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Chilli-head
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Latest topics
» When we come out of the other side of this ...
by freebird Yesterday at 9:51 pm

» Exercise in the April garden
by Dandelion 7th April 2020, 9:26 pm

» Comfrey/nettle feed maker
by Chilli-head 5th April 2020, 9:43 am

» The March gardener
by Dandelion 4th April 2020, 6:16 pm

» My new hobby
by FloBear 26th March 2020, 12:33 pm

» Changing email address
by FloBear 19th March 2020, 3:54 pm

» What are you harvesting today?
by Dandelion 14th March 2020, 11:59 am

» The gardener's yearbook
by Chilli-head 3rd March 2020, 10:34 am

» Any garden jobs for February ?
by Chilli-head 26th February 2020, 1:14 pm

» Welcome guest
by Dandelion 10th February 2020, 9:55 pm

» 2020 Birdwatch
by Ploshkin 8th February 2020, 3:04 pm

» Not cold enough!
by Dandelion 2nd February 2020, 3:21 pm

» January: the gardening year reborn
by freebird 25th January 2020, 10:16 pm

» December in the garden ?
by Dandelion 31st December 2019, 4:57 pm

» The Christmas workshop
by freebird 15th December 2019, 10:05 pm

» The November garden - time to tidy, but not too much !
by Dandelion 28th November 2019, 8:31 pm

» My new garden.
by Ploshkin 19th November 2019, 6:40 pm

» What arts and craft things have you been making lately?
by FloBear 19th November 2019, 5:55 pm

» The October garden, a pause for reflection
by Dandelion 22nd October 2019, 8:39 pm

» Allotments could be key to sustainable farming
by Chilli-head 20th October 2019, 2:52 pm

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default The March gardener

Post by Chilli-head on 3rd March 2020, 10:28 am

It's a few days into March, the sun is trying to shine, and ... I have chillies up Very Happy  Japapeno, 7 pot yellow, Fatali, the yellow ones I can't recall the name of, and some orange peppers so far.

My electric propagators are looking sad.  The thermostat for one is no longer working. The lids are doing opaque. The display on the wireless thermometer in the greenhouse has packed up, and even the good old manual min/max thermometer reset mechanism has broken.  The shed needs re-felting, the trellis for the vines at the bottom have fallen apart.  Lots of work to do, and money to spend Crying or Very sad


Last edited by Chilli-head on 1st April 2020, 8:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Ploshkin on 3rd March 2020, 12:07 pm

Oh dear Chilli Head, everything seems to give up at once.  I haven't got anything sprouting yet, apart from one volunteer broad bean.  I have done some sowing though.  I've got first early spuds, broad beans and carrots in the tunnel and early peas and mangetout in pots to germinate, also some left over sweet peas and nasturtiums.  I've unearthed the electric propagator ready for peppers and melons.
If this incessant rain ever stops I have a fruit cage to get up and several plants waiting to go in it.  At the moment the soil is just too wet.
My good resolution for this year is to have things started ready to go into the polytunnel when the early crops are finished.  I ended up with too much empty space last year.
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Post by Chilli-head on 3rd March 2020, 12:49 pm

My potatoes are still in the shop ! But, I have found our local sawmills can do trellis, delivered, still substantially cheaper than going and getting it from B&Q etc. So that's solved. I have some roofing felt left from doing the lotty shed, and the felt nails, so that is 'just' a matter of finding the time. And dry weather.

I also need to start on the front garden. We've never done much other than remove out of control shrubs out front, but as I need to dig out a silted up soak away under there, I may as well plan what to do - then I can keep the new soak away away from anything deep rooted ! I've had good luck in wombling 3 lengths of underground drainage pipe, 2 from a skip (they had been used as packaging for long items) and one from a friend's garden. The front garden is quite sandy, and gets baking hot in summer. I've got an impulse-buy berberis to put in there by the one already between us and next door - the sparrows seem to love it. But apart from that, I'm thinking Mediterranean - I have some rosemary plants from cuttings. I've got some artichoke seeds, and I'm quite tempted to try an olive direct into the ground as a centre piece. We've got potted lemon and lime plants that would like it there in summer, if we dare risk someone nicking them for the rather expensive terracotta pots !
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Post by freebird on 8th March 2020, 8:51 pm

Back from Norfolk holiday yesterday, so today made my first sowings - tomatoes, peppers, chillies (for growing in the greenhouse), plus some lettuce and dwarf broad beans. I've very little outdoor space ready, but discovered the broad beans when going through my seed. They grow only 1 foot high and are suitable for containers. Everything I've sown today is old seed, so have put plenty in and will just see what comes up. Have also just ordered 10 asparagus crowns. Very excited about being able to start growing again, albeit in a small way for now.
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Post by Dandelion on 9th March 2020, 9:48 pm

