Removing A Conifer And Planting Onions & Garlic

I thought I would start by mentioning that my usual monthly blog post which covers ‘What to do in the kitchen garden in April’ can be found here if anyone is interested.  It covers what weather to expect in a  typical April, which vegetables and salads to harvest, which seeds to sow and what to plant and also jobs that need to be carried out this month.

So it’s well worth a read to make sure you haven’t missed anything.


October 2014

October 2014

Last weekend we began chopping down the conifer on the left hand side of the photograph above.  This was a small conifer I bought approximately 14 years ago when it was about 30cm high.  The label said it was a slow growing conifer that should grow no more than a meter high!

Obviously I wasn’t expecting it to grow as tall as it did and it was totally unsuitable for the place I had planted it in…. I had to tie the tree to our wall to stop it leaning over, as there wasn’t enough soil for the roots to keep it stable.

So we spent a happy morning chopping it down and poor Mr Thrift nearly wore himself out sawing the trunk across:

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But we eventually managed it and I rebuilt part of the dry stone wall that the previous owner of the house built and I replaced some of the compost.

I have decided this year to plant some sweetpeas to climb up the wall and I will be planting a few wild flower seeds underneath.



It’s been a real wet and windy week here in the Midlands and all the rain reminded me that I still hadn’t set up my two water butts that I brought from my old allotments.


I decided to catch the water from my house with the first water butt and so I bought a ‘Rain water diverter’ to fix onto my drainpipe.

I have got to admit I have never done anything like this before, but I thought I would have a go.  Thankfully it wasn’t too difficult and I managed it on my own.


I tested it to make sure it worked by asking my daughter to pour water out of her bedroom window into the drainpipe (not very technical) and I am pleased to say it worked.

The rain water diverter should channel rain water into the waterbutt until it’s full and then it will go down the drain as normal.  The plan is that I will add another waterbutt at this stage though.


It rained the following night and it did capture some of the rain and I was very proud until the morning when I noticed that the seal around the tap was now leaking….I must have caused some damage transporting the water butt from my allotment back home.

I had to empty the water butt again to repair the seal and it will now take a couple of days to dry so I am still unable to use the waterbutt.


Next week I am hoping to set up my second water butt to capture the water from my greenhouse.


This week I tried desparately to plant my onions and garlic which I started off at the beginning of March in my cold greenhouse (I was a bit late planting my garlic, but I thought I may as well give it a go).  Every time I started to plant them, it rained so I had to stop. Finally we had a lovely day yesterday and I managed to complete planting them.

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Both the onions and garlic had grown well in my newspaper pots and I had prepared the grown where I planted them a couple of weeks earlier by raking in some blood, fish and bone and covering the area with clear plastic to warm the soil up.

I decided to plant the onions 10cm apart and each of the rows just 10cm apart too (usually I plant each row 30cm apart).  If you plant onions closer together you will get smaller onions, but there is method behind my madness……as my kitchen garden is so small, I have decided to harvest the rows in between and eat the onions when they are ‘spring onion’ size in salads etc.

I have planted 66 onions altogether and I am hoping that this way I will have more to harvest over a longer period and the remaining onions can then grow to a good size (this is the plan…I hope it works).


I also made two ridges using my draw hoe and planted the garlic into the ridges.  Garlic tends to rot in very wet soil and I was very conscious of how wet the soil in my garden was.

(I am keeping my fingers crossed that I have got away with planting my garlic so late):



On the ground next to my garlic I have used some old grocery boxes (that I brought home from my allotment), to warm the soil ready to sow some beetroot seeds next week.  The boxes are great as it’s easy to rest glass on top of them and they have a small area just under the glass which lets the air circulate too:



Dispite all the wind this week, my broadbeans seem to be doing well, though I do still need to provide some support for them, to stop them from falling over when they are bigger.


At the moment they are still looking quite perfect and I am not used to this, as usually at this time of year on my old allotment, I would always see the tell tale sign of the ‘pea and bean weevil’….. maybe because I am away from the allotment I may not suffer so much?

  You can see in the photograph below, that my broadbeans last year had little notches in the edges of the leaves.  This is the work of the ‘Pea and Bean weevil’.


The adults are beetles that are approximately 4-5mm long, but they are very hard to find as they drop to the ground when they are disturbed.  Their larvea eat the root nodules of the plant in the soil.

I have never yet lost any plants due to the Pea and bean weevil as most broad beans seem to tolerate the damage, but in theory a bad attack could kill your plants.  I make sure that when I overwinter my plants, they are healthy by giving them a feed in the Spring with a general purpose fertiliser (I use blood, fish and bone) and if the weather is dry then I water them.  This way I ensure my plants can cope with an attack without the need to use chemical sprays.


Elsewhere in my kitchen garden my autumn raspberries are now starting to grow.  I am very relieved as the soil was very cold and wet when I brought them home from my allotment:


My chives will soon be ready to pick if them keep growing at this speed:


And the daffodills that I planted a few weeks ago are still producing a lovely display, together with a pot of bulbs that I planted two years ago:

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So all in all the new kitchen garden is starting to come to life.


At home this week:


This week I have been making my laundry liquid again.  I get a real buzz when I think about how much money I have saved by using it over the last few years and it is so quick to make.

You can find the recipe for laundry liquid here.

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I also made some more dishwasher liquid using soapnuts, as this also saves money and washes our pots and pans well.  Again it is quick and easy to make.

You can see how I make the dishwasher liquid here if you are interested.

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So all in all it’s been another busy week and I am looking forward to a rest over the Easter holiday….but I’m not very good at sitting still when there is so much to do.


