Saturday, May 21, 2016

Hanging Baskets

It is STILL not time to plant outside yet. . . . so I can't do anything yet.

Preparation still goes on
Hanging baskets have been filled with plants and now await the day they can hang outside.  I like to give them a good head start inside, out of the wind so they can establish well.
Bean frames have been lashed together . . . with help from my handsome garden help.

Donkeys like mints.
Cows are unsure of mints 
An additional strip has been plowed.  I worried that I wasn't going to have enough room for pumpkins, squashes AND all the cabbages.
I have such indulgent garden help!  I merely mentioned that I was worried I wasn't going to have enough space . . . .and more space was provided! Ten more days to go to planting time!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Never Cast a Clout Until May is Out

I am still trying to let go of the old garden and the old plans I had for it.  When I see the big fat buds on the wisteria and the flower buds on the apple tree, my throat goes tight and my nose stings for all that is lost.

It doesn't do me any good to look back and weep.  I have to move forward.

So, this is what has been happening in my new garden this week. . .

Earlier in the week, I added agricultural lime to the soil.  We've had years of heavy rain and the acidity in the soil has been creeping up.  Vegetables do better if the soil is "sweetened" as my neighbour put it.
The garden was tilled up and five big rows of potatoes were put in. I am going to plant up the other half with all my vegetables.
The seeds that were planted on the 5th have sprouted nicely.
Basil (pesto plants)

Each grandchild has a sunflower dedicated to them.
This is the table where all the hanging basket plants wait to be put into the hanging baskets.

There was a frost last night. . . I am so glad this latest round of nice weather has not tempted me to plant things out early.  "Never cast a clout until May is out". . .

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Small Visitors and More Tasks

At the weekend my son and his family stopped by.  After eating cake, we went to my garden and I showed them what I have been doing.
We planted some sunflower seeds and I showed them where everything will be planted in a few weeks.

Future gardener?
I showed my grandson where an old blackbird nest is.  Today I found a second nest hidden away under a bench.
With all the rain we've had over the past couple of years, the acidity levels in the soil have crept up.  Vegetables grow better and absorb nutrients from the soil a bit better when there is a bit of lime in the soil.  Agricultural lime was added today.  (face mask as the stuff is caustic)  
The soil will be tilled more finely in a few days.

Monday, May 02, 2016

Do Over!

Last week we had a cold snap.  It was a killer.  It was also a sharp reminder that this is the north.  We are at the same latitude as the Aleutian Islands in Alaska and Hudson Bay in Canada.  Places where you can see polar bears!

The days in the summer are gloriously long, but the risk of frost still holds until the end of May.  I've got another month to go before I can put tender things out.  Plants that are not frost hardy have to be kept in polytunnels and greenhouses until then.  If we get a late frost, those places really should have a heat source.

 I didn't bring the tomato and cucumber plants and seedlings home with me.  They died.  The fuchsia took a hit too but I think it will survive.
New tomato plants were purchased and I started some tomato seeds in the house.   I'm going to see which plants fruit first.  Do the seeds germinate and catch up to the established plants?

If a forecast is for frost, then I'm going to have to make a mad dash up to the garden and wrap up the tender plants or even bring a load of them back to the house over night.

There is also a mouse problem!  When carrying  in the new plants, I saw to my horror that mice had climbed up and eaten a lot of seedlings and germinated seeds.

Mice ripped a swathe through the corn and cucumber seeds.
You can see the empty seed shells lying on the top of the now empty potting soil.
I don't have any more corn seed but I re-sowed the cucumber seeds and moved them to a different bench that I hope is more mouse proof.
What I wouldn't give for a nice fat snake to sun itself in the polytunnel.  As there aren't any snakes that will eat mice in Scotland, I will have to set traps.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Bailing Twine Holds the World Togther

The earlier part of the week was cool, dry and sunny.  Brilliant weather for getting things done!
The piles of plastic buckets and the other things that were raked out of the polytunnels were hauled away.
I sowed some more seed.
Corn has made an early showing.
These two showed up to try to protect the plastic at one end of the smaller polytunnel.  It has a couple of rips and the increasing winds threaten to rip it further.  Bailing twine and cable ties hold the world together.
This wonderful old machine is called into service
I don't even know what make it is. . . I'm going to have to ask.

Three of us spent a little time pulling up old pea sticks and the frames that used to support beans.  We also pulled up some unrequited leeks, old turnips and ancient brussel sprout stalks.  Those were thrown into the field for the sheep and donkeys to have.
Geoff is in his element.
The first furrow is made . . . perfectly straight.  I think he's done this before.
Now look!  The garden is all plowed over.  It will get rotovated in a few weeks to make it ready for planting.  I'm going to dress it with agricultural lime before the soil is tilled for the final time.  We've had a LOT of rain over the last couple of years.  Vegetables do better when the soil is not quite so acidic as it is now.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Showing Improvement

I've been up to the new garden every day now.  Keeping things watered is important.  I can't miss a day now.  I've sowed some seed.  By the time it is safe for them to be put out, they'll be well on their way.

Piles of plastic that is destined to be hauled away Saturday morning.

The workbench was sorted through.  I've kept all the useful things and thrown away all the crumbling, sun damaged plastic things and poisons.  It still looks like a jumble, but I know what everything is and where it is when I go to use it.
Strawberry beds are almost cleared.   There are some gaps in some of the strawberry beds.  Those can be filled at some point.  It isn't a sprint.
There are definite signs that somebody is there and caring for the place.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Two Hours Today

After a morning appointment, I nipped across to a local garden centre and got some supplies, a few seeds and some plants out of the "scratch and dent" shelf.

I then went home and finished gathering all the things that are going over the the garden, grabbed the dog, packed a lunch and away we went.

Unloading the car in the wind wasn't fun. . .

The seeds are now in a mouse-proof container so can be safely left over there.

Sowed the bean seeds and some flower seeds.

Having something that I've started in the polytunnels is good.  I'll have something to cluck over.  Beans can't actually go in until June. . . so they've got six weeks of start time.  I think I'll start the sweetcorn too.

I just pottered around.  I may go back this evening and scratch around in the strawberry beds a little while longer.

Forgetting to bring the radio was a big mistake.  I hope I don't do that again.  It was quiet.

This is the door all closed up and rabbit proof.  Yes, I used a hay fork to keep it closed.