Week 4, May 2020

The Coronavirus lockdown has made it difficult to get some of the things we need for the garden. I’m really keen to start building our raised beds, so I’ve been trying to call our local independent garden centre all week, but frustratingly, every time I called, their line was either engaged or there was no reply.

Whilst we’ve been waiting, we’ve been carrying on with any changes that we have been able to make. Unfortunately most of these have involved a spade and a fair bit of backache, but thankfully I’m starting to feel a difference in my fitness this week, with a bit more stamina and flexibility. One of the most exciting changes has been that my dear hubby has fitted an outside tap for the back garden. That’s going to make a huge difference to the watering!

Our new tap – thank you Mike!

One day our neighbour spotted the garden centre van out delivering. There was only one thing for it. On Saturday we decided to pop over and see whether they were open. We were very pleased to see that they were indeed open, and that they had set things up so that shopping would be as safe as possible, letting only two people into the shop at a time. At first I was quite surprised to see how many people were buying flowers, garden tubs and planters, and how few seemed to be buying things for a vegetable garden. I thought there would be more people following the same path as me. We were able to pick up some of the things we needed straight away. We came home with an apple tree, some mushroom compost, which the manager recommended for the apple tree, and a bird table. We also ordered the things we needed to make our raised beds: some gravel boards, some 2-by-2 posts, and a ton bag of compost.

One of my aims when I went to the garden centre was to buy my first seeds. I left my husband to sort out the delivery while I went to find the seed display. It was immediately obvious that I wasn’t the only person growing vegetables after all! There was a very limited choice of seeds. For example, the only variety of carrot left was Purple Sun. By now I was feeling hot and quite uneasy to be shopping indoors, and I knew there was a queue waiting outside, so I grabbed a handful of packets and headed back to the till as fast as I could. Here’s my haul.

As soon as I got home I planted up the apple tree. We chose a self fertile Beauty of Bath. I liked the fact that it was an early cropper and a heavy cropper. We’d chosen a tree with an M26 root stock, which I’m told should grow to around three metres high. I’m hoping that when it matures, it will be enjoyed not only by our family, but also by our lovely neighbours.

Beauty of Bath Apple Tree

I used some general purpose compost to plant my courgettes and dwarf beans, both of which were to be sown indoors. I’ve agreed to swap some seedlings with my next door neighbours. She has her eye on some of my courgettes, and I’d like some tomato plants.

Courgettes and Dwarf Beans in their Pots

Below you can see how the garden is taking shape this week. The bed at the bottom of the garden is almost finished, scattered with grass seed and some odds and ends of turf to start off the pathway around the edges of the garden. You can also see the new bird table, and a bench donated by our kind neighbours. It was great to have enough compost to plant up my rhubarb crown, which you can see in the foreground. Hopefully it will produce some useable stalks this year. I know it doesn’t look much, but we’re delighted with our progress.

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