Friday, 29 June 2018

Net-house, and a hosta update

When a bed looks like this it makes my heart soar.  The possibilities, the potential, the greenery and growth - there's nothing like it and this is what makes me love gardening.  Unfortunately my track record in the food production department has been "Jayne 0, Slugs 876 . . ." but with little blue pellets in a protected space that birds cannot get to I might just be tipping the balance back in my favour.

When a bed looks like this . . . it's just flippin' depressing.

The two areas where I dug the soil were my little archaeological test pits and confirmed that there was not a single shred of asparagus plant, not even a tiny part of a decaying root system.  Dead.  Gone.  Eaten to extinction.   So I put some of the runner bean plants in this area and threw little blue pellets around.

Thanks to Management's help (cutting weld mesh) I now have a set of runner bean/climbing plant supports which are strong but portable & light enough that I can move them around without help.

Typically, far more beans germinated than I really needed, so I've planted them in two blocks, one at each end of the net-house, on the north side (but facing south) where they will get the most light.

On the south side I've already got garlic which is not doing very well this year.  I thought the problem was the dry spell and my not watering sufficiently but when I did a 'test dig' of some plants which had died back there is nothing beneath the stalk - no garlic bulb and the soil is remarkably moist.

Did I get around to blogging that I moved the strawberries this Spring when the fruit cage was cleared out?  They seem to be settling into their new home quite well and have been absolutely delicious this season.  I took three boxes with me on holiday, Management ate 'generously' whilst I was away, and we're having fresh berries with double cream nearly every night,  food miles approximately 25 metres ๐Ÿ˜Š

The smaller plants are, predictably, producing smaller fruits.  The larger ones are just showing off:

The day before I went to Scotland I tipped bags of unused potting compost onto the remaining beds and sowed a variety of seeds:  spinach, baby carrots, cavelo nero and swiss chard.  Finally, the remains of a packet of globe artichoke - any plants I have germinated in previous years have been eaten to nothing but this time I am hoping that I can get them big enough and resilient enough to transplant outside next Spring.  Here goes nothing . . .

Finally, the asparagus, which is where this all started.  Originally I planted 20 crowns, ten each of two varieties.  All of the "Purple Pacific" variety have gone, BUT, either happily or heartbreakingly - depending on your perspective - as soon as the slug pellets went down, the remaining five "Gijnlim" plants started growing, and growing, and growing and are really doing well.

These are the latest pictures (today):

Moving to the other end of the garden - a hosta update.

At the end of April when I realised the new hosta shoots were under attack I surrounded each plant with a ring of crushed eggshells and sprayed them liberally with a garlic solution.  The garlic spray has been repeated every three weeks or so and the result is astounding.  There is some nibbling and after nearly two months without rain they are getting a bit tired, but overall the plants have never been so good.

At the time it occurred to me that if I was being structured and scientific I would run this as a proper test with four plants of the same variety, and:

1.  Use garlic and eggshells
2.  Use eggshells only
3.  Use garlic only
4.  Do nothing.

Well I didn't do anything of the sort because I was going for Option 1 on every single plant, wanting the best growth possible.  Only it didn't turn out like that because I completely forgot one lone little hosta at the other end of the Coppice. Poor little thing - I have apologised profusely to it and promised that it will get much love and cosseting for the rest of the year.  It's not a scientific control or a proper test (different variety) but THIS is what happens when you give no assistance whatsoever.


  1. I could do with a giant net house covering our entire allotment

  2. Love the photo of the strawberries, it's making me long for a big bowl with some fresh cream :)

    1. The fruit is superb this year thanks to the weather. Perhaps you could find a 'pick your own' on your travels (if they still exist)?

  3. Very well done on your successes and bumper crops. Your strawberries do look delicious :)

    1. Thank you Eileen, the strawberry flavour this year is the best I can remember. Variety is Marshmello if you want to try growing some yourself.

  4. It's lovely having the sun but I am seriously praying for rain and soon! We've tried all the traditional British rain spells - barbeque, hanging the washing out, washing the car and even the use of the most powerful of spells 'having an important outdoor village event' has had no effect. The only clouds on the horizon are smoke clouds drifting over from the Winter Hill moor fire. The small gods are not smiling on us or my ferns. :-)

    1. I agree, two months without rain is no longer nice, fun, pleasant or enjoyable. Had not registered that you were within sight of the moor fire, which must be doing uncountable damage to the wildlife who used to call it home.

      Daisy is completely wiped out with the heat, Management's not much better. I maybe of previously unknown mediterranean heritage because I love it, but the big pond is 12" lower than usual with the liner fully exposed, plants are keeling over and the greenhouse water tank is in danger of having to be filled with a hose.

      Checked BBC weather app earlier, it currently goes to 14th June and is over 20 degrees and sunshine every bloody day. Hopefully as soon as the school holidays start it will begin precipitating in earnest!

  5. You are the right person to look after a garden. I couldn’t sacrifice a plant to a scientific test either x

    1. You understand exactly! I felt awful when I discovered the 'lone hosta' and saw the damage which had been inflicted upon it.


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