Tuesday, 15 December 2015

A day in the garden

From the vantage point of mid-December it feels like it rained most of October, and most of November, and most of this month too.  The devastating floods would concur and we've had very few days recently when LP and I can make much progress in the garden, but at least we managed a full day today before running out of daylight.  Not a day for ticking anything significant off the remaining projects list, but some much needed tidying up.

LP set out some paving slabs as a temporary path to the bird feeders, when time/people/weather allow we'll be changing this little path to slate chippings to match the rest of the garden.  I fixed up a second squirrel box to reduce the territorial problems of having two Reds visit us on a regular basis.

When Management and LP rebuilt the huge log pile we were running out of time and it never got covered up properly.

We rectified that.

The tarpaulin over the soil heap was wearing out and during the last couple of months we've watched a fine film of soil being blown onto the back of the house when it's really wet and windy.  The area round the bathroom window looked like it had been airbrushed but an hour with the pressure-washer dealt with that.

And whilst he was all togged up in waterproofs, LP required no persuasion to clean up the decking by the Big Pond, and clean slippery stuff off the nearby paving slabs. 

My contribution to the clear up was to finish taking dead tomato plants out of the greenhouse, move all the staging, and tip 16 buckets of home-made compost onto the beds although it could do with a bit more.  I left the pots upside down to dry and give all the worms a chance to move down into the soil.

The troughs of narcissus bulbs have been moved into the nursery frame where it will be cooler, but I'm not sure whether the horticultural fleece will survive the next storm.

Finally, much later in the year than planned, I planted out garlic for next year.  I purchased a Heritage Pack from The Garlic Farm.  The info is copied below to as I don't lose it ...

Heritage - Variety Seed Pack x 5 Bulbs

1. Mikulov Wight x 1 bulb: Allium Sativum ophioscorodon (Hardneck) - From the beautiful southern Moravian town of Mikulov with its stunning castle of the Dietrichsteins. This is the garlic of the Jewish community that lived below. Violet coloured bulbs with very large cloves, approximately six to the bulb. The large leaves stand erect and strong, a very attractive plant. This is one of the most vigorous Eastern European garlic types. Keep it watered and it will yield well. The flavour is described by the locals as 'noble'. This garlic has goodshelf-life.
Horticultural Group: -Origines: MoraviaCloves: 5 - 8 cloves/ bulb Expected size: 50 - 80mm Planted: September - December Harvested: Late July

2. Red Duke Wight x 1 bulb: Allium Sativum ophioscorodon (Hardneck) - The last stronghold of rare exotic hardnecks with fierce and spicy flavours is in Eastern Europe. Hotter and stronger than any of the commonly planted garlic in the UK, these bulbs still have the attributes of their mother bulbs which came from Central Asia, perhaps 800 years ago with the Mongol invasions. Bright white skins with plump purple cloves.
Horticultural Group: -Origines: Eastern EuropeCloves: 8 - 10 cloves/ bulb Expected size: 50 - 70mm Planted: September - JanuaryHarvested: June

3. Red Donetsk x 1 bulb: Allium Sativum ophioscorodon (Hardneck) - We first came across the farmers of the Dombass region of south east Urkraine last year. Their fierce, purple, hardneck garlic has grown well on the Isle of Wight. The garlic fields of Donetsk have since become the location for fierce fighting and the tragic crash of the Malaysian airliner. Donetsk is a mining city, founded by John Hughes, a Victorian Welsh mining engineer, in the 1860s. We have extricated some of this garlic from the wartorn region and can share it with you this year. It has a very strong, true garlic flavour.

Horticultural Group: Glazed Purple StripeOrigines: UkraineCloves: 7 - 10 cloves/ bulb Expected size: 50 - 60mm Planted: September - December Harvested: July

4. Bohemian Rose x 1 bulb: Allium Sativum ophioscorodon (Hardneck) - From the north of Bohemia, close to Prague. Creamy appearance with slightly purplish, large cloves. Tall, erect stem and leaves over metre high. This is the earliest Heritage hardneck to harvest and will keep well until February. Its intense flavours are used in traditional hearty casseroles. Plant in the autumn to harvest mid June onwards.

Horticultural Group: -Origines: BohemiaCloves: 8 - 12 cloves/ bulb Expected size: 40 - 60mm Planted: September - December Harvested: mid June onwards

5. Moravian Giant x 1 bulb: Allium sativum var ophioscorodon (Hardneck) - Originates from small villages in Moravia. Large fat easy peeling cloves, tall, elegant plants. With the right conditions this will produce an excellent size bulb with a good, strong flavour. Due to its size, the Moravian Giant variety has less cloves per bulb.

Horticultural Group: PorcelainOrigines: MoraviaCloves: 3 - 6 cloves/ bulb Expected size: 50 - 70mm Planted: September - December Harvested: July


  1. You have been busy! All this rain and algae growth (or whatever it is) has certainly made paths slippery.
    I have spent the last two days setting up the new iMac and could definitely do with a bit of fresh air. It wasn't so much the Mavericks to El Capitan change, it's been an upgraded MS Office for Mac suite. I will reply to your email as soon as I can find it again amidst the bomb site that is the new Outlook..

    1. Ooo, new iMac, lucky Duck :-} When I moved from M/soft to Apple I found the hardest thing was trying to get legacy apps to work. When I completely ditched MS Office and moved to instead life became much, much simpler! Occasionally I use one of the Mac suite, Keynote is nice if you need that sort of thing, Numbers (Excel-alike) is horrible.

      Don't worry about replying to any emails.

  2. Wow - you have been busy, my garden is still a waste ground, waiting for a dry(ish) day to coincide with a day not at work!! Might try this weekend :)

    1. Hawthorn, many parts of Bag End are resembling a waste ground too - amazing how selective you can be with blog pictures.

      Hope you get your day outside, no chance for us today - it's been blowing a hooley all night and is wet too.

  3. Lovely to be able to get outside and get lots of jobs done Jayne. Not too much rain here but everything is damp and we haven't seen any sunshine for ages.

    1. Hi Jill, had about 20 seconds sunshine this morning at the beach. I do try not to complain about the weather but I admit I'm getting fed up with all this. :-{

  4. Very productive. I think I spotted one use of the Royal we earlier on though :-)

  5. For some unknown reason this only showed up on my blog today. You and LP have had a busy one in such a short time frame. You're staying out of the garden because of rain and we are because of heat. We're never happy are we? We did get out a bit today (only 22 after two days over 40),to set up a drip system for during our dry and hot summer and I picked "more" blueberries. Take care.

    1. Susan, the confusion is probably of my doing. Although the post is dated 15th I didn't publish it until the 18th . . . remember I often "backdate" blog entries to keep things on the right day. And I have another four waiting to go when I move off the sofa and back to the iMac. Sorry :-}


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