An Easter ‘Catch up’

Hi to everyone reading my blog today.  It is nice to be back in ‘blogging world’.

On Friday evening, the temperature fell low enough for a ground frost to occur….I knew it was coming because I follow the BBC weather very closely at this time of year.

There is always some confusion about when a ground frost occurs…people typically think the temperature needs to be below zero degrees for a frost to happen, but this is only true for an ‘air’ frost.  A ‘ground’ frost can happen when the temperature falls below 3 or 4 degrees celcius.

Unfortunately, after walking around the allotment site I noticed that not everyone was aware that the frost was coming and the frost had damaged some of their potato shoots poking through the soil.  You can see in the photograph below that some of the leaves have been blackened by the frost.  If you know there is going to be a frost then it is best to earth your potatoes up to limit the damage.

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I was lucky as I only planted my potatoes over Easter so none of mine are showing yet:

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Over Easter I also planted the peas that I sowed in my guttering a few weeks ago.  This is how I get my peas out of the guttering:

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First I use a draw hoe to make a small trench the size of the guttering, ready to plant the peas.  If it’s been dry I water the trench.

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Then I use a spare bit of guttering and I lift one end of the compost to slide the guttering underneath the roots of the peas.

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The spare piece of guttering ‘pushes’ the peas out into the trench that you made with the draw hoe.  This is much easier when you use smaller bits of guttering instead of larger pieces.

  I then use the draw hoe again to push the soil back around the peas and the compost that they are growing in.

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I like to support my dwarf peas with chicken wire and canes and then I use cages to stop the birds from eating my pea shoots:

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I also planted my climbing peas.  They are a variety called ‘Peashooter’ which give lovely big pods with large juicy peas inside.  I planted the seeds at the beginning of April in toilet rolls and left them to germinate in my greenhouse and they have all germinated well:

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I usually use pea and bean netting to support my peas, but I get fed up of throwing it away each year as it’s impossible to untangle all the peas without it ripping…so this year I have invested in some plastic coated chicken wire in the hope that I can use it again and again, so eventually it will pay for it’s self:

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After planting the peas I used the same cages to protect the pea shoots from the birds…

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Things are growing well in my polytunnel now.  I also planted four spare tomato plants and a spare cucumber too

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In the right hand photo you can see the red lettuce that I sowed last month is growing nicely now together with the Webbs wonderful lettuces in the same photo.

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This weekend I prepared the ground for my wildflowers and sowed them.  I am hoping they give me a good display again this year.

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During the last week I have also planted my parsnips.  I sowed them at the beginning of April in kitchen rolls and they germinated well.  I make sure I plant the parsnip before the root reaches the bottom of the tubes to avoid the roots from ‘forking’.

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When I plant the parsnips I make sure that none of the tube shows above the ground, as the cardboard works like a ‘wick’ and dries the whole tube out underground, so I use scissors to cut off any excess tube above the compost.

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I covered the parsnips in plastic bottles just to give them a little bit of protection while they are small.  I find that plastic bottles need a bit of support so they don’t blow off, so I push a stick in each one at an angle so it doesn’t damage the plant underneath.

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My curly kale is flowering now so I have packed away the netting that was covering it and I will leave it for the bees to enjoy for a while, as there aren’t too many nectar rich plants around yet for them.

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Over easter I had some great harvests from my allotment.  It does take some planning to have vegetables to fill the ‘hungry gap’ but the planning is worthwhile:

'Hungry Gap' Vegetables

‘Hungry Gap’ Vegetables

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The cauliflowers were sowed a year ago, together with the spring broccoli….but they are worth the wait.

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At home my garden is starting to look like a garden centre with all the plants that I am in the process of hardening off!

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And my greenhouse is rammed full of plants too:

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A couple of weeks ago I planted up my hanging baskets.  I don’t bother with proper hanging basket liners, I just use a compost bag with the black side on the outside.  It works a treat because the plants grow over it so it can’t be seen and because it is plastic, it helps to keep the moisture in during hot spells.

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Finally today I thought I would show you something I made for our friends funeral last Monday.  I decided to have a go at making a wreath using the same method I used for my Christmas table wreath.

I bought some white chysanthemums to use, but everything else was from the garden as I knew he loved his garden.  He also absolutely loved Leicester City Football club and had supported them for many years and it’s such a shame he didn’t see them promoted to the premier division, which happened just after he passed away.   With this in mind I used forget-me-nots, so that the wreath was blue and white – the Leicester City colours.

I know it wasn’t perfect like the florists flower arrangements were, but I put a lot of time and thought into it so it was special to Dan….the last gift I could give to him.

I hope he looked down and saw it.

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I hope you enjoyed reading my blog today.

I will be back on Friday.

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15 thoughts on “An Easter ‘Catch up’

  1. I am sure that your wreath would be appreciated by any garden lover! I love that you thought of a final gift, so personal for him. I really appreciate that you are so open about the sadness you feel for the loss of your friends. So many people dont talk about their grief and their journey through that. I very much think that your sharing must help others to see that their feelings are normal. It’s a good thing that you do here, in so many ways.

    • Oh thank you queen of string….I sometimes think I am too ‘open’ and tell people things that others wouldn’t….I’ve never looked at it your way before and it has reasured me, thank you.

  2. Your allotments are looking great lovely to see how everything is coming along, what a beautiful wreath you made for your friend.
    Sue

  3. what an absolutely wonderful present to give to your friend and so beautiful…
    your blog is so amazing, how many hours approx. a week do you spend on your allotment? I am amazed at how much you do, it must be like a full time job! it looks fantastic! X

    • Thank you marg for your kind comment. I go to my allotment Mon-Fri most weeks while the kids are at school and in the spring and summer I go with my husband for an hour or so as he mows the grass for me…..but I love it so much

  4. I have a question about compost. as a person who has too many wildlife in the garden ie, I have seen rats because of the next door neighbour having 15 bird feeders… Foxes and deer.

    My compost bins are attacked.

    Do you feel that one of those tumblers are worth it? or should I chop it all up smaller in the hope that it breaks down quicker. Sick of buying compost when I know I can make it at home

    any thoughts of this are welcomed…

    • I too suffer from rats in my compost bins at the allotment and it is frustrating isn’t it. I bought special ‘rodent proof’ bottoms for my black darlek compost bins and they chewed right through it! I now take the tops off my darlek compost bins in the winter so they stay cold and wet so the rats won’t nest in them…strangely, they are never a problem in the compost bins that I just fill with perrennial weeds-they are obviously just attracted to the veg peelings etc that go in my darlek bins.

      I really have never used a ‘tumbler’ compost bin but I have read they are supposed to be good but I know they are expensive. I wonder if you could find an old metal (not plastic) dustbin to use as this would work fine to make compost in and the rats can’t chew through it….why don’t you try freecycle for an old one?

      Let me know what you end up using.

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