Thursday, 26 February 2009

Orchid Tent.

I noticed this morning that a couple of the orchids are sending up flower spikes, one was so far advanced that it was in need of staking. I think this is best done sooner rather than later as I've actually broke one off in the past when it was almost ready to flower which was quite a nuisance. I'm no expert on orchids so the above is just my own feelings on the matter. I have noticed that they do like to be kept quite warm. I used to try and grow them just in the greenhouse but found they didn't so well and went almost yellow in the winter so I made this tent like contraption to house them in the winter. If you look at the first picture you will see three yellow strips running along the back and down the side. These stips are heated cables and go all the way round the sides and also on the bottom of the box. They are connected to a thermstat which is set to 25C and the orchids are now much happier.

Here is a longer view of the tent open to give accesss to the plants.
And here it is closed up, I would sometimes like to climb in there myself and pull down the curtain on the cold and damp!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Today I will show some pics of the greenhouse, there is no special reason for this other than I’ve been asked a couple of questions about the greenhouses of late also I mentioned the other day that there is quite a bit of work you can be doing in the greenhouse if you have one.
This first picture is the cool part of the greenhouse, I keep this part about 5 degrees above freezing during the winter. At the moment there are mainly a few pot plants in to give a bit of colour but as things warm up these will be moved out in to the conservatory and this house will be used to bring on summer bedding plants and Tomatoes.

This house is the warm house and the temp is kept around 15C in here all through the winter. This is where I keep house plants that like a bit more heat. Later on these plants will also go in to the conservatory and I will grow melons and cucumbers in here, also the orchids will be in here too. At the moment they are in a heated propagator where I can keep the temps up around 25C.

I got my car back from the garage tonight, it’s been in to get a service and have the brakes done. Unfortunately I didn’t get the bill yet as they didn’t have it ready tonight when I went to pick it up. You probably wonder why that’s unfortunate but really I would rather know what the damage is than spend time guessing what it might be.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


I know I said that I would show you how I’m training the Quince tree but I will have to postpone that for a little while as I didn’t have time to get the pictures yet. With the weather being so nice I’ve been making the most of it and getting stuck in to pruning and tidying up the rose garden.

Instead of the tree training I will show you a couple of pics of the seed potatoes I have set out for chitting on the potting shed bench. By doing this your potatoes will have a head start when you plant them out. Early varieties will crop earlier and more heavily if chitted. You just need to set them out in a light, cool but frost free place a few weeks before planting.

Also here is a picture of what I think is a nice Primula that I have in a pot in the cool greenhouse.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Planting The Quince.

Today the weather was plenty good enough to plant the Quince tree that came the other week. I thought the boss might have let it grow as a tree in the open but it turns out he wants it training as an espalier against the west wall of the walled garden. So first of all I dug the square hole as is the fashion these days and then worked plenty of compost in to the bottom before positioning the tree.

The tree wants planting to the depth it was before being dug up at the nursery. If you can't see where that is then just be sure not to bury it so deep that the union where the tree was grafted to the root stock is buried. As a rough guide to getting the depth right I lay the spade across the hole to give me an idea of what the soil level will be when the hole is filled in.

Take a few minutes to look at the tree and work out which is its best side and how you plan on training the branches. Once you have it how you think is best stand back and take a long look. Its best to take your time and do the job right because the tree is going to be there for a long time.

Next you have to back fill the soil, I mix a good amount of compost in with the soil as I go and keep on firming with my foot. Keep checking the depth of the tree, if it looks like it's going in a bit deep just gently ease it up to the right level and then firm with the foot again. Keep doing this until you have all the soil back in around the tree and make one more check to be sure you haven't buried the join of the tree and root stock.

Tomorrow I will show you how to train the tree.


Sunday, 22 February 2009

Some Jobs For Week 8

Hello everyone. This week in UK and gardeners with a likewise climate can attend to the following work.
There is a lot of greenhouse work to be done with the sowing of half-hardy annuals such as antirrhinum, Begonia semperflorens, cosmea, lobelia, marigolds, nicotiana, and petunia to name but a few. If not already done you can now bring dahlia tubers out of store if you wish to increase your stock from cuttings. Place in a box and cover the tubers with peat or old compost and set out in a warm greenhouse and soon they will start to put out shoots for cuttings. This week is the time to make an early sowing of celery. If you aren’t able to maintain a temperature of between 16 to 18C during the germination period then this may be a job that is better left for a little while. Make a sowing of maincrop tomatoes for growing on in the greenhouse through the summer. If you have a warm sheltered place in the veg garden you can make a sowing of turnips. As with a lot of veg its better to make small sowings at regular intervals of about two weeks rather than one big sowing which will probably end up being mostly wasted. It’s now getting plenty late enough for buying and planting bare rooted shrubs and trees so if you plan on doing that this year be sure to give the job your full attention this week. Anyone who has grass to cut needs to get out the lawn mower and make sure everything is working as it should. This job should really have been done before now as the mower shops will already have plenty of work on servicing equipment so if you aren’t sure about the condition of your mower you need to check it out pretty darn quickly.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Peas, Beans & Beetroot.

Peas, Broad Beans and Beetroot growing on in the conservatory.

Hopefully these will provide an early crop after being planted out in the garden once the weather picks up.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Busy People.

Have you noticed that these days everyone is too busy? Some are 'too busy' to even be polite it seems.

We often hear of people talk about renewable energy, unlike energy time is not renewable, time is a precious thing in limited supply So tell me....

Well, whatever you do besure to make time for your family and friends.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Quince Arrives

Today I took delivery of the new Quince tree that I ordered from Blackmoor Nurseries Everything arrived in good order as can be expected from this company. The important thing with any living plants is to unpack it straight away and if the roots of trees are dry stand them in a bucket of water for a while. In this case it wasn't needed as the roots were still damp.
The unboxed tree, the plastic bag helped to keep the roots moist.
Had the weather been right for planting I would have done so straight away but the ground still had a covering of snow and ice so I planted it up in to a pot for safe keeping until the weather is right for planting.
This variety is a Meeches Prolific and has "beautiful flowers and large pear shaped fruits. Makes delicious jellies and pie fillings when combined with apples or jelly or marmalade when used on their own. Pick fruits in October. Self-fertile".