A Fox In The Garden And Planting Cabbages

I have been concentrating on my kitchen garden this week, especially as we have had some nice weather. However I did notice that we have also had a couple of frosts this week, which shows that it really is too early to be planting out anything that isn’t frost hardy.

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Last week I noticed a deep hole had been dug in one of my beds and this week it happened again:

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We have lots of squirrels in our garden, but the hole just seemed too deep to have been dug by a squirrel.  I also noticed that my bird bath kept being knocked to the ground as well.

I thought at first it could possibly be a cat causing the damage so I put a few pieces of welded wire over the bed that was being dug:

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But the next day I found some muddy paw marks on my weed suppressant which looked very much like a fox.  I also noticed the string I had put around my broad beans had been cut, which definately confirmed to me that it was a fox, as this used to happen regularly at my allotment.  I have also been using blood, fish and bone recently in my garden which always used to attract foxes at my allotment too:

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My bird bath is in the corner of my garden and I suspected the fox was entering my garden by jumping on my neighbours compost bin (directly the other side of the fence) and then using my bird bath to vacate the garden, knocking it over in the process.

To stop this from happening I have attached a thick piece of welded wire over this piece of the fence, so I will just have to wait and see if it works and actually stops the fox from coming into the garden:

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This week I gave my lawn it’s first cut.  I don’t know if you remember but I lifted slabs in this area in September last year, prepared the soil and then laid a new lawn here.  The grass looked marvelous after it was laid.

Unfortunatey over the winter our fence blew down and the grass was trampled on when it was very wet while the fence was being repaired and also Judy (our dog) used to run around madly, reacting to the dog next door when it cames out…..so our grass has gone from a lovely thick lawn to a lawn with bald patches:

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I am not mowing it too closely in the hope that the grass will start to thicken up a little bit now, though some places may be past that stage.  One thing I am pleased with is there are no yellow patches from my dogs urine….we have made sure that everytime Judy goes toilet we sprinkle water from a watering can over the area that she has wet and it seems to be working.

I have also neatened the area around my bay tree and transplanted three or four plants that were growing in the wrong places in my garden:

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This week I planted some aubrietia plants that I grew from seed last year and overwintered in my cold greenhouse.  I thought they would look nice flowering over the rocks along the middle of my garden in years to come when they get a bit bigger:

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This week I also planted some sweetpea plants to grow up my new trellis, in the hope they look pretty and attract beneficial insects to my vegetable garden:

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I noticed the fruit bushes that I planted along my fence are beginning to grow.  I always feel a sense of relief  when new bushes start to grow as I then know that I haven’t wasted my money on them:

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A couple of weeks ago I saw a strange growth between two of my fruit bushes and I hadn’t got a clue what it was.  I looked at our old garden photos to find out what was growing in this place before and it was an area underneath our old holly tree that was covered in ‘Vinca’ (periwinkle)….so I was completely puzzled.  The growth looked a bit like a ‘bleeding heart’ (dicentra), so I decided that I would dig it up and put it in a pot just in case.

The plant has grown a bit now and it definately is a ‘bleeding heart’……I haven’t a clue how it got there, but I will definately keep it:

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This week I finally finished planting my onions.  I started growing the sets at the beginning of March in my cold greenhouse, so they were all growing well and the roots were beginning to grow through the newspaper pots.

I planted my onions very closely as I will harvest some of them as spring onions, leaving the others to grow bigger in order to get a double crop out of this area.  This worked well last year.

My onions have all been covered in environmesh to stop the allium leaf miner:

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I also planted the white cabbages that I sowed on the 25th February.  Brassicas like firm soil so I firmed round each plant with my boot.  I also placed a cabbage collar around each plant to stop the cabbage root fly laying its eggs at the base of each plant….the larvea then eat the roots and kill the plants.

I don’t buy cabbage collars as they are easy to make using cardboard cut into squares with a cross cut in the middle:

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I also covered the cabbages with netting to stop cabbage white butterflies from laying eggs on the leaves….it’s the resulting caterpillars that quite quickly strip all the leaves off the plants.

The net I used is very tall beacuse I will be planting my curly kale here when we have eaten all the spring cabbages:

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Another job I did was to mulch around my fruit trees using homemade compost from last year.  This compost was made using plants and grass that I dug up at the beginning of last year when I was creating my kitchen garden, mixed in with a few kitchen peelings etc.  It made a wonderful mulch:

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I also brought two new wall planters for the new herbs I brought last week.  Last year I placed my herbs at the bottom of my garden, but unfortunately our local squirrels decided to keep digging the plants up to bury their nuts in the pots and eventually the herbs all died as the roots kept drying out.  So this year I decided to keep my herbs next to our house, which will also be much more convenient for us to use.

I am quite pleased with how they look and I have moved my mint and rosemary underneath them too:

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I am still deadheading my daffodils in the garden and as they finish flowering I give them a feed of blood, fish and bone.

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But as the daffodils are finishing flowering, elsewhere in the garden there are other flowers for the bees to enjoy:

  I noticed the plum tree that I have in a pot has begun to flower:

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And the wallflowers I grew from seed last year are about to flower any day now:

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And my pot of bulbs that has had daffodils flowering for weeks, now has with grape hyacinth (muscari) flowering beautifully and any day now the Tulips will also burst into flower.