We had two quite spring-like days over the weekend, when I sieved compost like mad to empty the heap, but now we're back to cold winds and rain today (not that I had planned anything - I was at work.) But the compost moving was good, as it made me feel things were at last underway.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 14th March 2020, 11:05 am

It seems to have taken forever but at last things seem to be germinating. I have melons, basil and tomatoes which are now on a heated mat and under lights in the greenhouse. I can see some peas and mangetout just starting to push through, those are destined for the polytunnel and my first sweet pepper is appearing in the propagator.
I like to try something new each year and this year I've got seeds for kohl rabi and cucamelons. I haven't started them yet.
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Post by Chilli-head on 17th March 2020, 8:24 pm

I now have some potatoes - rather too many in fact, but I'll fit them in somewhere. Some fixing done, the trellis is up. My broken min/max thermometer is fixed with some improvisation, a bit of Lego packaging, left over Airfix glue and an odd spring from my odd springs tin (what ? you mean you don't all have a tin of odd springs ?). Soil warming cable thermostat fixed after I tripped over the cable and broke it.

Some actual gardening done too - tomatoes sown, and trays of salad now the heating cable is fixed. Greek cress, rocket, lettuce and pea shoots.

Went to the lotty and got lots of leeks - they are particularly good and plentiful this year, but need using up now. And I notice attempt 2 at establishing rhubarb is looking successful.
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Post by freebird on 18th March 2020, 9:50 am

Lots of tomatoes germinated in my propagator. All old seed, so I sowed plenty. Salad Bowl lettuces germjnated, and today I saw that my Mustard Red Frills is up as well. Decided to try single varieties of summer salad leaves instead of packs of mixed leaves this year. The winter leaves are really successful, but mixed summer leaves are harder to 'cut and come again'.

Have bought in a load of compost and growbags - suddenly dawned on me that I will need something to fill my autopots and other planters. Normally use homemade, but it's still cooking. Also brought home a tray of broad beans. I have sown some, but these are quite well advanced, grown by the owner of the nursery and already hardened off in our Welsh hill climate.

Really excited seeing things start coming up.
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Post by Ploshkin on 18th March 2020, 1:05 pm

I've finally got carrots germinating in the polytunnel, no sign of broad beans or potatoes yet. I've had some good pepper and tomato germination in the propagator and There are finally some peas and mangetout poking through. I'm really looking forward to my polytunnel being a tropical paradise instead of bare earth.
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Post by FloBear on 19th March 2020, 9:46 am

Ooh, tropical paradise in Mid-Wales. Sounds exciting.

I have sorted out two raised beds and need to sort out which seeds are going where. Some unpicked Broad Beans that fell on the soil last Autumn, germinated and have stood - somewhat bent - during the winter and are now starting to flower! I have started being kind to them Smile

The other job I did yesterday was to start digging out my oldest compost bin and distributing the largesse to the fruit trees in pots. I am also sprucing up inside the fruit cage and, to that end, let the three brown chickens have a good old rootle about in there after I lifted up the weed suppressing fabric.

The two blue chickens would have had a go too but they are impossible to catch. They were very vocal about missing out so I put up a makeshift fence round the compost bin and let them have a furtle about in that area. Kept them happy too.

Hoping the rain stops later so I can carry on.
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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd March 2020, 10:45 pm

Quite a bit done in the garden this weekend. Potatoes and sugar snap peas in, onions, leeks, celeriac sown in the greenhouse.

I have tomatoes coming up now, and salad trays - rocket, lettuce and the Greek cress. And ... I have lemon grass Cool
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Post by Ploshkin on 23rd March 2020, 8:58 am

I've got lots of stuff germinated and am now juggling things in the greenhouse trying to keep things warm.
I had a near disaster with all my pepper seedlings yesterday. I found them all keeled over with curled up leaves. I thought it was the dreaded damping off but realised that the stems weren't rotted at the base. The compost was damp but it occurred to me that as they are on a heated mat perhaps the roots had dried out. I watered them and brought them indoors and put them on a windowsill and this morning most of them have revived albeit with slightly damaged leaves on some - phew. I've always used the heated mat to keep tender plants warm until I'm ready to plant them out and it's not happened before. I shall have to remember to make sure they get some water from the base.
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Post by Chilli-head on 23rd March 2020, 5:07 pm

One thing to watch out for at this time of year is thinking things are getting too hot in a propagator, and opening the vents wide / removing the lid without creating shading - the plants accustomed to a humid atmosphere with stomata wide open may well continue to lose to much water and scorch, even though apparently quite well watered. I make this mistake frequently.

