Six on Saturday: Creative Gardening – Success and Failures

I started writing my gardening post at seven this morning yet here we are nearly seven in the evening and I am only just finished. We have been extremely busy in the garden this week and the three raised veg beds are almost finished. I will create a separate post to review those later in the week. Who knew lockdown could be so physically exhausting. All the jobs you never found time to do and ended up at the bottom of the ‘JOB LIST’ are now at the top.

1. Plan B

What a week. The cat returned, barricades were erected and war declared. At 4.15 in the morning, the little monkey jumps over our gate, strolls nonchalantly up the drive, across the back terrace does its business on the raised vegetable patch then leaves.

Apparently the only effective cat deterrant is lion’s pooh or Plan B.

Cat barricade on raised vegetable garden
PLAN B Cat barricade on raised vegetable garden
PLAN B Cat barricade on raised vegetable garden
PLAN B Cat barricade on raised vegetable garden

2. Spinach – Winter Giant or Winter Whimp?

A few of the Winter Giant spinach seeds I planted on February 2nd are just about ready for harvesting. If I don’t eat them now the slugs certainly will Why does commercially grown spinach never resemble a crochet sampler? I planted another batch of seeds on the 16th and they are just poking through. A disappointing show for six weeks TLC. My conclusion: Either the soil never had enough nutrients, spinach does not like full sun or not enough/too much water.

3. Lollo Rosso Lettuce – A Home-Grown Success Story

This is excellent variety to grow from October through to February. I planted the seeds on the February 2nd and the seeds were ready for potting by the 25th February, although at this stage I was not sure if these were the Rossa or Bionda. I sowed a half tray of each. None of the Lollo Bionda germinated so I either forget to plant them or they were duff seeds.

I transferred to individual pots on the Feb 25th and once they had more space they changed colour!

After ten days (I needed the yoghurt pots) I replanted in their final home, a large recycled container which I cover with a plastic open veg crate to protect the baby lettuce from the birds and cats.

I’ve already made a note to sow another crop in October.

3. Marta’s Cherry Plum – Portuguese Tomatoes – Parentage Unknown

Last summer, when life returned to some degree of normalcy and we were allowed to socialise (within limitations) we went to some friends for a socially-distanced lunch. She gave us some of the sweetest tomatoes we’d ever tasted. The shape reminded me of grapes. Apparently, she bought them from an old Portuguese farmer who’d been growing this variety for years. Never one to miss a ‘seed’ opportunity I saved some of the seeds to some paper serviettes which I left on a shelf in the garage to dry, and then forgot about them. Imagine my delight when I found several serviettes covered in blobs of dried tomato – I am easily pleased.

Not expecting them to grow I cut one of the serviettes into squares and placed spaced out in the seed tray, sprayed with water and then covered with a layer of soil.

The seed trays are upcycled meat trays. Normally, I avoid buying prepacked meat but thanks to supermarket home-delivery I don’t have a choice.

Less than a month later they had germinated.

and were ready for potting on by the 12th March.

the youghurt pots are also upcycled.

The fine brita is to dter the slugs and snails and the babmoo canes to deter blackbirds and the cat.

4. Bolting Brocolli

I am extremely disappointed my brocolli has decided to bolt and the promosing little heads are opening in readiness to flower. I have been doing some research and apparently it is either not enough water or the soil is too hot. Well, it’s not the latter as the soil is wet underneath, so it must be the soil is too hot, which I also find hard to believe. Maybe I just decapitate them, remove some leaves and see if anything shoots from the side.

They remind me of Nabo Greleiro (Turnip Greens). I recently purchased 3 packets of these seeds in error mistaking them for sprouting broccoli. The devil is always in the detail.

5. Lemon Thyme, Purple Sage and Chocolate Mint

I wnt to the garden centre looking for Basil. No basil.They were only €1.80 each so why not? I’ve planted them in large pots for now until they are established.

Creative Upcycling

Both handles of our plastic laundry basket have now split. Gnome threw the basket in the pile of rubbish destined for the r bins, but I had other plans.

While he was out for a walk I attacked the basket with a Stanley, knife, secaters and scissors until …

Voilá! Where there is a will there is a way.

I now had the plant tray I need for my seedlings complete with a moat of gravel.

That’s my Six for this Saturday. Heartfelt thanks to The Propagator who inspires me to write a gardening post once a week.

24 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Creative Gardening – Success and Failures

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  1. That is a substantial cat deterrent, and I’m sure it will also help keep birds at bay! You also have a great crop of lettuce. When Mr S harvested the broccoli he left the plants in and they produced a secondary crop, more like what we buy here as broccolini, but still a great flavour. We harvested broccoli from the for months.

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  2. Nice! For the slugs, I have some modest success with the beer method. I put some cheap beer in a small catfood can or something similar and bury it up to its edges in the garden bed that has the slug trouble. Then I have to empty it usually each morning because slugs do love beer.

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  3. If the same grapes were grown by the same farmer for years, does that mean that they were grown from seeds from the previous year, or could he have purchased seed for them annually? Is there room for genetic variation? I purchase my seed, and I believe that the varieties of tomatoes that I want to grow are true to type if I ever want to get seed from them. However, I am also aware that some types are unpredictable. Of course, I know squash are unpredictable too, and have seen some unexpected surprises in other gardens, but have always had good results in my own garden. Actually surprises would not be unwelcome.

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    1. You will end up with a garage like ours. LoL IT’s full of rubbish. Last time we cleared it I discovered three old kettles which no longer worked. Apart from using them as plant pots … I don’t remember why we kept them.

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  4. And cats always poo in the next door garden (mine) rather than their own. One of these days I feel I should go and poo in next door’s garden and see how they like it. You are productive with your veg. I suppose you get a head start with your climate.

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    1. 🙂 you could always post it back over their fence. I don’t know where the cat comes from. … but now we have two cats using it as a toilet. Caught them on camera. A black cat and one with one white sock ,,,, the word has obiviously got out. Another solar powered catscarer arrives this week. We do get a little ahead with veg

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  5. Excellent examples of upcycling! When you get into the habit of thinking “I wonder how I could use that in the garden”, it’s amazing what can be thought up! Great news on the tomatoes germinating. I had a similar thing with the broccoli last summer, it was a Calabrese, so when I cut off the central head, lots of lovely fresh side shoots appeared – these are often better than the main head.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am beginning to drive my Gnome crazy with all my crazy upcycling ideas. 5L plastic bottles are the most useful. Anything from mini cloches, plant trays, storage boxes to collars to protect young plants from snails.

      I hope my broccoli have side shoots. It seems an awful lot of real estate to be wasted on one mouthful.

      Liked by 1 person

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