18 September 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - The Crops Are Still Growing and A Big Tidy Up

Afternoon everyone,

It's been a hot and humid week and the tomatoes have thrived, Picked another 5lb this week bringing the total to 17lb so far!

Monday - I pulled out the squash as it's not doing anything except producing pretty flowers. I took softwood 'for your eyes only' rose cuttings and pruned the bushes then deadheaded the perennials. This morning, sparrows, robins and a couple of blue tits were decimating the swiss chard I planted in the trough

I thought the pepper plants were finished so I carried the pot outside to empty it, then saw that they are in flower again so I had to carry it back to the greenhouse. I checked the chillies and they are sprouting again

Tuesday - today was forecast to be the hottest September day on record and it certainly felt like it at 8am...by 10am we had torrential rain with thunder and lightning! I sorted out the remainder of the onions that were drying in the greenhouse. The shallots are good but the mixed onions are disappointing, I won't buy those again. I watered the greenhouse and picked another pound of tomatoes.

Wednesday - the fish were hungry today, maybe they're feeding themselves up for the winter (if we have one). I watered the garden pots and the veg.

Thursday - it was the sort of day that you felt weather was going to happen. At 10.30 this morning it was 78F 25C in the greenhouse. The air was heavy, hot and humid all day. I picked another pound of tomatoes and trimmed the leaves off the plants - there are still loads to ripen

I picked the first parsnips (really pleased with these)

more pears

and most of the carrots

The Amsterdam 2 (amice) have done well in the troughs (the small straight ones) but the chantenay red and the carrot (large) have been disappointing.

Friday - vicious thunderstorms had been forecast overnight. Thankfully, they didn't materialise in this part of Dorset but there was flooding in many parts of the country...we could've done with the rain though. Much fresher today, in fact it felt quite chilly. Bought more fish food, put the pond pump on for a couple of hours and tidied and watered the greenhouse.

Saturday - him indoors mowed the lawn (looking good),

filled the car with garden rubbish and took it to the recycling centre. Leaves are falling through the netting over the pond so I cleared them out then him indoors put another fine layer of netting over the top to hopefully stop too many falling through. There were also a lot of white feathers in the pond. He then dug up and moved the goji berry so it can now grow against the new fence
The last job of the day was give the garden a good soak.

Sunday - blue sky today but not as warm as last week. Did some last minute tidying up in the garden and greenhouse (picked 2lb tomatoes) as we are going away...Mr and Mrs Digga senior will be garden sitting. Not sure what the weather's going to be for the coming week here in Dorset but it's definitely looking good in Morocco. I'm looking forward to seeing how the garden changes over the next two and a half weeks. Enjoy your autumnal gardening and catch up in October.



Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

11 September 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - And What Would You Like With Your Tomatoes

Evening everyone,

Hope you've had a good week in the garden. I'm still reaping what I've sown (in abundance) and it's time to start the autumnal jobs.

Monday - Misty and damp this morning. I cut back the leaves on the indoor and outdoor tomatoes to speed up ripening and cut the tops down to the top trugs as advised by Monty Don on Gardeners' World. He also said to water azaleas well this month as they are developing their buds. I pulled up two of the cucumber plants that are no longer producing, a small cucumber is forming on the other plant but whether it will actually evolve into a cucumber we'll have to see. To date I've picked 23 cucumbers. I also pulled up the outdoor gherkin plants as they are not doing anything now. I'll do the same with the greenhouse gherkins at the weekend. The squash had loads of flowers on it but, yet again, the small fruits have died. Just can't seem to grow them. I moved the hebe from it's pot in the gravel garden to the bed near the back trellis and it fits well there (second from right).
The photinia (I think. No, don't think it is. I'll have to check) next to the hebe is developing it's red winter foliage
The geese flew over the wrong way this morning. I don't mean they were flying backwards, I mean they were flying away from the bird reservoir and not towards it. Maybe they were beginning their migration.

