Tuesday, April 24, 2012


My raspberry and strawberry plants arrived yesterday! I ordered them from Dobies of Devon a couple of weeks ago and they arrived safely as bare rooted plants - Joan J raspberries (an Autumn fruiting variety) and Royal Sovereign strawberries. The planting instructions are very comprehensive (a complete booklet!) and suggest waiting until the ground is not waterlogged. Given the weather over the last week and the forecast for the week to come, I decided to bite the bullet and plant them anyway - fingers crossed.
6 raspberry canes and 7 strawberry plants

5 strawberry plants went in Amy's raised bed


Arrgh! I lifted the fleece on my carrots, parsnips and beetroot to discover hundreds of ants have set up home. I remember hearing that ants like warm, humid conditions so putting the fleece on must have seemed like heaven to them. Do they actually do any harm? I'm not sure, but don't want to risk my precious seedlings. Maybe the birds will eat them?...

Having left the bed uncovered, I retreated to a safe distance to watch the flocks of birds appear, only to see the sparrows descend on the next bed over and start eating the cabbages!

The solution? I don't want to use chemicals, especially as I'm not sure the ants will actually do any harm, so for now the cabbages are going to be covered up and the root veg will stay uncovered. Watch this space...

Monday, April 23, 2012

DIY cloches

I read a magazine article recently (Green Times Issue 1, free with Kitchen Garden May issue) suggesting that you use plastic pipes to support covers over your raised beds. Well I've gone one step further in the thrift stakes. Now is the ideal time to prune forsythia, so I've used a couple of the longer stems to keep the fleece off my rapidly growing salads. Finally, a free bit in this project :-)

More warmth required

I have moved my mini greenhouse! The seed trays I brought inside a few days ago (see here) are already looking more promising, so I suspect my greenhouse was just not warm enough for them. The greenhouse used to be in the most sheltered corner of the patio, but this meant that it didn't get any sun until mid afternoon. I've moved it onto the West facing wall, where it is a little less sheltered, but should get sun  from early afternoon (not this week judging by the weather forecast!).