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lavender

31 Jul

For some reason my garden seems to have a few too many flies for my liking and I read that they really don’t like lavender.
I just bought one from our local florist and within seconds the flies were gone and it was covered in bees!
Fluke?
I’m not sure!!

I hope this does work,
however I am notorious at killing lavender, I’ve bought two in the last 6 months that didn’t last longer than a few weeks but I’m working on it……

(This one will be re potted in a much bigger pot tomorrow)

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Blueberries mmmmmmm

5 Jul

Hello to my blueberries!

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I was a bit worried about my blueberry bush this yeah as the green was being munched but I couldn’t see who by??

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Until one day, sitting in the garden my mam yelled “it’s a beetle”
She had seen the little black beetle at work and grabbed it before it could do anymore damage!
Since then I’ve not lost any more leaves but I’m constantly checking for any more!

Oh Radish!

3 Jul

Are these the smallest radishes ever grown??
Maybe so!
My crop this year has been sad :( over crowding I think!
Although I just read that the leaves are edible so the whole lot is going in my juice in the morning!
Mmmmmmmmmm

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June in pictures

25 Jun

I love a good sunny day and thankfully I’ve been blessed with many during my week off!

Here’s a quick look through what I’ve been up to these long lazy days!

worshiping the sun with a ‘Happy’ Birthday cake

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enjoying my new bike with Cycle Routes Map

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and a cycle to Crystal Palace to see Darwin and the Dinosaurs

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perfect weather to roast a chicken 

rotissery chicken

and to work on a new design

knitting

pottering around doing some potting

fuscia, salvia, dahlia snow lady, orangina, sunfire

enjoying the fruits of the raspberry bush

raspberrys

and kicking back in the evening summer heat making cushions and drinking local craft beer

beer and cushions

little blooms v cujo

3 Jun

I think we have now had three consecutively warm sunny days in London and without wanting to jinx anything I’m loving the opportunity to sit outside!!!!

We occasionally have an unwanted visitor into our garden in the form of a large dog from a few doors down (affectionately named Cujo) and he likes to jump through/over my trellis fence and get lost and scared for a while before returning from where he came.

As he did this on saturday the fence has been propped up risking another unwanted visit so after work today I got out there and tried to fix it!

Once I did I moved the Honeysuckle to cover the section he jumps over to try and block his view slightly and re-arranged the garden to prevent having anything near the wall that he can use to jump down onto!

Once I did this I was able to sit back anf enjoy the new summer blooms!!!!!

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Honeysuckle

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Delicate Lily flower

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Clematis

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Azelia

sheltered dug-in slug traps

15 May

My favourite garden accessory this year is the dug-in slug trap. It’s simple and very effective.

Over the course of a week, I had watched as one by one slugs attacked my pepper plants, leaving only the stubble of a stalk and a few discarded leaves. I really didn’t want to use slug pellets. I had put down coffee grounds (fertilising and supposed to irritate slug bellies) and ground mace (it works for human attackers!), and would spent half an hour every night after darkness settled creeping round with a flashlight pulling slugs and snails off tender leaves. Fortunately, my neighbour Angel suggested trying this and it works!

Step 1: I used a plastic picnic cup cup as I don’t mind if it gets ruined with slime and a tin of beer. I actually like Polish beer, so this seemed like a bit of a waste until I learned the slugs like it too. I also decided to make a wee umbrella using a jam jar lid wider than the mouth of the cup and three small stakes, to keep the sun off and the rain out.

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Polish tinned lager, 1 low tray, 1 plastic cup, 1 small pretty plant pot, 3 knitting needles for staking and 1 jam jar lid

As well as the dug-in trap, I laid out two traps that I could move around the garden as needed, using an old pot tray and a high, narrow plant pot. I’ve used this type of movable trap before, although I’ve always wondered whether the trek up and over the sides put them off.

Step 2: Next I dug a hole so that the rim of the cup sits just at surface level. The hole looks enormous with nothing in it, but it is probably about 3 x 2 inches.

