Time to get picking 

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Sow… The vegetable patch is finally thriving.
The runner beans are reaching to the sky and have lots of lovely red and white flowers, I have two varieties growing. The pumpkin and butternut squash now have plenty of room to trail around. The French beans are being picked daily. The sunflowers are standing as tall as me. The peas and mange tout are producing like crazy. The shallot and carrots appear to be growing in harmony, even though they the quite close together. The tomatoes are a bit wild as I may have forgot to pinch them out in all the rain but there are tomatoes growing. The cucumber is trailing on the gravel as I can’t seem to get it to cling to anything to grow upwards. The lettuce was growing well and then one night the slugs and snails had a midnight feast and ate the lot. Blueberries are going blue. The courgettes aren’t doing as well as they normally do but we have picked this gigantic round one.

 

Busy busy busy.

Unfortunately the suede and sprouting broccoli seedlings were neglected so I am going to sow some directly into the ground and see what happens.

The lettuce trough is going to be turned into a succulent bed as I’ve tried growing lettuce a few times with no luck.
The flower beds are also growing nicely and we are making a little seating area by the shed.
What have you been busy doing in the garden?

It’s all starting to grow.

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Sow… This weekend I managed to get a few very productive hours in the garden.

The first job was planting out the runner beans and French beans that were big enough. I need to secure the canes but didn’t have time and thought it more important I got everything planted out.

runner beans
french beans

I still have some more to plant out but they are too small at the moment.

I planted out another row of peas and mange tout as the first row are now about 5inches tall.

mange tout

The carrots and beetroot I planted a while ago haven’t done anything but maybe this is because of the crazy weather we have been having here and the unexpected frosts. I planted out two more rows of carrots to see what happens. I also found some shallots. Due to running out of room I have planted these in between the rows of carrots. I don’t know if this will or won’t work but I’m sure I’m read somewhere about planting onions and leeks between carrots to stop carrot fly.

I also found three packets of lettuce and salad leaf seeds so I have planted a trough of these. I rescued the trough, well three of them, from a neighbour skip a few years ago. One of the others is used for herbs and the other I want to make into a succulent bed.

lettuce

I also managed to sow some swede and sprouting broccoli seeds. I got these from the Edible Garden Show. I’ve never grown them before but wanted to have a go at growing something over the winter. I have started these off in biodegradable pots, another Sainsburys purchase!, so that they can be planted straight out when they are big enough. I have no idea if I am doing the right thing or not but I don’t have room to plant them straight into the ground at the moment.

swede and broccoli

I also tidied up the herb trough and sowed some corriander, basil and thyme into pots. Oh and I’ve sown some leek seeds into a large pot to get them started.

A very quick update but as I’ve been very quiet on the blog writing I didn’t want you all to think I haven’t been busy in the vegetable patch!

Happy growing everyone!

Carrots and Beetroot

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Sow… I finally got round to spending some time with the vegetable patch. I started off checking which seeds were ready for sowing outside. I have grown carrots and beetroot a few years ago but didn’t have great results. I think that was mainly due to not thinning out the seedlings as I thought it was a waste of potential crop!

Getting organised.

To try and improve this years attempt at carrots and beetroot I started off sieving the soil that they would be growing in. I made my raised vegetable patch and it is filled with rotted down compost from my compost bins and what my mum and grandparents have donated from their compost bins. The soil is lovely but there are a few lumpy bits in there, mainly tea bags and fruit stones. I’ve requested that these aren’t put in the compost bins in future to save sieving time!

I picked up the sieve from Sainsburys for a bargain price of £1.50! I meant to buy one from the garden centre but completely forgot and happened to walk down the gardening isle in Sainsburys when I spotted it. Although it is made from plastic it was perfect for the job and I had no problems with it. I also picked up some other gardening supplies as they were so reasonably priced.

 

Lovely sifted soil.

 

Once sieved I then dug in half a bag of shape sand. I’m sure I read somewhere that this helps when growing carrots. I think it’s something to do with making it easier for them to grow. I’m not fussed about having perfectly straight carrots but would just like them to love where they are growing. I had half a bag of sand just sitting in the shed to thought it was worth trying.

 

Digging in sand.

 

The carrot and beetroot seeds were given to me by a friend and are on seed tapes. I never even new such a thing existed until I opened the packet. The seeds are pre-spaced out in the biodegradable tape so less thinning out is required. Perfect!
I marked out the rows using string, to save wonky rows and to help with knowing where the seedlings will be and what’s most likely to be weeds. I then made a grove, rolled out the tape, covered over and watered.

 

Seed tape.

 

The seeds are from De Ree. The carrots are “Early Nantes” which are fast maturing, approx 9 weeks, and the beetroot are “Detroit” which produces high yield and suitable for successional sowing.
I have some other carrot seeds to sow but am going to wait until these ones have started growing so I don’t end up with all the carrots ready in one go.
How do you grow your carrots and beetroot?

