Wednesday, 25 March 2009

First wave of Spring seeds

Feels good to see rows of potted seeds on the conservatory windowsill. Over the last week I've sown individual small pots of Kelvedon Wonder peas, spring onions, Jelapeno chilli and a bigger container of mixed salad. I've got the bug now and want to crack on with all the others! Potatoes (from the Potatoes for Schools campaign) are chitting slowly on the utility room windowsill, they need to get into their individual bags within the next couple of weeks.

As Pepper, the kitten, is rather into digging in fresh soil (he'd completely dug out each seperate section of spring onion seeds within seconds of me bringing them into the kitchen), I decided to rig up a small barrier of sticks, string and silver foil to keep him off the salad! It's working so far - in fact the salad has already started to grow! I am also so amazed at how costly bags of salad are in the shops. As a family, three out of the four of us aren't huge salad eaters, but Paul does enjoy a bowl of salad with dressing when serving up chilli or something similiar. I often find a bag of salad will very quickly go soggy if not eaten within a couple of days. I used to buy just Iceberg lettuce and chop it up as we needed it, but it seemed a little dull! Growing and cutting your own salad leaves is such a brilliant and cheap way to getting just what you need.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

The warmth of Spring

Wow, what a glorious weekend we've just had.

It was so warm on Sunday that we had breakfast in the garden (at 8.30) and our first BBQ of the year for lunch (although by the time we'd sat down to eat the clouds were beginning to loom).

Took the opportunity to continue with some much needed tidying and weeding and took a few photos too to prove that Spring is so, so close now.

This mini tulip that Katie planted last year is the first Spring bulb to flower.

Primulas seem to be so hardy. I had about 8 all thrown together (literally) in a couple of bags, taken from old hanging baskets last autumn and I pulled them out and planted them in full and delightful bloom.

Lovely to see my long sweep of Wallflowers finally making an entrance. I picked up a whole load of bunches of them from a garden centre late last summer for about £2 in total - they are brilliant for ground cover but one of my cats seems to have taken a shine to laying on top of them in places!


Friday, 13 March 2009

New arrivals in the garden

Very excited to see a couple of Long-tailed tits taking their breakfast from our tree of fat balls the other day. Don't think in all my [....] years I've ever come across this darling of little birds.

Unfortunately, the Starlings seem to have cottoned on to the tree of fat balls too. They are mean little things. I've noticed that they line up along the gutter of next door's roof and wait until the Sparrows, various members of the Tit family, Wren and Blackbirds are happily pecking away and then swoop down and literally peck at them until they fly off. Not good - will need to put my thinking cap on to put a stop to it.


Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Tidying and pet proofing

We've had a spell of lovely gardening weather. Not hot, not cold, not windy ... just right. Grabbed the opportunity to get outside and do some major tidying up on the hardstanding next to the veggie plot. The water doesn't drain well on here and it accumulates, along with any mud and muck trodden in be me (as main gardener), so it needed an enthusiastic sweep and wash down. While I was at it, I decided to tidy all the larger plant pots (and get rid of all the dead plants), sort and store all the plastic seed pots and generally put things where they should be. Although the photo still seems to show it as messy, in my eyes it's now "organised mess"!!!

Note the gorgeous bay tree in the (temporary) pot, given to me a friend - can't wait to get it into its final destination, somewhere good in the garden - a new herb section perhaps.
Note also in the picture the leeks still going strong. As I type we're down to just 4 now. They've been probably the best veggie we've grown in 2008 and have lasted us well.

During my tidy up, I came across a basket stuffed full of old bulbs, some of which were showing good signs of life, so I cleared a section in my flower bed in front of the conservatory to plant them up. They seem to have taken well and will look great when they finally spring into action.

Pleased to announce that the garlic are doing extremely well, and the onions have finally decided to show (having been planted in November for over-wintering). I'd layed mesh over the top of them to keep the hens off during the main part of the winter, but the other day I noticed the young shoots were being squashed so I decided to take the mesh off. After just 24 hours half my baby onions were missing or dug up, either by the hens or perphaps the cats. Brainwave moment - after putting lots of unwanted CDs threaded through string attached to canes I then used leftover chicken wire to make an animal (and feathered friend) proof "tent" to keep them all safe!

The culprit I wonder? Gina looking very cheeky but very cute!