Posts Tagged akg

May Day Update

What’s happening in the garden at the beginning of May? Lots is the short answer, keep reading for the long answer.

We have reached the end of a fairly productive Bank Holiday weekend where we even had very plesant weather on saturday. Actually the weather on sunday was nice too but we were visiting family so I didn’t get out in the garden for more than a brief watering session. Today I went to the garden centre and got lots done between showers although the weather was never great and was getting chilly by half way through the afternoon but by then I had done what I needed to do so I’m happy. This is what’s currently growing (or not) outside and in…

Kitchen windowsill – This is a bit of a jungle with all the chilli and big pepper plants on one window ledge and some smaller seedlings on the other. There are 2 Aubergines (Black Beauty) growing nicely with several true leaves now; Lots of Mixed Sweet Pepper and Chilli ‘Hot’ Cayenne seedlings that could do with potting up, 3 of each that were potted up in good time and are now lovely big bushy plants with some nearly flowering and another half dozen potted up a couple of weeks ago that are growing better but will probably never catch up with the first ones; 3 Tomatoes (Gardener’s Delight) that have only just germinated, I planted 4 so the last might still appear; 2 Peas (Kelvedon Wonder) also just germinated but looking very pretty already, I’m not sure where these are going to go yet; A pot of coriander and a pot of lemon coriander seedlings just germinated to go in the tender herbs box when there is no more risk of frost; A pot of plain leaved parsley which is doing noting so far, it was started the same time as the corainders but the seed may be too old, I’ll leave it a bit longer and see what happens; A small Tabasco chilli seedling we were given which is growing nicely and will need potting up soon; 3 large chilli plants we were also given, one each of Fresno, Long Slim Cayenne and Santa Fe, which are lovely plants and 2 have tiny white start shaped flowers.

Greenhouse – 2 squash (Cobnut) and 2 cucumber (Marketmore) which will go in the 2 empty growbags when the risk of frost has passed; 3 tomato (Roma) for pots and 5 tomato (Tumbling Tom Red) for hanging baskets; A pot each of curly parsley, bush basil and sweet basil for the tender herbs box; A pot each of lovage and mint which probably should have been planted out but I’d forgotten were there; The spare oregano and chive plants from the herb box I’ve already planted up, I might need to use some of the oregano as something’s been digging in the compost in there and I think I’ve lost a couple of seedlings.

Herbs – All in pots as I have no space for a herb bed. 3 thymes together in a trough: Silver Posy, Common and Archer’s Gold; Lemon thyme; Lemon balm (Anyone noticed a lemon theme yet?); Wild strawberry; Double chamomile; Oregano, Sage and Chives together in a plastic windowbox; Lavender (Vera) which is a lovely ball shape on a short trunk. I hope I can keep its shape as it gives height to the collection of pots round the edge of the patio; 2 rosemary cuttings which are doing well; I have also found an unidentified mint, possible wild garlic and what looks like some kind of strawberry in a corner of the garden I’ll try and move into pots before the compost heap and water butt get put on top of them.

Fruit – On saturday I bought a raspberry (Malling Jewel) and a blueberry (Bluecrop) which are now in pots on the patio, exciting!

Vegetables – This is what I’m trying to grow in pots or containers. Climbing french beans in a huge pot with a bamboo wigwam, no idea if it will work, if the pot is big enough or the wigwam is tall enough but it will be fun trying, besides I couldn’t resist their lovely heart shaped leaves after listening to this episode of the AKG (I haven’t grown these from seed, I bought the plants today at the garden centre whilst failing to buy an unnecessary bag of ericaceous compost for the blueberry…); Runner beans (Hestia), this is a dwarf variety but I don’t think I have ever seen a dwarf runner bean before so I don’t know how big / tall / bushy it gets. They might need potting up again and they only have a short cane at the moment but hopefully I might get something off them; 2 cougette (All Green Bush) in a grow bag; The clove of garlic from the supermarket that was trying to grow, no idea what to do with this or even if there is anything I can do, but its a fun experiment; I have 2 shallow plastic trays I’ve lined with plastic and filled with compost and I’m trying to grow cut and come again salad in one and baby veg in the other. The radish (French Breakfast) is up and the beetroot (Boltardy) is beginning to appear but no sign of the carrot (Early Scarlet Horn) in one. I have mizuna in the other but the rest of the lettauce varieties have all failed probably because the seed wasn’t new, I need to get some more and try again; A pot of mixed lettauce plants I bought because its almost salad weather and my lettauce seeds have failed and a tray of spinach I have bought and not done anything with yet.

