Archive for May, 2010

Cooling off.

Well, after a very warm week and scorcher of a weekend, it’s been a refreshing change today with temperatures hanging around 20 degrees. I think everyone was enjoying the cooler weather today!

Smokey and Rosie after lunch.

…and finally, visitors to our birdtable. They caught me by surprise hence the blurred image.

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Greenhouse staging.

For this year’s greenhouse crops I’ve excluded space zapping vine tomatoes in favour of more compact shrub/hanging basket varieties. With all the extra room I’ve been growing all manner of pot based crops from lettuce to peppers but have quickly found that available floor  space has rapidly declined. To maximise every inch of available space I’ve decided it’s time to go vertical by buying couple or greenhouse staging shelves.

Heavy duty greenhouse staging can be quite expensive so I decided on buying x2 low-cost tubular steel and plastic shelves instead. How they’d cope outside in high wind without support is another matter but in the safety of the greenhouse they’re perfect for my needs.

Fitting them together was simple enough, just slot the smaller tubes into the plastic brackets to make both side walls and fitting the longer tubes horizontally to complete the frame. O.k, o.k..i admit it, my first attempt I got the fixture holes the wrong way round 🙂

Much better now and plenty of shelf space for more.

Even with heavy planters after watering, they still appear to be quite rigid.

Now I can space out the Cucumbers and Courgettes. Last year, I got a better crop of Courgettes on those in the greenhouse than from the ones growing outside. Thought I’d try the same this year.

I’ve also moved the Strawberries to their final position. These are new plants re-grown from the runners of last years plants and look like they should have a good crop.

Elsewhere in the garden I’ve spaced three of the six potato grow sacks in part shade as opposed to the other three that are pretty much in full sun all day. All seem to be coming along quite nicely and out of curiosity I stuck my hand in amongst the soil and had a feel around….and then smiled!

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Our first crop of 2010.

And so here we are, our first crop of 2010! O.k, so it’s only a few salad leaves but all the same, exciting stuff when you can go out into your  garden/greenhouse,  pick your own and have them fresh on the table within minutes. The Rocket in particular was crisp and tasted amazing, not like some of that bagged claggy stuff  you sometimes find in the supermarkets.

Looking forward to much more and with successive sowing every week or so, should see us through the summer months.

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Water Lily.

Another scorching hot day today and one that is definitely time for taking it easy.

Relaxing by the pond earlier I spotted that first water lily flower had just started to open. I can see about 20 more buds just below the water surface so hopefully more color to follow.

Despite dividing the lily plants earlier in the year and removing some to my parents pond, they’re stilling covering about 2/3rds of the surface providing plenty of shelter for the fish…or a hiding place in case of another flyby from our local Heron!

Since taking out some of the overgrown Iris’ and various grasses, the main pond is lacking vertical plant interest. Ideally I’d like to plant a dwarf umbrella Cyprus  and am thinking if  I get chance during my day off work tomorrow, a trip to my local aquatic store is in order.

Over in the barrel pond, there’s plenty going on with the Marsh Marigolds and blue/white Myosotis in bloom. The zebra grass is one of my favorites and I’m also hoping that, unlike its first year, the dwarf iris will flower.

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Dandelion

Dandelions are not safe in my garden.  I spot one and I pounce! Despite my hatred of them, up close with my camera they’re actually look quite cool!

The past few days it’s been hot hot hot. A few jobs planned to do in the garden tomorrow but am looking forward to getting out a deck chair, book and cool drink and enjoying the weather whilst it lasts. The overgrown 30ft conifer trees at the bottom of the garden have now been cut to a more pleasing height, lighting up the garden once more. I’ve been meaning to do it myself for ages now but they’ve grown so large that for this one I called the tree surgeons in….and what a fine job they’ve done too!

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Potting on in the Greenhouse.

After this morning bike ride and the sun still shining, I fancied a lazy afternoon just pottering around the garden. The last few bits n bobs that are still growing in propagators are now ready for re-potting and placing in the greenhouse.

I’ve added to the greenhouse this afternoon – Chillies, Peppers, Cucumbers, Courgettes, Aubergine &  Tomatoes.

I’ve also added some of the Cherry Tomatoes/herbs into hanging baskets but i’ll leave them inside the greenhouse until end of May just in case we get a surprise frost (has been a few in the early hours this week).

I’ve also thinned out some of the salad leaves as both the Rocket & mixed Lettuce leaves are really shooting up. I’ve also sown a third batch of various salad leaves this afternoon –  Can’t ever have enough salad

I was supposed to be thinning these out but couldn’t help eating a few as well!

I’ve also transplanted the Runner Beans into their final position in one of the veggie beds. I’m hoping they do as well as last year.

..and over in the other bed, the peas are starting to show.

I’ve also sown a few Cabbage to try this year and over in the other beds I’ve continued sowing radish, beetroot, spring onion & carrots. This leaves about half the plot free to continue succesive sowing over the next few weeks or so.

All those seeds and freshly potted plants needed a good drink..as do I!

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Hardwick Hall & back.

Woke up early o a glorious sunny day, the last of my mini break from work.  I was keen to get out into the fresh air on my bike so after breakfast I packed up and headed out.

Once again, I’d be hitting the Teversal trails which are only a short cycle from where we live and offer miles of flat walking & cycle tracks.

I was here the other month and this bit at the start of the trail was a mud bath. Thankfully, it looks like a new surface has been laid.

After a few miles, I stopped to take a drink and got chatting to an elderly bloke who popped out of nowhere. Noticing he was sporting a Canon EOS 5D MkII DSLR, we got chatting about photography and whatnot and he was kind enough to let me shoot a few frames. Man, what an amazing camera!

After saying goodbye, I diverted off the trail at one of the old railway bridges and  bounced down the steps to the lane below.

This was really good fun, I climbed back up to try it again!

The country lane was an amazing ride with gentle curves around wheat fields back set against deep blue skies.

Further down the lane, I stopped to take it all in and got chatting to another couple out cycling from Hardwick Hall. The chaps had a bit of a fall in Lady Spencer Woods and his handle bars were a bit wobbly. He didn’t have any tools with him but luckily I had mine with me. Wobble free, they went on their way whilst I had a wander around the fields.

Turning of the lane and on to a path between farm houses, I headed towards Norwood.

Norwood is beautiful this time of year with a bluebells creating a wonderful carpet of color.

Getting quite hot now so it was great to be the cool shadows of Norwood. Here, I got chatting to another fella who was out taking photographs of the woodland scenes. Reviewing his photo’s I came across one I really liked therefore decided to give it a go myself. I always forget to look up in the woods!

Heading out of Norwood and a tricky bit with a bike. I didn’t want to get my feet wet!

Up through the next field and I was back onto another lane heading towards the grounds of Hardwick Hall. Just after the entrance gate I noticed my cycle odometer had reached the first 100 mile mark! I was quite chuffed with myself, others weren’t so bothered!

Hardwick Hall and grounds are a fabulous place to visit. The house itself is simply stunning and grounds expand over fields, woods and contain a number of large ponds which attract all manner of wildlife.

Hardwick old hall.

Hardwick Hall

Passing through the grounds, I headed into Lady Spencer Wood. The smell of wild garlic hits you as soon as you enter.

Time for a bit of fun. The woods dip down quite sharply and is full of ruts, bumps, steps and exposed tree roots. Perfect to but your foot down on a mountain bike and I had so much fun I couldn’t resist turning around and doing it again…and actual, again!

After exiting the woods it was only a short cycle down the lane before rejoining the Teversal Trail again and on towards home.

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