Gardening blog

This is a rough and ready record of the work I do on our land which is a vegetable garden, forest garden and orchards on the edge of 8 acres of ancient woodland which I manage in Mid Wales. I started growing food in Autumn 2022.

13th April

Went to the wood and did some weeding. Harvested PSB, kale and rhubarb. Saw two small owls sleeping in the eaves of the compost toilet. 

Pricked out Lulu tomatoes, Broccoli (Autumn green Calabrese), All Year Round Cauliflower, Golden Acre Summer Cabbage, Filderkraut Cabbage, Calicos Cabbage, Offenham 2 Cabbage

Planted: Onion seeds - Bedfordshire, Cipolla Di Genova, Ailsa Craig. Beetroot seeds - Barbabietola, Renova, White Albino. Celariac - Giant Prague and Brilliant. Parsnip Imperial Crown. Sicilly Giant Radish.

5th April

Seeds sown:

Onion - Copolla Di Genova, Ailsa Craig, Bedfordshire Champion

Leek - Jolant, Bandit, Bulgarian Giant, Elefant

Calendula, Sweet Pea, Corncockle, Flax (for seed), Sunflower, Cornflower, French Marigold - Disco and French Honeycomb

3rd April

I planted the Acoustic potatoes. Weeded creeping buttercup and rosebay willowherb... I've been doing this endlessly and it will continue until the winter. Saw three frogs in the polytunnel pond.

2nd April 

More weeding, planted some cottage garden type plants I've had for ages, toadflax and I'm not even sure what the others are anymore. Filled up big buckets for potatoes. I am converted to buckets after I watched this video last year. My potatoes were not great but I think that was due to using shit soil and having a drought, we ran out of water completely at one point and I did not keep on top of earthing them up, etc. I also think I overcrowded the pots, having 6 varieties split between 20 pots. This year I have two varieties, about 14 potatoes of each (so one or two small ones per bucket. We did have quite a few potatoes to eat overall and I loved tipping them into the wheelbarrow to get them out, less digging = excellent.

I'm also experimenting with the soil. Two have just compost (decent stuff that I just bought, we don't have enough hand made yet), 6 have a mix of half compost, half dead bracken and two buckets are just bracken. This is inspired by people who grow potatoes in grass clippings. I thought I'd give it a go, I've not found any evidence that anyone else has done it, maybe because it's a stupid idea? I'll find out. We have a LOT of dead bracken and use it for mulching everywhere, it's very useful.

Saturday 30th March

Sowed Astralagus seeds after they were soaking for 24 hours

Friday 29th March

Dug weeds out of new bed at woodland. Sown today (all from Earthsong seeds):

Henbane, Tibetan Gentian, Wormwood, Mullein, Echinacea, Californian Poppy, Bee Balm, Ashwagandha

Sunday 24th March Sown today:

Kelvedon Wonder Dwarf Peas, Extra Early Pedigree Dwarf Pea, Parsnip, Salsify, Celeriac - Brilliant and Giant Prague, Beetroot - Cylindra, Barbabietola di Chioggia and White Albino, Tomato - Peacevine, Lulu's Best Ever and Darby Striped, Sicilly Giant Radish

22nd March Weeding one of the big areas covered with plastic to make a new bed

Wed 20th March - harvested 4 types of kale, PSB, herbs and wild garlic. Some aubergine seedlings poking through

18th March - Weeding and mulching the asparagus bed

17th March - Weeding and mulching the asparagus bed

14th March  Two x one ton bags of compost delivered. Already some things are sprouting due to the heat pad

13th March Harvested kale and wild garlic from the woodland. Seeds sown:

Cayenne pepper, Kalbi Round No. 2 pepper, Corno di Torro Rosso pepper, Sweet Yellow Stuffing pepper, Globe artichoke, Black Beauty Aubergine x 2 (Real Seeds and Mr Fothergill’s)

12th March Heat mat has arrived as recommended by Alas Fowler here - https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/15/use-warming-mats-to-heat-your-seeds#:~:text=You%20sit%20the%20seed%20trays,These%20warming%20pads%20are%20efficient.

Seeds sown today using Charles Dowding’s calendar as a guide which follows biodynamic guidelines - AKA planting with the moon.

Coriander, dill, giant parsley and amaranth.

Mixed oriental leaves, spinach, Lobjoits Green Cos, Reine Des Glades Lettuce, Rocket, Spicy Salad Leaves, Lettuce red leaves

Broccoli (Autumn green Calabrese), All Year Round Cauliflower, Golden Acre Summer Cabbage, Filderkraut Cabbage, Calicos Cabbage, Offenham 2 Cabbage

Welsh Onions, red onions, Babington Leeks and Celery

11th March Cleaned out the two greenhouses by the caravan, went to the wood to check and get some compost

Had a busy few weeks preparing for fairs and all I did at the garden was a little weeding and some harvesting. It all starts in earnest now. Eric has been planting trees.

26th February Planted the barberry and finished off the bed with compost and mulch. Harvested PSB. More weeding.

25th February First day in the garden for ages. Something is eating my broad beans, mice? Rhubarb looks amazing. Kale all looks like it’s had a growth spurt. Planted broad beans in the poly tunnel. Did lots of weeding in beds and brassica cage. Saffron looks a bit sad, planted at the wrong time.

14th Away for 12 days. Wish I’d had more time to spend at the garden but with work, guests and rain it hasn’t been possible.

11th Feb  potatoes arrived, into egg boxes for chitting

7th Feb Planted saffron bulbs which had already grown and were overcrowding the pot. Saving one pot if this doesn’t work.

2nd - 9th February a friend was staying so we couldn’t work as much on the land as we would normally. It was raining a lot anyway

1st Feb Making new beds and weeding

27th Jan Finished creating bed and path by the bay tree. Weeded the PSB bed

24th Jan Finished weeding the asparagus bed which was back breaking work. Harvested all the beetroot, most went in the compost but a salvaged some for a meal. Weeded the bed by the bay tree which has been a mess for ages. About 4 hours work, very tiring.

22nd Jan IBC’s full from all the rain. I took out the Brussels which came to nothing - sown too late. Planted the broad beans that I sowed in October. Only a third survived. I put a net over them as last year the new sowings were all eaten by birds. Weeded the asparagus bed.

19th Jan Very cold again but a lot of rain is coming. We decided to install an IBC down the slope in the forest garden. Eric made a stand very quickly and we filled it up from the other IBC’s that were full. Now have about 600ml extra capacity. I weeded where possible, mulched and made a low wall for one of the beds.

17th Jan Very cold and I didn’t have long. Cut brambles and weeds from the forest garden bed I’m turning into extra growing space. Cut back mugwort and Marshmallow to the ground. Eric trimmed by the pond which will become beds… pondering the layout.

16th Jan Made a bed around the Goji tree, used wood chip from Facebook to landscape and added trays of potatoes. Made a bed with compost down the side. Extended the celeriac bed. Added a bed to the edge of the other hot bin pallet bed. Aim with this wood chip is:

Landscaping

Moisture retention

Weed suppression (cardboard is underneath)

Feeding tree

Will turn into compost eventually and become a bed

15th Jan Added wood chip from Facebook guy to goji tree and made a bed around it. Mulched the chard bed. Planted a rhubarb I’d dug up ages ago. Put trays and pots for potatoes around the brassica cage.

12th January Weeded around celeriac, I think they are no good but leaving most of them for now. Chard looking okay. Mulched with bracken after. Weeded chard and beetroot bed. Leaves dead on beetroot but beetroot can be eaten. Started to dig out the brambles by the plum tree to extend that forest garden bed.

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