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Project 52 ’11 16: Quite Contrary

May 2, 2011

This post (if I can master the technology) is going to be a photo blog.

It’s a photo blog concerning my second dark secret. Aside from writing poetry, I garden.

I’ve always liked physical jobs; they give me a chance to think and to clear my head (more on this in a later post.) Gardening is great physical exercise and I like the amount of time I get to spend outside. Plus there is an expansive garden at my parents’ house which has got beyond their care in recent years so I have been given free range in it. It’s nice to have a place to escape to once in a while.
I’m not interested in the sort of gardening which involves flowers or shrubs, and I’m not one of these people who will memorise all the Latin names and tedious detail like how best to grow the plants. I am, however, interested in growing veg. Last year I had some success with runner beans, peas and tomatoes. This year, thanks to my increasing interest and my dad ordering a load of miscellaneous seeds from the internet, I’m hoping to expand my operations. Here’s how:

Greenhouse

This is the greenhouse where most of the plants start life. Once I have finished growing things in pots, I will move the benches on either side and use the soil on the right for tomatoes because I had great success with those last year – I was able to make 4 large jars of tomato sauce with all the tomatoes that I managed to grow. On the left-hand side I intend to grow cucumber and am also planning to grow lettuce, rocket and spring onions between so I should have quite a good range of salad. Last year I attempted to grow bell peppers on the left, but I ended up with fifteen plants and only two peppers, so I’m trying something else this year.

On top of the bench on the left are these:

Peas One

Peas Two

They’re pea plants and I have managed to grow these from seeds I saved from last year. There are quite a few plants and I am quite pleased at how well they’re doing. I wasn’t sure whether they would grow from seeds I had saved or not. I’ve even given a few plants away because I think I will have a surplus. I’ve constructed pea frames which I hope will give me even better results than I managed last year

Pea Frame One

Pea Frame Two

On the right-hand bench in the greenhouse I have potted beans. I didn’t save any seeds like I did with the peas so I was forced to go out and buy some. The good thing about buying a packet of seeds these days is that you’re almost guaranteed results as long as you follow the instructions and beans are particularly easy to grow. Here they are just a week and a half after having been put into pots:

Beans One

They’re already beginning to sprout. Here’s a close up :

Beans Two

In about two weeks they will be ready to plant out into the garden where they will hope fully grow up these canes:

Bean Canes

There is some shelving on the right wall of the green house that you cannot see on the above picture but on there I am beginning to grow aubergines and red onions. I don’t think these are two things which I would have chosen to grow on my own but they came as part of the seeds which my dad bought, so I thought I might as well give them a try and just see what becomes of them.

Aubergine

Onion

They will both need planting out soon, but I haven’t quite decided what to do with them.

Another packet of seeds which my dad ordered was cabbages:

Cabbage One

Here they are growing merrily in the greenhouse and I thought it was about time to plant them out in the beds I had prepared so they could start growing properly:

Cabbage Out

And that was all fine and dandy. But that picture was taken before the dastardly pigeons swooped down in the night and ravaged my brassicas! Luckily I had only planted twelve of them out and I had several plants still under glass. A lot of effort has gone into pigeon proofing the cabbages that are in the garden now and hopefully they will grow to a size big enough for them to be free from the winged menace.

Something I know nothing about is fennel. I can’t remember ever having eaten it and I’ve certainly never gown any. I’ve taken a bit of a risk with this one, but I think I’ll be rewarded. I just scattered the seeds on a piece of ground which I had dug over and rakes them in. Hey presto –

Fennel

Hopefully they’ll continue to grow of their own accord and I’ll be able to discover the delights of fennel. I think I’m right in thinking that fennel comes back year after year, so there should be a permanent supply of it.

The least-expected of all my dad’s orders are these:

Raspberry

They are raspberry canes. They come with a bag wrapped around their exposed root and you plant them out as soon as is possible. I think I might have just got them out in time because they are starting to show signs of life (No really, they are!) In the Autumn we should be enjoying homegrown raspberries. In the soil prepared behind them, these have just started to appear:

Beetroot

They’re beetroot and as long as the pigeons don’t make off with these as well, I should do quite well with them. I tried to grow some last year but I made the mistake of trying to move them and subsequently they didn’t fare very well.

Keep an eye out for a blog in a few month’s time detailing my progress. You will either see great armfuls of home-grown produce being harvested or my family sitting down to some well-fed pigeon pie.

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