Posts Tagged vegetable beds

Starting the runner beans off indoors

Although we have a big garden we do not yet have a greenhouse or a polytunnel, they are on my wish list!! So when I  sow my runner beans I always have to do it indoors.  I save up all the cardboard inners from toilet and kitchen rolls, cut the kitchen roll inners into two to make the right size and fill them with grow bag compost.  I place two runner bean seeds into each tube, add a little more compost and water.  I then placed the tubes on our new kitchen window sills which place West so catch the afternoon/evening sun.DSC00159

This is what they look like after 11 days growing on the window sills.

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When the plants are about a foot tall I will put them outside into the ground.  I plant the whole tube by each bean pole thus not disturbing the roots and giving the plants a fighting chance against the slugs that would have the growing tips off in an instant.

We have found this method to be very successful over the past few years, hence repeating it this year.

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A great haul of parsnips!

We have been digging over the vegetable beds, weeding them and preparing them for Spring sowings.  Yesterday Neil tackled what he thought was some weeds and lo and behold he dug up a marvellous haul of parsnips.

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It was quite a surprise as I had already dug up some parsnips a month or so earlier and thought that was all there was.  I had grown these from seed but obviously not marked the place very well, so we had not realised there were more.  We shall be eating parsnips with everything over the next few weeks.  I do love roast parsnips, especially with a little cumin sprinkled over the top!!

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I’m looking forward to peeling that large one on the top!!

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Putting the vegetable beds to bed for the Winter

Autumn is the time for some serious weeding.  Once we have pulled the vegetable crops from the raised beds we then weed them clean, and want to keep them that way until the Spring.  So firstly we add some well rotted horse poo.

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This is then dug into the soil and evenly distributed.

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The soil is then covered with newspaper.  This acts as a deterent to weeds, but will rot down in time and saves the horse poo sticking to the black weed suppressant sheet that comes next.

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Lastly we place the black weed suppressant sheet on top and hold in place with large stones, of which we have plenty in the  Blackdown Hills.

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This process rests the vegetable beds for the Winter and means come the Spring when we want to plant out, we just remove the black membrane and we have a nice weed free vegetable bed to work with.  Of course some beds still have veggies in them and I have been weeding them madly aswell, but they can’t be covered up yet.  We have done 6 so far with a couple more to do on a sunny day.

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my seeds are growing

The seeds I planted in cardboard tubes indoors have sprouted and are reaching for the sun.  The beans are getting quite tall and will start to wind round each other soon, so I have decided to plant them out into the garden.

my emerging beans

The courgettes and sweetcorn have started to come through but are not so far advanced, so I will leave them indoors for another week.

Courgettes and sweetcorn

As we had some welcome lovely warm weather over the weekend, I also planted directly into the ground, some more sweetcorn, some raddish, rocket and lettuce.  I bought some cabbage seedlings at the local school May fete and planted those out, surrounded by shrouds to keep the rabbits at bay.  I can see my peas are starting to come through.  The blueberry bushes are covered in blossom, the rhurbarb is growing like mad, and we still are picking the purple sprouting broccoli.  It’s such an exciting time of year, watching all the plants spring to life in the garden, and looking forward to the harvest of fruit and vegetables in a couple of months time. 

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Autumn gardening

The unseasonably warm weather this November has meant we have been able to carry on gardening althougththe ground is very wet due to all the rain we have had.

Firstly we pulled up all the runner bean plants, weeded the bed and covered it with black weed suppression sheet.  We have done this to a number of our vegetable beds once we have harvested all the produce, as this cuts down on the weeds and will give us a head start in the Spring, when we come to seed for the new season’s growth.

Vegetable beds tucked up for the winter

The remaining bean pods that we took down, we dried in front of the woodburning fire and took out all the seeds for next year.  We have so many that I think we can start up in competition to Thomas and Morgan, – we could be Arnold and Arnold bean seed suppliers!

runner bean seeds drying out

We have pruned the Bramley apple tree and put all the trimmings through the wood chipper and then added all the chippings to the compost heap.  We still have the magnolia tree in the back garden to do.

The hanging baskets were looking a bit sad, so we took them down and replanted the half moon baskets with spring bulbs, hyacinths, tete a tete narcissus, and crocus, then put pansies and polyanthus on the top to give some immediate colour.

replanted half moon baskets

I’ve taken out all the dying bedding plants and replanted the pots with bulbs and pansies.  The pansies are all in flower now and the bulbs are already pushing through.

a coule of pots of pansies and bulbs

Tarquin our old black cat likes to sit on the empty pots.  He got in on this picture.

Tarquin amongst the pots

I still have  a sack of daffodil bulbs to plant and wallflowers to put out, but the geraniums , godetia and begonias are still in flower in mid November, so it seems a shame to pull them up yet.  We haven’t had any frost yet to kill them off like we would normally have had by this time of year.

Neil has been strimming back the weeds in the paddock, and gave the lawns another and hopefully  final cut today. He wants to spend another couple of days in the woods, gathering fire wood for the Winter, but  he also wants to create another couple of vegetable beds for this year, and the thinking is, if he does it now, whilst we have all the fresh top soil down, we can cover them up for the winter and stop the weeds growing.

So the Autumn gardening continues.

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Spreading the woodchips

Last week we had a huge pile of woodchips delivered and dumped round the back by the paddock by a local woodman.

Neil and Martin at the woodchip pile

Our friends from back in Langley, Martin and Wendy came to stay last week for a couple of days, and very kindly offered to help spread the woodchip over the black suppressant sheets that we had put down as paths between all the vegetable beds.

So Martin and Neil shovelled the woodchip into wheelbarrows and trundled it up the black sheets to where Wendy and I were standing with rakes to flatten it all out.

Wendy and Martin with the woodchipsWendy, rake in hand

We used the whole pile of woodchips to cover all the paths.  We didn’t have enough to do round the plants inside the fruit cage, so will have to have some more delivered.

Wendy with the rake

Anyway, now we have really nice paths to walk on around the raised vegetable beds.

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