How To Avoid The Pea Moth & How to Harden Off Plants

I wanted to start today by saying a big ‘thank you’ to everyone that reads my blog and for all the lovely comments I receive each week.  It really is the comments that spur me on to continue writing.

Things changed in the ‘Thrift’ household when I gave my four allotments up last year, however your comments gave me the confidence to continue blogging about my new ‘kitchen garden’.

My blog will never win awards, but as long as people are reading and enjoying it, I will continue to write.

Thank you.

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This Week:

The weather has gone from one extreme to the other over the last week or so….from hail and snow to hot, sunny days.  On Sunday morning I walked my dog early to avoid the heat and even then it was warm enough to walk around in short sleeves:

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I always think the park looks beautiful in the early morning and I love to hear the birds sing at this time of the day…. they sing so loudly, as though they are excited about the day ahead.

I noticed the bluebells looking stunning in the dabbled shade under the trees and the ‘Cytisus scoparius’ (common broom) looking equally as impressive, in amongst the hawthorns that are in blossom at the moment:

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I felt blessed to be walking around the park at this time of day on my own, as it felt magical.  I couldn’t help but feel lucky to be there and have the time to stop and enjoy it.

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However the park looked completely different on Wednesday after twenty four hours of rain, but it still looked beautiful:

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In My Garden This Week:

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As it has been warm this week I decided it was time to start to ‘harden off’ some of my frost tender plants that have been sitting in my greenhouse, by moving them in my colder ‘mini greenhouses’.

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“Hardening off” your plants allows them to adapt to outside conditions before they are planted in their final positions.  There are two ways to do this:

1) Put your plants in a cold frame and gradually open the window of the cold frame more each day until it is fully opened or

2) Put your plants outside for an hour or two for the first day and then gradually increase the time they spend outside each day afterwards.

The RHS suggest that hardening off plants properly takes approximately two to three weeks.

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This week I also started to put some of my homegrown bedding plants into pots so they can grow on and look pretty in the summer.  I used marigolds and dwarf dahlias:

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I also made up a couple of hanging baskets with the cherry tomato plants that I grew from seed:

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As with everything else, I will harden them off gradually and I will be bringing them back inside my greenhouse every night until all the risk of frost has passed.  This is usually the end of May in Leicester, however I am still very careful to watch the weather forecast even then, as a few years ago I lost all  of my outdoor tomato plants at my allotment in the first week of June!

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This week I removed the glass from my climbing peas that I planted out in April, as they are now growing well:

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I tied some garden string around them to give a bit of support to help them climb.  I also draped some environmesh over the plants to stop the birds from eating them and give a bit of protection fron the pea moth (though I didn’t have quite enough to cover the sides, but it worked well like this last year):

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 “Adult pea moths lays their eggs in May, June and July on pea plants.  Their caterpillars feed on the seeds that develop inside the pea pods and then drop to the ground in late summer to pupate……this is a good reason to rotate your pea crops each year.

You can reduce the damage of the pea moth by covering your plants with environmesh or fleece”

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The tomatoes that I planted in my greenhouse are growing well now and I am continually ‘pinching off’ the side shoots that are appearing between the main stems and leaves….you can see in the before and after photos below:

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The seeds that I sowed last week have started to germinate and I have moved them from my kitchen into my greenhouse to ‘grow on’ for a week or two before I also start to ‘harden them off’ ready to plant later this month:

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I noticed this week that the first geraniums are starting to bloom in my hanging baskets:

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And elsewhere in the garden the dwarf wallflowers that I sowed last year are giving a good display….

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….together with the two dicentras (bleeding hearts) that I replanted after finding them growing recently in my border (though I haven’t a clue how they got there):

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 And finally in my garden my Azalea is beginning to flower.  My dad gave this plant to me when it was tiny – it came ‘free’ with some plants he ordered and he didn’t want it.  Over the last few years it has really flowered well:

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This Week In The Home:

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There is not much to tell you about this week except I have spent time altering the length of a new pair of curtains that my dad brought for his front room……unfortunately they were fifteen inches too long!…. (I’m not sure why he decided to buy this length of curtain).

