How does your garden grow?

I'm on a voyage of discovery in my first garden.
It's mostly about the veggies at the moment but I'm also discovering lots about flowers and other plants - quite often the hard way and always on a very tight budget.
But this blog is not just about my garden, it's about all the things I see and discover in Sussex and beyond and I would love to hear from you too.

Monday, 28 February 2011

Is this the cheapest greenhouse?

A few weeks ago I bought myself a portable plastic 'greenhouse' to grow a few salad crops but after a conversation with my mum, I decided to take it back.
Although it was only £17, I decided it was false economy. There was only room inside to grow a few things and the plastic on my mother's greenhouse had perished and subsequently ripped to shreds in only one season.
I decided instead to buy myself a greenhouse.
I looked at quite a few on eBay but they were not much cheaper than buying a new one. Sellers were also asking people to come and dismantle the frame and collect it themselves. It just didn't seem worth the money and hassle for something second hand.
After a hunt around I discovered Norfolk Greenhouses who are selling a 6'x4' budget greenhouse for £69.
The description says, instead of glass or polycarbonate, the steel frame is covered with PVC sheeting, supplied on a roll. The sheeting is buried in the ground, anchoring the greenhouse and preventing the sheeting from being blown away - a common complaint of people with plastic clear-as-glass panels in their greenhouse.
I imagined the PVC on a roll to be semi rigid like a coke bottle so ordered the thing.
Norfolk very kindly contacted me after I had made the order to clarify I knew exactly what I was buying and offered to send me a sample of the PVC before processing my order.
The plastic is not semi-rigid as I had imagined, but completely soft. Having said that, it is very strong, so I decided to get it anyway. Norfolk also offers a polycarbonate conversion kit so, if at a later date I am feeling a bit more solvent, I can upgrade.
The only health warning on the reviews I have read of this greenhouse is that it's a nightmare to construct.
Watch this space to find out how I get on.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Spring has sprung

Here are a few snaps I took this morning when it was misty and damp. A few rhododendrons and daffodils are out. There are plenty of snowdrops too.




Sunday, 6 February 2011

RIP Bob Robin

I have some sad news.
Bob, the cottage robin, is believed dead.
I arrived home from work on Friday and did my customary circuit of the garden and discovered a little bird snuggled down in a hollow in the lawn. He must have been there a while because he was dead and had a drooped wing and a ruffled chest as though he had been attacked. He was less than a metre from the bird feeder and the hedge where most of our garden birds congregate.
While I can't be sure that it was Bob, there have been two robins in our garden since the heavy snowfall in December. I had been surprised that they had managed to co-exist for so long.
I had been quite worried about one of them which had been hiding in a hollow under the snow during the bad weather. I had given him water and mealworms to help him through and he seemed to be doing okay.
There hasn't been a morning in a long time when I haven't seen our robin on the corner of the shed roof but yesterday morning there was no sign of him.
I left the dead bird in situ overnight, expecting a fox or larger bird to take him, but when he was still there on Saturday morning, I decided to bury him behind the shed where he spent so much of his time.
Whether its Bob or his rival, RIP little bird.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The search for poo

As usual, I'm playing catch-up in the garden.
A crazy work schedule combined with a hectic and snowy December meant the veg patch didn't get dug over and, although I cleared it and removed all the roots some weeks ago, I still haven't fulfilled my plan of replenishing the soil by adding composted manure. February is now here so I'd better get a move on.
I dug over my compost heap last week, hoping the bottom layer would be rich crumbly compost but it still has some way to go before it is ready.
The wormery has arrived too but with the frosts still lurking, I daren't populate it just yet.
I remember, in years gone by, passing farms and stables displaying signs advertising well-rotted manure. I always pondered who would take up such a revolting-sounding offer, but here I am at the age of 36 wondering where the signs have gone. I tried Twitter, eBay, Friday Ad and was generally keeping my eyes peeled but with no luck.
Hilliers Garden Centre is selling selling 80 litre bags of manure compost of £3.99 or five bags for £15 but it seems a lot of money for a few bags of poo.
But this week, to my joy, I discovered a stables in Isfield, East Sussex, which has a small mountain of the stuff - eight-year-old rotten horse manure - so today we took a drive down there and picked up a couple of bags at £2 a pop.
My plan tomorrow morning is to dig the lot in.
It might sound funny, but I can't wait!