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Gardens & Gardening


Tommy!
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Talk in a couple of food thread's has ventured into stuff people had grown and I'm sure there are some on here who enjoy this sort of thing, be it a some pot in a pot on a patio or Loki's vast country estate.

So, does anyone have a plan for February and beyond? Has anyone overwintered anything?

I've built some raised beds through winter to work around roots from the apple and pear trees growing through my veg plot and started some garlic (some in a pot set around mid October and some in a bed set late November, I'll try and add a pic) and red onions. I've also got some broad beans (again I'll try and add a pic) I've started early in the glasshouse.

Once we get into Feb I'll look to prune my roses based on how the weather turns. I've no idea on the varieties though, so if anyone knows how to ID them I'd be game to hear it.

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The past couple of years, we've been setting ourselves the project of growing all our Christmas dinner veg. Sadly, the carrots didn't grow past a couple of inches long, the sprouts got murdered by squirrels (is there anything they won't fucking eat?!), and, despite planting a ton of three different types of potato (Désiré, Arran Pilot, and Pentland Javelin), we got a pretty low yield, so we ended up having to harvest them all to have enough for one meal.

We do a lot better with fruit, herbs, and flowers than we do veg. The only thing that grows really well in London is roses, really, so it's a minor miracle that the rest have done so well. We have a pear tree that's older than myself but still producing a lot every year, three apple trees (Discovery, Cox Orange Pippin, Russet - the first one does well, the last two are relatively low-yield), three brambles (loganberry and golden raspberry, which I planted myself, and blackberry, which just grows everywhere), and a shitload of strawberry plants of several varieties (don't remember all of them, but amongst them we have Colossus, Cambridge Favourites, Alpines [the really tiny ones], and Red Gauntlets). The strawberries are doing so well, they're verging on becoming weeds; they started growing into the lawn last year. We're probably going to have to start potting cultivars and giving them away at some point.

And, of course, we grow tomatoes every year, which do well normally, but last summer, not so great: lots of fruit, but many failed to ripen, so I made a lot of fried green tomatoes with them (posted about it on the cookery thread).

Generally, we're quite proud of our garden and the efforts we've put in to make it look nice. Got some pictures from a few summers:

 

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That's our herb garden - got the full Scarborough Fair, parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme, but also got tarragon, chives, garlic chives, and mint. We've also got a huge bay tree further up the garden, which is not only good for cooking normally, but also for putting a load of sprigs on the barbecue to add some nice flavour to whatever we're cooking.IMG_20190606_144510.thumb.jpg.651f87a20445ec478a7b62f3606fcb1f.jpg

We managed to get a Virginia Creeper to climb the house walls, and the neighbours liked it too. Plus a lovely ceanothus which flowered with lovely blossoms every summer - until last year, when it just withered for some reason we couldn't figure out. All dead now, breaks yer heart.

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And this is one of our favourite projects: there's a fir tree that's been there since we moved in, but unfortunately it got bloody massive, and was overshadowing the next two gardens at its height, so, after chatting to the neighbours, we had it cut back. Sadly, it looked rather forlorn with its top cut off, so we grew a really long climbing rose through it, so now, every summer, it has a crown of roses.

 

Edited by Carbomb
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17 minutes ago, Carbomb said:

despite planting a ton of three different types of potato (Désiré, Arran Pilot, and Pentland Javelin), we got a pretty low yield

Was it small numbers, small spuds or something had at them? 

I have quite the slug problem generally and have to be careful how I treat it because of the dog and general wildlife we get about, so last year had little of use from them due to a mix of heavy soil and slug-a-mania. I'm trying Wilja this year as a supposed good slug resist choice now the soils better. 

I'm mighty envious of your herbs section there too Carbomb, it's must be great to have them fresh and on hand. 

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6 minutes ago, Tommy! said:

Was it small numbers, small spuds or something had at them? 

I have quite the slug problem generally and have to be careful how I treat it because of the dog and general wildlife we get about, so last year had little of use from them due to a mix of heavy soil and slug-a-mania. I'm trying Wilja this year as a supposed good slug resist choice now the soils better. 

Small numbers - we had probably about a potful of a usable size, and then the rest were like little marbles. We stuck them back in the soil, but no joy.

We made sure to chit them properly before planting, plus we planted them in a mix of soil, bone meal, and farmyard manure (which we don't normally buy). To be honest, we're still finding our way when it comes to potatoes.

I'm actually tempted to buy some Jersey Royals or Vivaldis, then let them germinate to plant later.

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I'm mighty envious of your herbs section there too Carbomb, it's must be great to have them fresh and on hand. 

Thanks - yeh, it's great for certain dishes. And, because they grow more if you clip from them regularly, we always end up with plenty to dry in brown paper.

EDIT: In an odd way, growing in London is good practice for gardening in general. As it's originally clay, it has a tendency to mix up with any compost or topsoil you buy, and harden it all again, so you have to keep forking it and add new soft stuff, or it ends up waterlogged to fuck and rots all the plants in their beds. The lawn's a nightmare every year - just last week, it was practically a bog. At some point we just need to scarify it and put sand in to help the water drain down to the water table.

Edited by Carbomb
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Those broad beans are all in flower now, so I'm hoping for an early yield.

I've planted out cabbage, beetroot, broccoli, white onion and potatoes this weekend. I've also had strawberry plants turn up, although it feels a little early for them so I'm keeping them under glass for a spell yet utill I set up the planter's. 

Inspired by Carbombs herb garden I've gone back to my plans and found a spot for a small vertical planter on a South facing wall and knocked one up out of some old pallets I'd got laying about.

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Some fantastic looking stuff in here. We had a good yield of round lettuce and peas last year but our carrots and potatoes were underwhelming due to planting them too close together and it being new soil. We were expecting good results this year and had about 5 different veg planted and within a day our dog forced his way through the mesh and dug it all up. 
We do have courgettes, cherry toms and red peppers growing nicely inside though and then we’ll transfer to a greenhouse.

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A good picture ruined by my not realising my phone has three lenses and my finger getting in the shot (out of context f'nar), but our front garden magnolia tree looks spectacular this year.

 

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I've dug up my first garlic boarder and I think I've left it a couple of weeks too long, the cloves are breaking through the skin but besides that they're ok.

I've left them laid out in the porch to dry out as it's light and cool, and I will clean the dirt off them fully after a few days drying based on what I've read to do. Any good advice / Do's and don'ts for drying and storing them from anyone who's grown them before?

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First fruits! Golden raspberries and strawberries. Unfortunately, birds and squirrels got to several others, despite us putting out fat-balls and seeds for them, the greedy little bastards.

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A bit more garden-boasting, following Bacon's kind words.

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One of the apple trees (Discovery) now fruiting. Sadly this year we forgot to put pheromone traps in the branches and grease-bands around the trunk, so they'll probably have coddling moth caterpillars burrowing through them come harvest time.

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This is a Chocolate Mint (named thus for the brown stems and dark leaves) we bought two months ago - at which point it was shorter than the pictured unnamed utensil.

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Red geraniums, lobelias, and some of our herbs doing really well. Second one from the right is lemon thyme.

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Not sure what the one behind is, but the front one is salvia.

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I'd boast about this buddleia, but they can grow anywhere, in any conditions, and are near-impossible to kill.

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CHILLIS! Growing habaneros and jalapeños.

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A wed wose...how womantic. Have a seat, shewiff. But seriously, it's gone bloody mental this summer, growing all over the place - it's a menace. Pretty though.

 

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