Thursday, 24 November 2011


Leaf mulch on allium bed
After the last lot of damage to the allium bed I mulched around the plants with cherry leaves, and this seems to have prevented further digging.

The plate of green goo is a harmless preparation with a strong citrus smell, which is supposed to keep cats and dogs away. I'm not convinced that it works, though.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Kale planted out, onion damage

Uprooted onion
Seems that the squirrels have been busy - there were quite a few holes in the beds, mostly in unplanted areas, but some in the allium bed, despite the wires I strung over them. One of the onions had been completely dug out (but not nibbled). A couple more onions had been knocked or trampled. Grr.

I put the onion back as best I could and firmed up the soil round it - it should continue to grow, but it will have to spend energy repairing root damage that could have gone towards further growth.

I also planted out some kale seedlings in bed three. They've been growing from seed since the 5th October, starting indoors, then spending the afternoon in the greenhouse, then moved to the greenhouse full-time. I'm not sure if they're advanced enough to survive the winter and grow to full size, but I might get some winter greens from them.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Wood blewitt

Wood blewitt. The cap is about 5cm across.
This post isn't about gardening, but about another interest sharing the same motivation - cheap, healthy, tasty food.

Out walking today, I found a wood blewitt - a very distinctive lilac and brown mushroom. I picked it, and when I got home made sure that I'd identified it correctly. I sliced it thinly, fried it briefly in a very hot pan with a little butter, and ate it on dry toast. Delicious.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Legumes and alliums

Bed 1, broad beans and peas
The germination rate of the peas seems to be about 75% (~45/60), of the beans 66% (12/18). I will plant a few more beans and peas in the gaps in their rows. This might extend the cropping period a bit.
Bed 7, onions and garlic plants

All but one of the onions now has at least some green shoot, even the two that got trampled. Most of the garlic is showing some growth, but only a few have got to the stage where chlorophyll is being produced, so most of the shoots appear whitish.

The first batch of leaves filled six bin-liners when bagged, and there are still leaves to fall off the trees. If I have nothing better to do, I could also go and rake up leaves from around the neighbourhood - there are quite a few oaks, and their leaves are thin and form leaf mold more quickly than the thicker cherry leaves I've mostly got in the garden.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Leaf mold

Making Leaf mold
I gathered together the fallen leaves from under the cherry and apple trees, and bagged them up into bin liners. The weather has been very wet recently, and the soggy leaves will rot down in a year or two to make a fine soil improver called leaf mold. The leaves directly under the cherry were still dry, so I moved them onto the grass to get wet, and I will bag them in a couple of days.

This was brought on by today's purchase of a spring rake. £2.99, made in China. It has a slightly flimsy feel, but worked well enough.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Garlic growing, new bed dug

Yesterday I dug a new bed, 6' by 4', labelled '0' on the map. I also cut a small round area of turf out for a raspberry cane, which led to me removing a lot of blackberry roots near the holly bush. The ground was quite wet due to all the recent rain, which made cutting the turf much easier, but meant that I couldn't use the soil sieve. I just picked out the biggest pebbles. Beds 5 & 6 are the most thoroughly de-stoned, because I dug them just after getting the sieve! I will plant carrots and other root crops in them because they don't like stony ground.

About half of the garlics are now showing growing tips, and almost all of the onions now have at least a couple of inches of green shoot. Because a few got broken by some trampling animal, I hammered in six pegs around the bed and strung wires between them about 4" off the ground. I hope they will keep cats and foxes off.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

First signs of garlic and land cress


Broad bean
After a few days away, I came home to find that the land cress has appeared, there are two rows of tiny seedlings in that bed. One of the garlic cloves has started showing a green tip, but a couple of the onions have had growing tips knocked off by some passing animal. Off to the garden centre for some land-mines tomorrow, then.

Some of the cabbages are now growing true leaves. (The first leaves of many plants do not have the characteristic shape of that species, and true leaves appear a bit later.) The broad beans seem to be doing well, with some good-sized leaves, and the peas are also coming on nicely.