Saturday, 6 June 2009

supporting local gardening

San Marzano tomatoes
grown from seed

Cucumbers seedlings

When I first started gardening in England, about ten years ago, it was next to impossible to pick up vegetable plants from market stalls or even the garden centre. How things have changed.

Back then you had to grow everything from seed and grow a few spares just in case. This, of course, is not a problem. Most vegetables are quite easily grown from seed. With a sunny window sill or grow house any would-be 'grow your own' gardener will happily pack their veg patch.

This year however, was a little different for me. My baby daughter had other ideas on how Daddy should spend his time! While I did grow some vegetables from seed, and potatoes were planted, my stocks were down. Fortunately a mate gave me lots of plants (courgettes, chillies and tomatoes) in spring. Equally fortunate was how vegetable gardening has changed in England since 10 years ago. Any market I've been to in the last month has had numerous stalls selling all kinds of veg ready for the veg plot. Even today I picked up a couple of cucumbers from the gardening club stall at a local fate. I didn't need another two cucumbers but chatting with the garden club folk you realise how important it is to support these groups.

What of the future? I've decided not to grow everything from seed next year. I'll grow those vegetable varieties that are difficult to pick up later and leave the common stuff to the garden clubs and charities to raise for me. A small way to give a little back and support local gardening.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

planting out

Viewing the garden
from the new patio

A bee on a rose

The vegetable garden

All those cold wet Saturdays spent in the potting shed, sowing seeds, pricking out, listening to the football, potting on and wishing your little plants to prosper are finally rewarded. Yes it's Cup Final Saturday, the sun is shining and the garden is alive with bird song and spring colour. The move from May to June signals an end to the risk of late frosts and a cue to get planting. Summer bedding starting to feel pot bound can be given freedom to grow and flourish. All those tender veg plants desperate to produce food, can fill the vegetable beds.

As the garden birds busily ferry food to their young and the bees buzz by, it is a good time to sit back and take stock of what's happening and enjoy the promise of what is yet to come.

Summer bedding planted out: zinnia, sweetpeas, rubekia, salvia, marigolds and geraniums.

Vegetables planted in the kitchen garden: courgettes, sweetcorn, cucumbers, aubergines, broccoli, sweet peppers, chili peppers, and a range of tomatoes.

More garden photos here - Flickr

Monday, 25 May 2009

a quick tour

June 2004

June 2007

Well here we go! yet another garden blog [google: garden blogs returns 64,400,000 results] but this one will be different! No of course it won't, but it will be mine and more importantly, about my little bit of earth. I thought it best to start with a quick tour of the garden and introduction to how I see the blog developing (some rules for me) - however, like the garden, the blog rules may change!

So to that little bit of earth. It is situated in the Cambridgeshire fens, a town garden, long and narrow behind a 1930s semi. It has many roles to fulfill for those who use it. A place to relax, a place to play, a place to entertain and also a place to grow and learn.

Despite being a garden since the 1930s it was basically a blank canvas when I moved here in 2004. In the five years since, we've concentrated on giving the garden shape and purpose which can be summed up as, a main patio area for entertaining and dining with a small secluded patio further up the garden. The first half of the garden is mainly lawn surrounded by flower beds. This leads to a smaller (hidden) lawn and from there to the fruit and vegetable garden. We'll revisit these different areas in future posts.

While I hope to keep the blog on topic I will from time to time add comment on my experiences of gardening in general. Posts will be as frequent or infrequent as is practical.