Pond Terrace plots

I have reclaimed some of the flower beds around my pond (yes my pond is up the garden and needs terraces to hold it up).

These were to be simple bushes but ferns are taking over. I am using the lower part for veggies.

The pond itself is now full of algae although the water lilies are flourishing. The astilbe plants will soon be out in bloom

pond with water lilies and algae
pond with water lilies and algae

April cabbages are growing and are netted off, although the cold, wet weather has reduced the number of white butterflies to…. none! The cabbages are surviving the cold, although the sweetcorn next to them are wishing for sunnier times.

cabbage and sweetcorn
cabbage and sweetcorn

I was unable to germinate my celery last year. This year my second sowings of Celebrity and Tendercrisp have been more successful and now I have quite a few. They are definitely enjoying the rainy weather.

celery is growing
celery is growing

There is space for leeks beside the celery, but my leeks do not seem to want to grow. I sowed Atlanta and Bandit and they have been growing very slowly.

slow growing leeks
slow growing leeks

In between the celery and the sweetcorn I have been growing lettuce and peas. They have taken a long time to grow and I was worried. Finally they are growing and if the weather ever warms up, I will be able to have lots of lettuce on my sandwiches.

peas and lettuce
peas and lettuce

The peas are starting to flower so I am hoping for some lovely peas. The type is Greenshaft which I have not grown before. Last year I grew Ambassador which did not grow at all. The lettuce is a heirloom variety called Red Velvet and it seems to resist the slugs. Red lettuce has more phytonutrients than green lettuce which means it is not quite as nice to eat. I will find out soon if true.

The last area is being saved for flower sprouts and early purple sprouting. It has been too wet to put up the netting for this area. In an odd few minutes of light drizzle I put down some cardboard to stop weeds growing whist I waited.

broccoli bed
broccoli bed

My seeds have been slow to germinate. I have sowed cabbage, broccoli and flower sprouts. They were doing nothing in the greenhouse, so I brought them in the house. Finally I have some movement in the flower sprouts called Petit Posy. But nothing with the early purple sprouting as yet.

flowersprouts
flowersprouts

Although still not happy about everything in the garden this year, I have more germinations than I did last year. I am making notes about what is working and what is not. And how much I need to sow. Already planning for next year!

Back to weeding

Still trying to get rid of this perpetual cold, which could be an allergy, but have no idea how solve it.  So resting up and enjoying a few new indoors hobbies.  I dont like this cold and wet weather, but a couple of days of cold, crisp and dry weather was good because I got to do some more weeding.   Finished the terrace bed, which gives me access to the terrace above to start pruning the plants to see what is there.  Now just the old asparagus patch to finish but that might need to wait til next year.

Most of the terrace bed was covered in strawberry plants that never seem to bear fruit.. or if they did the wildlife got them before I even noticed.   So whilst they have done there job as a weed suppressant I think there time has ended.

terracebefore

In my current state of health it seemed like an enormous task, but I decided to do one foot at a time.  “By the inch it is a cinch, by the yard it is hard” is the saying.  I was a bit shocked at how wet and damp the soil and plants were.  My gloves were soaking (and they were rubber ones) and pulling the plants was difficult.  It took a few weeks to finish because I needed more energy and dry gloves.  I was wringing the plants out as they were dripping.  I think I can grow rice here!

As the ground was slowly cleared I let the sun dry the soil a bit before covering with plastic.   This will give me 3 areas to grow vegetables.

terraceafter

So now it is looking much tidier and I can feel stress leaving my body already.

The wooden structures in my garden are around 20 years old and have done really well.  I am now finding, however, that there is a lot of rotten wood,  I will need to find money to do some replacing next year as I don’t have much spare good wood left.

In the next few days I hope to find the energy to carry buckets of manure compost up my hill to cover the beds for next year.

More weeding

My sweetcorn has not proved successful this year,  something was eating the cobs and the two that I harvested tasted of sugar water and not of sweetcorn.  I also harvested some kale which I used in a couple of juices and a kale and avocado salad.   Interestingly the green kale grown did not like being in the soil and did not grow much.  The green kale in the square foot compost bed  did grow so I decided that my heavy clay soil need more preparation for next year.  I therefore removed everything and cleared the bed and put down black plastic.  Later I will add some manure compost like I did with my middle bed.

Here the bed is almost clear.

topbedclear

Finished just before a dark stormy cloud came over.

topbeddone

Preparing bed for next year

I was in a creative mode and decided to do something with an old enviromesh ( I bought a load of these many  years ago and they just got dumped in the shed).   After finding my old hose pipe amongst some weeds, I made myself a cloche.   I cut up some bamboo canes and threaded the pipe onto the canes.  I wanted to see how high I could get the canes under the net which was long but not too wide.  I cut the canes to about 21 inches high which seemed about right for the net as the bed was about 1m in width.

This covers 3 square foot plot areas.  Later on I could just have one or two covered but for now I left it over all three plots.  Then Jenson arrived and decided that I had created a new bed for him.  I had to wait to get rid of him so that I could cut some of the hose pipe to fit better, once I had decided how low the canes had to be for the net to just cover.

clochecat

I have been buying bags of manure compost (commercial.. so might not be too good) to cover the beds underneath the black plastic ready for next year.  Having found more caterpillars eating my square foot bed brassicas, I have decided that mesh is the only answer and I want to put some brassicas in this area.

I carried the manure compost up the hill in buckets and started to mulch the soil in the ‘No-Dig’ way.

nodigbed

It took all day as the weather was hot and I was exhausted with all the carrying up and down the hill.  But finally it was covered.  In fact I decided to tidy up the end of the raised area and wow, I just loved how it looked, and smelt, and felt.  I would be happy to just have lovely soil, weed-free, just like this all the time.  I dont need to grow anything!!!!

lovelydirt

However, reality is never this good, so I put back the black plastic and the mesh, so now I should have a lovely bed for next year.  I can’t wait to decide what to grow here.

newcloche

I had a problem trying to get the hose off the first pair of canes so was left sagging but I don’t think that it will reduce the nets effectiveness.   This was a nice project to do but now it is back to weeding the rest of the garden!!!!