Sunday, 16 July 2017

Comparing the past: July

Comparing the past: July

This year has seen a lot of trees start to grow quickly, as well as a few additions to the field. (click on photos to enlarge)

Dec 2012 before we started

July 2013

July 2014

July 2015

July 2016

July 2017

4 years of growth, 5 summers, shows just how quick it can be to totally change the look of an empty flooded field!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Tomatoes are about to flower

Tomatoes are about to flower

10th April 2017
The tomatoes are growing fast. It's been 2 weeks since I potted them up into their final pots and most are pushing 2 feet tall.

The extra light given to them as well as a couple of months of heat can been seen to have made all the difference. Normally by this time I have tiny seedlings still in modules, but now every plant has flowers starting. The flowers haven't opened yet nut they aren't far away!

26th March 2017
This is the photo taken 2 weeks ago.

Flowers 10th April 2017
You can just see the first truss of flowers starting in this photo

Not only that but my broad beans in the poly tunnel have flowers and I watched a couple of Bumble Bees pollinate them yesterday as I was tying them to poles to stop them from falling over.
10th April 2017
These are a little leggy and although started in the greenhouse they didn't get extra light from the grow lamp, none the less, flowers mean beans :)

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Sweet Potatoes - again

Sweet Potatoes - again

More of an update to remind me what to do and not to do for next year.

Several sweet potato slips have been planted out into large tubs. The original potato is still producing slips and they are growing quick. Because I haven't been cutting them off regularly several are now pushing 2 feet tall and so could be halved easily. 27 Slips taken so far from the one potato. It looks like I'll end up with over 50 slips by the time I've halved a few. The ones I've already cut up have all rooted. 

The second potato is behaving totally different. Still in water and hasn't produced many roots, but lots of small slips. 

All slips cut off have been placed in water with 100% of them rooting.

Sweet Potato slips 28th March 2017
The second potato was placed the "other way up" which I think is the top at the top, the first upside down. Two possibilities as to the difference which is one way up is far better (and it would appear upside down) or that the 2 are different varieties. Both from the same place, both called the same "American" sweet potato. The 2nd one also hasn't rotted from being in water.

The 3rd potato bought at the same time as the second and was planted in compost in the cold part of the greenhouse rotted, it was kept moist but never showed signs of growing. Simply too cold (although not actually cold), and just needed more heat.

I have placed a large tub in the green house and planted one slip a couple of weeks ago - it isn't dead but isn't growing much as I think the colder temp has slowed it down but it may be putting on a lot of root growth and I haven't looked.

I have placed 2 other very large tubs outside with a cloche over the top. One tub has 1 slip in and the other has 2 slips to see if there is a difference with crowding within a tub. One tub is a traditional plastic dustbin (not a wheelie bin but old style bin that used to have a lid. It took 2 wheel barrows of well rotted manure to fill it to 80%. The other tub is shorted but a good bit wide and took 1 and a half wheel barrows of manure.

27th March 2017
I've placed these 2 together so they get watered the same. All 3 tubs so far have the same aged manure in them.

Potted around 14th March 2017 (date to be found)

The greenhouse tub took about 1 wheel barrow load of manure. I'll measure it at some stage but I feel it maybe a tad small but I simply don't have the space for it.

I will also do another large tub in the Poly Tunnel when the seedlings that live in there go outside but this 4th tub will be full of acidic compost (when I've bought some)

The rest of the slips will be spread around the garden as and when space turns up. Some will be in wetter areas, windy areas and drier areas. Some will be in clay type soil and others good soil and some in pure manure in a dry area and I also have a wet purely manure area to try. One of the good soil areas I will add a load of acid compost as yet another difference.

I'm gonna put in a lot of effort with these this year and if they all fail....never again. Hopefully one or all will work, either way it will satisfy my curiosity as to whether I can or can't and whether it will be worth it. Then if I grow some I'll see whether they are worth selling on the market stall.

I'll keep planting them each week (ish) from now until the frosts are gone (mid may) - even then I'll have slips left over

One thing that is for sure is that the slips really want to grow and root well given warmth and at least some light. The window sill they live on is west facing and not exactly a bright place but it is over a radiator.

