Friday, 11 September 2009

Habitat Wall

Last weekend Sam and I went to Pestival at the South Bank Centre. We met up with friends and wandered around some of the activities and exhibits, and on the way home I bought some insect deeley-boppers for Sam and some delicious 'Linden Wood' honey from the Slow Food market outside the Royal Festival Hall.
The London Wildlife Trust had an excellent stand with activities and, amongst other things, a Habitat Wall on display. I want to build one in the garden by the pear tree. They are beautiful- art meets insect home. Le Corbusier meets the beetles, if you get my drift (wood).

Easy and fun to construct and create, the instructions for doing so are here:
Not strictly anything to do with growing fruit, veg and herbs but I am going to incorporate this side project here as well and aim to have it in place by spring.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Put your money where your mouth is...

I visited Wilkinson’s the other day and went slightly mad buying bulbs and seeds. As well as flower bulbs for the large bed by the patio, which I have been gradually building up all year, I have bought garlic, white and red onion and several packets of seeds: butternut squash; sprouts; purple sprouting broccoli; carrots; broad beans; peas; beetroot; tumbling tomatoes to grow in hanging baskets. This seems like a good start and I would hope to add runner beans, courgettes, cabbage, salad leaves and some herbs to that to give a good selection of seasonal produce. I am also hoping to get strawberry plants and raspberry canes too.
It has made me look at planting dates and think about sowing, hardening off and planting out etc. My mind has been well and truly boggled, especially after this morning when I started to look at options for how and where to grow. I would like some raised beds but can’t think too much about this until I have cleared the plot and dug it over. Only then will I really be able to look at options for growing. I am aware that I need to test the soil too.
So I have plenty to think about but it is very exciting. I am intending to companion plant and also bought some nasturtium and marigold seeds. I also got alyssum and a wildflower mix to plant as they will encourage bees and other pollinators and just because I love them. As I continue to hack away at the brambles and bindweed when I get a spare hour, the garden that still exists underneath is beginning to re-appear. These incredible thorny plants, which have grown up through the old concrete paths, are all over the whole garden. Concentrated in this patch, I have got some serious digging to do, although I have been assured (and know from previous experience) how dastardly-difficult it is to remove the roots that go deep and spread everywhere. That’s ok – as long as I can keep them at bay I am confident that it will become a more manageable challenge as this part of the garden is cultivated. I don’t want to use weed killer as I am keen to stay organic.
There are a couple of big piles of brambles that I have cut down which must be removed once again to the local recycling centre. The new compost bin has been delivered but there is still no space for it until I have stripped away a good deal more of brambles at the back of the pear tree.
This week, apart from my ongoing mission to cut down all the brambles, I will be taking a look at what gardening equipment is hiding away in the garage and see what else I will need before I can start growing.