After I altered them I decided to ring around a couple of well known shops to see how much they would charge for altering curtain lengths, just out of curiosity……I was quoted £35 by one and £40 by another!  It’s amazing how much you can save by learning a few basic sewing skills.

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After altering the curtains I took them to my dad’s home and hung them up for him….but unfortunately they weren’t really wide enough either (which I didn’t realise before as dad had given me the measurements).  This meant I couldn’t gather them up very much at the top, but I did my best.  However, they didn’t look too bad in the end and dad seemed very pleased with them …. and that is all that matters!

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That’s it for today.  Thank you for reading my blog.

I will be back next Friday at my usual time.  Have a great week!

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21 thoughts on “How To Avoid The Pea Moth & How to Harden Off Plants

  1. It’s lovely to see your kitchen garden coming to life with food and colour. For me it will be another year of ‘garden envy’ as I enjoy watching yours flourish……we’ve finally found a house(!!!!) however now we have to turn it into a home! Lots of building work means the garden will wait till next year….in the meantime I will continue to learn from you!x

  2. Watch out – here I am with a wheelbarrow full of awards all for you. So many and all well deserved for every subject under the sun. You are so very skilled at absolutely everything but my biggest award for you is from gorgeous Judy who says “thank you, Mum, for being the first in my life to believe in me and give me your time, patience and of course, money. I love you very, very much.”. I can see it in her faithful eyes and I know dogs if I know little else. You are wonderful and I savour every one of your words. Thank you for your time. Patricia xxx

  3. I’m sure the curtains look fine. If they had been for a female maybe you could have used the cut offs for a narrow frill to make them a little wider, if there was enough length of course. Joining the halved length that is.
    Like you I have plants and pots everywhere in my smaller than yours garden, I don’t like formal anyway.
    What I always remember most about your allotments is the wild flower patch you had, never seen one as good !
    Have a good week

    Maureen x

    • Oh yes, I had almost forgotten about my wildflower patch…the soil in the area was so awful as it had had a shed on for years and yet I never added any compost or soil conditioner to it at all before I sowed the seeds, as I knew wildflowers like it that way….and they really did like it didn’t they as that wildflower patch flowered for months and months without hardly any work at all. I remember sitting for hours watching the insects going from flower to flower…it was truely magical and the seed didn’t cost much at all either.

      • I think the problem could be sowing the ground, like you suggest. The birds might have nobbled some apart from the cold preventing germination. The ones I sowed indoors are much further on.

      • At least you still have the indoor ones to plant out….I know there isn’t a big harvest with peas compared to how much space they take up, but nothing beats the taste of the first pea that you pick and eat straight from the pod does it

      • I usually grow mangetout but they turn very quickly to full-blown peas 😊. Most stuff takes up a lot of space and produces not much more….

  4. The weather has been so very up and down, it was so very hot last weekend and now it is freezing cold, I have been starting to harden off the plants as well. The parsnips are all up in there toilet roll holders, so pleased, hopefully get them in the ground soon, am looking forward to see how they go. It is wonderful to see how you fit so much into a small space, love reading your blog. Have a great week.
    Sue

  5. Thank you Sue, I look forward to your comments too. If you want to avoid your parsnips from ‘forking’, you need to plant them as soon as possible (before you can see the root coming out of the bottom)….that is why I use kitchen roll inners as they are longer and gives me a bigger window to plant them out. However saying that, forked parsnips still taste far better than shop brought ones lol

  6. Had a busy weekend so although I read your blog on Friday I’ve only just got round to replying. I think your blog is very good & deserves an award! The benefits of a lifestyle like yours are encouraging so many of us with all your help on vegetable growing,home cooking,budgeting,dog care & your observations on life! Its been similar too here weatherwise,after a gorgeous Sunday spent with my family (I saw all 4 of my ‘children’ ) & applying suncream,it was absolutely torrential last Wednesday!Still it was good for the garden everything looked very lush for the next few days.Those tomatoes in baskets are going to be fantastic with all jewel like tomatoes dangling down! My garden has been full of birds & we even watched bats from my bedroom window flitting about after the insects.Take care till next week,Carrie xx

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