Gardening Update!

Wow, I’ve just realised that it’s been almost two months since my first garden-related post back in April! I’ve been meaning to do an update for a while, but I’m actually glad I waited until today because I have much more to talk about now.

First of all, thank you to everyone who read my last post, and especially to those who commented – I loved reading all your thoughts on gardening and your useful tips and advice!

I mentioned in my first post that this gardening malarkey was something of an experiment for me and I didn’t have huge hopes of growing vast amounts of food, I would just be happy to see what happened and learn from my mistakes. Having said that, I have to confess to being rather disappointed when none of my carrots or spring onions germinated…I think this may have been because I planted them too early – there were a couple of cold spells after I planted them that may have finished them off before they had a chance to begin. This means that one of my raised beds is still empty. I’m not sure whether to try planting something else in there, or just to leave it for this year. I do have a few seeds I haven’t tried yet (lettuce and tomatoes) and some carrot seeds left, so I could try those and see what happens. Please let me know if you have any suggestions or advice on this!

After planting the carrots and spring onions, I discovered some tubs in the garage left there by the previous owners and decided to bung in some zucchini in one and some radishes in the other. Despite making sure there were holes in the bottom of the containers, the soil remained remarkably damp after several days of rain and I think this may be why the zucchini didn’t germinate. At this point, as you may imagine, I was somewhat disheartened by my failure to produce even a few seedlings – HOWEVER, yesterday I checked the containers and found that the radishes have actually started growing! At first I was suspicious and thought they might just be weeds, but they’re growing in a fairly neat row, which is how I planted them, so I think they probably are baby radishes.

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Radishes = SUCCESS!!

The strawberry patch is looking much better now that I have cleared all of the dead matter away and given them a bit more room. I was delighted to see so many flowers on the plants – but I read in my gardening book just this evening that it is apparently necessary to cut back any blossoms that appear before “midsummer”, so I may need to eliminate them. I assume this is so that more energy goes in to the plant rather than the flower, but I’m not sure. Furthermore, I don’t know whether “midsummer” refers to the yearly halfway point of June (Midsummer’s Day) or halfway through the summer season of whatever locality you happen to be in. I would guess the author probably means the latter, but in either case, it sounds like the flowers have to be removed.

From the end of April, when it was still pretty chilly and there were few signs of life in the garden, till now, everything in our garden has been growing at an almost alarming rate. This finally resulted in a mammoth tidy-up session this weekend, which involved a severe haircut for our lawn, which was starting to look frankly hippyish,  and a huge amount of pruning of various bushes and shrubs. Our garden now looks much more respectable – and, having cleared out two pots and a hanging baskets by the front door that still had last year’s dead plants in, I was actually able to sow more seeds – snapdragons, freesias and a wildflower mixture. I also discovered, much to my delight, that two stray pansies were growing right by our front doorstep! I adore pansies and had almost given into temptation a couple of weeks ago and bought a tray of them, but I resisted because we already had so much going on in the garden already and I wasn’t really sure where I would put them. And now we actually have a couple of pansies that have grown all by themselves! They must have grown from seeds produced by the pansies that were apparently in the hanging basket last year.

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Surprise pansies!

Finally, here is a picture of part of our garden in full bloom. The tulips are dying off now, but they did look stunning for a few weeks. I’m excited to see what comes up next – I know we have raspberries to look forward to in a couple of months – and the rhododendron will start flowering soon too, but we may get a couple of surprises as well! We haven’t lived here a full year yet, so there may still be something that we haven’t seen.

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Radishes = SUCCESS!!

Oh also, my basil and pepper plants are still doing well – I think the pepper plants may need an even bigger container soon!

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Hopefully next time I’ll have better news on the vegetable front. Thank you for reading!

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6 Responses to Gardening Update!

  1. This is exciting! From your photos it’s the equivalent of early April over there. June here and over a week of grey skies and rain. Some more tips for you:

    Yes, those are radish seedlings! When the ‘true’ leaves come out you’ll need to thin them out a bit to give them space to develop. You can sow the seeds every couple of weeks for a continual crop.

    Zuccini needs a warm start; try again on your kitchen windowsill.

    Never heard that about the strawberries. You look like you have good healthy plants there and a good potential haul so I would leave them. No flowers, no fruit. You may have an early season variety, in England they start fruiting in May, so to be flowering now over there would fit in with that.

    If you carefully dig up the pansies (keep as much soil round the roots as you can) and transfer them to a space with more soil (water well after doing so) they should seed all round the garden for next year.

    The small blue flowers in front of your tulips are grape hyacinths; they spread quite well too. The pale blue flowers on the right might be forget-me-nots – not clear enough – they will flower until your equivalent of June and will seed round too.

    You can cut down the old canes now on the raspberries without affecting the crop.
    Rhodedendrons flourishing mean you have an acidic soil so bear that in mind when buying any new shrubs – things like lilac aren’t going to be happy.

    How about starting a compost heap!

    Looking forward to your next update!

    • zanyzigzag says:

      Victoria, you are amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such detailed advice, it’s so helpful! I’m glad you mentioned the strawberries – I’ll definitely leave them alone now. I will also transfer the pansies – and plant some more radishes – thanks for those tips too! And I’ll try planting some more zucchini in a pot on the windowsill – if I have any seeds left.

      • Always interested in what other gardeners are doing!

        Not sure about the spring onions but I think carrots are quite fussy, so I wouldn’t feel too demoralised. I seem to think they need a very thin, free draining soil.

        If you wanted to maximise space you can grow the radishes between other slower growing plants; they’re ready in a matter of weeks; and the same with the lettuce.

        The tomato seeds will need a warm start and somewhere very sunny afterwards when they’re planted out. I don’t know how fast your seasons catch up, but if it’s ‘April’ over there now, I wouldn’t plant the tomatoes or the zucchini outside until the end of ‘May’. Actually, you could use the strawberries as a barometer – once they start fruiting you’re probably okay to plant out.

        Keep us posted!

      • zanyzigzag says:

        Thanks again, it’s useful to know when the zucchini should be planted out. I haven’t tried growing any lettuce or tomatoes this year – I might save those till next year because I’m not sure I’ll have space if I try them now!

      • zanyzigzag says:

        I sowed some more zucchini seeds (this time in a small pot) and some spearmint today – hope the zucchini does better this time!

  2. Spearmint’s a good one but it needs quite a rich soil when you plant it out. I seem to remember planting it in the ground in a large plastic pot with the bottom knocked out as otherwise it spreads all over the show. I’ve never grown it from seed though – let me know how you get on!

    I’ve grown dill this year which germinated quite well and seems surprisingly robust for such a fragile looking seedling if you wanted to try another herb.

    I’ve also grown nigella or love-in-a-mist, which is galloping away too. Very pretty delicate blue flowers and then nice seedpods you can use in Christmas decorations. It’s another self-seeder for easy gardening.

    Fingers crossed for the zucchini!

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