Tag: greenhouse

Doing the Seedling Shuffle

Almost the first thing we did when we moved into our new house last Summer (apart from put he kettle on) was to invest in the biggest greenhouse that we could sensibly fit into our new back garden. We hoped that the 8’x10′ we opted for would offer more than enough working and storage space to meet our needs. It really should have done, but thanks to these cold snaps that the weather keeps throwing at us, we’re rapoidly running out of room.

We’ve currently got about as much heavy duty plastic shelving crammed into the place as we can sensibly fit and pretty much every shelf is taken up with plants in various stages of development. They range from newly-sown seeds – I put in some peas at the weekend; sweetcorn, gherkins, squash and kale in the last couple of weeks, and Jo has been working hard on her flower selection – through to good-sized plants – the broad beans for instance, and the dahlia tubers – which are pretty much ready to go out onto the allotment. That is, they would be if it wasn’t too darn cold to risk trying to harden them off in the cold frame, and there wasn’t a very real danger of frost and snow showers damaging the tender young shoots if we did.

Here’s a small selection of what we’re currently juggling:

April 2016 broad beans
I reckon most of these Vicia faba (broad beans) are ready to be planted out.
April 2016 - Chilli plants
The Capsicum annuum / chinense (chillis) are coming along nicely – further updates in another blog post soon.
April 2016 - Swiss chard seedlings
Beta vulgaris Swiss chard ‘five colours’… 100% yellow in our case.
April 2016 cucurbit seedlings
Recently-sown and newly-germinating members of the Cucurbitae family (squash and gherkins).
April 2016 - Dahlias sprouting
The dahlia tubers we invested in seem to be doing rather nicely.
April 2016 sunflowers
Jo’s sunflowers are growing well – some will need to be potted on again soon.
April 2016 - sweetcorn shoots
This year’s Zea mays (sweetcorn) crop is just starting out.
April 2016 electric daisy seedlings
Electric daisies pricked out and getting ready to rock (and shock…)
April 2016 pricked out brassica seedlings
A selection of potted-on brassicas (cauliflower and Brussels sprout) coming along nicely.
April 2016 more brassica seedlings
The next batch of brassicas (kale and cauliflower) aren’t too far behind.
April 2016 - salad trays
Lovely, fresh mixed salad leaves and pea shoots.

The forecast for the weekend is a bit more promising. If there’s no frost on the longer-range radar then we’ll start moving a few things out into the newly re-stained cold frame to begin hardening off, and all being well we can take them down to Plot #59 in a couple of weeks’ time.

Fingers crossed!

(And please do feel free to sing the title of this post to the tune of the E-Street Band classic, chorus line, if you feel the urge…)

Establishing Shots: Cottage Garden Project, late 2015

Jo and I moved to our new home at the very end of July 2015. We’d already spent the previous eight or nine months planning and scheming to turn the back yard – an old garage-cum-shed, a patch of grass and a mini, Japanese-ish gravel area – into a quintessential English Cottage Garden. Or at least, our version of one.

The previous owners had a summer house at the back of the garden, which they took with them. My first job was to scrape back the gravel, lift the old, loose-laid flag base, dig out the masses of invading tree root from next door’s conifers, then mark out the site of our brand new, 10’x8′ greenhouse. Builders came in and re-laid the slabs as a base for the new structure, then I put down new weed membrane, re-distributed the gravel around the new base and round the back of the garage/shed, forming the utility area for our new compost bins and water butts.

Next, my good friend Steve and I spent a few pleasant mornings in late September putting the greenhouse together. The finished structure is superb and we only lost one pane of glass in the process, so we reckon we did pretty well between us. At which point, Jo and I downed tools for the winter. All the advice we’ve read on establishing a new garden says the best thing to do is to wait and observe, rather than rush right in.

That’s what we’ve done and as a result we’re steadily building up a picture of where the sunnier and shadier sections are, how much of the ground gets water-logged in heavy rain, and where next door’s apple tree drops its fruit, things like that. That sort of information will help to inform Jo’s decisions when it comes to placing our new fruit trees and perennial feature plants (Jo is very much the project leader on this one, I’ll mainly be on digging, lifting and tea-brewing.)

Here are a few shots of the ongoing work so far and the current state of the space. Not much to shout about just yet, but we hope it’s going to develop into something really special over the next few years.