Sunday Sunshine

Morning!

We have had a lovely but very busy weekend organising wedding stuff the past few days, including spending a few hours having a fabulous drive down to the wedding venue in Shrewsbury. I can’t wait, it all seems very real!

In return for my wedding organising day, I went with MrT to a new motorbike shop so he was pretty pleased too.

When we got in it was still lovely weather so we popped down to the lottie for a bit… glad we did because look what my neighbour left me!

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So many toms!

So while MrT chopped the tops off some milk bottles for me, I dug up my over-wintered strawberry plants from the greenhouse.

He potted these up in to the new milk-bottle-homes and I started planting my toms!

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More toms, less space!

I was told last year that my planting layout wasn’t very economical, so I am following the advice in this years planting. Apparently if you place your tomatoes in a staggered formation, you can fit more in a smaller space and still get enough air circulation to avoid blight! Lets give it a go!

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So Leafy!

Now you see all those fluffy bits on the greyish area on the bottom of the stem? They turn in to roots! So I take off the seed leaves and stem (those funny shaped ones at the bottom) and the next set of leaves up.

Also, you notice those shoots appearing from the tomatoes ‘elbows’? Remove those whenever they appear, no matter how old the plant. They sap all of the nutrients away from the main stem and fruit trusses and make your crop smaller (apparently!).

 

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This is how it should now look!

Now dig a hole big enough to cover the roots and that greyish area of stem.

When plating tomatoes, its good to add a bit of fertiliser beforehand. Lots of people use eggs and banana skins, but I just put in some fungi powder and crunched up egg shells.

Now is also the time to put in your tomato collars if you use them. I haven’t invested in any yet but I have heard good things! They make watering easier and help the fruits avoid splitting.

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All in!

By the time you have finished, your plants will look about half the height that they did, but don’t worry. They will have a huge root ball now and grow much better.

Water them in really well, but don’t get it on the leaves. Water on the leaves makes them burn and go spotty. It doesn’t harm the plant in small areas, but it can wilt them quite badly!

Don’t they look fab!?

So while I was doing that MrT had watered all of my onions, garlic and spuds, replaced all of my weedguard, fed my chickens and quail and made this stunning bit of wall art

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Strawberry wall!

Isn’t he a good egg?!

We had a lot of trouble with bunnies and slugs eating my fruit last year before they were ripe, so hopefully this will help avoid that. It also helps with recycling all of that dreaded plastic! Just make sure you poke some drainage holes!

Now just to repaint the wall and it’ll look ace.

I am so proud of him
It’s still not worth a new motorbike though…
Maybe when he has built my fence!

When it rains, it pours

Cold and wet day down the lottie today, but the hens were happy and the blossom is out!

Rosmary flowers

Apple blossom

Cherry blossom

Strawberry flowers

Pear blossom

Strawberrys

The hens were treated to another hay bale today to try and soak up some of the rain. The old stuff i dug out i put around my berry canes. Hopefully this will be a wonderful manure for them! I love raspberries and am hoping for my first home-grown crop this year.

Hopefully a bumper crop!

The rain them started belting down, but as i was already up there i wanted to finish up. I covered much of the top end of the bed in weed membrane as the same sun that has helped my plants grow has also helped the weeds, and i wont have time to get it all perfectly dug over like the spud bed.

Weed membrane, trying to battle nettles!

All home and clean now, but my boots have seen better days! Poor things have got so many holes in now, they definately arent waterproof any more!

Ready for a nap!

Back off up there tomorrow to get some sunflowers in for my friends wedding… lets hope its drier!

Crikey it’s chilli in here. Let’s turnip the heat.

Everything is growing!

Isn’t mother nature wonderful?

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Giant Strawberry!

We were so late in the year getting the strawberry plants in that we didn’t really get many this year. And those that we did grow were ravaged by the blinking bunnies. And to think, i used to love watching them hopping about… not now!!

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A very proud chicken!

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My first cucumber! Now now, heads out of the gutter.

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Tommys and eggys!

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How cute are these baby peas?

As soon as everything starts setting pods/fruits, water is key. I am up there most evenings now when its been hot watering away! Just make sure that the sun isn’t still hot and that the water isn’t too cold, especially in the greenhouse.

