Friday 5 June 2020

It started with a plug plant

Our own Weigela - a young plant is on offer - interested?
I am afraid that we are cheating this morning. Remember those beautiful sunrises last month? This photograph was taken on 9 May at 5:45, or so the file information tells me. Having just come in from this morning's rather dull tour it is good to be reminded of how things were (see also the endpiece). The blossom belongs to a Weigela in our east facing border. The flowering has finished now but I am glad to say we have young plant in stock. It came along with the hydrangeas donated by Bobbie and Ernie. The hydrangeas were all claimed immediately but the Weigela is still available, probably because I did not think to mention it yesterday

As usual, get in touch and it is yours (first come, first served). Just think, if there had been one of the others left we could have made a joke about the Lone Hydrangea. Incidentally, the story about the Chuckleberry is true. However, with only four berries making a debut, I do not think we will be making Chuckleberry jam this year

A box of plants waiting to go out to a friend
Meeting the need
Looking back to the beginning of lockdown, our original idea of supplying plants for the flower border has worked well. To the extent that my energies are now directed to building up stocks again. Actually, it really started started 12 months ago when I purchased 72 plug plants. Online sellers often do deals on plug plants. I had ordered these to grow on for the annual plant sale that we help with (see earlier post here)

I had not realised just how small these plugs were so there was no way that the plants would be big enough to sell that season. But they certainly got business moving this year – especially with lockdown coinciding with such a warm Spring. So, planning ahead, we are again building up our stock. This time, with the experience gained, some plants will be ready for planting later this summer. I shall keep you informed about availability. In the meantime, we have …

Three varieties to choose from
Tomato plants
If you like bit-size cherry tomatoes you have a choice of Cerise or Supersweet 100. The main difference is the way you grow them. No particular skill is required with Cerise. It will grow in the ground or in a container. Once established, it should fruit heavily so some support is need. The photo (below)will serve as a reminder

Supersweet also produces cherry tomatoes but this variety should not be grown as bush but, rather, as a cordon. By this we mean a single stem that grows up a cane, or similar support. The easiest way to do this is to push an 8’ cane into the ground so the plant can grow to 6’ (2m). We have mentioned before that there are hundreds of videos on YouTube showing how to do this and the essential ‘pinching out’. This is the traditional method of growing tomatoes. Commercial producers now grow their vines to several metres - but they have the means to do it

Our third variety is Money maker. This has larger fruits but is cultivated in exactly the same way as Supersweet: that is, up a cane with pinching out

Anticipating a crop by providing support
To be honest, I think I sowed too many tomatoes - but better that way than the other. Please let me know if you would like some plants. You might also ask around among friends and neighbours - plenty available, right now

The order of the boot
With the return of wetter weather this perennial topic of slugs and snails comes up again. I have tried most control methods over the years. It won’t surprise you to hear that there’s no magic bullet. Mind you, I do not aim at eradication – I look for manageable control. With slugs, I kill on sight – that’s a few each day. They love to hide under plastic pots  and trays. As I have previously explained, I am sure that it is the frogs and toads who really control the population. I have plenty around because of the have a pond (more next week)

The gardener's friends keeping cool
Snails were once a huge problem. I used to go out at night with a torch rounding up as many as two hundred at a go. We a had a broom bush (Cytisus) – it was like a snail hotel. Looking back, I reckon it took me three years of active campaigning to get on top. At first, I collected and dumped but that became tedious, so I reluctantly adopted the order of the boot. Nowadays, I know where to look - you need to learn their ways. I collect them when I see them and deposit in a particular spot - and crunch! The remains are always devoured overnight. Cannibals? I guess it’s the frogs and toads at work again - having a pond makes such a difference

Balancing things out
Well, we draw to a close after another busy week. This old codger appreciates your interest. The project has certainly kept us out of mischief during lockdown. There are still some things I would like to improve on. Time is the main constraint, so we have decided to slightly reduce the number of blogs each week. We have been averaging four or five and think it better to aim at three posts but with better regularity. So, beginning on next week the pattern will be Monday – Wednesday – Friday. We will give that a try

I think it would be helpful to do something more on water in the garden. It is an essential aid to maintaining a natural balance so avoiding the use of harmful chemicals for pest control. In the meantime, keep that word in mind: balance

I almost forgot - the experiment. For new readers, I set up a trial comparing three types of commercial potting compost. The seeds were sown on 14 May. Here is today's photo. Spot any differences? Again, this is something for next week

Finally, I must share just one more photo with you. Thinking of the Weigela blossom above, it was a bit depressing stepping out in the damp and gloom this morning. I made for the greenhouse in order to record progress with the trial (photo right) rather concentrating on that objective. Somehow, I had not noticed these cheery chappies sat on the same bench. They just seemed to shout, "What about us?" So I took their photo, too (see below)

Have a good weekend ...

... with best wishes from your friend, the old Garden Codger


No comments:

Post a Comment