Greenhouse Protection….

Last year was the first year we added protection to the greenhouse. ⁣

In the height of summer the greenhouse is in full sun from early morning until around 3pm. This means the greenhouse gets super hot! (sometimes too hot to stand in there whilst I water the plants). Even with the door open and both windows open it can be unbearable some days. Although tomatoes love the hot weather, their poor leaves were getting scorched

We therefore decided to buy some scaffolding mesh to make some shading. We attached it onto the metal frame work of the greenhouse using stretchy net wire on the top and bottom of the frame. The ends of the mesh were secured to the side of the frame using greenhouse clips. ⁣

The mesh was removed around September time, once temperatures had come down and it was no longer needed.

I was a little worried the mesh would lower our overall yields if the plants weren’t getting as much sun, but I can’t say I noticed any difference and the plants seemed a lot happier, with less wilted leaves.

July on the plot..

It’s that time of the month again where I show you guys how well the allotment garden is doing since last month. ⁣

I wasn’t sure if much had changed since June but boy I was wrong. The Sweetcorn has double in size and shouldn’t be long before we are enjoying them on the BBQ on a warm sunny evening.

The runner beans frame is looking amazing. The plants have already reached the very top of the frame. Plenty of beautiful orange flowers so fingers crossed it shouldnt be long before we see those lush green bean growing. The potatoes seem to be taking over the plot too. I think they are just around ready to harvest.

We’ve already harvested plenty of radish, salad and strawberries. We don’t really get much of a look in when it comes to the strawberries as soon as the girls noticed they have turned red they quickly eat them!

I’ve also noticed two of the gladioli bulbs I plants at the end of April should be flowering soon. ⁣

Hope everyone has a lovely Monday sadly I think it’s pretty much going to rain here all day!

Runner Bean Frame…

No garden would be complete without runner beans. I’ve never personally tried them but always happy to grow them for others, maybe i’ll eventually try them. This year my Mum asked me to grow some, so back in April I sowed 8 seeds with my daughter Freya which we started off in a propegater then moved on into the greenhouse.

I’ve since learned that I might have sown them a little too early, so just on the safe side I’ve sown a few more in case anything happens to the first ones.

Due the Coronavirus lockdown we’ve been spending all our free time in the gadren and its really starting to take shape. We decided to plan out the vegetable area on the computer. My husband Chris was looking online for information on runner bean spacing and came across a website with instructions on how to make a wooden bean frame. The instructions looked pretty simple to follow so we decided to give it a go and ordered few lengths of timber.

Our timber arrived the very next day so I gave the wood a couple of coats of paint. The colour we went for was Cuprinol Willow, I think it gives the frame a more professional look. As soon as the paint dried we started work on putting the frame together (with a little help from our other daughter Olivia), which took no time at all

With the frame built we moved on to next step, adding supports for the runner beans to climb up. The instructions suggested using bamboo canes; I personally didn’t think these looked very good so we decided to go with twine string instead. Stringing the frame took forever due to the intricate design my husband went for (each side took over 2 hours to string up!) but looking at the finished article it was well worth the effort. If you want to make your own it would work just as well with a simple string design.

The final step was to add the metal hinge and the frame was complete.

We are so pleased with how its turned out. Hopfully in the next couple of days we can plant out the runner beans once the chance of frost has finally cleared. I will update later in the year with progress

If you fancy making your own bean frame all instructions can be found on here:

Strawberry Cage Revamp…

Back in 2016 we set about making a wooden strawberry cage after a family of squirrels kept stealing all our strawberries! With the help of my husband we made a pretty good cage complete with two top opening lids.

For a number of years the strawberry cage provided us with basket fulls of yummy strawberries.

The cage has since become a bit overgrown and the plants weren’t producing as many strawberries. The cage was also starting to look a little sorry for itself.

Thanks to the current Coronavirus lockdown I decided to remove all the old strawberry plants and replace them with new ones. We had a look over the cage and one of the pieces of wood had started to rot quite badly, so we replaced the rotten piece and gave all the timber a good coat of paint.

Next we drew our attention to the mesh. The original mesh was thin chicken wire, which was really rusty and had come away from the sides of the cage in places. It took a good hour to remove the old wire mesh and remove every single staple. After a quick search online we settled on a roll of galvanised heavy duty wire mesh from Wilko costing £14. The mesh was easy to fit and was complete in a couple of hours.

We are calling this cage the Mk 1.5 due to changing that wire mesh we used. If we were to make another cage later on down the line we would have stapled the wire mesh right the way across the strips of wood before adding in the centre & end supports, so we didnt have to bend the mesh around the vertical pieces of timber.

Our new strawberry plants should be with us in the next of week and hopefully we will be picking some lovely red juicy strawberries later in the summer.

Growing with the girls…

I think there is nothing more important than teaching young children where fruit and vegetables comes from.

My 3 year old twin daughters Freya & Olivia both love helping out in the garden, whether it’s doing a bit of weeding or sowing seeds, they are always willing to lend a hand. Due to the tough times the world is currently going through in regards to the Coronavirus, the girls have been spending more and more time outside in the garden.

This week the girls have sown some Peppers & Carrot seeds kits, which we had free from Marks & Spencer food hall. The kits came complete with a biodegradable pot, soil tablet, seed mat and a handy pop out plant label so you don’t forget what’s been planted

The girls love to watch the soil tablet growing on size. The seed mat was super easy to sow and we didnt end up with loads of wasted seeds on the greenhouse floor for once. We popped the seeds into the heated propagator for a few days until they started to germinate.

It’s been a couple of days since the girls planted their seeds and they’ve already started to grow beautifully. I’ll make sure we keep everyone up to date on their progress with plenty of photos on Instagram and a blog update later on in the year.

Mud Kitchen…

Trying to look after 3 year old twin girls whilst trying to juggle a gardening hobby can be quite tough going. One evening I was browsing Pinterest whilst the girls were thankfully asleep for the night, I came across an idea for a mud kitchen. One twin in particular loves messy play and anything that involves playing with water. So a mud kitchen was a perfect addition to the garden to keep both girls busy whilst we got on with the gardening chores. I mentioned the idea to my father in law who knew of a metal kitchen sink being given away. My husband picked up two wooden pallets for £5 from the Facebook market page.

Tools and materials in hand my father in law set to work making the mud kitchen with a little help from the girls. In little to no time the girls had fantastic looking kitchen which they couldn’t wait to play with. Then my father in law went one step further and added running water! He used an old water butt and some garden hose pipe to connect the water butt to the cold water tap on the sink and hey presto – running water!

I picked up some cheap kitchen utensils and pots and pans from Poundland, then raided the kitchen for anything we no longer used. I also added a couple of sponges, washing up liquid and hand wash to give it a real kitchen feel.

A few days later on a sunny bank holiday weekend in August we had a garden party with several friends and their children. The mud kitchen was such a hit we had to fill the water butt up several time during the day.

Hopefully this new garden addition will keep the girls busy for many years to come. It’s amazing what you can do with a couple of old pallets and a sink!