It has been a while now since I posted about sowing the first seeds of the year. So I thought it was time I posted an update on how the gardening is coming along.
The recent sunny days have really stimulated growth!
The tomato plants are coming along a treat. I like trying different varieties, and the ones I am growing this year are Sungold, Apero, Romello and the reliable Money Maker.
I will keep some in the greenhouse all summer, and have already moved others outside.
We have several bags of potato plants which are growing fast and look really well. I got these bags from Thompson & Morgan last year. They may not look pretty, especially as this is their second year of use, but the handles make it really easy to move them around the garden. Our garden has a lot of shade, so it is useful to move things to sunny spots during the day.
After having success with Minipop sweetcorn last year, I am growing this again. The little baby corn are great in pasta dishes and stir fries. And the corn plants are interesting.
Strawberry plants in various pots are looking good, despite having had a few nasty greenfly problems. The greenfly seem particularly bad this year – I wonder if other people have noticed this?
I have had a blueberry bush for a couple of years now and it is very productive, though the fruit are a little tart (probably due to a shortage of sun at the crucial time – maybe it will be better this year). Unfortunately I am not sure of the variety.
The raspberry bush shown below is variety Ruby Beauty, one of several I bought this spring from Thompson & Morgan. It is looking great, with flowers just forming, and I have high hopes!
I also have a dwarf blackberry bush, variety Opal, again ordered from Thompson & Morgan, which has been a bit slow but is now showing good signs of growth.
Also growing well in pots, tubs and bags around the garden are various varieties of lettuce, oriental leaves, peas, beans, chillies, broccoli, carrots, spring onions, leeks, herbs – and even a few flowers. I will post more photos later in the year when the veggies (hopefully) start being productive. And to think I wasn’t going to do so much this year…..
The big news is that, after spending up to 2 hours a day watering pots in the height of the summer last year, we finally got round to installing a Hozelock system. Well actually, two.
We got a three way tap connector (one of which acts as a directional tap – see photo above). We then bought two Hozelock kits with automatic timers – one for each side of the garden. It was then a matter of locating Supply hoses around the garden, and adding side branches as necessary to water various pots, hanging baskets and our VegTrug.
I thought this would be difficult, but once you get the idea it is actually much easier than I expected. I was also a bit dubious that there would be enough pressure to supply the hanging baskets and VegTrug, but they both work a treat.
We still have a few extensions to add, and quite a bit of tidying up to do so the supply hoses are less visible, but I was very impressed with how quickly we had a working system. The VegTrug is already benefiting. Last year it was a complete failure (see Mistakes Made With A VegTrug). But in its new location with plenty of light, and a regular, consistent supply of water, plants are already showing good signs of growth.
I bought our two Hozelock kits, and various extra components including the three-way tap, online from Keen Gardener. They had the best prices I could find, and the delivery service has been excellent. When I made a mistake with one of my orders they sorted it out immediately, and I can wholeheartedly recommend them.
As you can see from the photo of the tap above, I bought two different types of kits to compare. One uses a 13 mm supply hose, to which you attach smaller 4mm micro hose to supply each of the pots. The other relies completely on the 4mm micro hose. Both kits seem to work equally well.
The automatic timers mean that, in addition to spending less time and effort watering each day, I will also not be worrying about my plants when we are on holiday. I am sure my neighbour will also be relieved…
I am really enjoying my new gardening hobby. Hopefully I will soon be able to post photos of the first harvests from some of these interesting plants. Watch this space…..
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