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Be careful at this point, I’ve exposed some roots

Step 3: Insert the cup to ensure it fits. I think it’s better to be conservative in your estimates, as it’s a bit easier to dig out than fill in to get the correct size.

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Nestle the cup as close to surface-level as possible, so the slugs just slip right in

Step 4: As I mention above, I was a bit worried about rainwater diluted my beer, so I devised a cover that won’t interfere with the trap itself. After inserting the cup, I arranged three 7-inch 5mm DPNs to form a triangle that will support the jam jar lid to act as an umbrella.

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Angle them slightly inwards so that they form a buttress to hold the lid in place

Step 5: Adding the beer is much easier if you gently remove the cup (but leave the stakes where thy are), fill the cup with beer and carefully sink back into the hole. The other option is pouring beer willy-nilly at the wrong angle so that the foam threatens to sop all over your garden. Trust me.

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Careful with that beer! You don’t want to make the plants even tastier by sloshing it everywhere!

Step 6: Top with the jam jar lid and voila!

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I don’t imagine slugs like watered down beer any more than I do

You do have to be a bit diligent about removing the slugs — I’ve discovered they aren’t as interested in beer when it smells of death. It’s pretty disgusting, but worth it. I’ve been replacing the beer every few days, although once summer hits properly it’ll have to be more frequent.

Even so, it works a treat! The sheltered dug-in slug trap.

13 May 13a

A great natural solution to protecting my baby beans

If you try this technique, link to it so we can see! In the meantime, how do you protect your garden from slugs and snails?

the rejuvenated garden

13 May
13 May 13b

Radishes, runner beans, beet seedlings, strawberries, cress and the guard zebra

This year I am back to gardening with a vengeance, so I thought a little update was in order! Why did I take so much time off? The trouble with container gardening is that once the soil has been depleted there’s nowhere to move the soil. So last year I followed the old farming technique of letting my garden fallow to rejuvenate the soil.

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Bell peppers, a heap of seedlings of unknown origin, peas and potatoes

It’s actually much easier than you might think, mostly because it requires more patience than anything else, and it’s more effective than I could have hoped, too! I was able to bring life back to my container soil without throwing it out and starting again following these steps:

Step 1: Much to the despair of my neighbours, I let my pots transform into a tangle of weeds and beds of moss for at least one full season (here in London that means roughly February to November).

Step 2: About 14-18 weeks before I wanted to start growing, I pulled out the weeds but kept them to one side and lay down almost 30 litres of manure — and if my neighbours had a problem with the weeds, I can only imagine what they thought of this move! For me, that horsey dankness was the smell of my soil rebuilding itself.

Step 3: Over top of the manure, I layered the leaves and twigs of the weeds I’d pulled up (taking care to remove any roots) and let them dry as a sort of mulch. Those pots with moss I left alone.

Step 4: Then I let the whole thing overwinter.

13 May 13f

Tomatoes, strawberries and runner beans

The result was wonderful! When I lifted up the nests of dried twigs and leaves and rolled back the moss, the soil underneath was rich and full of goodness (not to mention full of happy invertebrates)! You can see the results best under the strawberries and lettuce below. That there is 100% revitalised container soil.

13 May 13i

Strawberries and two types of lettuce

Although I have several large plants, only a few of them have been grown by me as seeds. This year I found a whole bag full of seed packets under my sink, most of them nearly two years out of date! So I did what any cavalier gardener would do and chucked them into the soil to see what would grow. So far I’ve had the best luck with cress, radish, bean, pea and beet seedlings, which have all come up like mad. I have two pots with mixed seedlings and no idea what they might be because I, of course, neglected to keep a record. Carrots, definitely, and some herbs, but other than that I’ll just have to be patient to see what comes up.

13 May 13a

Broad bean seedlings with my new favourite garden accessory: the dug-in slug trap

In my next post, I’m going to show-and-tell my Jerry-rigged greenhouse roof as well as my dug-in slug traps. (I was so pleased with my slug traps that I drew a diagram for my secondary-school students to demonstrate how effective they are. Response: ‘Miss, no offence, but you sound a little crazy.’)