Tuesday - I didn't have time for gardening today as I was working but I did feed the greenhouse plants. I think that will be the last feed this year. The late planted cucumber plants have plenty of tiny flowers on them but I don't think they'll come to anything. The late planted peas also have flowers on

Wednesday - a foggy start (definitely autumnal) then the sun broke through and we had a hot and sunny day. I bought some extra-strength weedkiller for the roots embedded in the garden by the new fence and for the brambles that are unfortunately thriving at the moment. I doubled the recommended strength as I want quick results. I planted the forsythia, buddleia and ground cover hypericum. It looks a bit bare at the moment but I have more ground cover plants arriving over the next month and both trees will grow to around 10ft over the next few years

Whilst I was digging over the bed I unearthed this slug - definitely a case of who ate all the pies!

There are gangs of sparrows in and out of the garden all day rummaging around in the flower and veg beds. Picked more tomatoes
that brings the tally to 12lbs so far. There are still plenty to ripen

Thursday -  today was very windy and warm, the temperature reached 72F in the greenhouse mid afternoon. I moved the small red-leaved grass from the cottage garden as the flowers were suffocating it. It's now been relocated near the cauldron pond

Picked runner beans (not been a good crop - could be the weather, could be the type of bean), pears that were ready
and picked and cooked beetroot. This pear was on the grass, I'm presuming a squirrel is the guilty party.

I pulled out a small piece of oxygenating plant from the main pond and put it in the cauldron pond to see if it will take. I heard a woodpecker here today for the first time.

Friday -  overcast and drizzly and humid. I went to pick blackberries. They are not a good crop this year. Over half of them had gone mouldy in the humid weather. I picked a few but by the evening they had also started to go mouldy - so no jam this year.

I cut back one of the hebe's that was looking sorry for itself and took softwood cuttings. I re-potted the mini buddleia cutting into a holding pot until I can decide where it's going. A blackbird was drinking out of the cauldron pond this afternoon. I dug up and potted three swiss chard which will, apparently, grow through the winter in the greenhouse

This is the root of one - I wish the carrots were that long and straight!

Pic of the miscanthus grass in the late evening sun (cottage garden)
and the delphinium black knight is flowering again

Saturday - drizzly, misty and rain all morning so not much done today but at least I didn't have to water the garden.
Sunday - sunny and warm with just a tinge of autumn in the air - perfect day. Picked the last of the sweet peas
Pulled up the fennel as it had gone to seed
re-potted the samphire
And...just to prove me wrong...the greenhouse gherkins are growing again
and the cucumber that I said probably wouldn't come to anything...
has! Welcome cucumber no. 24. I picked another pound of tomatoes and there's still plenty more to pick next week
I went for a walk into town this morning and on the way back spotted this (either a shag or a gannet) warming it's wings in the sun
This is my first parsnip of the season. The root was so deep I fell backwards when it snapped pulling it out but at least it's bigger and straighter than the carrots!
And talking of carrots...meet tai-chi carrot
Well, that's it for this week. I watched the Countryfile weather for the week but still not sure what's happening. Could be dry, could be rain, could be thunder. The only positive is that it's going to be unseasonably hot. Enjoy your gardening week and catch up next Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga

4 September 2016

Dorset Garden Diary - Harvesting the Crops, Hot Chilli Chutney and a Spending Spree

Hi everyone,

Definitely an autumnal feel to the weather this week but we have had some balmy, sunny days and this weekend we've had much needed rain - buckets of it!

Monday - there was a lot of sparrow and bee activity in the garden all day. I collected perennial seeds for sowing, picked flowers for indoors and raspberries that were ripe (not many). As I walked past the pond there was a big splash, like something had been thrown in. Water had splashed onto the concrete rim and the surface was rippling with mini waves. I have no idea what it was...maybe a fish jumping although I wouldn't have thought it would have made that much of a splash as it can't leap high because of the netting. It could've been a frog or toad maybe. I pruned the apple tree - not as drastically as last year. The lemon balm in the top bed has started to take over and devoured the gooseberry bushes. I started to cut it back then thought, it's only going to take over again (I don't remember it being so invasive) so I dug it up and it's now composting nicely. I picked beetroot and boiled it up, carrots, runner beans and fennel (the kitchen smelt of aniseed all day). I watered the greenhouse and the outside pots.

