January 2

Six on Saturday – 02/01/21

This is my second Six on Saturday hosted by The Propagator, the first one for 2021 and there are certainly things I will not miss  from last year. However, what this time has meant is that I have had much more time in the garden and on the allotments and this has been to their and our benefit. So, here are my six for this week all based on new year resolutions linked to the garden and allotments.

My first resolution is to be more organised. I realised the other day that my blog is littered with phrases such as I don’t know which variety they are, I didn’t label them or I have forgotten what they are.’  I have used Access and so now I can type in a  month and up will pop all the seeds I need to sow that month.  I have then created, on paper for the moment!, a bed plan that is month by month so that I don’t have any spare beds hanging around empty at any point during the year. Last year I thought I didn’t have enough space but with 2 plots and a large garden that is ridiculous. These two things need integrating but that was beyond me at the end of December.

In order to support resolution number 1, I have bought some very fancy labels – metal hooks which you stick in the ground and slate labels that you hang from them.  This was a present to myself and they will be used specifically for veg or flowers that I want to collect seed from.  Even if the writing wears off, I will at least know which plants to collect seed from. All I need now is a marker to write on the slate – note to self! The whole system could come crashing down for want of such marker.

I will make hot compost this year, before July.  At present I am not building the heap big enough and do not have enough greenery and manure in it.  This will be remedied in January’s pile. (You can see November and December’s attempts but they are not pretty!) I have agreed to create a pile each month to see what happens. I am learning a LOT. What I am finding is that it is far more work in comparison with the way I normally make compost. The videos I have watched about it all have volunteers on training and they build and turn the pile. We hold a sort of allotment school on the plots to help new members and I am one of the people that helps to run it so that has given me an idea 😉

We so rarely have heavy frosts on the south coast but have done so for the last 2 days with more to come. These are my new strawberries – Malwina – a late type, but they have an absolutely delicious taste. I bought my first lot a year ago because the catalogue said that the taste was exceptional but they were too dark red for supermarkets and had a white line just underneath the leaves which doesn’t turn red. Why wouldn’t you try them? Anyway they are so good I have ordered more along with some hanging baskets. I will pot them up into the baskets and then at the end of January/start of February hang them in the polytunnel to force them and try and get some a little earlier.

 

 

The Bergenia are flowering on the wildlife plot and look fantastic. I am not sure what variety they are (I didn’t plant these before you say anything!) but they are a welcome sight especially for the queen bumble bees which fly around when the sun is out.  I took over the wildlife plot in September 20 and decided to list everything that flowers, fruits and seeds on the plot each month and then aim to increase the numbers of each in the years thereafter as we have lots of beekeepers on site.  We have three things flowering this month, the Bergenia, Jasminum nudiflorum and a Viburnum. We can surely do more than that next year; I am thinking of Winter Honeysuckle, Christmas Box and pansies which can also be eaten in salads.

 

 

And finally, with no resolution attached to it is the orchid in my bathroom which has a very long stem of flowers this winter. I have learnt: feed it all spring and summer and it will flower all winter for you. Beautiful.

Happy New Year everyone and do you have any garden resolutions?

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted January 2, 2021 by alijoy in category january, six on saturday, vegetable plots, wildlife garden

18 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 02/01/21

  1. Graeme (www.onemanandhisgardentrowel.wordpress.com)

    Lovely frosted strawberry foliage. I’m not very good at labelling – I’m okay when it’s a tray of seedlings but once I’ve potted them on, etc., my labelling becomes more erratic!

    Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      One of my excuses is that when I do label, the sun seems to wear it away. A lame excuse but true!

      Reply
  2. Noelle

    What a lovely layout and view of your blog, Joy. This is the first time I have seen one like this. I too have a database, mainly for the perennials. I shall go off and spend some time putting sowing times for the mini potager I have

    Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      Thank you for the comment about the layout. I probably need a database for my perennials in the garden. Ihave them all on a bit of paper somewhere! I rest my case. The next rainy, cold day when I can’t go out, that is what I shall do.

