Not Quite Spring


As I write this it’s the beginning of March and we’ve had a lovely warm spell but are now experiencing some wetter, cooler weather, and today it is blowing a gale here in mid-Wales. Rain is never a bad thing to be honest, it’s good to have rain sometimes, if not for the fact that the water butts are full again!


Since I last wrote, I’ve put in the Spring Onion sets, and I finally got round to buying some ericaceous compost so that I could take up the three, small blueberry bushes form the garden. They have now been put into planters and are getting a good rainwater drink as they sit. They have survived the Winter very well and are now happy in the pots.


In my last, and first, post here I wrote about overwintering a couple of things – so first off let’s chat cabbages! Here are my Cabbages transplanted from the greenhouse. I’m quite chuffed with these as I kept them covered with netting during the latter part of the year ,but after a while, I didn’t expect anything to try and eat them so I didn’t bother. Now they are looking very healthy indeed. I think I may perhaps be able to harvest them in about July.


I overwintered some Pea ‘Meteor’ climbing peas in the greenhouse and, with my hand as a guide, you can see how they are coming on after being planted in the poly house bed. Harvest is set around May time I think.


I also sowed, and left in the greenhouse, some Sweet Peas at the end of September. I think they’re ready to be planted out I would say!


A couple of failures were Beetroot and Turnip in the greenhouse. I had lots of greenery and leaves grew but nothing underground. Shame as I’ve grown these both outside quite well in the past; never mind, we live and learn.

Talking of the greenhouse….


This is what happened when Storm Eric hit. I was about as devastated as the greenhouse was because I’d hardly made any use of it and had lots of plans for it this year. I intended to grow all my tomatoes in there so as to leave space in the poly house, but that has been put paid to. However, I’ve adapted and bought some Tomato ‘Outdoor Girl’ seeds which I’m told by a friend are a good outdoor cropping variety. I’ll let you know how I get on.


Over the Winter I thought I’d lost my rhubarb crowns for various reasons, including the area having become very overgrown. But the other day I discovered one, and then the other. I made the decision to clear it and created a frame so they won’t get lost again, or damaged by my husband when outdoor jobs are being done! I built this frame out of ash branches, following him cutting back some trees in the garden. I have to say I love it!


I don’t grow flowers in general although this year I’ve decided to sow some Nigella. Although we have lots and lots of Daffs and Snowdrops in the garden, I’ve sown some Daff and Tulip bulbs in pots and happily found Crocuses pop up with no effort at all!


I think Spring may be on its way but we need to take care when the weather takes a turn and keeps us on our toes.


I look forward to writing again about how the season progresses.


Overwintering Edibles

As I write this first post we’re entering Autumn. There is a noticeable shift in the seasons as the mornings are a little nippy now but, thankfully, we still have some bright days to enjoy working outside. Things are still battling on outside including my dwarf beans, variety Ferrari, swede even though the leaves have been nibbled to death, climbing peas Colossus along with sweet peas and my Christmas spuds. (I love Christmas so make no apologies for mentioning it now!)

I have to say now is my favorite time of the year but I appreciate this is a bit of a weird thing to say when traditionally our gardens are a little quiet. However I love September as it leads to the cold months as my kitchen Rayburn is lit after the summer break, my boys love coming home from school to baked treats in front of the fire and I’m indoors planning for NEXT year!

My New Greenhouse and Bench

Ⓒ Louise Houghton – My New Greenhouse and Bench

Also at this time we can look to overwintering edibles and this year is my first year of trying.

I have only had a greenhouse since this summer (complete with my own greenhouse bench) so hope to make good use of it along with my wonderful polyhouse which my husband built.

I’m a bit girly regarding these two as you can see – can’t beat a bit of bunting and some bright paint.

Inside my Polyhouse

Ⓒ Louise Houghton – Inside my Polyhouse

I’m learning what’s best to grow in both the greenhouse and polyhouse; the latter I really need to start using as a poly tunnel as I think the structure really should make it work the same way…

In the polyhouse I started off some cabbages, variety Offenham 2, and these will be planted out in some of my tyres in which I grow various edibles; better be soon or they’ll be pot bound! (I know some people may not like the idea of having edibles in tyres because of the rubber but I find the heat kept in by them aids growth and the taste is never affected, plus I’m always looking for yet another place to plant out!)

Trays of spinach beet and beetroot were begun in the polyhouse and I planted the beetroot in the greenhouse after taking out the cucumber plant that has come to an end.

Homegrown cabbage and spinach beet

Ⓒ Louise Houghton – *Left to right – homegrown cabbage seedlings and homegrown spinach beet seedlings

The spinach beet is a fab edition when you want to bulk out a stir fry and this is now in a drainpipe also in the greenhouse but I grew it in my main patch in the summer and its still going strong. A drainpipe is another great place for planting out if short of space and I do this for lettuce in the polyhouse, too. My gherkins have been wonderful this year; I pickled some for the cellar store room.

What haven’t been good this year for me are the tomatoes; I’m always very nervous when it comes to growing these very useful edibles. I’m unsure if I under or over water, pinch out too much or not enough, etc. etc. Out of around 12 plants I’ve harvested literally a handful of fruit. Never mind as of course I’ll try again next year – learning all the time to do things better.

Well, hope to see you here again another time when I plan to update you on my overwintering efforts and whatever else is going on here in my little patch of paradise.

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