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My new ‘garden’ space

I’ve wanted to try growing vegetables for a while now but my garden is rather restrictive being only 15ft x 15ft and of that already being fully occupied by flowers, some outdoor storage space and a small table and chairs. I found an allotment conveniently near my house however after enquiring about it found that there is a 2-5 year waiting list 🙁

I searched online and found a guy nearby that was offering his un-used garden space behind his house as an allotment-style area for someone and since then have grabbed it up and started to work through it. It’s going to be a rather tough going job as the ground I’ll be working with hasn’t been tended to for quite some time, being laid with tarps in attempt to control the weeds and then gravel being placed over the tarps when they failed to suppress the weeds. The area is approximately 10m x 4m although I think I will just work on a small chunk at a time as I need more and more room for plants.

Here’s two views of the garden after I’d already been working on it for a bit, trying to first clear most of the gravel on the tarps so I could put them off the ground.

The beginnings of the garden
The beginnings of the garden

After a days work of weeding, pulling tarps off, finding more weeds under the tarps and then finally starting to upturn the soil, this is what the result so far looks like:
After some work on the garden

The plants shown in the newly dug garden area are from the neighbors that were thinning out their plants and offered some to me. I don’t know if I’ll keep them because I had intended to have a vegetable plot but I have at least stuck them in the ground temporarily so they don’t wilt.

In seed trays at home I have prepared pumpkins, spring onions, broccoli, and courgettes to germinate. I also have pea and carrot seeds which I will sow directly once the garden is properly prepared. Hopefully something grows!

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Growing from seeds : Part two…

Seeds in warm water overnight to encourage germination If you’ve read part one of “Growing from seeds” I’m sure you’ve been left cliff-hanging wondering what has happened to the seeds since their overnight warm water bath! Ok, so maybe not quite cliff-hanging but here’s the end to the seed planting opening scene nonetheless.

The sweetpeas and the lupins experienced a nice warm water bath over night to encourage germination, so in the morning I positioned myself in the usual ‘rainy-day, dry porch’ spot and started putting the seeds into the propagator. Sweet pea seeds in the propagator before covering with a layer of compost I’ve been using general purpose compost, which indications on the bag it is ideal for baskets, cuttings and seeds. I’ve recorded which colour sweetpea seeds were put which cells as I’m curious to see if it impacts which colour they ultimately grow as. I had yellow, brown and black seeds. Hopefully we’ll see soon!

Both of the propagators are now taking up the spare room’s windowsill and they all have different germination expectancy dates, with the soonest being 10 days (sweet peas) so hopefully in 10 days times I’ll be seeing some green work its way out from the compost.

I found a good reference guide here as well: (For sweetpeas)

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Growing from seeds

Ok, this is my first attempt at growing from seeds. I’ve read up on germination and stratification and all sorts of general tips on growing from seeds… so I should be fine right? Dragged Dan out again earlier today to buy the seeds (it’s a rainy day and I was garden-eager but couldn’t do anything outside today, damn rain), so we went in search of Haskin’s near Ferndown. It’s a nice garden centre, quite big (not as big as Cadbury’s near Bristol) and has a good variety of plants, bulbs, seeds and garden tools. After being very tempted to just spend the extra money and buy the already grown plants we wandered over to the seed section. Firstly, are seed sections always terribly un-organised? Why don’t they just put them in sections, Annuals in one, Perrenials in another and then maybe alphabetically? Oh well…

So we rumaged through the different seeds, seeing which ones we could plant now and give me sprouts before I got bored and dumped them in the bin. We came home with four different seed packets and the ‘Mega value budget propagation 3-pack’, oh yes, no expense spared here! The seed packages consist of Canterbury Bells - Part of the Campanula mix of seedsCampanula (a mix of blue and white rockery plants), Achillea ‘Summer Berries’ hybrid, perennial sweet pea and some lupin ‘gallery mix’ seeds. I found myself a nice dry bit of ground under the porch to sit on and set about putting the compost in the propagator and then planting the Campanula and the Achillea seeds, the other two flower seeds have to be soaked in warm water overnight before being sowed apparently. I’m now thinking, yet again, that someone should really create some sort of microwavable plant. Put your seeds in and 30 seconds later, whala, big thick plant with gorgeous flowers… would be nice for someone as impatient as me…

Seeds from Campanula Rockery Mix and Achillea Summer Berries Hybrid at Day 1

Here are the seeds as they are now. Sitting happily in the windowsill, in a propagator (I took the plastic lid off for the picture) to keep the moisture in. I expect I’ll be happier with the Campanula mix as it takes 14-28 days to germinate while the Achillea can take 1-3 months. I’ll be checking them everyday to make sure the compost is moist but not wet, using a spray bottle to keep from drowning them and in turn causing them to mold.

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The Space Available

We’ve just bought our first house earlier this year and it has a small fenced off space out the back. It’s about 15ft by 15ft with a diagonal fence slicing the farthest left corner off… so there’s not a ton of space to work with, but it’s a very sweet little space all the same.

Our garden space

The ground is shingled (nightmare for heels AND plants alike) but container plants have been working quite well this far as the sun covers at least half of the garden for most of the day. We’ve so far stuck a small four chaired table in the middle of it and some half-moon baskets along the fence.

Our garden space

My very patient man (thanks Dan x) has been repeatedly dragged off to garden centres, B&Q and generally anywhere where I’ve seen plants sitting outside with price tags on. At the beginning we bought a bunch of annuals for the baskets, tempting me in with their bright colours and low maintenance demands. I’m not so much of a fan of them anymore.

The basket of shame

They started off well but I wasn’t particularly educated on how big each would grow, to excited at the prospect of having nice new flowers and colour in the garden, and so I didn’t bother to find out if they’d grow straight up or wander off to the side like vines… two of the three baskets are alright as I just planted the plain marigold plants in them, but the third is doing a thing all of its own. The geraniums in it have been and gone (too bad, I liked those ones..), leaving a brown stick standing proudly in the air, the flowers on the right have decided they’d like to turn into a bush in mid-air, protruding far beyond any of the other flowers and the red flowers which I’ve completely forgotten the name of at the moment seemed to bloom for a day and then rot into brown droopy messes.

On the up side I’ve been growing a few trees, and I’m quite proud of them so far. One is my tiny but ever growing ‘Christmas Tree’ who was originally received through the post as a gift from a printing company that my boyfriend’s company uses. For some reason though he seems to have stopped growing upwards and would much more prefer to continue getting wider… I keep meaning to research that and see why that is. The other tree is my Bay tree. Unfortunately when I was getting the original cutting from my boyfriends mom I heard her incorrectly and thought she had said ‘Bailey Tree’ …. that would have been nice, sadly there is no such thing as a Bailey’s tree so I will have to continue to buy the heavenly drink from the off-licence. It’s been growing nicely though, the Bay tree, I even started marking its progress on its support stick every Sunday, it’s been doing about an inch to an inch and a half each week.

The other plant I have is a recent addition (also from Dan’s mom) is a tomato plant. It had three flowers on it when I first put it in the garden… two of which I sadly found had fell off because of the torrential rain England had a month ago, the third flower, to my further dismay, fell off when I touched it. Further on in the week I had just finished a load of laundry and Dan was taking it outside to set it up in the sun when the clothes horse snapped under the weight off the wet clothes, falling directly onto the tomato plant. The tomato plant now has one stem and no branches, although it’s been a couple of weeks now and new flowers have started to bloom… we may get tomatoes yet!