      Reply
  3. Fred

    Having a marker on the slate is what I miss. I tried with chalk but obviously it never worked for long. First time I read your blog and it’s very pleasant: continue!

    Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      Thank you. I have seen these chalk markers, which are a bit like felt tip pens on a website that delivers the next day, so have pruchased one in the hope that it lasts longer than chalk would do.

      Reply
  4. Hortus Baileyana

    Thanks for the recommendation of Malwina strawberries. I think they are my favourite thing to grow (or that might be tomatoes) since the taste is so much better than supermarket ones. I’m on the look out for more varieties to try.
    I like the blog layout that you’ve chosen, and the plant labels look lovely. I use a white permanent pen on my slate labels and it seems to last well, though that then makes it more difficult to reuse them I suppose.

    Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      I might try the white permanent pen. Someone told me that nail varnish remover will take it off but haven’t tried it yet. I might have to buy a range of pens and try them out.
      Enjoy the strawberries.

      Reply
  5. Katharine - Tea Break Gardener

    Labelling is indeed something that needs working at. I used to have a white pen that would mark slate. I’ve now moved to metal labels and one of those label printers. They are completely weather proof and could be hung from your metal hooks. It was a bit of an expense but I’m a convert. Well done on your orchid. I’m waiting for my white one to flower – I should have fed it a bit more!

    Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      That is a good idea for the labelling. I might look into that. I don’t think label printers are that expensive. Would you recommend the one you bought?

      Reply
  6. Granny

    Good evening. What an interesting post. My orchid has done very well for 7 years with neglect all summer and flowers all winter. Yes, it would probably produce more flowers with a bit more care, I will try that this year. A warning…this Six-on-Saturday becomes addictive very quickly. 😉

    Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      You are so right. I am addicted already. It is just so lovely to see how all the different gardens are doing but also something similar – even if the garden is in NZ. I am really enjoying it.

      Reply
    1. alijoy (Post author)

      Thank you. It has taken me years to get an orchid like this. I think it might be less about my care and more about the type.

      Reply
  7. Paddy Tobin

    I like the twisted wire stems for the labels. I use aluminium labels and make my own wire stems and would love to have a way of twisting the wire quickly to shape to hold the labels. At present, it requires an amount of effort – two pliers and brute force – to get the desired shape which will hold the label and not allow it to fall free. However, they then last for years.

    Re the hot compost – I rarely turn the heap and it works well. The exception is for a heap build up over the winter which are not inclined to heat up much. I like to start a spring heap, which will heat up, and then turn both into a new bin when I have sufficient material between them both. This starts the action and the heat again.

    Reply
    1. Erin George

      I like the idea of New Year’s garden resolutions. It sounds like you’re making quite a contribution to your community garden. The sense of community in gardening, the opportunities to exchange knowledge and ideas, is precious. I especially like your idea of tracking the number of each plant in the wildlife garden and making a point of adding new specimens as well as species moving forward.

      Reply
      1. alijoy (Post author)

        Thank you Erin. I also want to count wildlife but I can’t identify many things – not even birds to my shame so am learning. I have had a number of caterpillars this so have started with those. There is always someone on our allotment FB group who can identify the critters. This week, I did find a toad under some geranium macrorrhizum, tucked into the soil.
        There is a strong focus on community in permaculture and so I am working on how to engage people with the plot. They don’t want to volunteer on it as they already have their own plots to do that on so it is finding something different. A long term project I think.

        Reply
    2. alijoy (Post author)

      Yes – my normal way of making compost is just to check everything in as it appears, no cares about mixes or turning and then use it about 9 months later. I just wanted to learn a new skill because sometimes I need some compost and I have run out and I am so fed up of that aminopyralid (is that how you spell it?). I have had several bags of compost and horse manure with it in so I am on a mission to make all of my own.

      Reply

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