Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tip trips and salad boxes

Started off some new salad boxes today - put drainage crocks and compost in old wooden wine crate and sowed mixed salad seeds in it.   Must get some more of old fruit trays from the local greengrocers as well - lined with an old newspaper, they do the trick too.   I've found that growing lettuce in trays is much more successful than growing it in the garden as it seems to survive slug and cat attacks more successfully - also I can keep it by the back door for a quick snip when I need some green stuff for my sandwiches!

Also set some summer bulbs (freesias - never tried these before) in the old dolly tub.  As these will not sprout fully for a while, also chucked some lettuce and mustard seeds in there too - might as well get a double benefit from it while waiting for the bulbs to colour things up!

Finally got round to taking the big bulk bags of tree prunings to the tip and also reduced the rubble mountain from our concrete bashing session at the weekend - clearing out the cracked old surface at the side of the house and hoping to (eventually) match it in with all the paving on the patio - already looks much bigger just because it no longer has 4 different sections of materials sloping in multiple directions. I'm determined to get it finished before seed planting time takes over entirely!

Fencing job to sort out next - would love to get a hedge in, but not sure if there's enough soil to do it as
it edges right onto the concrete bit which we are in the process of bashing out.  I'll have to see what can be done there.  Feel another jumbo bag of topsoil coming on.....

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Out with the old

Alchemilla Mollis - Lady's Mantle

A spot of pre-spring cleaning in the borders today.  Cleared away old stems, leaves etc from last year's perennials so things are already starting to look a bit more business like in the borders.  Also moved plants around in the new patio border I've made - all the stuff which used to spill out onto the hard-surfacing, like alchemilla mollis,  now finds itself at the back of a very deep border, so I've had to hoick it forward into a new position at the front so that it doesn't get completely lost when I finish planting up.   Also moved small herbaceous plants like knapweed and snapdragons further forward - want to get the benefit of their colours for impact near the front, and also want to get them repeating through the border  so that it doesn't look bitty.  Amazing how many plants you can get from one sowing of snapdragon seeds last year!  Have to say my planting out last year was of the 'stick them in before they die' variety, but they seem to have survived and flourished - just that the clumps of now respectable sized plants now need thinning out and the tops pinching out to encourage them to plump up a bit.

The lethal blade of grandma's old spade inflicted its divisive blows on a few chunks of hardy geraniums and irises.   Dotted them together in groups in empty patches.  Enjoyed yanking out congested clumps of michaelmas daisies as well - they're lovely in autumn, but real bruisers that will take over swathes of flower border if left to their own creeping devices.  Out out creepy roots....

Monday, 20 February 2012

The first seeds of the year

The propagator now hosts its first sproutings of the year, so things are improving in my gardening world.  Knobbly little lupin nuggets are poking above the surface of the seed tray, so whilst my outdoor garden activities are still limited to relaying the patio, I share the propagator's warm fug of delight at actually seeing things start to grow.

Sprouting potatoes are lurking in the porch, and the 'March' section of my seed shoebox is tempting me to get more things going.  I've got to rein in the urge to sow too many seeds though - as the snow last Saturday reminded me - must try to be patient, hold on and wait for things to warm a few more degrees to give things the best chance of surviving the unheated greenhouse which awaits them...

Itching to get going....