Thursday, 26 June 2014

Cold Frame

We have wanted to build a Cold Frame for some time, we've had some timber for ages, along with a couple of pieces of plastic sheeting (from a fellow freecycler). Hubby has now used it to construct the cold frame for down the lotty - it hasn't been assembled yet, so we can transport it more easily, but it's all cut and ready to go, when we can find some space for it. It'll be better at the lotty as there is a little more space for it than in the back garden. He'll probably use the offcuts to make something else, a seat or something maybe, as it's good sturdy wood.

Need to take some pics of progress at the lotty and at home.

We have cropped a small handful of beans already, some deep purple french and some speckled french, they look amazing, but the plants aren't very large. I got confused with what I'd sown (didn't label them very well, lesson for the future, always label yer seedlings) so I think there are some dwarf frenchs at the lotty mixed in with the climbing runners, and some climbing frenches too hopefully. I also think I have a climbing bean in the dwarf bean bed at home, as its sending out tendrils... staked it and will see what happens. I am keeping my fingers crossed with the cannellini beans, the info says they grow easily, but our plants look a bit feeble to be honest. Still, we'll give them a try.

We have planted the Italian yard-long beans (I always thought they were footlong, but yard-long, crikey!) It's all an experiment, we'd rather have a go at growing things you can't get so easily in the shops, than grow stuff which is mega cheap in the shops, makes dinnertime a little more interesting :-)

And the two squashes (1 winter and 1 butternut) are looking healthy, with good roots, and sturdy leaves, they went in the ground at the lotty a couple of days ago. The courgettes need to do a bit more growing before they go in the ground, I'm just hoping that I haven't left it too late this year. So we should be able to put our final plants in at home and on the lotty in the next few days. Well, I say final, that's not counting all the braassicas that are growing in the greenhouse, ready for over winter.

Hubby and I recently reread all our 2010 posts, we have come a long way since then, for instance the hornbeam trees in the back garden are now a sturdy hedge, needs cutting back a bit, but it is under control, unlike the massive trees we had a few years ago. We also have less garden grass as we have filled a lot more of the back garden with raised beds. And the little pear tree that was dwarfed by the hornbeams is now growing happily and producing fruit. Also, we have given up on the idea of trying to grow tomatoes in containers, and this year they have gone in the ground instead.

We have further plans for re-designing the arrangement of the beds in the back garden; and removing the ivy from the back fence that has gone mental; and pruning the various fruiting trees as they have also gone mental. But those will be jobs for the autumn.

At the moment in our back garden we have 3 1x1 metre raised beds and 4 2x1 metre raised beds, and 1 small greenhouse (6ft x 4ft). The strawbs all migrated from one bed to another, and are happily fruiting away. I need to crop the redcurrants, and I will probably do like I did last year and freeze them as I go along, then make redcurrant jelly to go with winter meals.

The plan is to move the greenhouse from the back fence (where it is disappearing under shedloads of ivy) and rotate it through 90 degrees onto the side fence, where it will get a lot more sun, and will enable us to tackle the ivy. We tried using glyphosate but that didn't cut the mustard, so we are going to try a super strong weedkiller like Vitax's SBK Bushwood killer and see if that does the trick... the ivy was planted many many years ago when the garden was new but like everything else in the garden it has gone nuts this year and is now a problem. If the weedkiller doesn't sort it then we will just have to physically rip it out. There is a lot of it.

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