Saturday, 9 April 2011

Updating the veg beds, what we've been up to lately ... ...

Well it's all go in the garden department, the weather has perked up (thankfully) and we have been full steam ahead, planting things, getting other things started off in the green house (and in the house) and weeding, which I guess is a downside of the weather perking up, it's not just the useful stuff that wants to run rampant, although as we get more experience we've learnt to make use of anything and everything that we find in the garden, for example dandelions (which I quite like to photograph for some odd reason)

We get loads of dandelions, all over the lawn (good job we don't use it for bowls) but instead of weeding them out we now tend to eat them, in fact my wife does a nice dandelion pancake :-) and then there's stinging nettles, these as it turns out can be very handy things to have about, for one they attract bees and butterflies, which is good for pollination of other plants, and you can also eat them (yes you can eat nettles, quite tasty as it goes) not to mention the wine you can make out of them, which is rather interesting.
Nettles also make a good fertilizer, just pick some and leave them in a bucket of rain water for a week or so, it'll stink, but if you lay the mixture around plants (like a mulch) they'll thank you for it, you can also use them as a natural pesticide, again leave them in water, but only for a day or two, then spray the water on your plants, it'll help deter some pests.

This year we have ramped up production to much higher than anything we've tried before, every bit of space will be used, the idea is basically get as much from the garden as is possible, which is quite a task. I have already added extra growing room in the front garden in the form of three raised beds, and in my pursuit of extending the growing seasons I have updated one of the beds (with the view to doing all three eventually) with what I'd call a mini polytunnel, I got the idea from reading a blog that my wife follows (I know follow it as well) and I've tweaked it as an experiment.

Here's the blog I got the idea from (it's well worth reading)
Sylvan Spirit (opens in new window)

If you read through the post I linked to, you'll see some pictures of raised beds that have yellow pipe bent over them so that you can cover them in plastic of netting, a great idea (wish I'd thought of it)

As I said I've tweaked the idea a little to fit with the raised beds we have -

VoilĂ  one mini polytunnel :-)

Mine only uses two bits of plastic pipe, I didn't have enough to do it the other way round, and I've added some garden cane for extra strength. The idea is to see if it's possible to cover it in bubble wrap and some polythene sheet earlier in the year, my thinking is that the two layers should help warm the soil earlier, whilst insulating against frosts a little, which in turn should mean we can start things off earlier, least that's the theory :-)

Here's another picture, just in case you missed the first ;-)

Full of peas, we had to plant some more as some didn't germinate.
I'm looking forward to seeing if it will make a difference to production, if it doesn't it's still handy to have because you can cover them in netting which keeps birds of them, we have a lot of doves visit our garden, they love to pick the flowers off the peas.

This is one of the great things I've discovered about blogging, there are endless places to find inspiration for anything and everything, had I not read the blog I linked to I would never had tried this, and it cost nothing but a little time, but it might yield better results, which has to be good.

Make sure to drop and and have a look round the blog I linked to, it's good ;-)

Thanks for reading.


  1. Aw, thanks so much for the mention :)

    I'll send a link to my OH as the piping was his idea, he may find the info about nettles helpful too.

    Best of luck on your 'experiment', I'll be watching for updates!

    Thanks again~

  2. No worries, was glad to include the link, I'll no doubt write about how well it works :-)