Sunday, March 27, 2011

Weekend of work

A mixed weekend. We had planned/hoped to get the new fence in and hedge planted but other stuff meant that we couldn't do this. I took the decision at lunchtime on Saturday to heel-in the 250 tree whips rather than risk leaving them for another week in their packaging. The constant rain on Saturday made for a miserable day digging and preparing the 'hedge strip'.
Mixed trees heeled in and our neighbour's Cockerel 
I finally finished the trench digging, bundle separating and careful trench refilling at lunchtime today - yes it took a day to heel-in all the trees! A frustrating job as it is work that shouldn't have been needed...and the 100 Hawthorns are making preparing the Asparagus beds difficult. I had to use a third of the veg bed area as it was already stripped of turf.
100 Hawthorn and 20 Hazel

Preparing the veggie area
Oh well. Better the wasted time than have the trees die.

Ness did very well - getting all the patio pots cleaned with plants pruned, tidied and top-dressed. They all look excellent - can't wait for everything to get growing! She also got 25 tumbling Strawberries planted into a 3-tier planter and 3 tall pots.

I found time to add a second slimline water butt to the greenhouse - it is external and collecting from the other gutter. Talking of water collection - the large butt on the garage half filled with the rain yesterday!
Another water butt!
The other good job was sowing seeds on Saturday evening. I made the second sowing of Cucumber, hopefully this will take as the first hasn't germinated :(  I also sowed the second crop of Sweet Peppers, some sweet peas, Tumbling Tom tomatoes and Giant Russian Sunflowers.


I shouldn't be left on my own.

While Mark was away working I had the task to buy some seeds, which I duly did. However, I also bought 25 trailing strawberry plants. These weren't in plan at all, but they ended up in my basket and on our doorstep a couple of weeks later...... much to Mark's surprise!

So this weekend I didn't do what I was supposed to be doing and planted the babies up. They look quite happy and I am looking forward to some yummy strawbereis and cream. However I think we may have a surplus so jam making here I come!

Friday, March 25, 2011

50 bird species in the garden

Today was a little bit of a landmark as we added our 50th species seen from the garden - Oystercatcher. It flew over calling which caused a mild panic when I could hear but not see it!

There is also a Chiffchaff singing from the oaks opposite but I can't see it for toffee. This and the Oyk brings the total number of species recorded up to 52.

Not bad in less than 3 months.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Water butts!

With a big garden and grand plans for lots of plants and veg, we are going to need a lot of water. Time to get our  drainpipes working on saving water and installing some water butts.

After looking around the interwebs, I decided on getting a single Harcostar 227 litre and 2 Harcostar 100 litre Space Sava water butts for the Greenhouse. I had a weak moment and bought proper Harcostar stands for the butts rather than stack some bricks. We had a 20% discount code from our Gardeners World magazine subscription, so I purchased the butts from Crocus.

First one was easy enough - a previous owner had fitted a diversion thingie on the garage downpipe so all I needed to do was attach a hose to the nice new water butt. I bought a kit that connected two water butts together, cut the hose in half and attached it to the downpipe.

Garage water but
The second was part of the greenhouse project - the water butt is actually inside the greenhouse so that we have water stored at the same temperature as the soil and plants. I took the other half of the water butt connection kit, drilled and cut a hole in a polycarbonate panel, pushed the hose through and connected it to a standard, plastic greenhouse gutter kit. I had to cut the downpipe but it was a perfect fit with the connection hose!

Modified gutter kit and hose

Water butt in the greenhouse

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The renovated greenhouse

The renovated greenhouse
At last, it is pretty much complete!

It took a lot longer than I expected to aluminium tape the tops and tape & clip the bottoms of each of the polycarbonate panels. A very slow and finger numbing process. This also meant each of the 12 louvre panels took as long to prepare as the large, full size panels!

I have also built the staging - two 4 foot sections, one with a tray top, one with rungs. A space-saving water butt sits in one corner near the door...just need to work out a way to get rainwater into it :)

Final job will be fitting the automatic vent-openers to the louvres and roof-vents, something for the longer spring evenings.

As a reminder, here are the before and after images. I am quite chuffed with the result!