30 August 2015

Dorset Garden Diary - A Soggy Bottom Week


Another week of rain and strong winds, more autumnal than summer and also been quite chilly some nights. Today is cloudy and dull but warm, hopefully the Countryfile weather forecast will be predicting sun next week.

Monday - and I have a bucket of water containing what looks like micro tadpoles. At first I thought it was just debris in the water then, on closer examination, I saw the debris wriggle and swim. I have no idea what the tiny creatures are (nothing horrible I hope) but I've put the bucket to one side and we'll see what develops. Thankfully I didn't water the garden with them!
Not very clear but you can just make out the tiny creatures

Tuesday - so much rain yesterday and overnight. The bucket of unknowns is now nearly full of water and the water in the pond is practically up to the rim and there is more rain forecast. Alas, the plastic heron that is supposed to deter a real heron is no more. The strong winds have blown it about and the body ended up at a weird angle to the legs. I tried to salvage it but the body snapped off (oops) so all I have left guarding the pond at the moment is a pair of heron's legs nailed to a piece of wood! The netting over the pond was dipping in the water again this morning so I've stretched it tighter on the frame. Started raining yet again this morning so garden work was abandoned and I had a lazy day instead.

Wednesday and absolutely tipping it down. I fed the fish and but couldn't tell whether they were feeding or not and the water has risen quite a bit more - lovely and clear though. Finally stopped raining this afternoon so I picked runner beans, peas, tomatoes and loads of beetroot which I boiled, cooled then froze.

Thursday and guess what? Yep...raining! I dashed out and checked the pond netting and all was ok. I went to one of the local 'if you need it we have it' shops and bought some more green manure seeds then went outside to the garden centre and bought an echinacea (double scoop cranberry) for the cottage garden.

I also rescued a pineapple mint and an aster (Henry purple) which had been neglected on the bargain shelf. Garden centres - please don't neglect plants. Sell them off cheaply by all means but at least water them! Anyway, they have now been rehydrated and are safely tucked up in bigger pots.
I went into the potting shed and there were a couple of spiders hanging down from the ceiling. As you know I'm not keen on spiders so I quickly grabbed what I needed and left. Thankfully the next time I went in they had hauled themselves up out of sight. I noticed some green where the bulbs are stored. I pulled out the tray and the lily bulbs we bought from Hampton Court Flower Show have started growing so I had to abandon my immediate plans and get them planted. I've put some in the cottage garden, some in the front garden and a few in pots, we'll see how they all grow.
And...finally...there is a cucumber growing:
This evening I made a very tasty stir fry with kale leaves, onion, carrots and fennel fresh from the garden.
Friday - the fishlings leapt on the food as soon as it hit the water and they are growing rapidly and the unknowns in the bucket are still wriggling around. The seedlings in the greenhouse are also growing rapidly so I put them outside to harden off, they are mixed summer perennials.
Watched Gardener's World this evening when I got in (went to an Abba tribute show - lots of singing and dancing and yes...I know all the words and all the moves!). Amongst my perennial seedlings are verbascum and I had no idea what they looked like until Monty showed me. I think they are going to be too big for the garden, I'll have to see. He also said that he has had a low tomato crop this year and, to be honest, so have I. There are lots of tomatoes on the plants but they are tiny, not filling out at all, although still very tasty. Apart from taking the leaves off the tomato plants and cleaning the secateurs to stop the possible spread of blight there were no jobs for the weekend for me so...lay in!
Saturday - not raining although very cloudy and humid. As I neared the pond to feed the fish a small flock of sparrows flew up from one of the veg beds, they'd obviously found a yummy breakfast in there. Nothing of much significance done in the garden today. I fed the fish in the evening and they pounced on the food - I'm growing monsters!
Today, Sunday, cloudy and humid again but thankfully no rain but the wind has picked up. Went out the back to see if there were any blackberries to collect but they have all rotted in the wet weather which is a shame. Never mind, the insects can have a feast. I picked the few gherkins that were large enough and pickled them. I'll add more as they become ready. One of the begonias we inherited when we moved in has finally decided to flower.
And so has another of the hollyhocks I planted:
The leeks are coming along well and are ready to pull but I'll leave them for another couple of weeks:
Except this one - tonight's dinner (and amazingly a normal shaped vegetable for a change!):
And, for a change, a carrot-shaped carrot:
So dinner this evening was steak and ale pie with home grown runner beans, peas, leeks and roasted carrots...delicious!
Well, that's it for this week. I have been trying to find out how to store root vegetables as I need to empty the veg patches by the end of September so I can sow the green manure. It is becoming very confusing as everyone has their own way and opinion but I'm going to RHS Wisley in a couple of weeks so I'll ask the experts.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend, have a good week and catch up next Sunday.