Monday, 27 March 2017



It's normally mid May before I get the tomatoes into the final pots but this year not only have I potted them up from a module pack to pots but also from the pots to large pots and it isn't even April yet.

It seems like only 5 minutes ago I was taking the seedlings out of the modules and potting up to 3 and 4 inch pots but yesterday I took a Tomato out of it's pot to check on the roots only to find they were almost root bound. The roots were swirling around the bottom of the pots.

March 8th 2017
The seedlings have gone from this...

March 25th 2017
To this ....

26th March 2017

To this, in little over 3 weeks. What a difference extra light and a small heater along with mild weather make!

The larger, odd shaped pots are ones I'm keeping with the rest hoping to be sold on the market from next week for people with greenhouses.

The grow lamp claimed to make tomatoes stronger, with bigger main stems and bushier not only with the extra light but with the combination or more red and blue light and I must agree. 

4 tomatoes went into the Poly Tunnel, 7 will stay in the greenhouse and I will sell 8.  

I also potted up a load of Aubergines, sown at the same time (January) but they haven't grown as quick in comparison.
The small plants on the left are the Aubergines potted in the same pots the tomatoes came out of. They are tiny in comparison. One or 2 of the tomatoes are pushing 1ft in height with the Aubergines around 2 to 3 inches. All under the same conditions.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Frogs video

Frogs video

This is a video I meant to upload for the last post...

Monday, 13 March 2017



Each year when the frogs are spawning I like to take a photo with as many frogs in as possible to gauge roughly how many frogs are in the pond. Last year I took a photo with 85 frogs in the one shot, the year before 50.

This year so far my best photo has 96 frogs in the one shot.

Unfortunately the frogs were all moving too much which made focusing a bit of an issue as well as choosing the best moment to take the photo. This photo has 96 frogs in and it only covers 1/3 of the pond.

The rest of the pond only had the odd few in that could be seen. 

I know there are loads more frogs under the water, swimming and hiding so I'm hopeful tonight I may get to snap a better photo with even more in the one shot.

Click to enlarge photos.

The spawning has only just begun and I expect that whole area to be covered in spawn by the time they finish.

The best shot is normally the night shot when all the eyes are lit up by the flash and you get an spooky picture with hundreds of eyes poking out of the water.

The noise of the frogs croaking is very loud at times and I estimate that there will be a good 150 frogs in the pond at any one time as a minimum.

I can see by the size of the frogs that these are not last years young, they are much smaller, and I keep finding them all over the garden. I don't know how many of the young frogs from last year survived but judging by the number seen pottering around the garden there must be a couple of hundred. If I had to guess at the number of frogs, young and older, that live in and around the garden I think it must be 3 or 4 hundred because these ones in the pond are all too big to be last years or the years before. I only see a dozen or so of these larger ones in the garden on any week and only come across masses of smaller frogs so if you add up the 150 ish in the pond with the smaller ones in the garden I think there'll easily be 300 plus frogs.

This doesn't include the toads that appear a little later, in much smaller numbers, and we have a load of newts. The newts also bred last year in the pond but I haven't seen toad spawn yet.

All these amphibians are supported by the one 18 ft long  by 6 ft wide pond in our garden.

Next to us, a couple of hundred metres away there is a 1/3 or an acre pond which must have a load more frogs, toads and newts. In another 2 directions we have ditches or dykes within 100 metres with water in plus to the south of us at about 600 metres away there is a pond / fishing lake of an acre in size which must also have frogs etc.

Within our immediate vicinity there must be thousands of frogs, toads and newts!

The previous posts about frogs are here

Sunday, 12 March 2017

First Blossom and Frog Spawn

First Blossom and Frog Spawn

Each year there are a few things that I look out for. Crocuses popping up, Daffs appearing then leaves on Willow, first blossom and then Frogs in the pond spawning.

This year the Almond tree has got it's blossom today and the frogs have started spawning on the same day. The Peach tree is only a day or 2 behind.


The frogs spawned around the 29th of March in 2016 and on the 21st March in 2015 so this year with it being the 12th of March they are far earlier. I haven't taken a photo yet as I don't want to disturb them too much. 

The wild garlic planted in the garden and in pots has also put in an appearance today. The Willow leaves have started showing a few days ago.