between the corn and beans/peas as far away from the mounds as I can so to minimise any light being blocked from the corn. Tomorrow I shall plant the legumes in this structure.

I still need to finish off planting my onions, and would like to try to squeeze some more into the bed, I am thinking instead of adding more rows perhaps I should interplant the sets between those already growing, i.e. did I plant initially with too much space… I shall have to read up and find out. I also still need to sort out my strawberry plants.

I was gutted to find another allotment holder had moved some pallets on my plot and destroyed all my courgette seedlings (and the rabbits have finished them off), he has offered to sow some more for me which is lovely but it will make me a little more behind schedule. I shall have to go ahead and plant the squash and hope the courgette can catch up without being smothered.

I helped out again at an allotment in Haddenham again this morning and gained some borage plants and some Jerusalem artichoke plants from a plant swap there. I need to get them in the ground pretty sharpish so they get going.

Tomorrow I also need to head to Buckingham to start dismantling a greenhouse I was offered through Freecycle, this would be really good for my tomatoes so I am super excited about this!

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Allotment dramas

Well. I added myself to the Parish allotment waiting list a while back, I understood there were people ahead of me so it could take a while. There’s a site that the National Trust manages in the village too – I think it’s part of the Waddesdon Manor Estate – so I added my name to that whilst I was at it.

Suffice to say, there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing due to a misunderstanding about where plot 12 actually was – turns out the plot shown to me might actually be half of plot 4 and plot 12 might be overgrown land that hadn’t been worked for at least 4 years and had brambles growing on it. During this confusion I had started growing plants in readiness to plant.

In the meantime whilst I’m waiting to hear back on what’s happening with the plot, I have spoken to the Clerk to see where I am on the council list (next in line!) and I heard a rumour in the gardening community that one of the allotment-holders might be handing his plot back rather than paying for another year (it’s the time of year for renewals)…. finally this evening I had a surprise call to say I was all good to sign up, and that the last person would be leaving me a shed etc. very exciting news!

Well of course I had to nip over to the plot straight away to check it out! There were slightly raised beds (with winter weeds and some manure), a couple of compost heaps, a couple of rhubarb plants and a water-butt – allotment heaven! As soon as my agreement arrives tomorrow I’m signing up, in the meantime I can get digging on it in the morning!

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Gladioli bulbs

Not a huge amount happening in the garden today, it was drizzling in between bouts of sunshine, I am perhaps a little impatient and hope to see seedlings sprouting up now!

I stocked up the greenhouse with a few bits, it survived the night with no incident so I am now trusting it with seed trays. I also checked everything to make sure watering was sufficient.

Gladioli bulbs rescued from other beds went into the flower bed nearest the house, there are quite a few. I think this bed would be a good place for sweet peas too, tho if I sow these now then I need to sow these in pots rather than outside and plant on later.

I met the secretary of the Waddesdon & District Horticultural Society today and ended up joining (£2 annual fee), I’m now a paid up card-carrying member! There’s a show in August apparently and the potential for a plant sale in May so I might have to start producing a little extra for this. I am awaiting my pack through the door to find out more i.e. are there cake/chutney/jam competitions I should be planning to enter?

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I’ve also done a bit of research on sowing times etc. for my planned plants so I am starting to put together a monthly list of jobs for the blog.

I managed to forget the eggs today so no egg boxes for seedlings, I might have to consider more trays. Lots more planning to do this evening!

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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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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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Welcome

IMG_9746-1Welcome to a home gardening blog based here in Waddesdon, Buckinghamshire. This is intended to keep a track of what is happening in the garden and when.  Although it is firstly for me to keep track of things, my gardening diary if you will, I thought some of this might interest others.

I’m interested in growing my own produce organically but I certainly do allow a little room for flowers too they just need to make themselves useful! I’m a bit of a fan of getting involved in the community and have one or two causes close to my heart, sustainable living (permaculture), communities getting involved and helping each other out, tasty nutritious food and of course gardening!

If you’re local to Waddesdon I’d really appreciate an ‘hello’ and maybe you could share what’s happening in your garden?

It’d be great to get a bunch of us together to chat all things gardening or maybe help out a local resident who might be struggling with their patch of earth. Perhaps if there are enough fabulous gardens in the village then we might look to set up a garden tour in aid of a charity. With the sad news of Waddesdon Plant Centre closing down maybe a seed swap coffee morning would be a nice way to get together.

I look forward to hearing your gardening tales!

Green Garden Gate Waddesdon