Archive for the 'Cleaning and Clearing' Category

mtp

Bye Bye Oak Leaf Triffids

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How did they get that big? I knew that they went to seed. It seemed like it was about a month ago but then the next day they were this big! It’s time to clear up the Oakleaf Lettuce.

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They did very well all Summer. We ate handfuls of lovely fresh Lettuce every day. And they held their own while other Lettuces lost it. When they did finally run away they performed another useful function in deterring Monty (our 8 month old, insane Great Dane puppy) from trampling that bit of the bed. He didn’t like them for some reason. Maybe it was because they were the same height as his head.

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Now we have a fence (yes a fence, cemented into the ground!) to keep Monty where he should be so I have no need of my green barrier. Today they made their way to the compost pile and we said goodbye to garden Lettuce until next Spring. Bye bye OakLeaf Triffids.

mtp

My New Garden

So we made it to Portland – finally. There were some stop offs on the way and immigration to deal with but we arrived late last week and started to settle in. Because there was so much to do in the house it took me a while to really explore the garden. It’s quite big – I’m not sure how big exactly but it wraps around the whole house so there are many different options for creating ‘types’ of gardens. The photo above is of the part of the back garden that has been made into a rose garden with (currently broken) fountain and many, many over-grown box bushes.

There are lots of pathways in the garden with wrought-iron gates hung from red brick walls. All very English actually. I feel right at home.

Some of the paths are being ‘reclaimed’ by nature. Well, that’s what happens in an untended garden.

The boys have a big lawn to play on, which is new for them. It’s a bit yellow because no-one has watered it for a while but I’m sure it can be fixed.

The view from house generally looks like this because all of the bushes that used to surround the house in a short, little, bordering kind of way are now behemoth monsters.

Hmmm… much work to be done. The few neighbours that we’ve met have been very friendly but every single one of them have said, “Well, I hope you like gardening!”

Fortunately, I do.

mtp

Autumn in the Veg Garden

I took a stroll around my garden this morning. It was freezing. I was shivering, the leaves were shivering and the cat, very sensibly, stayed indoors. There’s not much left in the garden, as you might expect. Most things have gone over and many of the permanent fruit bushes have lost their leaves.

But… those that are still hanging on to a few leaves are producing some spectacular colours. Anyone that tells you a vegetable garden isn’t beautiful in the Winter just isn’t looking carefully enough. There is tons of colour, albeit in small bursts. But when you find it, it’s definitely beautiful.

Above is a leaf from my Blueberry bush. It’s not covered in leaves like this, just a few. But their flame colours can be seen from across the garden.

The Blackberry too is putting on a last burst before dropping its leaves and shutting up shop for the Winter. I love the oranges and flame reds.

Even the Grapevine has turned this gorgeous warm yellow. It looks so amazing that I’m putting off pruning it until the last leaf has dropped so that I can enjoy the colours longer.

Who says trees have the monopoly on Autumn, huh? But the most surprising thing of all is that it all looks completely different to how it looked at this time last year.

mtp

String Too Tight

As I ventured into the garden yesterday to pull some Leeks I noticed that the string ties on my Peach tree were becoming a little tight. On closer inspection I found that a few were very tight indeed and one had cut through the bark – bad news for letting infection in.

I was surprised because the ties are only on last summer’s grow and I had thought I had left enough room for growth. But apparently not.

So the whole lot will have to come off and be replaced by some that are nice and loose with a twist to keep the branch from rubbing on the canes or wire.

mtp

Surprising Autumn Colour

Just a quick post to show you how gorgeous my Red Currant is at the moment. Some plants really surprise you with their burst of Autumn colour, the Red Currant is one with its beautiful yellow leaves.

…my Grapevine is another.

…and also the Blueberry is pretty amazing.

…even the Strawberries are making a bid to colour up the garden!

They’re all doing it in their tiny way. Of course, most of the garden is brown right now but it’s nice to see a glimmer of colour if only before the leaves drop and we have to rely on the frost for interest.

mtp

Time to Pull Up The Spinach

The Spinach has had it. I knew it would happen. It was one of the first things I sowed in early Spring and has been happily producing these past few months. But Spinach doesn’t last forever. It’s one of those cool weather plants that really just gives up when the weather heats up.

It’s started to go to seed so I harvested everything that was left, pulled up the plants and put them in the compost bin. I’ll leave it a few months until I sow some more.

Never one to leave the earth bare, I have already sown some Swede in place of the Spinach :)

mtp

Making Leaf Mould

My Tiny Plot is surrounded by leaves. On one side there are evergreen Laurel bushes. The south-facing wall is topped by deciduous Ivy, then half our house is covered in Wisteria that sheds its leaves too.

Consequently, at this time of year the ground is thick with Autumnal leaves – even the Laurel seems to shed the odd one or two. So, it’s high time that I stopped filling the council’s leaf mould pile and started my own.

When I first moved into the house the garden was a wreck. Apparently, the previous owner were not ‘into’ gardening. You don’t say? There was a five inch thick layer of something thick and black and crumbly on the roof of the outhouse. Part of the roof had caved in under the weight there was that much of it. What was it? – leaf mould. The leaves had been falling for so many years, untouched that the good stuff had just built up and up.

I tried to salvage as much of it as I could and dug it into my new garden. But that’s the last time mtp has seen any leaf mould (two years ago). But this year I’m determined to bring it back. So, using my Love Em’ and Leave Em’ leaf sack, I’ve started to collect the fallen leaves and I’m hopeful for some blackstuff come next year.

Here’s a few things I’ve discovered about making leaf mould.

  1. The leaves that can be easily turned into leaf mould are Oak, Alder and Hornbeam. They will soon rot down, but Sycamore, Beech and Horse chestnut might take a little longer.
  2. Some people will suggest that you don’t use conifers and evergreen plants. You can but it will take between two and three years for them to decompose. They’re best added in small quantities, shredding them first will help to speed up the process.

Anyone else have experience producing leaf mould. I’ve heard you can use a black plastic bag with holes in in the same way.

mtp

Autumn Tidy-Up Commences

I managed to get in half an hour in the garden today. I started to clear away some of the crops that were starting to look a bit straggly, like the Climbing French Beans and most of the Tomatoes (there are a few still left hanging on). But it was such a beautiful Autumn day that I couldn’t resist taking some photos too. Here is my Ghost Rider pumpkin. Last week it was green, this week it has turned orange. Just in time for Halloween!

Now that I’ve harvested all of my Grapes the vine has started to show its Autumn colour. Just the tips of the leaves are changing but I think we’re in for a pretty spectacular display from this one.

My Calendula is STILL producing flowers – I’m amazed. It has been flowering all Summer long. Just before I went on holiday I cut it back quite hard. When I came home it was covered in flowers again and it’s still going. Wow! If any cut flower is worth its place in the kitchen garden it’s this one.

The last, lonesome Apple is picked from my espalier. But boy will it taste good!

The whole time our cat, Candy, was lay dozing in the sun – ‘well thanks for your help girl, couldn’t have done it without ya!’.

mtp

Winter Washing

Yesterday, I harvested the last of the Leeks. Now the ground is ‘really’ clear and ready for those heaps of manure I plan to buy any day now. I also brought in my plant tags in order to give them a Winter wash. They came up really well with a bit of a scrub and now they’re drying off in an old clay¬†plant-pot¬†just waiting for the sowing to commence.

I took the opportunity to take a photo of the cleaning process (tags and Leeks). Don’t they look neat in their separate compartments?