I also make sure to give everything a good feed when they start fruiting. I don’t know if it is necessary, but it seems to be helping.

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Courgette tea!

Not everything is ready to eat yet though. Look how well the spuds are coming along. I am not sure if they are supposed to have flowers though?

I cant wait to get munching on my home grown veg! It seems to have been a long time coming!

What kind of apple isn’t an apple? A pineapple.

As you all know by now, my favourite type of gardening is maintenance free gardening.

This means as little weeding as possible, and as many ‘long lasting’ investments as I can find.

This weeks (ok more like fortnight!) project was clearing out the side of my greenhouse, and i had found the perfect thing to put there. An ‘orchard’.

We eat so much fruit, especially in the autumn, and it is one of the things I spend the most money on. So when I saw some fruit trees on sale, I had to grab them.

Looking back, i see now why they were so cheap. You are supposed to plant trees between November and February when they are dormant. You are NOT supposed to plant trees in the height of summer like I did. I really hope they live…

So this is the area i wanted to put them. Its a little raised bed area around the back of my greenhouse. This does mean that it gets pretty hot, but it also gets a lovely breeze blown through from the school field next door, so fingers crossed.

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Between the two greenhouses

Messy right? Well underneath those nettles is a shin height brick wall running right around to the front of that greenhouse.

So I began the long arduous job of clearing all of those nettles and brambles. You see those whiteish flowers right in the middle of the back? That’s rhubarb! Now I’m not a fan of shop bought rhubarb, but I’ll give home grown a go. I dug it up, keeping as much of it together as I could and hoped it would survive when I decided where to put it.

(Spolier alert – It did. And it spread. And now it is everywhere.)

It took me a fortnight of evening digging after work, but I finally managed to get the area clear. Just on a side note, if you get stung by nettles enough times, it doesn’t hurt any more. It just tingles. Not recommended, but I would love to know why this is!

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Getting there…

If you have noticed the sudden appearance of the pallets, they were a ‘present’ from work which will eventually become fencing. I currently have nowhere to put them so there they sit.

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Completely clear!

Finally I was ready for planting, just in time for my cheap trees to arrive. Also managed to pick up some super cheap strawberry plants while I was at it so they will go around the base of my trees this year and get moved next year to where I want them. When i have decided where i want them that is.

I began digging my holes, and i sprinkled a little of the same fungi i used on my tomatoes around the base of the hole to try and encourage the roots. I also drove a stake in for the larger trees at this stage, but ran out so fingers crossed the others live! Plonked the trees in, and covered the holes back over with soil. Firmed this in gently, but I didnt ‘stamp’ them in for fear of breaking what little roots these trees had. I then made my little moat around the root area and gave them a right good soaking when the sun went down.

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Trees!

I have always been told not to water when the sun is high as it can cause burns and shock to your plants. I don’t know how true this is, but it makes me feel like i know what I’m doing so I’ve stuck with that rule.

Next in went the strawberries. While I was doing all of this, Mr AcrossTheLane arrived and scared the life out of me lurking around the greenhouse. Turns out he did shout me several times, but I’m deaf when I’m in my own world. He bought some gorgeous homegrown strawbs with him, some huge! He had a glut and I had a rumbly tummy so it all worked out well. They were very tasty, but it did bring home just how late I was having to plant everything.

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All in!!

If I were a clever woman I would have probably done all of the clearing and long jobs this year and not planted anything at all. But I have always been impatient. Oh well, hindsight and all that!

My biggest recommendation though?
Suncream.

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Ouchy!!!


Time Travel!

I am now writing this is April 2018, having only just discovered the joys of WordPress.

My trees seem to have survived and have little buds on, and my strawberry plants got moved to the greenhouse for storage over winter while I reorganised their home.

I have now covered my trees bed in weedguard to try and kill off the last of the Rhubarb (not working by the way!) and have covered it in chippings.

Look how beautiful it is! Unfortunately they do keep getting attacked by the windows falling out of my greenhouse, but that is a project for another day.

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Low maintenance, and beautiful. I cant wait to site there with a brew under the leaves when they get a bit bigger. And when i have moved those pesky pallets…