April in my garden: My monthly garden update #2

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I’m so pleased I’m writing these monthly garden updates because it’s so lovely to see the progress I’ve already made in just 4 weeks.

My little plants have grown so much and I’ve learnt so much too. Last month I had no idea what I was doing but this month I feel much more confident. I still have so much to learn and I think that’s what makes gardening so interesting, there’s always something new to learn about!

Read more: March in my garden: My monthly update #1

Update from my greenhouses

My three mini greenhouses have been brilliant and I still think they were a bargain at £50 each from Aldi.

They’re currently filled flowers:

  • Geraniums
  • Morning glory
  • Cosmos
  • Sunflowers
  • Lavender
  • Lupins
  • Gaillardia
  • Giant daisies
  • Peas
  • Marigolds
  • A tray of seedlings that are thriving but I’ve forgotten what they are!

I did put my tomatoes, peppers and chillies in the greenhouses for a couple of weeks before I realised these plants like it much warmer so they’ve come back into the kitchen. My peas are in here though and they’re going wild and I can’t wait to plant them out!

A big purchase!

I’m loving my little greenhouses and generally loving my garden so much that I’ve decided to make a big purchase – a big greenhouse!

I’ve chosen a 12 x 6ft wooden greenhouse from BillyOh. I’ve gone for a wooden one because the greenhouse will dominate the little garden so I want it to look nice. I’m going to decorate it with globe lighting and paint it green. It will also have to be raised up due to the floods in our garden so there will be steps up to the greenhouse and I want to make them pretty with pretty pots of plants up the steps.

As you can probably tell, I’ve been looking at dreamy gardens on Pinterest a lot recently!

I went for the biggest size I could practically have because everyone told me to go as big as possible! And I chose BillyOh because they were one of the cheapest companies I could find with OK reviews. I’m hoping the reason it’s cheap is because you have to assemble it yourself. Sam is really handy so he’s confident he’ll be able to put it together with no problem so fingers crossed that all works out!

My kitchen trolleys

My kitchen trolleys are absolutely thriving! The conditions in the kitchen are just perfect for growing things because it’s so hot and sunny and I see them everyday so I know when things need watering and don’t feel the need to overwater! It’s also so easy to wheel them outside to water them and harden them off when the time comes.

I’ve got butternut squash, peppers, tomatoes and chillies. 

Now that I know I’ve got a greenhouse coming in 5-6 weeks I kind of wish I’d planted more peppers and tomatoes as I’ll have a lot of extra space for them. Maybe I will plant some more. We’ll see. 

My sweetpeas are out!

My sweetpeas were getting so long so I decided to get them out in the garden a little earlier than advised. I also wanted to clear up some space in my greenhouses so I just took the risk and planted them in the garden. We have had a few frosty mornings but they’re looking good and they’re growing nicely up a trellis I bought from Wilko.

My courgettes are looking a bit sad

My courgettes were thriving! Thriving so much that I had to repot them and didn’t have space for all the pots so I decided to risk it and put them in the garden inside a cold frame. This was probably a mistake because we then had a few freezing nights and I’ve lost a couple of plants. 3-4 of them still look good and about 8 of them are looking a bit sad. It’s probably not a bad thing because no one needs that many courgette plants but I was hoping I’d be able to give them away to friends and family.

Filling my raised beds

I filled my first raised bed with a combination of leaf mulch (from a neighbour’s garden) and garden soil from my garden. And then I topped it with about 5 inches of compost. I’m still not really sure if this is right? My garden soil seems to be pretty good and I thought I’d end up spending a fortune if it was 100% compost.

I’ve planted some rows of seeds but they don’t seem to be doing anything yet and I’ve had a little creature burrowing in one end and messing it all up so I need to get some kind of cover for it!

My Bokashi bin

I’m a bit too excited about my Bokashi bin!

I’ve now buried three bucket loads of my bokashi mixture into the garden. The first bucket has now been buried for one month now and it’s pretty much all decomposed and looks like soil! I dug it up again today and I can still see a few banana skins and a couple of potatoes but other than that I can’t tell what was soil and what was from the bin.

The Bokashi bin instructions recommended burying it in the garden for two weeks but after two weeks it had barely decomposed at all. It basically still looked like food fresh from the compost bin. After 4 weeks it was pretty much all decomposed and after 5-6 weeks it’s like compost!

