It’s now four months since we moved to York, and we have a fully functioning veggy patch! Yay!
The tomatoes have started to set on my Gardener’s Delights, and after spending a good hour removing all extra leaves and trusses that won’t set in time to fruit, they are looking pretty damn good. Not bad at all for an outdoor crop.
My next boast is for my broccoli plants ‘Monaco’. They have been eaten by many a caterpillar this year, but it hasn’t slowed them down. Even my slug-hunter is excited for these.
And then there are the donated raspberry plants which have withstood a broken fence post, unfortunately to fix the fence they will have to be moved, hence why it’s being held up with pieces of wood. I’m looking forward to a fruitful year next year.
So finally, just to show you how the veg patch is coming along since April – the before and after photos.
Thankfully it’s a lovely bank holiday weekend for a bit more pottering around, and it’s almost time to start planting out winter rocket – and then it’s time to sort the front garden. There’s always plenty to do.
Yes, I do apologise for the title!
The rabbits joined me at the end of my first year of University.
Dusty was an unwanted pet of a friend of a friend, and I took her in.
She is a lionhead, originally called Blue – and a he (the first visit to a vet was a shock).
Once identified as a female – the name Dusty stuck, as she just collects the sawdust in her fur, and it ends up everywhere. Dusty was an indoor rabbit – I didn’t have a garden, and she had a cage and an indoor run – much to the annoyance of my housemates who could no longer use the front room!
And I loved to have her indoors – she was friendly and happy to see me every morning, and would sit on the sofa with me whilst I was reading.
However after 2 months I decided that she needed a friend whilst I was at work. She was getting grumpy, eating wallpaper and refusing to use her litter tray anymore. Off to get neutered, and a new friend for her.
Along came Duncan. This time a lionhead crossed with an English Spot.
They have been best friends ever since. However they both had a habit of eating wallpaper.
During my last year of University, I was not allowed to have the bunnies in my accommodation, so they went on Holiday to my parents – and they got an outside hutch, and little run and they were ever so happy.
They learnt to dig – and eat anything they could get their little mitts on.
and now I have a garden – they have a little pen here too. I know my mum loved to have them, but I’m glad they are back. It’s just shame that they have such a thing for my strawberry plants.
The worst of the weather has passed, and now comes the aftermath.
I have found a large grouping of mushrooms growing right by my broccoli plants, and decided to have a quick google to see whether I should remove them, or if it’s safe to let them grow by my veg.
My conclusion is that many gardening forums are helpful, and you will get helpful unbiased reactions from experienced gardeners, but some answers are horrific. What a great way to encourage new gardeners by posting comments like “obviously you have not researched organic gardening before starting, I advise that you put planting anything else on hold until you have a better understanding”.
Now, I would call myself a beginner, often taking tips from gardening forums or my mum, but gardening is about trying, maybe failing, possibly creating something beautiful, and then trying to do the same, or better the next season.
For example, I got rather cocky with my brocolli and kale, and decided to remove the horticultural netting I had on them.
Big mistake as I now have butterfly eggs all over. But how can I say that I like to encourage butterflies into my garden and the destroy the eggs? I will just wait for the caterpillars to hatch, and then move them elsewhere before they destroy anything,
Also, butterfly eggs looks awesome! So hopefully we will be overrun with butterflies next year (and I’ll not be quite so silly and keep my brassicas covered).
Today it’s raining. Enough to almost fill a 5L bucked I left under the drainpipe. So planting my new beautiful Cordyline australis ‘Pink Passion’ has been put off until this evening.
However, I still needed to string up my raspberries in the pouring rain, as I looked out of the kitchen window to find they were almost horizontal. Ooops. (sorry mum!).
This year my mum donated five raspberry runners, as well as 10 pots filled with this years strawberry runners. Last night, whilst planting out my lovely strawberries I was bitten. The culprit was not my savage cat, but quite possibly a horsefly/assasin bug larvae. Whatever it was, it hurts! And looks nasty. Not a good start to the weekend. And I have certainly learnt my lesson about gardening in sandals.
I have also purchased a potato bag, and have planted my first Christmas potatoes! Such excitement. I just hope the full day of rain hasn’t gotten them off to bad start.
My other half, hereby known as The Slug Hunter, mostly leaves me to it when it comes to the garden.
However he has ‘helped’ a little along the way. When shopping for plants for the garden he chose a beautiful Astilbe (also known as false spirea), which is just beautiful, this is the Lilac Younique variety, which unfortunately doesn’t stay in bloom all summer, but it looks fab when it is.
He also helped choose the bike shed (a moving in present from my parents), to keep the bikes safe, and out of the spare bedroom! And Molly (the cat) loves to sit on the roof.
He has also come in handy when building the bunny run, as shown below, it has its own sun-shade, as the only place it could be put is in full sun most of the day.
Today was the first time I ever let them out of the run, and the cat was a little suspicious. She usually either follows me around the garden as I’m pottering around, or sits in the catnip I planted out for her.
April 17th 2014
Lets start from the beginning.
My first ever non-student house, and I finally have my own garden.
We have inherited a large patch of muck (once upon a time, a shed), two peony plants, two compost bins, a Christmas tree and a washing line.
Prepare the garden lime (we are located in York, right next to the river so we have lovely clay soil!), the spades and the imagination.
So this was the back garden on the day we moved in.
We started by putting down lawn seed, and planting violas and pansies, and putting in a border. Certainly a good start. The first batch of plants were eaten by a rogue rabbit from a few doors down, but how could you be angry with a cutey like that? So, we reinforced the fence, replanted and it’s looking even better now, two months down the line.
Next came the vegetable patch. My pride and joy. I started off all of my seeds in a little growhouse I brought, and then planted them out into my veg patch. With marigolds to protect against the torrent of slugs (more on that battle later), kale, rocket, lettuce and fennel. The vegetable patch started off the growing season well.