Finished Painting

I have finally finished painting all the wood in my garden and I am in bed feeling aches and pains all over.   To speed things up, given all the rain, I decided to use the spray where I could.  Unfortunately the spray has created a lot of collateral damage!   For instance, I think I am going to have to learn to paint my house walls next year!  I have a brown oil tank and brown compost bins (they should all be green).   Still it is done.  I want to say, never again!   But, of course, I will have to do it again.   Perhaps not all in one go though.  I can try and paint something each year.

This years produce is very erratic.  Tomatoes have not grown, which is  really annoying me as years ago tomatoes would grow very easily.  Not sure what is going wrong.  I may even have to give up my automatic water system.  Perhaps manual water is better.  I also have 2 ft sweetcorn still!   However, my parsnips and carrots are finally taking off.  I do not have much root but do have lots of green leaves.   My lettuces suddenly all keeled over and died, and my onions have slowly died but I do have 4 red ones left.   My kale is growing slowly but is being eaten although it is covered.   My sprouting broccoli is now a jungle and falling over and I need to get into the cage and try and tie them all to their canes.

Painting is all I have thought about for 2 months, and it was unfortunate that just as I got going so did the rain.  I needed a couple of days without rain so that I was not painting wet wood.  Now I need to weed again big time.  But I also feel free to potter and weed whenever it is dry and so it is not such a big thing.

Wandering around the garden can fill me with despondancy as there is so much to do and it is not easy to try and maintain this hill garden.  I have to be strong to keep continuing.   During several rainy hours this week, I have started to replan my garden in my spreadsheets.  I love spreadsheets so now I have my 2017 spreadsheet visual of the garden layout and a 2018.   I am now going to do  one  visual plan for each month in order to get from 2017 to 2018.   On each page I will also list the jobs to be done.


I have been researching all the seeds and I think I am going to stick with AGM types in the hope that these will be easier to grow.   Later on I can try different varieties.  I have my list for next year in my spreadsheet with germination times, when to sow, how, when to plant out, when to harvest etc for each one.  I am now going to use this as the basis of my monthly plan.  I also have Charles Dowding’s veg journal and diary and a few other  books, to help me with my plan.   Part of the dilemma is that I need more space and thus I also want to do some second cropping, so I need to plan how this can happen.   I have also earmarked 2 more veg beds that need to be reclaimed from the wild.  So lots of digging out roots and weeds and then compost on top with black plastic.   I do not have supplies of cardboard but if I can find some then that will help.

So I am excited about my new ideas.  Watching “What Vivi did next” on youtube has got me thinking about beans.  I am very short so 8 ft bean poles sound scary but if I can get them in my little car then I will have a go at french climbing  beans for drying, otherwise I will stick to broad beans.  Not sure I am a great bean lover, but I am starting to use them more and more in place of meat in some meals, or even to eke out a smaller amount of meat.  Not sure if I can go completely meat-free yet but maybe one day.

So I am excited with my new plans.  And can not believe that I  am almost ready for next year when this one has not yet finished.  One dilemma I have at the moment, is that in the no dig method you put compost on top of your plot over the winter ready for the new crops.  But if you are second cropping…when do you do your compost?   I am going to be sowing a lot of lambs lettuce, as I love this, but not sure if I compost before.. or after.  Need to read my books again.

Anyway, it is time to get back to figuring out what to do with all my courgettes!!  Something that never fails to grow and grow and grow.





Wasps taking over

Drat,  I went to put some veggy peelings into my compost bin and I found that it has been taken over by an army of wasps.  I can not get near it without being attacked.  It is also next to my square foot beds which poses a problem.  I have retreated for better clothing.

On my second attempt to get near, I discovered that they have also taken over the nearby fig tree.  About 3 figs have ripened but all of them are covered in wasps.   Drat and double drat.  I was looking forward to eating a lot of figs in the next few weeks.  Perhaps they will leave me a few!!

The compost bin that they have taken over has a loose top and it has got a bit battered so there is a gap.   I think I need to save up for a new bin,  the council recommends a cheap place in gloucester but I need to decide how big the base should be.  I need to get near the wasps to measure the floor area.   As it has been raining for days now, I think I will need to wait.

I had a bit of a disaster with my tomatoes.   Some are growing and the other plants look like they are dehydrated.   Today they all had wilted.  I checked the water bin and it was empty..   With all the rain I had forgotten to refill the water bin.  The tomatoes are all fed from the water bin.  I had to make several trips in the rain up and down the garden to refill from my water butts.   I think one plant can be saved.

With all the rain over the past week or two, I decided that I had to harvest my potatoes and could not wait any longer for the rain to stop… it obviously was not going to.   The charlotte potato plants had all disappeared and I was not strong enough to lift the potato bags.   So I used my hands to search in the muddy compost for little potato gems.  I found them, but it was hard work, so I used a plastic jug to get out bucketfuls of compost to find all the potatoes.  It was not good in all the wet mess, but I managed to get nearly a shopping bags worth.

I made veggy mash with half the potatoes (mixed with steamed kale, peas and brussell sprouts.  A little mayo and swiss bouillon for creaminess and taste.  Yum!    Unfortunately I had my 2nd allergic reaction to mashed potatoes… this is really going too far now!!  What the heck can I eat.   I will persevere with the asthma coughing and choking…  first bananas and now mash…. I seem to be OK with whole potatoes, but I had the same reaction last week when I made some mash with shop bought potatoes.    Maybe it is the swiss bouillon?

Anyway,  I am definitely harvesting more than last year, and I hope to do more next year now that I have more experience of what is working and what I need to do.   Tomorrow I am having courgetti and chickpea stew which will use up some of the yellow courgettes.  I am definitely full of courgettes right now.

My lettuces have keeled over in the rain, but the new ones are sprouting upwards so I should have some for salads over the next few weeks.   All brassicas are coming on well, but some of them are being eaten.  I cannot find any sign of caterpillars and they are all well covered so something else must be enjoying them.  Hopefully something will be left

It is time for my tea, so I am off for now.