I hope you have enjoyed reading my blog today, I will be back next Friday as usual.

Have a great Easter and a good week!

16 thoughts on “Removing A Conifer And Planting Onions & Garlic

  1. You did well to get that conifer down. We did one last year and it was really hard work. You have encouraged me too, as the garlic I bought a few months ago but have been unable to plant (as we are changing to raised beds and are still getting them ready) are sprouting. I thought it may be have been too late to put them in, but it seems not. Can I ask you what you used to mend the seal around the tap on the waterbut please as ours is leaking a little. I am also wondering how Judy is getting on? I have told you before about our dog Barney. He is also on Selgian now (for 2 weeks). Thank you for your blog, I do not always comment but really enjoy reading it.

    • Lol, don’t think you have to comment lots as I am just glad people still enjoy reading my blog. This is what I used to seal around the tap on the waterbutt: it cost me £4.95…..I hope it works as I have never repaired one before, so I don’t even know if I’ve used the right thing!

      I planted my garlic in newspaper pots on 3/3 and they are growing well. My only concern is that the bulbs won’t split into cloves as they need a few days of frost to do this, however i’m sure I will still use it anyway.

      Thanks for asking about Judy. It is really sad when dogs are so anxious isn’t…it is painful to watch them with so much worry on their little shoulders. Judy has had seven weeks of Selgian now and i’ve got to say we didn’t notice much difference before week 4 and then suddenly she stopped and sat down in the garden (she hadn’t done that since our neighbour got their new dog in January) and now she does this regularly (except when their dog is outside too). I have got to say she is now lovely inside the house-she doesn’t get stressed at the least little noise anymore and I have even managed to start to train her in our garden when next doors dog comes out now. She is also playing ‘ball’ alot more in the house (back in Feb she wouldn’t play at all), so I can see she is improving.
      I have also over the last two weeks begun to train her on walks again in the park….we are still quite far from the dogs at the moment, but she is definately responding to my training.
      We are back at the vets next Sat and I’m sure he will give her another course of the tablets. We have a long way to go yet with her and she still has an awful lot of fears that we need to work through, but we are now beginning to think that things will work out with her even though we know that she will always have problems and we will always need to be careful with her.

      Lets hope the tablets work well on Barney too….keep me posted.

      • Thank you for the link – that looks like a really interesting online shop – will have a good look.

        I am glad that the Selgian is helping Judy – I think a lesser person would probably have returned her to the RSPCA once they realised her problems. She was a lucky girl to find a home with you and your family and it is encouraging that she is responding to your training now too. I do hope Barney can be helped by the medication too.

        Thank you too for your “What to do in April” thread – looks like this is going to be a busy month for us all.

      • Hi Sara and thanks for your encouraging words re Judy. Most people think we are mad to perservere with her as she has disrupted our lives in such a way, but she is so lovely and we think she is worth the hard work, though we have a long way to go yet. Keep fingers crossed that Barney responds to the medication too.

  2. Wow the new space looks great and will be a pefect place for sweet peas . I am so behind with everything including blogging so need to get stuck in and organized. Have a lovely weekend.

    • Hi Kim, this year seems to be going so fast doesn’t it, but i’m sure everything will catch up- (though I think Spring is two or three weeks later this year as I monitor it by my neighbours Magnolia tree…it was in full flower over a week ago last year and there are no flowers yet this year on it)

  3. Wow you are doing so well with your plot, following your inspiration i have put a 6x6ft plot in the top of our garden, we used to have a shed there and hubby took that up to our land to use as a tool shed, so i took up some of the slabs i hope to grow lettuce, beans runner and french, beetroot as well, and if there is room a courgette, the main hardy veg will go up to the land, we are still trying to get the fence round the plot but keep being driven off by wind and rain, hopefully tomorrow four of us will continue up there. We took out a “dwarf” conifer just a few weeks ago it was huge on the rockery! What a difference it has made.
    Do have a great Easter weekend,

    • Hi Sue, it has been really wet and especially windy this last week hasn’t it.

      What a great idea to plant some veg where your shed was….it will be lovely to ‘pop’ outside and pick something to eat-this is one luxury i have never had before so that is something I am looking forward to

  4. The garden looks great. I never had problems with pests in my garden other than slugs, pigeons and cabbage white butterfly, so I imagine you will find the same. That is why it is such an uphill learning curve at the allotment, because there are so many pests that I am unfamiliar with 😦 At least I have your blog for guidance – can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you.

    I planted onion seeds for the first time and they just look like a squiggly, thin, weedy stalks. I’m sure I need to wait for them to be a bit more substantial before I plant them out, as they are nothing like your photos, but they don’t seem to be growing much. Maybe patience is another skill I need to develop 😉 I will try making newspaper pots this weekend, because I have exhausted my saved up loo rolls. Thanks

    • Hi Judy, my onions were planted as sets rather than seeds which is why they probably look much further forward to yours, as sets are smaller bulbs that mature into larger bulbs. They are selling very small onions like yours in the garden center near us, so I shouldn’t worry. Wait until your onions are a lot bigger before planting them out to make sure they grow well.

      It is an uphill learning experience when you first take on an allotment but enjoyable. If you are ever unsure of anything then pls don’t hesitate to ask as I would love to help.

  5. Your garden looks great and even though you are planting the garlic late, it doesn’t look that far behind mine. It’s in clay but I’ve never had any trouble with rot. Mind you, as the garden is south-facing and prone to wind attack, there isn’t much chance of water-logging.

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