If you’re planning to use a bokashi bin in the UK then I’d suggest that it takes about 5-6 weeks to be 100% decomposed.

I can’t say yet if the resulting bokashi compost will lead to great soil and thriving crops but we’ll see!

A few new shrubs in the garden

I’ve been a bit reluctant to plant too many shrubs in this bed in the garden because this is where it floods. I’m going to give it a go and try to plant things in there this year, but I know it’s risky and everything could be killed off in an instant. But I’ve got three shrubs my mum bought for me and they seem to be doing OK.

Climbing roses

I bought six climbing roses online and planted them out about four weeks ago. They’re yet to do anything and I’m not even 100% sure they’re alive.

I also bought two little rose shrubs from The Range and they seem to be doing pretty well! At least I know they’re alive!

Strawberry wall planters

These are the wall planters I bought from Aldi. I’ve filled them with strawberries and they’re doing so well! This is a sunny, sheltered area of the garden so I think they’ll thrive. I still have 9 spots to fill in my planters and I’m not sure whether I should buy more strawberry plants or try something different.

I love that the kids will be able to pick their own strawberries and it feels like such a good use of space in this sunny corner. 

What’s in my raised beds?

I’ve sown some seeds and potatoes directly into my raised beds. I’ve sow potatoes, parsnips, carrots, kohl rhabi and purple sprouting broccoli. I tried to sow them in nice straight lines like I see on Instagram but I have no idea how straight these are going to be.

I’ve also had an issue with something going into one corner of my bed and digging it up. I don’t know if it’s a mouse or a rat, a squirrel, a vole or maybe even a cat. Whatever it is, I need it to stop so I’m going to make some kind of protective fence or cage or something over my beds. I’d be devastated if I had a bed filled with veggies and it was all eaten by garden creatures!

Protecting my fruit and veggies

My little digger in the garden has got me thinking about how I’ll protect my crops when they arrive. I’m hoping to do companion planting which is where you plant certain things together and one plant will repel the bugs that are normally attracted to the other. 

I’ve ordered some ultra fine mesh to protect them from bugs – especially to protect my carrots from carrot fly. I’ve got some other netting to protect my strawberries from birds but I think I’m going to need some kind of frame over these beds. We have so many animals in our garden so I think I’ll need all the help I can get.

What’s in my cold frame?

Other than my sad courgettes, I also have some leeks and spring onions in my cold frame. I planted these about 10 days ago and I’m get to see any shoots but I’m hoping something pops up soon!

Other boxes and pots

The window boxes I ordered on eBay finally arrived and I’m really pleased with them. I filled them with compost and I’ve got little carrots in one, beetroot, radish and lettuce sown in them. I also have a big pot of spinach.

I also have potatoes in these big pots too. The potatoes are the boy’s little project and they planted them and have taken responsibility for watering them, so they’re getting A LOT of water!

My lawn

My lawn is still looking a bit of a mess but I’ve put down some feed, weed and moss killer and then a load of grass seed so I’m hoping that perks it up a bit! It’s rained a lot this week so I’m sure that will help!

Growing in recycling pots

Everything in my plastic recycling pots are doing so well! I’ve definitely found plastic pots are best – things like grape punnets and cut up milk cartons. They’ve been brilliant and I will 100% be saving all of my grape punnets from now on!

Growing in toilet rolls is working but isn’t quite as successful. I’m finding the cardboard dries out too quickly and doesn’t hold the moisture like plastic pots do. And when they are very moist they go mouldy. I’ve had to put all the toilet rolls and cardboard pots into milk cartons and keep about 1cm of water in the bottom of the milk carton, otherwise they dry out.

Chickens?

I’m keeping a corner of the garden free to potentially get some chickens! I think it would be an ideal spot for chickens and I’d love to get some but I’m also weirdly nervous about getting it. Chickens feel like a big commitment! So I think I’ll wait until we’re all settled with the new greenhouse in place and see how we get on. I don’t want to take on too much at once!

1 Comment
  1. Kat 4 months ago
    Reply

    So cool to see what you’re growing! I qm also new at gardening and still testing out what grows in our garden without too much work and upkeep. Peas and spinach are also already doing well. Last year one pumpkin plant went wild, so I am planting them again this year, but you need a lot of space for them. I’m sadly very bad at growing from seeds in house and keeping them alive, from four trays only 20% actually survived this season until now. So I stocked up on plants from the plant nursery :D…

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