The Patch Plan

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Sow… I finally got round to making a plan for the vegetable patch yesterday. I’ve never done one before but seeing everyone else’s start to appear on Instagram I thought I would. Hopefully it will mean I get more out of the patch rather than running out of room or it being a jumbled mess.

This is the fourth year I have been growing in the patch. It’s a raised bed measuring approx 6.25 X 1.3 meters. It has railway sleeper edging and is filled with rotted down compost. My family donate all their rotted down compost to the patch!

The empty patch a few weeks ago.

I buy all my seeds from Lidl as they are so cheap and I’ve never had any problems with germination or small harvests. I saw them in Lidl a few weeks ago so grabbed everything I wanted. I should have really checked what I already had as I still had a lot left from last year and had been given some from friends as well! Last years are still in date so will use those up first.

 

Seed supply.

 

Here is the plan…

Patch plan.

I’ve also made a colour coded list of what needs to be sown when. It’s still getting a bit frosty here and I don’t have a green house, apart from a mini IKEA one which is amazing – might have to get another one at the weekend, so will wait until nearer the end of the month before I start sowing.

 

Sowing guide.

 

I completely forgot to think about rotation until I had finished drawing and colouring but nothing is going to be planted in the same place as last year so I think I’ll just give it a go and keep my fingers crossed.

I have two wooden troughs which I got out of a skip. One currently has herbs in it but am going to put those into pots and have lettuce growing in both. There will also be lots of tomatoes and cucumbers plants which my friends mum gives me when they are OK to go outside.

The two blueberry bushes where given to me by my mum as Dylan (the dog) used to eat them before she had a chance to pick them!

 

Dylan in the strawberries. He was too quick to catch eating the blueberries!

 

The plan may have been drawn too soon though as I’m off to the Edible Garden Show tomorrow so I may come back with a million and one ideas and need to to completely re draw it!

I want to start thinking about what I can grow over the winter months as I don’t like seeing the patch empty. Does anyone have any ideas what I can grow?

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for daily photo updates @sewinthegarden.

Disappointing Leeks

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To begin with here is my vegetable patch. The garden has been transformed from how it was when I first bought my little house (I’ll post about that anther day). It’s made from five railway sleepers and it is big enough to keep us supplied with vegetables throughout the summer and autumn.
The green mesh is to stop the cats! And on the subject of cats I checked the garden this morning and no poo, yay! So hopefully the fir comes are working.

 

The Patch.

At this time of year it is very empty. My aim this year is to have some vegetables growing throughout the winter. At the moment there is just garlic growing and a lot of them!

 

Garlic.

I grew leeks for the first time last year and they were brilliant so I thought I would grow them again and more of them. They started off really well in a large pot which I kept them in until they were about pencil thickness. I then transferred them into the main vegetable patch.

 

Disappointing Leeks.

Some of them don’t appear to have grown much at all and most have just double in thickness and not really increased in size. I dug them all up at the weekend as they are unlikely to grow anymore. Even though they are small they are really tasty.

 

Small and Short.

I follow Lavender and Leeks and have watched her video about planting out leeks so will try that next year as I will be honest and I did fill in the holes rather than watering them in so that maybe why they weren’t so successful as the dirt could have got between the layers. I will definitely be growing them again this year.

How have you leeks turned out this winter?

Fir Cones and Snowdrops

Whilst the sun was shinning on yesterday’s sunny Sunday I got out in the garden. First job was to tackle the cat poo… YUCK. We have massive issues with cats pooing in the garden which upsets me massively. I was told that fir cones stop cats pooing so before Christmas I put some down and fingers crossed it seems to work. I did find four today but that’s not many considering how many there normally are. When visiting my nan earlier on in the week I went for a walk around the local churchyard where there are always lots of fir cones so gathered up a bag full.

My finds.

 

 

Church of St Mary, Stevington

After a quick garden tidy up this morning I scattered them in the bare patches. Fingers crossed this will work. I don’t know if it’s the smell or texture of them that the cats don’t like but as long as it works I don’t mind, especially as they are free!

Fir cones, tulips and a micro pig.

 

In the afternoon we went to Bennington Lordship Gardens in Hertfordshire to see the snowdrops. So many snowdrops and really lovely grounds.

 

The grounds.

I felt it was a little expensive (£5 per adult) as we were only there about an hour and a half (this included stopping for tea and cake!). I understand that there is a lot of up keep and in the summer you will most likely be there a lot longer so will definitely be worth the entry fee. I was hoping to buy some of the snowdrops but they had sold out before we got there. There is a Chilli Festival during August Bank Holiday which I would love to go to and to see the gardens in full bloom. I will definitely be planting some snowdrops in my garden ready for next year.

 

Snowdrop Special.

 

Do you have issues with cat poo? If so how do you stop it? I would love to see your snowdrop pictures, feel free to share them with me on Facebook or Instagram.
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