Spalding bulbs sent me these bulbs free in Autumn 2012 and since I planted them I can honestly say I have done absolutely nothing to them except move the pot out the way after it has finished flowering….maybe this year I should make an effort to feed them!

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In my greenhouse that is now heated to keep the temperature above 10C, things are doing well.  My different seedlings are growing strongly and this week my climbing peas which I planted two weeks ago have germinated well.  I saved these seeds in 2012 from plants I was growing at my allotment, so I was praying they would still germinate:

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My cut and come again salads are also growing well and next week I will be taking my first cut.  The radish are also nearly ready that I have been growing around the edge of the salads:

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I also saw a tiny little shoot coming from one of the dahlias that I grew from seed last year.  I kept the pots in our cold brick outhouse overwinter as a trial to see if they would survive and it appears they have.  I brought them out a couple of weeks ago and placed them in my greehouse, giving them a good watering first:

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In my kitchen I have a few seeds that needed a higher heat to germinate than my heated greenhouse can offer.  I sowed these seeds two weeks ago and nearly all of them need pricking out now…this will keep me busy over the next few days!

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I must say I am now looking forward to clearing my kitchen of seeds so we can get back to normal:

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Anyway, that’s enough for this week.  I will be back next Friday as usual.

I hope you have a lovely weekend!

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20 thoughts on “A Fox In The Garden And Planting Cabbages

  1. Your garden is looking lovely.
    We have squirrels too.
    When one comes in I always say Cyril has arrived.
    It seems rude not to call them by a name!

    Best wishes,
    Angela ( Devon)

  2. I must say you always write a very informative and interesting blog and you have done a lot of work to make your garden beautiful. Thanks for sharing x

  3. Hi very interesting post, your garden still looks lived in even with all your allotment things in, great achievement. I’ve always enjoyed the idea of getting back to the land in the confines of suburbia ! Too much notice of “the good life” when I was growing up….welcome back xx

    • Hi Pat. I do still really miss my allotment but I am finding my much small kitchen garden has so many advantages. I particularly love the way I can nip out for just five minutes to do a quick job, which is something I couldn’t do at the allotment….but I do miss the large amount and different types of produce that I grew at the allotment. However, I have to make the best of what I have and stop looking back lol

  4. So much to read about,you must take so much trouble to think what to write.I learn so much every week! Garden looking beautiful & exciting to see what’s growing well. Your plum is earlier than mine! No flowers yet ! Good news about all the fruit bushes- they’re all shooting well.I’ve got several gooseberries & a blackcurrant in similar stage.Your salad crop looks very healthy. Hope you solve the fox mystery soon! Take care till next week Carrie xx

  5. Hi well it’s all looking good at your house, just about to prick out my onions and leeks into the little paper pots I know they will be OK for the onions to stay in till they go in the ground which will be a couple of weeks yet I think heavy frost here in Derbyshire and snow yesterday!! But will the leeks be OK going in those to stay in as they need to grow rather more don’t they before they go in the ground? Also my little peas are sprouting now is it right to sow some more at the end of the month so we can have another crop or just the one I think mine are climbers? Look forward to next week x

    • Hi Linda….I saw you had snow on the news, we didn’t but it has been cold here.

      I don’t prick out the leeks I grow in a seed tray, I just use scissors to cut out the surrounding leeks so the remaining ones have enough room to grow. However, I can’t see it being a problem if you want to put them indivdually in newspaper pots. Don’t worry about the leeks being small as mine are always small at this time of the year, they still have lots of time to grow.

      I love the climbing pea varieties….yes it is actually a brilliant idea to spread your pea sowings out so you get peas for picking for longer.

      Hope this helps XX

  6. I second all of the positive comments. Of all the blogs I read I think yours is the one that hits home the most regarding the grow your own. It’s always inspiring and informative and given where we are (ie starting on our adventure) then we need all the useful info we can get! I must remember to net the caulis when planting out. I think I have mixed the purple sprouting brocolli plants in with the caulis though, I don’t suppose it’ll matter – if they grow they grow, net or no net! So exciting. It feels like everything is starting to take off.

    • Thank you for your kind words Tracy and I have been enjoying reading your blog too….I am so excited watching your new adventures in your smallholding…..I so wish we had done the same when we were younger.

      How lovely to have a surprise with your cauli’s and broccoli…make sure you ‘stamp’ around your cauli’s as the soil needs to be very firm to give good results.

  7. The garden is looking great, I have sown the parsnips in the loo rolls and look forward to the results, its nice to try something different, the seedlings are all popping up in the greenhouse now, I have cloches over them to help bring them on and it works so very well, I am keeping on top of the pricking out. My son in law gave me a garlic bulb to take apart and plant, so I shall be looking up how to do that, never grown garlic before. Have a good week.
    Sue

  8. I’m sure you’ll be glad to have your herbs closer by. We had summer-like temperatures today and I put my greenhouse together, except – I can’t remember where I put the shelving. Don’t know why I can’t keep all the pieces together. 😦

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