That is a long post and I haven’t mentioned the sunflowers, my plans for tomorrow or the millions of tiny weeds appearing in all the pots outside. I’m sure I’ll be posting again soon, there is so much going on at the moment.


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Garden birds

I have seen a few more species of bird in the garden since I last mentioned them and I have been trying out different feeders and food to see what is popular. Because the trees the feeders were hanging it were beginning to leaf up, making it difficult to hang the feeders there and also a rather large pigeon had started trying to land on the feeder, knocking it down and bending the thin branch to the floor there is now a very smart feeding station with 4 arms for feeders, a fat ball hanger, a flat dish for food and a water bowl.

I bought a larger seed feeder as I was getting fed up of filling the smaller one every other day, but the sunflower seeds in the smaller feeder are now proving more popular and the mixed seed is being ignored.

The berry suet stuff is still popular and the starlings are quite acrobatic in trying to cling on. I think I might have to stop filling this one up soon tho as the warmer weather seems to melt the suet and makes a nasty mess in the feeder, not sure thats too good really. A good tip I picked up from The alternative kitchen garden podcast was to cut down a plastic bottle – the type with a handle like a milk bottle – to make a scoop (keep the lid on) and I have found a 2 pint milk bottle can be cut to just the right size for scooping the suet pellets out of the big tubs and filling the feeders. Listen to the episode for more tips on reusing plastic bottles around the garden.

The biggest success, in my opnion, has been the thistle (nyjer) seed feeder. You have to buy a special feeder for these very fine seeds, and it has a tiny hole so how the birds know to peck there for something tasty is quite amazing I think, but they do and the day after I put the feeder up a Goldcrest appeared. The next day however two appeared and I haven’t seenone without the other close by since. Often they can be seen feeding side by side on thistle seeds, sometimes one is on the sunflower seeds, which they also seem to like, and occasionally one will wait in a nearby tree or bush while the other eats. I think its really sweet to see them together and I’m not-so-secretly hoping I may see some baby Goldfinches later in the year. I love animals (and birds!) like the Goldfinch that reminds us we don’t have to go somewhere exotic to see amazingly beautiful and brightly coloured creatures, we have quite a few on our doorstep.

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New things for the garden

I have just purchased a hypericum inodorum bush, from of all places, pound land. Well I felt sorry for it, it is trying to grow shoots and has been kept in the dark so they are a bit pale, at least there is no doubt it is alive at the moment. Well for a pound I thought I’d risk it. Its going to go in the front garden now there is a bit more room after pruning the three huge cornus. Hopefully it will brighten up a fairly shady spot. It was only when I looked it up on the internet to see whether it would mind a bit of shade I found out hypericum is St Johns Wort, interesting, at least I though so.

I also bought 3 small hanging baskets I’m going to try herbs in, a half tray propagator and lid and a collapsable garden rubbish container. I wasn’t planning of buying any of these things today but never mind.

The chilli / pepper plants that have been potted up are all beginning to form there proper leaves, not that it will help me tell them apart. I still have quite a few to pot up so I think I over did the seeds a bit. Thats a lesson learnt for next year.

I also received this morning two new gardening books from Amazon, The Edible Container Garden: Fresh Food from Tiny Spaces and Square Foot Gardening: A New Way to Garden in Less Space with Less Work. Both were reviewed on an episode of The Alternative Kitchen Garden podcast which I recommend if you are at all interested in gardening. I am listening to all the back episodes which, apart from having to keep checking what date they were recorded to see when ‘now’ is, are really interesting and cover a very wide range of topics. I haven’t had chance to read the books yet but I can’t wait to read them and get my veg garden up and growing.

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