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How does your garden grow…

May 2, 2009

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When we first moved here just over a year ago, the garden had recently been ‘landscaped’ to be one of those gravel-covered ‘low-maintenance’ ones. Not our scene at all! We set about gradually making it productive and last year managed to grow a handful of plants with varying levels of success. This year, we decided to get a bit more serious about our growing and so my husband built a number of raised beds out of old palettes scavenged from a nearby builders yard.

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I think having all these wonderful beds went to my head and our growing plans became somewhat ambitious for novice gardeners such as ourselves! Many of the things we’re growing this year are firsts for us – we’ve got the usual runner beans, tomatoes, leeks and carrots – but we’re also attempting to grow cabbages, cauliflowers, courgettes, peas, broad beans, aubergines, radishes and squashes. 


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Sadly there have already been some fatalities…..as we don’t have the room or money for a greenhouse, we bought a little plastic-covered growhouse. At the time I thought it was a great solution. However, when I returned home one day to find it had blown half-way across the garden, scattering seed trays and seedlings here and there, I was less enamoured… luckily we were able to salvage some of the plants and I also had some ‘reserves’ inside on the kitchen windowsill. My mum was also able to donate a few seedlings that she had spare so all was not lost. It has put paid to my hope of growing any cucumbers this year though…

As usual, we’re also having problems with the dreaded slugs. Last year we lost about 10 runner bean plants to them. We finally managed to halt the onslaught by using beer traps but this year we’ve opted for slug pellets. In the past I’ve steered clear of pellets but these ones claim to be safe for children, pets and wildlife and suitable for organic gardening. I guess only time will tell how effective they are…

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By far the most successful things in the garden at the moment are the broad beans…. …which is good because I adore broad beans. Oh – if you’re wondering why everything has netting over it at the moment, it’s our desperate attempt to stop the neighbourhood’s cats using our raised beds as giant litter trays! So far it’s proved fairly successful but the runner and pea beds (which have no netting) seem to be getting more feline attention as a result…. our solution has been to put down lots of orange peel as I’ve heard this can deter them. It seems to work when it’s dry but when it rains I think it must dampen the citrus scent and the cats quickly revert to their usual antics… still, as a cat-owner and nature lover, I can’t really contemplate using any chemical repellents. I guess we’ll just have to eat plenty more oranges!

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Something else that seems to be doing well are our potatoes. We don’t have much space so we’re growing them in big sacks. So far so good….

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The strawberries I propagated from runners last year are about to flower…

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The runner beans are shooting up….

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and my herbs are flourishing…

So…hopefully, in a few months time I’ll have some pictures of lovely homegrown fruit and vegetables to show you! Fingers crossed….

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. May 2, 2009 3:47 pm

    Oh lovely lovely! I checked in the greenhouse thismorning and nothing was doing with our cucumbers…this afternoon I had a seedling! We have a three crop rotation because there’s no space for another bed and so do without spuds,,,but I’ve seen some good ideas on how to do them such as your sacks so may have a go next year!

    I love peeking into other gardens! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    mara x

  2. May 2, 2009 6:08 pm

    Its not too late to sow more cucumbers…honest!

    If you keep them warm and pampered, they will sprout really fast!

  3. May 2, 2009 10:36 pm

    Good luck! Definitely take pictures…. I wish I could grow my own potatoes…

  4. May 3, 2009 9:32 am

    I only planted my cucumber seeds a couple of weeks ago on my windowsill, and they’re getting nice and big already! I’m a novice at all of this as well, and am being a bit ambitious this year. I also don’t have a greenhouse, and so I’m hoping that I’ll at least get some tomatoes on my windowsills! And then salad vegetables in pots and my small border outside. Good luck with all your efforts!

  5. May 3, 2009 9:51 am

    lovely story and pictures.

  6. May 3, 2009 11:04 am

    Thanks everyone – maybe I’ll have one final go with the cucumbers…. 🙂

  7. wolmuts permalink
    May 3, 2009 1:54 pm

    You can grow cucumbers in a (plastic)tunnel ;-). I sowed mine only yesterday, there’s plenty of time still.
    Spuds in sacks or large buckets will yield a nice crop, I have done it for several years. Did you use the the topping-up method (add soil as the plant grows)? For me this year is actually my first time of growing potatoes in the soil.

    • May 3, 2009 2:08 pm

      Thanks wolmuts. Yep, we’ve been topping the spuds up as we go although we were a bit slow a first and ended up having to put cardboard tubes around the plants so we could top up at first – they don’t seem to have suffered though! I’d still like to plant cucumbers but I am wondering where on earth I could plant them now – I’ve used up all of my beds but one and that’s due to have squashes in it when they’re ready to plant out…. perhaps I could try a big tub – not sure if it’ll work but I’ve got plenty of seeds so might as well give it a go!

  8. May 3, 2009 4:43 pm

    What a lovely little garden you have. We do not have much space either, but are still giving it a go. Things are just starting to come up. It’s so exciting!

  9. May 3, 2009 5:26 pm

    Funny you should blog about your garden. We spent yesterday morning making a start on ours (see my latest blog for details!). Our back garden/yard is largely laid to concrete which I would dearly love to get rid of. So far the expense and inevitable mess have put me off but maybe this autumn… Until then we are making do with containers. It’s amazing what you can do in even the smallest area.

    I love your raised beds and wish you well in your campaign against the slugs.

    • May 4, 2009 9:34 am

      thanks Gai – no sign of any slug damage since we put the pellets down but the crafty little creatures might just be biding their time….

  10. May 3, 2009 9:12 pm

    Sorry to hear of your disaster with the little greenhouse. Exactly the same thing happened to mine and all my seedlings were thrown over the patio. We now have a shelf right at the base with a large paving slab on it and it now seems to be quite stable.

    Your spinning wheel looks lovely. How nice to find one made in the UK, mine was secondhand but I think it was made in New Zealand!

  11. May 6, 2009 2:53 pm

    Gardening — *shudder* — I grow pale at the mere mention of the word. People say “I garden” like they might say “I read” or “I blog”…as if gardening is a simple hobby and not one of the most challenging activities one could possibly undertake. What with seasonal timing, soil conditions, water, sunlight, wind, underground pests, above-ground pests, etc., I don’t know how anyone does it. Good luck! 😉

  12. thegardensmallholder permalink
    May 12, 2009 10:07 pm

    Wow Rebecca, your veggie patch looks fab!! Hope everything continues to growwell for you….as long as the slugs stay away! I look forward to updates on your veg 🙂

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