Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Slug buster

In my last post I mentioned nematodes. For those of you who haven't heard of them, they are microscopic organisms - worms actually - which you can buy to combat various pests, in my case slugs. It doesn't mention snails, but I am hoping it will get rid of those too - probably not knowing my luck.

You mix the sand-like substance which contains the nematodes(apparently around 12 million of them) with water then water the ground using a coarse holed rose on a watering can. The amount in the above packet is sufficient to treat 40 sq. metres - far too much for my tiny plot - but unfortunately, the packet has a "use by" date which isn't that long.

Once watered into the ground, the nematodes get to work by attacking the slugs (I'm guessing basically eating them alive) however they are only viable for around 6 weeks after which time more solution can be applied. I won't be doing a second application as the packet is quite expensive (over £8) but hopefully the first application will be enough to get a relatively slug free zone for a while and I will revert to more traditional methods, like beer traps, later in the season if necessary.

You can also get nematodes for other pests such as weevils, carrot root fly, caterpillar, cabbage root fly caterpillar etc. It's an organic form of pest control.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Welcome Rain

Thank goodness we got a real downpour yesterday (Saturday) evening. Saved me having to water especially as I want to introduce some slug nematodes which is best done when the soil is damp. More about that in a day or two.

In the meantime, things have started to germinate. Unlike last year, the peas in the 3ft trough have mostly germinated although having just taken a look, I think the rain brought out some critters (slugs or snails) as one has been completely eaten through). I will sprinkle some salt around the plants until I add the nematodes mentioned above. The lettuce in the 2 ft trough (top in the picture) have also germinated well.

Things in the main garden bed seem to be taking their time. A few leaf beet but no sign of the carrots, parsnips (which are notoriously slow), coriander or leeks.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Caught up nicely

The dry weather has enabled me to catch up with my planting and sowing. On Sunday I managed to get my seed potatoes in. Last year I planted a few potatoes which happened to start sprouting in the vegetable basket :( but as they did quite well, I thought I'd go the whole hog and buy some pukka seed potatoes.

As I don't have lots of space, I went for a special mixed "taster" pack which consisted of 1kg each of 3 different potatoes namely, Charlotte, swift and Maris peer. These 3 should provide me with potatoes from as early as June right the way through to October or even later. As I've never grown a "serious" crop of potatoes in open ground, I am looking forward to seeing how they turn out.

Planting those on Sunday was enough for me in my current semi-fragile state, so I meant to sow some veg seed on Monday however, I didn't get around to it. As rain was forecast from Tuesday onwards, I was really miff with myself thinking it would be at least another week before I could get out there but, surprise surprise, weather forecast was wrong and Tuesday ended up being a very nice bright day, if much cooler.

I seized the chance and sowed some carrots, parsnips and leaf beet.

So, I have completely caught up with my outside jobs and the garden is looking ship shape. Below is a picture of most of the growing area I have. Inset is a seed potato which has sprouted and is ready to plant.

I am about to go and water eveything because, surprise surprise, weather forecast was wrong and there has still been no rain.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Feels like summer

Hot out there! I couldn't resist taking a picture of my plum tree which is in a container. Looks so pretty with lots of blossom promising lots of plums. Last year I only got 2 but in fairness it was the first year and it had gone through the trauma of moving house.

Anyway, I just spent a pleasant hour and a half doing some very gently gardening - mainly re-arranging my pots/ troughs into some sort of order ready for filling/ planting. I also gave the more established container plants such as the clematis, honeysuckle and lilies, a feed with Growmore and/or topped up with some fresh compost.

As I felt OK, I went the extra bit and filled a couple of the troughs with compost so I could sow some seeds namely some peas in a 3 ft trough and some salad leaves in a 2 ft trough. I just hope the peas do better than last year when they got eaten by snails/slugs.

Didn't want to overdo it, especially as the weather is set fair for the next few days.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Back Home in time for spring weather

Actually, I've been back for a couple of weeks....just in time for that lovely bout of sunny weather.

So, you can expect more regular posts from now on. Not that I can do that much outside at the moment as I am still in a state of recovery. I did managed about 30 minutes just clearing some pots and general tidying up but that is my limit at the moment. HOWEVER I can still give instructions to my old man which is just as good when it comes to certain tasks.

He's done a really good job of digging the whole (albeit small) plot over. He even raked it relatively level so it's now ready for sowing/planting. Just as well because I received my seed potatoes a few days ago. More about those later this week.

Anyone with a garden will know growing isn't the only thing which occupies a gardener and in our case, the relatively new fencing needed protecting from the elements. So I got him to do that too so that it has all settled down before I start growing anything up or near it.

Here he is hard at work.