My Geraniums Got Toasted (Well frosted….)

We had a really nice day last week so i thought I’d put my geranium cuttings outside to get a bit of air. I’m sure they loved it but in the melee of getting the house ready for a dinner party I forgot to bring them in overnight. It was very frosty and so yet again, I’ve lost more than half of my geraniums to the weather.

Will I ever learn? I think I do this most years. Luckily one or two survive each year so I can butcher them at the end of the season for cuttings.

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The curled leaves on this one clearly show the frost damage

Notice how few leaves are left – I removed the frost damaged ones to check rot


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I took these cuttings in October and left them in the garage until the first frosts when I brought them inside. As you can see from the cuttings they are not very well advanced and they’ve got quite a bit of frost damage. It will take them quite a few weeks to recover. They’ll be fine as long as I keep them inside until the spring and make sure I don’t over water.

Neat & Tidy Propagator

I always grow from seed. I always have the seeds indoors because its warmer. I’m very careful, but I’m told by my beautiful wife that I always leave soil around. Weird.

I found a cheap coldframe/propagator when I was christmas shopping. Its a clear plastic box. I don’t like buying plastic but I wanted something that I could move easily between the house and garden without loads of mess and would double as an indoors propogator and an outdoors cold frame.

These boxes are fab. They are strong, they are clear, they are big enough to take seed trays (with a little adjustment) and they have a lid. I think they will be just perfect. I used to have a greenhouse. This was fine for bringing plants on early but no good at all for raising seedlings. Instead I filled all the windowsills in the house with seedtrays and even though I put paper underneath, I still managed to stain all of the paintwork…..

I planted some tomatoes, Gazania and some other thing this evening as you can see. I think I may just get away with it this year!

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The Mice Ate My Peas – I don’t like mice anymore

We have mice, I’ve known this since we moved in. I’ve seen evidence of them in the garage and I did wonder about the ‘Mouse Genocide’ chemicals that the last owners left behind. They’ve nibbled on candles and a couple of fatballs that I left out on the bench, not too much of a problem. I also think they’ve discovered how to get into the compost bin. I’ve seen them scurry off when I’ve lifted the lid a few times. All in all pretty harmless. I quite like mice, always have done. I’m sure they are not very hygengic and all the other things which people moan about but they live in the garage and frankly I really don’t mind.

That was, however, until I left out my Feltham First peas on the bench in the garage. There was 2/3 of a packet left when I put them there. When I came back the bottom corner of the packet had been neatly chewed and there were only 3 peas left.

I don’t like mice anymore.

I’ve ordered some more early peas to replace the ones that were maliciously eaten and I’ve installed some pea netting over the ones that I planted. Wouldn’t want the stinking pigeons to get these.

I’m off to plant some tomatoes. 🙂

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So I spent too much on seeds again

I love this time of year. You know you’re past the shortest day and its soon going to start getting lighter in the mornings. Its also the time of year when I make decisions about what i’m going to try and grow. It doesn’t always work out – i’ve ended up with 40 tomato plants when I had the space for about six and i’ve repeatedly failed to propagate clematis from cuttings. I’ve only been doing this for a couple of years though and I’m slowly, slowly becoming a little better at deciding what to try and grow. One of my biggest problems is trying to grow on absoutely everything rather than being prepared to only select the best seedlings.

I tend to enjoy trying to raise plants from seeds rather than buying in young plants. They can be be expensive and its difficult to get exactly the type you’re looking for. Its also not much fun!

Criteria:

  • Slightly unusual
  • Expensive to buy in shops
  • Haven’t grown before
  • Good use of garden space and summertime

I spent a little time trying to get a feel for what I can plant where in the garden. As we moved in in june last year I know roughly where the sun falls in the garden, which bits get baked and which bits are in shadow. This makes a big difference. We moved into our last house in october and my first summer was a bit of a disaster!

I’ve added a calendar here which gives a guide as to what I should be planting when.

More Veg Plot 3

Spent a bit more time on veg plot 3. It now has sides and i’ve dug over the sticky clay soil and added quite a large proportion of leaves to improve the soil texture.

The rest of the compost won’t go in until late spring so its had time to compost a bit more. The soil in the bed won’t be ready until next year as it’ll take a while for the leaves and small twigs to break down. Depending on how it goes there might a possibility of growing some thing in the bed late spring to keep the weeds away and break up the soil a little more.

Peas!

I managed to find time to get two rows of peas into the vegetable bed this weekend. Quite enjoyed it. Feltham first, a variety that can be planted in january.

I’ve struggled to get peas to germinate before so I paid particular attention to the depth and put then in 2cm of compost in the trench. I’ve also made sure that the birds can’t get them by covering them with netting. I’ll try and keep a basic photo diary of their progress as time goes on. I’m also going to try some staggered planting this year so it’ll soon be time to plant some more!

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Done, but oh I am tired…

Ok, five trips to the tip later and I fully appreciate how *not young* I really am. Having a bit (well, a lot) of help was fantastic. We now have a big rectangular hole waiting to be dug over and filled with topsoil and compost. I also need to make a decision about whether to use the paving slabs that I removed from the top to create a raised bed.