Friday, 30 January 2009

Leaky roof

The roof is fixed. When I fitted the panels originally it was a a bit windy so I concentrated on fixing them quickly and firmly to stop the wind lifting them. Unfortunately I overlapped two panels the wrong way round and the rain sneeked in under one of them. Pull some screws, a quick shimmy with the panels, pop the screws back in and it's fixed.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

More shelves

We've made another little trip to make the next section of shelf in the greenhouse. I only added part of the lower shelf that fills one side of the space. I realised that the covering of the door was not properly fixed, so I fixed it. I also made a kind of architrave to keep the breeze out around the door, which was stronger and colder than I'd realised. I also realised that the roof panels were not fitted the right way round so the rain will run in. It's not a big problem, but I will move the panel on a calm day. Maybe next time I'll work on the shelf.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Quick visit

I wanted to put a wire cover over the shelves I built the other day. It works just as I expected. You can see in the picture that two seed trays will fit on each shelf. The other side of the greenhouse will have full length shelves which I expect to hold five trays each, so we should be able to hold 21 trays this year with room to spare, including room to keep the watering cans, space for a growbag for tomatoes and some elbow room.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Digging and shelves

Jean likes digging. She is never happier than when she's doing something energetic and useful, so digging fits the bill nicely. I don't mind digging you understand, but since she likes it so much I leave it to her.

So while she was digging over the now-empty parsnip and leek plots, I started to build the shelves in the newly-extended greenhouse. I built the wooden frames for the smallest set of shelves. As in the old greenhouse, I will cover the frames with wire mesh to make the surface to stand trays on. This worked really well before, it lets light and water through.

A few more garlic plants have come up, so the extra garlic we bought yesterday is probably not really needed, but we realised that there is a spot for the extras near the asparagus so some will go in there.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009


We were in Wilkinsons today. That's a sort of discount store, which has a section for gardening. We saw that their gardening section had had a revamp and took a look. They had bags of onion sets, Sturon white onions and Red Karmen red onions, so we bought a bag of each. They also had some garlic bulbs (Allium sativum) for planting at three for £2, so we had a pack of them too. We also bought a packet of sweet peas called old fashioned mix, which we had last year.

The garlic is a bit of insurance - we already have some in the plot but only some it has come up. If we plant these new cloves it will ripen a bit later than the ones we planted last autumn so it should spread our season.

The sweet peas are not edible of course, but we pick them for home and to give away and they brighten up the plot. Last year Bob had a bed of wild flowers which was great. It also brought in bees and other pollinaters which help the plots around - maybe sweet peas will help too.

Onions are new to us too. We have some winter onions growing on the plot, but we have not harvested any yet. The winter onions should be ready in April or May and these new sets (which are tiny onions) will be planted just before then.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

The last harvest

The last of our parsnips and leeks were harvested today, with some of them pictured in the sink ready to be washed. It clears the way for the winter dig ready for this year's plantings. A lovely stew is in the oven for this evening. The leeks were tiny compared to most of our crops - they were late plantings as afterthoughts. We had some raw at lunchtime with a salad and they were superb. The parsnips have mostly been stumpy like these, but they still have a lot of flesh in them. A few have been huge - all have been delicious. Leeks and parsnips are definitely part of this year's plans.

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Allotment society

Last year we joined the allotment society in Kenilworth Avenue where there is a large allotment site. We went along yesterday to join again and to buy seeds for this years crops. Last year their seeds all flourished and the varieties were a good choice, so we wanted to do the same again, but this year they were not ready. We will have to wait for a couple more weeks to get going. We want some onion sets this year - these will be ready even later and the society don't stock red onion sets so we'll need to look elsewhere.

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Plan for the year

We've been looking again at what did well last year and what we want to plant this year. Last year we had rectangular beds, but this year we are going to try the annual veg in rows like most people do. The fruit bushes, strawberries and asparagus remain in place and the greenhouse is a bit bigger. We already have the garlic and winter onions in the ground and they're growing on, though only some of the garlic has come up.

We had sent off for a free set of seeds from Gardens' World which include some vegetable seeds but we will also buy some that we were happy with last year. This is the list of seeds or plants we have and ones we want to buy with their variety that we have or would like.

What we have
Beetroot, Cylindra
Carrots, Tendersnax
Cabbage, Tundra
Lettuce, Lotto Rossa
Broad beans, Saved seeds
Winter Onions (sets), Gift from Rob

What we want
Beetroot, Boltardy
Runner beans, Scarlet Emperor
Spring Onions, White Lisbon
Carrots, Nantes
Mange Tout, Delikata
Parsnips, Patriot
Leeks, Musselburgh
White Onions (sets), Sturon
Red Onions (sets), Red Baron
French beans, Kenyan
Sweet Peas, Old Fashioned mix
Spinach, Perpetual