Pea sprouts in compost about 8 cm tall possibly learning to socially distance

Serendipity Strikes Again

So managed to get a busy day in the garden on Saturday. Back of an envelope list as long as a yard arm. With lockdown, and not wanting to make non-essential trips out, I am fortunate that I do have a stock of poles, netting and trays to use and have not needed to order online. As always some things can wait but the need for supports and netting wait for no man.

Tick - Bean poles up ready for the indoor sown runner and climbing french beans. 

Tick - Peas sown in trays after soaking and sprouting

I have had to resow my peas as something (probably mice) has eaten all the peas I soaked and planted outside! Possibly a good thing as I was thinking I’d re-site the pea netting, re-used over many years, which as much as being there for the peas to climb up, is also a great protection from pigeons - but not rodents!

This week one of my dilemmas was whether to start planting out.  Last week we saw some sharp frosts. In this area we should be frost free by the end of May. Now mid May but should I risk it? Brassicas no problem, tomatoes though? I put two in and then decided not to risk more. Ten o’clock that night the sky was looking too clear with a possibility of frost and I realised I hadn’t put fleece to protect them. The fleece was lurking somewhere in the greenhouse, down the steps at the bottom of the garden where once on a dark night I disturbed a badger. Rather than risk another encounter serendipity struck in the shape of a large flat cardboard apple box. Duly wedged between the two tomato poles to afford, I hoped, enough protection should it frost. Glad to report all is well.

In the greenhouse my tomatoes are thriving. Last year I tried out some of the ring culture/supports for my greenhouse grow bag tomatoes. They worked well in a more confined space. As I was thinking about planting my outdoor tomatoes, remembering to plant deep, which is not always possible even with the bigger grow bags, I hit upon the idea of using old mushroom punnets to build up the soil around the base of the tomato stem. While I’m not that good at crafting, even I can manage to cut the bottom out of old mushroom/fruit punnets. Anchoring in place with the tomato stake, I then filled with compost building up the level to give the plant something to root into.

Empty Mushroom punnets on growbag   Mushroom punnets located on grow bag and filled with compost

A tip I found online was to use plastic bottles filled with water to weigh down fleece of weed control fabric. Useful as have handles making it easier to move off the fleece to access the plants. It came with the warning that they tend to leak from the lid. So why not use this to my advantage to water some of the thirsty outdoor plants such as tomatoes and courgettes. Prototype needed a couple of skewer holes at the top of the handle to let the air in as the water leaks out. Looks like it might be worth a try.

Back to blog