Wednesday, 30 March 2016



It's that time of year again.

Last year, a milestone was reached with the pond. This year the frogs have appeared about a week later but there are even more of them. Also, most of the frogs are at the opposite end of the pond compared to last year. No idea why, but no doubt there is a good reason.

March 30 2016

The most frogs I managed to capture, within one photo, last year was 50. This year I think that there is 85 in this photo. Across the whole pond I think there were approx 100 frogs seen at any one time. Probably a lot more still hidden.

High concentration of frogs
I was speaking to a Wildlife chap the other month and he was telling me that this sort of sight has become increasingly unusual. He hadn't seen such a concentration of frogs for years so I think we're very fortunate to see this.

At times most of the frogs are within a 2 feet square area and the water boils as they tumble and turn.

The reason we are doing particularly well with the frogs is because the garden is damp and boggy in patches with a lot of long tufty grass. Also being surrounded by fields, ditches, other ponds and small lakes near by.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Seeds Sown and more trees brought

Seeds sown and more trees bought

Some wild flower seed sown around poly tunnel, 150 Centurion Onions set, Carrot sown and trenches for potatoes have been started with Leek, Brussels, Tomatoes, Oak Leaf Lettuce, Peas sown in the green house. These were done over the last week or two and Peas and Brussels have already started.

Yesterday, Sweetcorn, Strawberry Spinach, Sweet Peppers, Broad Beans and more Tomato were sown in the Poly tunnel. Hopefully others will be done today.

It's full steam ahead now and the last chance to buy bare rooted trees taken with 10 more Hazel, a Peach, Nectarine and a Cambridge Gage tree ordered along with Hop seed.

Sweet Chestnuts
The Sweet Chestnuts that I planted as seed in a grow bag, with the hope that one or two might germinate and grow has seen most of them germinate. I think I sowed about 20 and perhaps 15 may grow. I had been told that mice would almost certainly get them over winter if I left them outside in a grow bag but that hasn't happened. 

Fruit Bush cuttings
The Red and Black Currant cuttings I took late Autumn seem to be growing. They have fresh buds on them as well as the Gooseberry cuttings. It looks like all have taken. I had simply cut them (old and new wood) and stuck them in pots with compost and left them outside. If they work then this will be something I'll do a lot more of as it was so easy. Reading about taking cuttings the books make it sound quite complicated, cut here with x number of buds after leaves fall, cut at this angle, plant and keep moist using rooting hormone and if the conditions are kept correct they should take. In reality all I did was cut small branches with and without leaves and stick them in a pot of what ever was to hand and left them. I rather wish I had done another 20.

Poly Tunnel
The tunnel went in last October but the high winds damaged the cover so for most of the winter the cover was off until a few weeks ago when we replaced it with a new one, not before putting up some trellis along one side and a bit of the front. Hopefully the trellis should reduce the wind by 20 or 30% and remove the danger of damage. This last week has seen temperatures top 25 deg C inside the tunnel when the sun shines for any length of time and with overcast days it's around 10 or 12 deg C.  

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Garden waste

Garden waste

Apart from being a manure dumping ground for the local stables I also tell neighbours that I'll accept their green waste. It all composts, helps them out and I also benefit but when a neighbour turns up with eight builders (1 sq metre) bags of shredded Conifer tree cuttings the initial thought was bordering on shock.

I had only put two barrow loads on the compost heap when I realised that these shreddings may well be the answer to my biggest two problems. Firstly the paths get a bit water logged and muddy and secondly the grass does its best to swamp the young hedge around the garden.

Hedge line with sapplings
Holding back the neighbours weeds plus the vigorous grass as can be seen in the photo is a challenge.

Hedge line after shreddings applied
The shreddings piled several inches deep should keep down the grass.

Main path to chickens covered
Apart from covering 2 sides of the little field for the hedge there was also plenty to cover the main path leading to the chickens. This path has become a bog. Enlarging the photos by clicking on them makes it easier to see. 

Now I'm left wishing I had another 8 bags!