Lockdown Day 33: Victory Garden Progress

I’ve been so busy this week. But it’s not just taking advantage of the glorious weather to work on my victory garden, it has also been a coping mechanism that is helping with worry which is there hidden underneath the smiles and giggles. We all cope in different ways, whatever we do is probably the best thing for us! For me, it’s working my butt off and collapsing into bed knackered and not getting dragged into the relentless heated discussions on the Coronavirus in the media and on social channels (which I’m finding has a negative impact on my psyche). While I do spend a little time reading some scientific information and studying the effects the pandemic is having on our global supply chain including food security, I guess trying to make plans for an uncertain future is probably most at the forefront of my mind.

Today I turned a huge mound of dug up garden turf and cardboard into a no-dig bed under the back wall for potatoes. I hope to add in 10 plants there once my vege-grow topsoil arrives from Dandy’s. I don’t know if I mentioned but that area of the garden seems to be literally 4 inches of soil over a solid bed of stones and gravel.  I also now have enough space left for a second compost bin too (and it looks like I’ll need that!)

A couple of weeks ago I ordered two bundles of green willow from ‘Somerset Willow Growers’ to make wattle hurdles for the vegetable beds. First I made a couple of wigwam/obelisk type frames out of the willow which I will use for beans/peas/tomatoes so I will probably make a couple more too! I then started cutting some tree branches down to make garden stakes for the willow borders and then finally stripped the willow whips of all the extra little branches before weaving them in and out of the ground stakes. It’s very rustic looking but I love it. Have always wanted this medieval type of garden border. It takes such a long time to do though and I have three more beds that need these too!

Today I also put in 5 dwarf English Lavender bushes which are now looking down over the bottom victory garden. I hope they take and grow as it will be lovely to see more butterflies and bees. Yesterday we had all the trees cut down to head height between the neighbour and I as the tree branches were completely overhanging his garden and blocking out all the light. It means now that my garden is super sunny for veg growing. Tomorrow the overgrown flower borders have to be weeded as this is the area I’d like to grow some courgette and butternut squash.

My seedlings are growing slowly, the garlic is in and I’m chitting some seed potatoes. I still don’t know what to put in each of the small beds at the bottom of the garden but would love onions and probably carrots and maybe cauliflower. Luckily I have a little while to think about it as it might be a couple more weeks before the topsoil arrives. I put in some ‘Black Hollyhock’ seeds, ‘Blue Delphiniums’ and ‘Lupins’ into some trays so might plant those along the fence line between my neighbour and I when those come through and are big enough to transplant.

Finally, I feel like I’m beginning to get somewhere.

C xxx

16 thoughts on “Lockdown Day 33: Victory Garden Progress

  1. I agree with you! Too much focus/discussion on corona virus just doesn’t feel healthy. Better to do stuff and focus on what we actually can do something about.

    I also love the idea of wattles and would like to try it some day. Over here in the U.S. I have only known one person to do it, and sadly, I think she has passed away now. I don’t know if I could buy bundles of willow, but I could probably find a farmer who would let me harvest willow branches, because they are all over Ohio. I know it’s cheeky to ask, but any chance you might video yourself when you do the next one? I know it’s just simple weaving, but there’s nothing like actually seeing someone do it. You made your garden look so gorgeous! I’m sure you can’t wait to see things start to come up. I can’t wait to see what it looks like in a couple of weeks.

    I’m all excited today because I have been given the use of a farm. Like… a whole farm, as little or as much of it as I would like for this year, with the possibility of renting even the house and land in the future. I know it sounds too good to be true, but they are financially secure and have employment. What they don’t have right now is time to grow, and they want to keep it going. I’ll be starting small, just growing for my family and I hope to grow some for theirs, too… they are expecting their first baby, so they will indeed be busy this year. I can even have animals! I don’t want to get in over my head, but gosh! The only rule is I have to use organic methods… soooo not a problem! That’s the only way I grow.

  2. Carolyn I love the willow wigwams, clever you!! I wonder about the little green house, was it there for you when moving in, or did you make it?? wonderful place to start seeds.
    I’m excited to see your results as they come along this spring/summer!! ann lee s
    ps I’m spending the afternoon today trying to rid my garden of those ddd…. bluebells, such prolific plants, popping up everywhere!

    • Awww thanks.. enjoyed doing them! I don’t have a green house but found two doors with glass panels in so brought them into my garden and leant them up against a wall so I can harden off seedlings behind it xxx Enjoy your gardening this afternoon! xxxx

  3. Hi carolyn

    I have copied my partners gardening tips over to this page where they will be of more use to the gardening sorority/fraternity. With additions at the end. My partner and I (I’m th cook and he’s the gardener, trained at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh – so not an amateur) has a few frugal tips for you for your Victory Garden.

    Use 1 kg yogurt pots to make labels (thicker plastic and there are always tons at the recycling centre), cut them into strips, make one end pointed and you should bore a hole in the other end and string them altogether onto twine to hang in the shed. A permanent marker works for writing information on.

    Use the inner cardboard tubes and newspaper as pots for seeds, like a little parce with newspaper inside the tube to make a base. Just fill with compost and plants the seeds. They can be planted tube and all, as is, and they rot down, so you you don’t disturb roots when seedlings are planted. Especially good for things like beans, but good for most seedlings

    If you have a rabbit problem then ask your local cafe to save their spent coffee grounds for you. They have to pay to have them taken away so they should be cooperative on this request. The cffee can be added to the top dressing when seedlings are planted as rabbits don’t like the smell.

    When you make your compost heap (we use palates, free and reusing unwante ditems again) you must remmeber not to put anything that is meat based in, vegetable matter is all that should go into the compost heap – aside from worms.

    Collect leaves in the autumn to make leaf mould. Run the lawn mower over leaves and catch in the grass box then empty into black bin bags, wet and leave to rot or make a seperate compost heap for leaves.. Makes good seedling compost.

    Dont buy fancy fertilisers, just stick to blood and bone – simple and effective. If you have free range chickens you will need to protect your planted seedlings as chickens will dig for the blood and bone and destrol the seedling in the process.

    Cut pop bottle bases off and use them as mini cloches to cover any tender seedlings, remember to remove the lids to allow air to the plant.

    In the autumn make a comost bin by forming a 3 sided pen from discarded wooden palettes, with a fourth hinged with rope as a gate then fill with fallen aleaves which will compost down quickly. By next year you will have the best potting compost ever for your seed sowing, as it’s weed free and there is no need to turn leafmold. No other work involved. and it’s something you cannot buy ready made.

    The above method for making compost bins/heaps in general is good. If you make 3 bins (in a row you will need 1 aplettes as opposed to 12 if they are seperate) for general compost (kitchen scraps minus any meat product) you will be able to turn heap one into heap two then heap two into heap three as you.

    It’s also worth asking neighbours to leave their kitchen waste which you can scrutinise before adding to your compost bin to ensure that nothing ‘foreign’ is added. You don’t want to attract vermin.

    A source of cheap seeds for peas, beans, etc is a bulk buy/scoopermarket. It’s worth joining an allotment society as they buy seed in bulk for the popular veggies, so it’s cheaper. You will also find gardeners with a great deal of useful knowledge who will be able to answer many questions a novice would have. The best place for hints and tips.

    That’s all for now, must go, by for now Carolyn.

  4. Love your garden area, enjoying all your posts with our lockdown in America. Enjoy all your WW11 recipes also! Keep up the good work!

    • Am feeling it, still get sore from my surgery 4 months on! But I like keeping busy, helps me focus on other things beyond doom and gloom right now xxxxx Thanks for kidn words about the wig wams xxx

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