24 April 2009

rasps and beans

I was very impressed with the wooden troughs I ordered from UK Garden Supplies. They seemed to be the cheapest on the web for their good size and construction and they fit just perfectly in this area by the fence.

In the left we have french beans, and in the right we have raspberry canes. They don't look much at the moment (will we really get a crop this summer?), but with a little bit of TLC I am sure they will do just fine.

The only perils I can see at the moment are lack of sun (ok, yes this could be an issue) and ants (those darned things eat everything). I can "manage" the ants though.

Raspberries and beansFrench beans

19 April 2009

sowing, mowing and growing

Spring is here and the garden is looking lovely.

Dom smiles when he looks at the lawn. The blood, fish and bone that we spread on it a few weeks ago has finally rewarded us with thicker blades and a wonderful deep green colour. We've mowed it a couple of times already this year, weeded and trimmed the edges. Our next job is to seed and feed the bare patches. Look at the improvement since we scarified it last year.

I smile when I look at the flowers, and the new growth. The tulips are finished, but the bugle I planted a few years ago and the phlox look healthy, the hardy gerberas are unfurling, the geraniums are beginning to flower and my most recent addition, the delicate looking forget-me-nots I bought yesterday will brighten up the tricky shady areas in our back garden.

BuglePhloxHardy gerberaGeraniumForget-Me-Not

18 April 2009

adventures in composting

I've been saving vegetable waste for a couple of weeks now, in a plastic tub outside, conscious that I need to get a proper bin to get the compost process going. I was holding out, thinking about making one out of wood, as the plastic ones look quite ugly, but the lid kept flipping off my tub and the flies were taking too much interest in the rotting veg, so I had to act fast and get a better sealed bin, before it became a maggot fest. So here is my Sankey Ecomax 200, bought from B&Q for £29.99. The bin is made from 100% recycled material.

Compost bin
There are lots of instructions on the web if you want to make your own. The most common idea seems to be to use wooden pallets, Gardener's World have a good tutorial.

Recyclying-guide.org.uk gives good advice about what you can and can't put in a compost bin. Did you know you can put hair and fur in there? Teabags and egg-shells?

Ideally you need more than one bin to turn and move the decomposing material between the bins, but our garden is just not big enough.

With the right equipment it is possible to compost all kitchen waste, even meat and bones! Check out these Jora Komposters from Sweden. They work by insulation, rotation and the addition of wood pellets or sawdust. I like that they can be hung from a fence or wall, saving space in small gardens, and they claim to make compost in 8 weeks. However, it seems there are only a handful of UK sellers: smartsoil.co.uk, compostwizzard.co.uk, sunwindandrain.co.uk, and the prices seem prohibitive at around £200 for the smallest model.

Jora are currently looking for distributors. It's a good idea - perhaps we will all be using these in the future.