This past weekend has been largely spent outside in the garden. The weather has gone unusually warm for this small wet island, not that I’m complaining, so I welcomed the opportunity to get outside and into my garden.
Last spring N built me four raised beds at the end of our garden for growing vegetables. Because they were built so soon before the growing season, we literally built them and that was it. All the grass between the beds got really long and difficult to cut during the summer and was a haven for slugs and snails! Then over the winter it just got patchy and muddy from us walking on it.
So over the winter we decided that this year we would lay some anti-weed membrane and cover it with bark chippings to tidy it up a bit. The weekend before last we managed to dig over all the grass around the raised beds, and this past weekend we successfully laid the membrane and covered it with bark chippings. The layer of bark chippings is pretty thin due to our funds drying up, but soon we should be able to buy a couple more bags and finish the job off. It looks so smart and completely changes the shape of how our garden feels – wider rather than long and narrow.
Just before Christmas I saw a beautiful picture in a book of a weathered picket fence covered in purple flowers and small orange pumpkins and knew that it would be a perfect way to keep my naughty bunnies out of the vegetable bed. It was fine last summer once everything had got going and the plants were abundant because the bunnies could chomp their way through the parsley or hide in the pea plants and no one would notice a few bits missing here and there.
But at the moment when there are tiny seedlings and shoots are starting to emerge they are a nuisance! They just decimate everything. The poor chives – these vibrant green juicy blades that are poking out of the rich brown soil – they just get mown down leaving only an inch or so remaining. I’m sure it’s very good for my bunnies digestion but not for my tiny plants. So now I am saving for a picket fence, have saved in my Ebay list seeds for the Cup & Saucer plant which was the one in the picture with the large purple flowers and am armed with a packet of ‘Jack Be Little’ pumpkin seeds.
The other success from the weekend was sowing lots more seeds. I feel so much happier now that I have planted another set of seeds, just knowing that with a little bit of water and tender loving care tiny shoots will soon appear. In the garden I put straight into the ground a row of rainbow carrots (yellow it turns out are even sweeter than orange carrots), a row of ‘Guardsman’ spring onion, a row of ‘Paris Market Baron’ carrots (round and stumpy), and a row of ‘Paris Silverskin’ onions (perfect for pickling).
At the back of our house we have what can only be described as a sort of lean-to, badly constructed conservatory type boot room. The previous owner had his washing machine plumbed in which took up most of the space, but we use it to store anything and everything, and during the spring and summer it becomes Seedling Central. One-third is brick, and two-thirds is windows, a back door and a plastic roof. It’s perfect for starting off seeds as it gets so warm, much like a greenhouse.
So in an assortment of trays and pots, I have planted from seed peas, broad beans, leeks, and a selection of lettuces. I have also started off some dwarf sunflowers, borage, cosmos, and some special blue sweetpeas called ‘Charlie’s Angel’ from N’s mom.
I am so excited to see the tiny seedlings from my sowing session a couple of weeks ago springing up, and the broad bean plants are doing incredibly well – there is something so satisfying about their sturdy green leaves unfolding. More updates to follow on how my seeds do. Happy planting!