Garden: Sweet peas from seed

I’ve had a packet of sweet pea seeds for two years and I keep meaning to plant them – in particular because everyone says how easy they are to grow and how pretty the flowers are. However the internet keeps telling me to soak them which is a bit off-putting

This year I am going to get informed and grow them!

The Royal Horticultural Society says that I should sow the seeds indoors between January and April – however they do not advise soaking the seeds; their suggestion is to place the seeds on top of moist kitchen towel in an airtight container in a warm room (15 degrees centigrade apparently)

(Picture from Gardener’s World)

Then when the seeds swell or sprout then you sow them – preferably covered with one centimetre of compost

The tricky issue of spacing is always something the internet has various opinions on, it seems 3 ish centimetres apart might be sufficient when planting the seeds, changing to 9 cm once the seedlings are 3.5 cm tall

AND then in April the January sown plants can be planted outside with a minimum spacing of 20 cm apart. I am starting to see why I put off growing these!

There is also them the matter of pinching out the tips when the plants reach 10 cm, apparently you want them to get bushy with side shoots – totally unlike tomatoes

Then as a final complication the plants want something to climb; a wigwam of canes or some netting structure which generally tie me in knots

I’m perilously close to informing myself out of trying these seeds – although maybe being so old they won’t germinate…

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Garden: Walnut Tree

We now have a second allotment, basically we were offered it and were going to decline – then Chris Grayling the Transport Secretary (?!) declared that a no-deal Brexit was all at going to be fine because the UK could simply grow more food

At which point having another allotment seemed a better idea than trusting the government to not send food prices skyrocketing

Anyway, the new allotment – affectionately nicknamed Site B, had a random tree on it, around six foot. The new neighbour – who was over the moon to have neighbours for the overgrown site,  advised that it was walnut tree and said it would be best removed

walnut tree

(Photo from Fast Growing Trees)

I took this with a pinch of salt until I decided to see how big walnut trees could grow… turns out 30 metres (100 feet) tall and 15 metres (50 feet) wide. This is rather too large for my tastes given the allotment is 125 square metres

it turns out you can’t even keep walnut trees in pots due to the ridiculously large and deep root structure that is required to support such a big  tree. So the walnut tree was cut down, which feels a little sad as it turns out that it was only six years old

Maybe I need to find a more manageable tree to grow in it’s place – assuming I can dig out the roots!

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Garden: Preparing for winter

The clocks have changed and it’s dark, and cold, and my motivation for most things is pretty lacking

However unless I fancy heating the greenhouse and moving things to be in it – which I don’t, then the garden needs some preparing for winter so things can stay in situ

This primarily means bubble wrapping the clematis and passion flower as well as adding an extra layer of woodchip to the pots they are in

Passion flowerjpg

(Photo from growfruitandveg )

The rhubarb and big rose get manure – unfortunately shop bought borderline-faux stuff for ease this year, then all the beds get a good layer of woodchip

oh yes, and clearing up the nasty leaves blown over from next-door’s nasty diseased tree. I wonder if next-door are as diseased as their poxy tree, if so perhaps they and the tree will die naturally next year; that would be very nice indeed

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Unexpected giant toad 

I was clearing the leaves out of the wood grate cover at the front of the house and one of the leaves moved!

Turned out to be a toad as big as the palm of my hand

It was probably feasting on the many worms that like hiding there

The giant toad was most put out to be moved into the back garden, however there was no way to get the wood back in place without risk of squishing – not entirely sure how I had moved the wood out without squish!

The trouble with gloves 

With a fun lacked weekend of fence erecting ahead of us I thought some nice new sturdy gloves might be in order.

So I went to Homebase and found a leather/cotton mix for myself and then saw some sturdy water proof looking ones that I thought looked good for the Husband.

Buying a promotional stickered three pack of the water proof ones was the same price as buying one – so I bought the set of three.

Get them home, ask the Husband what he thinks and he says “great, but they contain nitrile” which means that he’s allergic to them!

Bother doesn’t really cover it! So he’s going to steal my gloves. 

Garden: Decoy / companion plants

I can’t comment on if the chemicals are winning against the aphids as I’m so unhappy using them that I’ve not being using it as much as the instructions tell me to.

Thankfully the internet found me something that I was happier with – decoy and companion plants.

The idea is that you plant flowers that attract or deter bugs / disease near the flowers you are uber concerned about.

marigold

(Photo from Wiki)

I’ve planted some marigolds to try to attract the aphids from the rose, they also look pretty which is nice!

The internet tells me that planting garlic near roses might also help, so now I really fancy trying growing garlic!

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Garden: Freaky giant grubs

Ever since I started digging in the garden I’ve been finding lots and lots of large icky looking white grubs / larvae varying from tiny to nearly 5 cm long.

They are fat and gross looking – which hasn’t really narrowed down my Google results which just showed me lots of random ick looking grubs. I was working on the assumption that because it was a grub it ate plant roots.

As such I may have been treating the grubs as free bird food.

cockchafter

(Photo from Wiki)

However this evening we saw a giant flying scarab style beetles that look very out of place in the UK, the bug was so distinctive that a quick Google search revealed it to be a cockchafer beetle.

Also known as a May Bug, the beetles themselves are harmless they chop on plants – but to a lesser degree than the grubs which are also known as rookworms.

It was a shock seeing so many big flying bugs in the garden today, but it is nice to know what the grubs are!

Copyright © WhereEvilThoughts 2015 – excluding pictures! Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to WhereEvilThoughts with appropriate and specific direction to the original content