Tuesday - jobs carried over from yesterday were move the goji berry, move the wild basil from the top bed, sort out the bulbs, start sowing perennial seed and move the gooseberries. Didn't get done so carried over to tomorrow. I had the pond pump running for a couple of hours then topped up the pond with water from the butts as it was getting low. I cleaned the miniature pond cauldron but no point setting it all up again until we have rain forecast, but I want to get it in situ soon for the wildlife. I moved some of the plants around to different parts of the garden to see if they'll grow better. Pickled the last of the gherkins - how did I miss this one
5 jars, the best yield so far

Watered the veg gardens and cottage garden and fed the greenhouse plants. The sparrows are using the veg gardens as a dirt bath. I had a clever idea - the sunflower is now drooping so I cut the top off, took some seeds for planting then, as the birds like the seeds, I hung it up for them. Halfway through the evening I went outside and took it down as it was hanging above the lawn and when (not if) the birds throw the seeds around we'd end up with sunflowers growing in the lawn and him indoors would not be too pleased.

Wednesday - didn't actually do much in the garden today as I was working. I froze the rest of the plums that have ripened, froze another pound of tomatoes and picked more blackberries, the largest and juiciest ones were just out of reach, as always. I weighed them, 12oz

That's the third batch I've picked and each batch has been 12oz! Cloudy today but warm. Went for a walk this evening, and treated myself to an ice cream. Jobs carried forward not done.

Thursday - move eunonymous added to list of jobs (my list)...and not done today. I picked fennel and carrots for my stir fry - the carrots grown in the tub are smaller but straighter

This afternoon and early evening the garden was bustling with different types of bees and butterflies.

Friday - Added to 'to do' list pull out all plants that have finished e.g. sweet peas, couple of the gherkin plants and the cucumbers which are dying off. All those jobs not done and carried over to the weekend - not good. I went to buy a pygmy water lily for the cauldron pond but they haven't got any now until next spring which is a shame. A friend had given me some quince/quinces (?) and crab apples. I know what I want to do with the quince but not sure about the crab apples. Twice this week there has been a spider in my gardening boots when I've shaken them upside down (just in case - and glad I did). Brave spiders...and brave me.

Saturday - I was up early before the rain arrived and out to the garden centre to buy shrubs to get in before the winter (the ruby buddleia is not in the picture as I left it in the front garden for those of you who counted 4 plants in the pic and 5 descriptions below!)

I dug up the dwarf buddleia in the front garden (lilac) and replaced it with the ruby

A bee settled on it as I was digging it in. I re-planted the dwarf buddleia in the newly cleared cauldron pond garden. The cascading buddleia, forsythia and the hypericum ground cover are going in front of the new fence and the rudbeckia will be going in the cottage garden. I dug out a larger hole for the cauldron pond so it's now lower in the ground and filled the bottom with gravel and larger stones, one for a plant pot to stand on and three on top of each other to allow wildlife to get in and out easily


I also put in a small piece of oxygenating plant which I hope will root. The rest of the plants I'll do tomorrow with everything else I need to do. It's going to be a busy day! I picked more tomatoes and cucumbers and made the chilli jam. Wow...it's hot, and I mean hot!

Oh, and I also ordered some plants, shrubs and ground cover which will be delivered October/November. Him indoors is away and doesn't know yet! There is quite a bit of garden to fill so might as well get it all done in one go. It rained this afternoon. Light rain said the weather forecast...ok...

Sunday - I ache. Before I can plant out the shrubs I bought yesterday I have to dig the bed over and get out all the roots from the raspberry runners and next door's blackberry plants that have come over. That took over an hour and a half and still not got them all out, I'll have to get some root killer. I re-planted the gooseberry bushes (tick off list) and also found a blackcurrant bush which I re-planted from the back bed. I have a plan for the back bed now. I re-potted the turnips (tick) and planted out the swede (tick) with the garden grown seedlings, although I'm not sure what's swede and what's weeds in the veg bed as they all look the same. Interesting that swede and weeds are anagrams of each other. When I was digging this appeared and, funnily enough, I dug one up yesterday when doing the cauldron pond - no idea what it is
I also dug up this fat slug...who ate all the pies eh! It went for a journey over the fence.
And lastly, before he went away him indoors put in the grass sections I grew to patch up the lawn. They actually put the lawn to shame
Watched the Countryfile weather this evening and looks like it's getting warmer again this week with rain coming in towards the weekend. As it's raining again now I don't think I'll need to do much watering. Have a good gardening week and catch up next Sunday.
Follow me on Twitter @DaisyDigga