At the beginning of each month I usually post ‘What to do in the kitchen garden’, but as this is now repeated each year I will just put a link to each month instead. I will then have the time to write about other things that I have been doing.
‘What to do in the kitchen garden in March’ can be found here, if anyone is interested.
There has been a couple of days this week where I have actually taken my coat off while working outside in my new kitchen garden as the sun was shining and it was just lovely to hear the birds singing.
I started off the week by planting two ‘Victoria plum trees’ that I ordered at the same time as the apple and pear trees that I planted last week.
I have read on various occasions that plum trees do not grow well as cordons, which is why I decided to plant them in pots, as I am short of space in my garden.
When the roots have filled these pots. I will replant them into bigger pots.
I then turned my attention to the shady side of my kitchen garden.
The top corner of my garden receives no sun whatsoever, so this seemed a good place to store my canes,etc. and have my two compost bins.
I laid the two broken old slabs that I found buried in the soil and put my old compost bins on top of them. I put the bins on slabs so that mice and rats can’t enter them from underneath. The bins have no drainage underneath, but they have made wonderful compost in my garden over the years, which is why I decided to keep them. It will seem very strange making compost on such a small scale now, compared to the vast amount of compost bins and heaps I had at my allotment.
I also neatly stored the few things I salvaged from my old allotments:
This area looked really ugly from my kitchen window so I decided I needed something to screen the area off. I found the cheapest way to do this for now was to buy a pallet for £1 from my local garden centre and paint it with some old fence paint that I had lurking in my shed, so it blended into the garden….and it does look better from my kitchen window now:
I then decided that the shady side of my plot would be a good place for my jeruselum artichokes.
I brought a big metal pot back from my allotment in January, which unfortunately had no bottom as it had rusted away. I thought this would be good to contain my jerusalem artichokes as they are well known for spreading and I didn’t want this to happen.
I dug a great big hole to sink the pot into the soil and wiggled my fork deep into the bottom of the hole to help with the drainage on my heavy clay soil.
I then filled the pot back up with a mix of soil and compost and planted five jerusalem artichokes into it.
(I bought the jerusalem artichokes from the allotment in January and they have been sitting happily in a pot of soil waiting to be planted).
I have continued to dig the new kitchen garden to make ‘fixed beds’ and I have now finished one side of the plot and I have managed to dig my first two beds on the remaining side. The soil is such heavy clay, the digging really is hard work, but I console myself with the fact that it will never be this bad again if I keep improving the soil each year.
Along the right hand fence I replanted some comfrey that I brought back from my allotment and I also replanted the rhubarb that I had just ‘heeled’ into the ground, as I wasn’t one hundred percent sure where I wanted it to go. This area receives only a few hours of sunlight each day in the summer, so I will need to see how well the comfrey and rhubarbs does….though I suspect it will be fine.
So the kitchen garden is beginning to take shape:
I also finally started some seed sowing this week. It is very strange to only sow a few seeds at a time, as I have been used to growing for four allotments.
I have sown cucumbers, peppers, lettuce and tomatoes (to grow in my greenhouse) and I have sown some red and white cabbage for outside and corianda and mixed lettuce leaves (for my window sill). I have also sown some lobeilia as I love this in my hanging baskets and it is so expensive to buy.
I decided to start my onion sets off in newspaper pots to give them an early start and I finally got around to planting my garlic in pots, though I am extremely late doing this so the bulbs may not split into cloves as they should….but I thought I would give it a try anyway.
The onions and garlic are in my cold greenhouse and the rest are in propagators inside my house. I do have a greenhouse heater, but it is expensive to use so I try not to use it until I have too many seeds to keep inside.
Just in case anyone reading wants to know how to make newspaper pots, you can read about it here.
Newspaper pots are great to make as they are extremely cheap and environmetally friendly to use, as the recycled materials decompose when you put them in the ground. This also helps the plants that do not like root disturbance, e.g. swedes, that can be sown in the pots and then planted a few weeks later, still in the newspaper pots. The plants find it easy to grow their roots through the damp pots when they are in the ground.
Anyway, that’s enough for today.
I hope you still enjoy reading my blog, even though I have given my allotments up – I still enjoy writing it.
I am looking forward to the challenge of growing as much fruit and vegetables as possible in my small
7.5 meter x 6.4 meter plot.
I will be back next Friday at my usual time.