Monday, 24 May 2010

The Garden's History

I should say a few words about the garden and its history. We have a small garden in a regular modern housing estate, the soil is quite clay but very fertile.

The garden is approximately 20 foot wide, 35-40 foot long, south west facing, with a wee strip up the side of the house that is mostly paved and used for general storage. The garden was a patch of mud when we bought the house, and we planted the fruit trees and everything else 15+ years ago. But in more recent years we lost interest, so the garden was simply left to its own devices and consequently became very overgrown.

Fortunately for the garden we have found interest again!

The garden currently has a problem with invasive plants - mint, whitebells, and the vigorous hornbeams. We have ripped out some of the mint and whitebells on one side, but have yet to tackle the invaders on the other side of the garden. Our garden waste bin is full to bursting most of the time!


More pictures taken at the weekend...

This first one shows the water butts we installed late last year, there are 2 linked together, and they have been invaluable for all the watering we now have to do... I just fill up the watering can and away I go. We need to empty them at some stage and set level flagstones underneath them, as they are just on bare earth at the moment, and do lean rather alarmingly when full.

Also, in the corner is a vine, it has been growing there for several years, and we have yet to enjoy a full crop, as the birds tend to get the fruit. We've cut it right back, and it is still putting forth leaves - we'll train it properly, and feed it etc, so like the redcurrant we'll have a very small crop, if any, this year, but it should be better - healthier, more productive - next year.

This pic shows our solitary raised bed with cloche, purchased from here - Linky – We put down a weed supressor strip, and then filled it with compost and topsoil, and over the weekend I sowed carrots, spring onions, and beetroots. We have a second cloche ready for the second raised bed when WhiteWolf constructs it. The cloche covers are great for keeping the cats off the nice new soil!

Behind the raised bed is our compost bin, which we are gradually filling with grass cuttings and kitchen peelings. We've not added any of the mint, weeds or whitebells that currently 'own' the garden as they would probably grow quite nicely in a lovely warm compost bin thank you very much! The whitebells look pretty but are VERY invasive - they spread by seeds AND by bulb division, so we'll never be rid of them... they came as a small handful of ornamental bulbs and have taken over, in the front garden as well as the back. All we can do is keep chopping back and hope that it'll kill them off in the end, or at least, keep them in check.

In the pots are onions and spinach, and under the fleece are lettuces, more spinach, and cabbages, growing in old recycling tubs - our council changed its waste collection bins in April and the old style recycling tubs were replaced with a single large wheelie bin, so these were spare. WhiteWolf drilled some holes in the bottom, and Son and I scrubbed them out, and then filled with compost and planted them up. We've already been eating the salad leaves and spinach, and feeling terribly smug about it!

Pretty obvious what this is a picture of. We need to get a few more plants, to fill the pot up, not a hardship, they won't go to waste :-D We love strawberries.

Here are our first three wee tomato plants, before I set to and nipped out all the excess spurs, some of which were rather huge! The cover/frame is an Argos one, and is ideal for the job. The empty hanging basket above them, and the one in the water butts pic, will have tumbler tomato plants in them, still seedlings as yet.

This pic shows one of our neglected pear trees, as you can see it is dwarfed by the blasted hornbeams.

We're not expecting much of a crop from it this year, as it has been so terribly shaded, but next year it should be better. The other pear tree can be seen in the foreground of the hornbeam height pic posted earlier, it has paler leaves than the hornbeam. As this second tree has had some light, it may actually crop...
All of our fruit trees have been left to their own devices, but are pretty healthy, so with a little TLC they should come round just fine.


Isn't Freecycle marvellous?

We've had several Freecycle bargains this past week.

First of all we collected six 2 foot square flagstones, and have used two under the mini greenhouse, with another two scheduled to go under the water butts.

Then we went and collected 20 bags of used topsoil, each containing about 25kg. We'll have to sieve it, but when you consider a 35 litre bag from B&Q costs about four quid, it is a super bargain. We'll use it in the next raised bed.

Later in the week we went and picked up eight solid and heavy 2 foot square paving slabs - we'll most probably make a small patio out of these. Never had a patio before!

And then finally we went and picked up six little plants from a lady who had spares - two tomatoes, two peppers and two chillis.

While I'm in the greenhouse (a bargain from Wilkos - Linky ) we may as well show you the other wee plants we've got in there.

These are our courgettes, growing well, I think I'm going to have to pot them up into individual pots soon and pop them outside to harden off. These will be grown in growbags alongside the house where the bags of topsoil currently are.

In the propagator are our basil seedlings and our french beans, sown but not yet appeared. In the tray are radishes and cucumbers

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