No dig gardening update...

by Value hunter  

I feel a bit of a gardening fraud!

My no dig garden patch, is sat there slowly growing, all I've had to do is water it every other day.
The tomato, pea pods, lettuce, sweetcorn and cucmber plants, brought on in the recycled greenhouse, are doing fine.

One thing I have noticed, is the reduction in slugs, there are little to none.
Worms a plenty though when I took the carpet off to plant in.

Touch wood it stays this way...

No dig progress

by Value hunter  

My no dig, front garden patch is making progress.

Around 3 weeks just leaving the old carpet and waterproof cover on, I pulled it back to reveal most of the weeds / grass has yellowed and was dying out.
Next up, a tonne bag of black, rotten compost. Not enough coverage, so found a local farmer who keeps horses. Another three tonne, of almost rotted down horse manure, raked over the top and recovered for 24 hours, to help flatten it all down and settle.

Next up, start planting out.

No dig progress
Planting out seeds and greenhouse started seedlings...


Sweetcorn (seed), cucumber (greenhouse grown), carrots, spinach (sprog2's request), golden onions and red onions all planted in, half a patch still to fill with lettuce, tomatoes, garden peas (all greenhouse grown), along with spring onions and something I've grown in the greenhouse but can't for the life of me, remember what heh.

More progress, if any, to follow...

No dig gardening...

by Value hunter  

I've been watching some of Charles Dowding's videos over on his website ( regarding no dig gardening.

I've got a mess of a front garden, some bulbs and flowers in one half, with a temporary drive, made up of concrete, plaster, junk and what I later found, was a sheet of visquene on the other side, divided by three old concrete lintels I put in to seperate, a few years ago.

It was a mess, so what the hell, let's give this no dig gardening a shot.

I broke up the plaster and concrete waste and removed the visquene from under it all, leaving everything else in.
I pulled up loads of weeds by hand and chucked them on top.
Removed the lintels, left the nettles in and the grass popping up, as well as the bulbs, the recurring flowers that were just starting to sprout.
Then covered the whole lot in an old woollen carpet, weighted down with stone and an old prop.

In three weeks' time, I'll lift the carpet and put about 6 inches of manure/compost over it all, then leave it for another two weeks.
Our neighbours think I'm nuts.

I've started some seeds off in the greenhouse, after two weeks they are starting to come through, cucumbers, corn on the cob, lettuce and stacked up on onion bulbs.
I plan to leave some of the flowers around the edge and the buddlea tree that's been in about two years.

A no dig garden
Working on a no dig garden
I'll report back and we'll see how it goes...

Greenfly solution - cigarette butts?

by Value hunter  

Here's a cracking solution for killing greenfly... cigarette butts!

Save your cigarette ends, add some water, leave over night, sieve the mixture off and into a spray bottle, spray your roses with it.
Job done, next day, no more greenfly!

My usual tactic also works, washing up liquid with water in a spray bottle, seems to seal the greenfly in, they don't recover.

Either way, it's a win-win on greenfly.

Planting for 2015

by Value hunter  

After giving the garden a relative year off, it's been all systems go this week, now the sun is with us.

Apart from a few tomato plants and trying to grow parsnips last year, we didn't really do much.

Strawberries were moved to a different patch after 3 years in the same place, some drain guttering left over from the house extention was fixed to the fence, growing strawberries out of them has been difficult but we try again.
I've seen some old wellies being used on fences so I may try that for something different.

I've also spotted something useful with old pallets, filling them in between the lats, with soil and growing veg inbetween. I have a few old pallets knocking around.
The canopy/fruit growing idea is still there, I doubt funds will be available to get the wood for the posts but you never know, some housebuild might have some useful wood to chuck away that I can reuse. I think it will look good with fruit growing on the roof of a shelter.

I had to fix the shed roof first, much wind and rain around here lately caused water to sit on the old boards, these have been left in place and two new almost fully covering sheets of 2-ply have been fixed, with tarpaulin added over the top and screwed down all around, this should do the trick until I come across any more house extentions that are using 3-ply boards instead of glass for windows.
Free wood used to be plentiful, but I guess times are hard for many so not as much of it about lately.

This year I've gone for a different planting style, which was an idea of the 5 year old sprog2.
Instead of one crop per growing area, I've doubled/trebled them up for some variety.
At the back of one area I've put in two rows of corn on the cob, with a row of onions in front and a row of spring onions in front of them.
This is something similar to an old native american trick, of growing 3 differing types of crop together. The idea is that one crop prevents pests for the other and so on.

In area 2, I've planted a row of leeks, with two rows of chives in front of them. Area 3 will have peapods again this year, it's only small and the netting is still there from last year so should do the trick as long as I get them in early enough. (Shamefully it was June before I got them in last year, in part as I was being lazy, in part as my market greengrocer kept selling out of them!)
* I tend to grow what I can salvage seeds from rather than buy the seeds in a packet - this way I grow what we like to eat rather than grow for the sake of it. Peapods need to be opened and dried, before soaking and replanting.

I've got the seeds ready for the tomatoes to go in the recycled greenhouse, as well as a huge pot for the lemon trees!
For a test, I got some pips out of lemons last year while trying my hand at making cheesecake with real lemons, from the market.
Everywhere I read that it takes around three years for them to even sprout, to my surprise, the three pots I planted them out in, two of them have grown to a couple of inches tall, so I will move them into a big pot in the greenhouse and see how we get on.
I will keep them fed with comfry water while they take. (or IF they take?)

I've got some peppers to go in as well, will also use some of the left over seeds from the chives for the greenhouse.
I did pick up some lettuce seeds, love fresh lettuce on butties with cucumber, but for the life of me I cannot find them in the madhouse.
The grapevine is just starting to bud again, this is year 4 since I planted them, so the grapes should be a bit bigger and sweeter this year.
I am determined to get it growing across from the removed greenhouse window across the wall this year, I had a little progress last year but nothing to write home about.

Once that little lot is done, it's just a case of keeping them watered, then it's on to the front garden and weeding and planting the night scent flowers etc.

One final thought on veg, etc. is mint. Do not plant it out in a growing area or border, keep it in a tub.
Digging over today, hardly any leaves on it, but hell fire the roots of it were everywhere and it's only been in a year!

As always gang... happy digging!

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