Most stuff in in the greenhouse now. Next job, the allotment. Hoping Mrs C-H will get bored enough to do some of the weeding for me !
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Post by Dandelion on 23rd March 2020, 10:15 pm

It's been lovely to have some time in the garden, and the sun as well! MrD and I moved the chicken eglu today, and I took it apart and gave it a thorough clean. There is a black metal locking bar under the eglu which anchors the main part of the chickens' sleeping quarters to the base - this has buckled making it difficult to slide it across. I ordered a new one over a year ago - this is the first chance we've had to replace it and - guess what - I've put it somewhere but can't find it. Very annoying! We had to use a hammer to move the bar today.
I've got cut-and-come-again lettuce coming up in the greenhouse, and also 'Nipper' baby leeks. The broad beans in the raised bed are flowering. I've also planted my early potatoes (Arran Pilot) - it's possibly a week too early, but they were very sprouty and ready to be planted. I'm trying Charles Dowding's instructions this year.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 24th March 2020, 10:45 pm

I've given up thinking I might be allocated an allotment in the near future, so back to plan A. Only bought salad leaf seed, otherwise seeing what will germinate from the seed I brought with me, so all at least 2 years old. Three varieties of tomato germinated, Apache chillies and today lots of CH's Mulato chillies are coming through. No sign of any peppers though. Had some broad bean seeds that said sow by Dec 19. Thought they would be fine but nothing so far - been in since 8th March.

I've ordered a tool store to tuck behind the garage, to free up some space in the greenhouse. We're having fantastic weather for gardening - such a joy to be outside, and whilst I would wish the circumstances were different, I am enjoying the lack of other commitments.
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Post by freebird on 25th March 2020, 9:16 am

Ha! What I said about the broad bean seeds yesterday (post above) seems to have shamed them - well one, anyway - into putting in an appearance!
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Post by Ploshkin on 25th March 2020, 11:16 am

My broad beans took an age to put in an appearance but they're growing ok now. I've also germinated mange tout and peas for the polytunnel and they're just about ready to play out. Yesterday I pricked out and potted tomatoes. I sowed sweetcorn this morning - I've just got to keep the mice off them.
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Post by Ploshkin on 28th March 2020, 10:07 am

Ive put out an SOS on Chilli Head's 'This and That' thread for brassica seeds.
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Post by Chilli-head on 28th March 2020, 9:53 pm

Amongst the various things I'm struggling to get is tomato feed.

However, I rescued from a skip at work a 4" diameter plastic pipe about 6' long, with an end cap. Bear with me, this is connected.  I plan to make an apparatus to make nettle and comfrey feed.  The pipe is fixed vertically to the shed, a small hole in the end cap over a bucket to catch the liquor.  Stuff the tube with nettle and comfrey leaves, then weight down by lowering in a bottle filled with sand tied on a string.  The leaves decompose, and dribble their concentrated goodness into the bucket.  Watch this space for more ...
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Post by Ploshkin on 29th March 2020, 7:45 am

Aaargh, I've just dug up all my comfrey to make way for my fruit cage. Plenty of nettles though.
I gave my worms some attention yesterday - they are going to have to up their game now.
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Post by freebird on 29th March 2020, 11:29 am

Apparently, CH, by making the nettle/comfrey feed the way you intend, it is pretty much smell free. It stinks when you making it by submerging the plants in water.

I shall be relying on my wormery waste liquid for plant food - been doing that for years and have no complaints. Believe it or not, I actually brought the stored liquid with me when we moved! Had to jettison the compost the worms made, but there should be a new batch pretty much ready by now, which I will use to top dress my strawberry planters.
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th March 2020, 1:46 pm

Yes, I was told about this by someone on a forum somewhere - I thought it was an old boy on Kitchen Garden, but I could be wrong.

Hopefully my garden supplies problem is sorted, a local-ish garden centre can deliver me compost/fertiliser/gravel/canes for a £5 - delivery charge that is.

Off to the lotty to take my exercise this afternoon - compost bin rebuilding, weeding, potatoes to plant - it won't all get done but I'll make a atart.
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Post by Chilli-head on 29th March 2020, 7:06 pm

It didn't all get done. But the compost bin is built, compost turned, the hugelcultur bed is clean and ready to be planted with strawberries. It's at the lower and slightly shadier end of the garden, in recent summers my strawberries have been initially good but suffered from the heat. The hugel is supposed to hold onto moisture in the decaying wood underneath, and if that fails it is right next to the water butt.

The plan is to use the not so great compost in the bottom of the old bin for potatoes where the strawberries were.

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Post by Ploshkin on 29th March 2020, 10:16 pm

Its not that long since you moved Freebird is it? Your worms are quick workers. I'm lucky if I get a finished tray of compost in a couple of years.
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Post by Dandelion on 29th March 2020, 10:50 pm

Do you want a root or two of comfrey Ploshkin?

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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