Friday, 5 August 2011

Gardening Corner.

It's often very windy here, even with the six-foot fence surrounding my little patch. Nothing grows straight up. Nothing. Not even if it's fixed to a post.

While I was away, two of Dreadful's sidekicks broke free of their support sticks and fell over. They didn't snap, and are happily turning upwards again already after being propped up. Unfortunately the slugs could get at them while they lay prone. They couldn't have been down for long because there were only a few holes but I won't include those leaves in the drying experiment. Smoking slug slime does not appeal.

Those I planted directly in the ground have made a poor showing. They don't seem to have done much at all.

This house is only just over a decade old. The garden, when I arrived, was heavy clay overlaid with just enough soil to keep a plain lawn alive. There's not much lawn left now and I'm considering turning that into a potato patch. I see no use for grass.

I've added a lot of compost but it's nowhere near a 'mature' garden and the soil will take some years to develop into anything worthwhile.

So, for my circumstance, a bucket full of compost gives the best results by far. The litter trays with water in them are an effective slug deterrent too, an option that is not available to those directly in the soil.

There is no material difference between the bucket plants and the two I kept in the greenhouse, other than that one of the greenhouse plants has flowered. The garden ones are about to flower too. Here, ten miles north of Aberdeen, the greenhouse was essential up to the end of May but once the frost risk has passed, all these plants can go outside and the greenhouse can concentrate on tomatoes, peppers and chillis (I have three-foot-tall chilli plants this year so I'll have enough to burn every bottom in Aberdeen, and plenty of juice to rub into children's eyes at the next smoker meeting. Well, we're going to get accused of it anyway so...).

The big risks are frost and slugs. The bucket in a moat deals with the slugs. Keep the plants indoors or in a greenhouse until there's no chance of frost.

Other than that, there's nothing to it. They'll grow themselves.

The difficult part is yet to come.


George Speller said...

Very similar to your experience - buckets of compost are good. My field grown are Ok but running late, those too long in the greenhouse flower too early and don't get bushy enough. I'm further south than you, but started moving plants out in May. I think next year I'll have them all out by end of June. started harvesting the bigger yellowing leaves - now hanging on wooden kebab skewers and shaping up well, but there's an enormouse variation in characteristics from leaf to leaf as they dry out, so I'll have to be a bit selectivee.

Leg-iron said...

Kebab skewers! Brilliant!

I've been wondering what to use to hang them.

Twenty_Rothmans said...

In another life, and with a slightly different decorative plant, I used wooden stakes and lengths of cooking string loosely tied around the stems to train them.

I wetted the business ends in sunflower oil so that they wouldn't chafe, and used bowlines so they wouldn't draw in.

Angry Exile said...

You evil smoker, you. How dare you inflict your filthy habit on some innocent thrushes by leaving them where they could fall within reach of the slugs which will give the poor birds beak cancer when they eat them. It's one-fifth hand smoking. Or something.

Leg-iron said...

Twenty Rothmans - these days we have posh wire rings for hooking plants to posts. I know, I'm splashing out, but if I get even two ounces out of this I've more than covered my costs.

Angry Exile - don't forget the hedgehogs. Expect 'studies to show' an outbreak of Lumpy Spines any day now.

Anonymous said...

Well done, much better than mine. I've learnt a lot this year so next year should be better.
Buckets is a cracking idea.

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