Friday, 4 March 2011

A shopping spree in Wilkos garden department!!

This afternoon I went on a lovely shopping spree at Wilkos...I never, ever come away from Wilkos empty handed, and today was no exception!!

I bought (just from the garden dept.):
  • A 3m fleece cloche
  • A new fleece cover for my 'blowaway' (our affectionate term, on the Vine, for those plastic greenhouses thingys)
  • An unheated Propagator for the kitchen windowsill
  • 2 Scoops...oh yes, not one, but two!!
  • A bag of plant labels
  • A pack of tree ties
  • Some soft covered wire plant ties
...and finally some fat balls and suet feeders for my garden birdies!

So, by the time I'd unpacked all my booty, it was gone 4 o'clock. However, undeterred, I ventured forth into the garden...
My first job...after feeding the birds, was to retie, my rather Heath Robinson, attempt at espaliering my Fig Tree, by using the new soft covered wire plant ties and the tree ties. It looks...well, better than it did.

Now, I'm not well known for my patience when it comes to waiting for things to grow. My Broad Beans have been in their root trainers since 13th February, and there is no sign of life yet. So, next this afternoon, I engaged in a little activity that we, on the Vine, like to call 'furtling'. Basically, this involves gently drawing the soil off the top of the pot or seed tray, until you reveal the seed, just to see if you can see signs of life (or to see if the seed has rotted off, which is unfortunately a very real possibility). The good news is that the little white bump you can see on the top of the seed, in the second picture (below right), is the beginnings of a root breaking out of the seedcoat. After I finished jumping round the garden for a moment or two, whooping with joy, I quickly tucked the Broad Bean seed back into its root trainer.

Next I put the new fleece cover on my Blowaway, which looks much smarter than it did. I weighted it down with some spare block pavers on the bottom shelf, and added my Broad Beans (in their root trainers), my tragic looking leek seedlings, and my even more tragic 'Ailsa Craig' onion seedlings (see photos below). In fact, my onions have been such a disaster, that I took the decision to sow some new seeds into the modules this afternoon...even though it wasn't a 'Root' day.

Then I put my new fleece cloche into the bed where I grew my pumpkins last summer. It does fit between the wall and the fig tree, but only just!!

I'm planning to either use this to grow some early lettuces, or I might use it as a seed bed. At least with the cloche in place, it will start warming the soil up and give me a bit of a head start.

I noticed that one of our grapevines was no longer attached to the pergola. There are two possible reasons for this:
1) The string has rotted a bit over winter, and the gales we've had over the last few days has snapped them. Or.
2) Mr Norty (the squirrel) has been stealing the string for nesting material. You think I'm joking, but I did once watch him unwinding the stings, I had spent ages weaving in and around loads of canes, which was intended to support a large chrysanthemum during the summer. I had to redo the whole thing with wire! He's  so cheeky!

Here's the vine in disarray, and then temporarily tied back to the pergola (it was 5.30pm by this point and it was getting cold and dark). At least it will be supported if the wind gets up again. I'd be devastated if the main trunk snapped.

....And finally for today, here's my first Tete a Tete Narcissus, of the year, coming into flower. Yay!!

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