Saturday, 19 December 2009

First Snow of the year

Well actually, it isn't because we had loads in January. This post is a day late - the snow arrived overnight Thursday/Friday am.

I was somewhat amazed because on closer inspection, I found that the net I had over my onions and lettuce (primarily to keep critters off the bed) was keeping most of the snow off the plants beneath it.
Surprising because the holes in the net are quite wide - about 2.5cm/1" so I assumed the snow would have passed through them. Wonders will never cease.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Cold and Frosty

It's only been the last few days that I haven't woken up to find the ground wet with rain. Today I awoke to white white white: everything covered in frost even by mid morning despite the bright sunshine....and so COLD the rain water which collected in some new (un holed) containers outside has frozen over.

My onions and lettuce are holding up, as they should, but the pansies I bought and planted in with my new plum tree seem to be suffering and have drooped all over the place. I thought they were winter hardy. Ho hum.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Wild and windy

Saturday was blowing a gale. So much so, it blew the fleece cover off my new raised bed in which I planted some onion sets and sowed some over-wintering lettuce about 3 weeks ago.

Just as well because some of the onions had already sprouted and growing tall enough to be bent over by the fleece.

Luckily the weather calmed down and I managed to get onto the terrace to take a good look (and do some weeding) on Sunday which was actually quite a nice sunny day.
As it's still a little blowy but not too cold, I've decided not to replace the fleece yet but I've left the netting on just in case an foxes decide to take an interest

The germination of the lettuce is still very sparse but I'm sure it will pick up in due course although I will put the fleece back on if it turns particularly cold.

Monday, 9 November 2009

My new Cranberry bush

Well, it's hardly a bush....yet!

I've never grown cranberries before so I am eager to see how this turns out, especially as it will be grown in a container.

It was a (sort of) impulse buy on my last trip to the garden centre. As you will see from my profile, I don't have a car and there are no garden centres within easy walking distance so I needed to make the most of my friend's kind invitation to take me to one.

Although I'd planned to buy some fruit plants, I hadn't really considered cranberries, so when I saw this I got a little excited and in my excitement forgot that cranberries need an acid soil (ericaceous compost), which, of course I didn't buy at the time.

As with the rhubarb plant, the pot it came in was around 30cm/12 inches deep and, as with the rhubarb, when I turned it out, the roots were only about 4 inches down the pot.

Assuming the garden centre had potted it in the right sort of compost, I decided to take the chance and mix the surplus compost in the original pot with coir, which is the sustainable equivalent of peat so basically neutral in acidity.
It's now in a 30cm/12" wide pot which may be a little on the small side but will do for now and there won't be any cranberries this year - hopefully next in time for Christmas.

Fingers crossed it does the trick and the plant survives until I can get some ericaceous compost. And you never know, maybe I'll get away with not having to buy any at all.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Unpromising Rhubarb Plant?

I actually bought this rhubarb plant in Mid October. If I hadn't known better, I might have thought it was dead. In fact, when I came to pot it up a week or so later, I was a little perturbed as despite the fact the pot it came in was almost 30cm/12 inches deep, when I turned it out, the actual rhubarb roots only went down about 10cm/4 inches.

Nothing ventured....I transferred it to a pot which is about 22.5cm/9 inches wide and 30cm/12 inches deep. I almost made the mistake of leaving the crown exposed....seemed the thing to do. But luckily I remembered it should be covered so I used some coir I had reconstituted to cover it with about 2.5cm/1 inch. I placed the pot near the house (just under the kitchen window) and that was that.

Coir is amazing stuff ....but more about that in a later post.

Anyway, I popped out to take a picture of it for this post and what did I find? A new shoot has come up already! It was only 2 weeks ago that it looked so unpromising. Being the doubting Thomas I am, I even gently pulled away some of the earth as I was convinced it was some stray plant which had managed to find its way in the pot. But no. It is RHUBARB!

It's been a long time since I last grew it and even then, I inherited it with the house and never took much notice of how it grew.

I am beside myself with joy. Here's the proof.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Planting my Plum Tree

Spent a pleasurable couple of hours potting up most of my newly acquired plants. The plum tree which is about 5ft tall, has gone into what the shop labelled as a 'potato tub' which is about 2½ ft in diameter and 18 inches deep. The last plum tree I grew, many MANY years ago, was in a slightly smaller container, so I am confident this tub will be plenty big enough.

I can't start training it straight away because I am going to have to prune some of the small branches right back to the trunk, but with plum trees, winter pruning isn't advisable because of the risk of a disease called silver leaf, so I'll have to wait until late February/March to start.

When buying my plum tree, a made a couple of impulse purchases, one of which was a tray of 6 winter pansies. I should really have bought at least 2 trays to make a really good display but, as with most impulse buys, I wasn't really thinking properly. Anyway, I've put them all in with the plum tree. Looks a bit sparse at the moment but hopefully they'll bulk up.

My next job to do with the plum tree will be to fix the wires to the wall. Yes, I know I am supposed to have done that first, but in this particular case, I don't thin it will make much difference.

More about my other newly purchased fruit plants in my next post

Monday, 2 November 2009

Autumn buying and planting

For the past 10 years I've concentrated on growing herbs and vegetables with just a few ornamentals, so I decided its about time I gave my terrace a little more permanent structure with the addition of some ornamental shrubs and some fruit.

I managed to make quite a bit of compost over the 18 months or so which is great as I don't have a car so buying it in is a bit of a problem. This spurred me on to badger a friend to take me to my local garden centre in his car for my birthday treat.

I bought some small - or should I say young shrubs which will grow into more substantial container plants and some fruit, namely rhubarb and a cranberry plant. But the thing I'm most excited about is my new plum tree. And yes - I will be growing it in a container. It's only small at the moment, and it's already started to be grown as a normal freestanding tree, but I intend to train it into a fan against the huge wall I have at my disposal. But more about that in my next post.

Better get on and pot all these up before the weather completely turns.