lazy spud bedI rather reluctantly dragged myself back out there today, after a break of a few days for shopping trips. Although its sunny enough out there, and warm enough, its also rather windy: windy enough that its set off a vicious cycle of doubt. I started out digging the sweetpea bed, which, at the moment, is in just the right spot to get wind right in the teeth. And what do sweetpeas hate? you got it. After kneeling down to see if it was any better at ground level (it is, marginally), i decided to use the sods i was digging out of that bed to make a “lazy potato bed”, (as described by Irish Sally Garden) in front of it, to help act as a kind of windbreak. If i get actual spuds out of it at the end of the year, then bonus – frankly, i’ll be happy if they just grow. They haven’t cost me anything (they chitted all by themselves in my veg cupboard!) since they’re spuds i got from the supermarket that i didn’t eat.

[as usual.. more pics behind the cut…]

The biggest problem with the sweetpea bed is its proximity to the trees. Its absolutely chock full of roots, so its a nightmare to dig. I’m about half way there now, in terms of uncovering the grass, so i shall do that then tackle the roots, then dig out some of the topsoil. I’m probably going to get another delivery of fairfield compost in a couple weeks, another £12.50 load, for bed 3 and this bed, then i can put some in that bed, mix it with the topsoil, and then plant my sweetpeas.

Bed 1 and Bed 2 have seeds in them. So far, bed 2 seems to have something poking its nose above the soil, although i’m not sure whether its a spinach seed growing, or a bit of weed. Only one solitary bit though. The beans in bed 1 just don’t seem to have survived the broken stems and the transition to outside. Looks like you were right, Sarah. I’m still hoping they might recover. Maybe i should drastically cut the upper stems? No sign of any of the other seeds sprouting – whether it be the lettuce, spring onion, radishes or sugarsnap peas, even though they all say to sow in march. Its been a week. (Michiel laughed at me when i told him that, but my argument is: radishes grow to be edible in six weeks – after a week, you should surely see something!!! My biggest concern is the fact that the polytunnel has lots of holes in it – holes i assume to let rainwater in, but all the ones i’ve seen don’t have holes, and i’m just worried its not really doing the job of keeping the plants as warm as they should be.

Things are sprouting readily enough indoors (although my courgettes are showing no signs of growing), one of the cucumbers has sprouted, and a couple of the sweetpeas i sowed for mom. I’m just assailed by doubt. What if i start out well and as soon as i get anything outside.. it dies on me? what if i spend all this money and do all this work to get nothing back in return? what if i really do have a brown thumb? I want to cry and yell at the seeds.. “Grow, damn you! GROW!”. i won’t though. (i’ve seen the Good Life. They respond to emotions!!!)

beginning of Bed 3I also started digging bed 3. this one’s on the other side of the garden, starting where i had, a few years ago, dug a bed along the fence, and grew tomatoes in there. Grass has recovered it since then, but i discovered the difference between compact soil and non compact soil and how bloody easy it is to dig the noncompact stuff!! Oh my. bed three, if all the soil is like this (and tree root free!!! joy of joys!), is going to Jess guarding Bed 3be wonderful to dig out. That too, will have compost put into it, once the new lot arrives. Bed 3 actually won’t be straight, if you look at the garden plan, and where it says “flowerbed”, i’m going to dig up the sedum (might move that somewhere else, i quite like it), the wallflowers and the geraniums that are now in there, and make proper raised beds out of that whole area, a kind of uneven U shaped. I shall grow fruit bushes along the fence, raspberries and currants and stuff, and other things further in – most of the actual area of bed 3 will be turned over to winter veg, celeriac, leeks, and kale. Next to bed 3 will be the greenhouse, of course. I stood where i plan to have the door today, facing the house, to assess the wind level, and i think it will be okay where it is. most of the wind i could feel was coming sideways on, rather than rushing along the side of the house and hitting me in the face (which is how it would have to be, to blow the greenhouse away, with the door open. I think as long as i bury the edges and put guy lines on, it should survive days like today, and i’ll just take it down come wintertime.

I really do need to get planting with the other seeds i’ve got, but i’m short on window sill space. Sweetpeas are taking up a lot of room, and could do with hardening off now, which is fine – but where to put them at night? i’m thinking of actually getting a cold frame – wilkos sell plastic ones for £6 – and then i can pop the sweetpeas in there to harden off while i finish the bed (since i won’t be able to get the compost till 11th April at the earliest). that will give me some space to grow aubergines, more courgette plants (in case the four i’ve got on the go at the moment fail), and a few others. More beans. (i’ve got more beans – both climbing and dwarf french arriving next week, along with Kale, from a Seed Exchange) thinking of growing some lettuce/radishes/ springonion plants to put into the garden in case the seeds i sowed a week ago fail completely.

Jess sunbathingAnd finally.. it wouldn’t be a keth garden blog entry without Jess-Love, would it? C’mon, you gotta admit.. the dog is cute. she has this really cute habit of rolling onto her back, balancing a stick with her front paws, and chewing on it, while she wriggles happily in the grass. And i have tried so damn hard to get a pic of it, but she has a sixth sense where the camera is concerned and goes all camera shy. Like its beyond her dignity to be seen in such a cute, undignified, puppy position. So until i do manage to catch her like that… have one of her looking dignified. and grown up. And mature. which she definetly isn’t. (and no, i wouldn’t have her any other way either.)