A Cheap Fruitcage, Potatoes And A Flower Patch

This week, I have noticed that it has been slightly warmer in the afternoons and the weather forecasters are promising that it is going to warm up over the weekend.  I really hope it does, as up to now it feels like ‘Spring’ has been on hold.

The only positive thing about the colder weather, is the weeds haven’t started to grow vigorously yet, so I’m not using my hoe every week, as I did this time last year.

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The daffodils are flowering beautifully now.  This inspired me to do a bit of work on my flower patch.  Up until a few weeks ago, there was a swing next to my flower patch.  As my daughters don’t use the swing anymore, I moved it.  This week, I dug the grass up where it stood, so my flowers patch is now an ‘L’ shape and will look much better when I have finished planting it up.  I will be looking out for some cheap plants to buy now.

My flower patch, winter 2012

My flower patch, winter 2012

My flower patch today.

My flower patch today.

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This week I put my two fruit cages up, over my fruit bushes.  I love my ‘cheap’ fruit cages, as this is the third year I have used them and they work a treat.  They are made out of canes and old hand wash bottles.  I find hand wash bottles are ideal to use, as they are made out of a softer plastic that doesn’t become brittle over time.  I bought the nets from ebay three years ago, for approximately £40 for both cages, but this is far cheaper than buying a ready made fruit cage and I can easily take my cages down when the plants have stopped fruiting.  You can see my fruit cage below:

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This week I have also planted my second early potatoes.  The variety I like is ‘Marfona’, which produce a high yield of large potatoes, suitable for boiling, mashing and baking.  I love the first potatoes of the year, boiled and dressed with lots of butter.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it now.

I struggle to dig trenches and line it with manure, before I plant my potatoes, as it’s such hard work.  I have tried different ways to plant my potatoes, but the best way for me is to fork manure into the ground over the autumn / winter and then plant the potatoes with a bulb planter, dropping them in the hole and then covering them up with soil again.  I then earth them up as normal when they are about 10cm high:

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Afterwards I used my bulb planter again to plant some galdioli’s that I had bought form Wilkinson’s:

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In my polytunnel, the weeds are starting to grow now and so I gave it a good hoe.  I then planted out some lettuce that I had grown from seed in March.  The variety is ‘Webbs wonderful’ which my family really like.  I also sowed two rows of carrots and a row of radish.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be warm enough at night, for the seeds to germinate.

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Another job I managed to do was dig over my wildflower patch ready to sow my wildflower seeds next month.  Just in case you haven’t seen the photo’s from my wildflower patch last year, you can see them here.

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Finally, I planted my shallots (over a month later than I normally plant them out due to the cold weather).  My shallots were growing in newspaper pots and they had all rooted well.  I planted the shallots together with the newspaper pots, making sure that none of the newspaper pots were showing above the ground.  If a newspaper pot is above the soil level, it acts like a wick and the plant dries out.

I am really pleased they are finally in the ground now.

My shallots finally planted

My shallots finally planted at my allotment

It has been another busy week at the allotment and I still have loads to do, but that’s what’s so wonderful about gardening, your work is never finished.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I’ll be back on Monday at 4pm.  Have a good weekend.

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18 thoughts on “A Cheap Fruitcage, Potatoes And A Flower Patch

  1. Save yourself a lot of work and back ache and get yourself a dedicated potato planter, £30 to £35.
    The bulb planter you show is ideal for transplanting seedlings grown in 3 1/2” pots.

  2. We put together makeshift fruit cages too. If I grew fruit in the garden I may invest in a ‘proper’ walk in cage but not for on the plot I just have to be content to creep about under netting. We only really cover the redcurrants and cherries both are bird favourites but must admit we may have to consider netting the blueberries this year.

    • The birds are dreadful at our site and my sister lost all her gooseberries last year. They even eat lettuces at our site! So unfortunately I need to cover everything and fruit cages are so expensive. I love my makeshift cages too.

  3. Marfona are a lovely potatoe, i do like your fruit cages brilliant idea. If the rain would just stop here i might just be able to get some more done, so frustrating.
    Sue

    • I agree, I love Marfona potatoes. I got very wet at my allotment yesterday, but I was determined to finish a job I was doing (luckily I didn’t have to tread on the soil). Hopefully the weather will cheer up now?

  4. Another busy week for you – it is good to be able to get things going now that the weather isn’t so dire. Last year I experimented with just lying potatoes on the ground and covering them with straw. It worked pretty well much to my surprise and the yields were just as good as by the conventional methods.

    • Hi elaine. How interesting, I wonder if I could get hold of enough straw as I like this idea. One year I tried growing them under black plastic, I just cut the plastic as they began to grow so they could grow through the plastic. I got quite a good result too.

  5. hi, been following your blog for a couple of months now. fantastic keep up the good work. i have 2 allotments and have planted spuds like that for 15 year always seems to work ok i use a long handle bulb planter to save my back. also just made a batch of your laundry liquid works great. thanks.

    • Hello Dave, I’m so glad you have let me know how you got on with the laundry liquid, I love feedback (especially when it’s good). I was looking for a long handled bulb planter after I saw Monty Don use one on Gardeners World, but I haven’t yet managed to find one….I’ll keep looking.

    • Just read your comment and it’s spooky as I have just put a photo of my fruit cage on my blog today as I have been writing about it. My fruit cage is 3.5 meters x 4.5 meters but I can’t remember the exact sixe of net I bought for it. I remember working out the length of the cage and working out that the net had to be tall enough to go over the canes, across the top and down the other side too.

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