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Daphne

So how is the season so far?

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2 hours ago, Christian said:

About 30 mins away towards the A303😀😀

My friend lives in Ludgershall.

Are you near there ?

She is desperate for a cream tea.

Our birthdays are a week apart in February (plus a year)  so it could be something to celebrate when we are allowed to go out again. 

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I’m in Weyhill! You’re literally just down the road. Sadly I don’t think I’ll be open in February at this rate. Hoping to open again in March, subject to Government rules....😀

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8 hours ago, Christian said:

I’m in Weyhill! You’re literally just down the road. Sadly I don’t think I’ll be open in February at this rate. Hoping to open again in March, subject to Government rules....😀

Consider a table booked for sometime in the future then 😊

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8 hours ago, mullethunter said:

I’ve ordered 2 lots of seeds so far and will have one more order to do. Here’s the prettiest list...

That’s one pretty list! Your garden will be one flower bomb!

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Those all sound lovely @mullethunter

Really like the name of the Magic Roundabout one, and I was going to say the Macaroni Rosso one, but when I just checked how to spell it, I realised it says Marconi :lol:

I found a Nicotiana growing in my front garden the other day, really quite pretty. No idea how it got there or why it is flowering in the middle of winter. I bought a packet of seeds because I thought if it could grow by itself in harsh conditions, then it must be easy to grow in a seed tray.

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Lovely list!  I also like the look of the Magic Roundabout sunflower, its really attractive and a bit different.  Purity is an excellent cosmos, which you may already know.  Its tall, strong and free flowering.  I think you order seeds like I used to, ie loads and loads, but then sanity kicks in and you park the list for a bit, and only actually buy them if you think you can justify the cost to yourself!

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We've decided on a very simple list for veg this season, with no double cropping (probably), just lift the produce, dig in some compost and put weed membrane over the bed to cut down on next years work. Haven't decided on the main crop potatoes yet. First year was Riviera earlies which chipped well but didn't store well. Second year was Spunta main crop which didn't chip well. Last year Bintje main crop, which chipped well but looked very pale and unappetising. Both of those stored quite well though. So this year we'll try something new but not sure what? One thing we did think of was buying a bag of supermarket potatoes, chitting them and planting them out. Has anyone tried that and does it work? Or are the potatoes treated in some way to stop people growing their own from them?

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From the state of potatoes I occasionally find at the back of the cupboard I’d say you can grow potatoes from supermarket ones - in fact I’m sure the Dogmother does that.

In a rare day on Thursday I dug over half veg beds and emptied the 2yr old compost from one of my bins onto them. I knew I hadn’t done very well at harvesting my maincrop red potatoes (lost interest because they boiled into the water so badly and we weren’t massively keen on the flavour) but I didn’t know there were this many left!! I’ve left them out in the rain this weekend to wash so we will try to eat them! I’m not growing maincrops this year.

Also here’s the last veg standing from last years growing.

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We had some fresh leeks for dinner yesterday; lovely. Didn't grow well though because the soil in that bed is still very poor. We have lots of compost ready to go on.

Had a re-think about the potatoes. They don't sell main crop seed varieties here, which we think is due to the long growth times, the soil temperature and the amount of watering needed. I did meet someone on the plane who said he tried main crops he bought from England; had to dig them out with a pickaxe and they came out cooked! The supermarket potatoes are probably main crops from the North, so it would be at the risk of losing a years worth if we tried them. 

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Started pruning my grape and I got a new set of hooks and chain to guide it along. Last year one of the chains broke halfway through the season. And some of the hooks too. 
This is the before:

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Looking good, CT, you should come over here!  Especially as I spy a fig in the front as well.  How old are the vines?  They have a lot of length on them, so you are obviously doing something right.  I am not good at pruning vines, so I won't offer any comments, except to say Bob Flowerdew always said you couldn't ever cut too much off a vine (I disagree, I am sure I have killed/stunted some by doing it wrongly). I have some about the same length trained over a canopy, and they fruit well, but then they get powdery mildew as there is too much leaf and not enough air (for the canopy), but you won't have that problem.  Are the grapes for eating or wine?  I haven't seen grapes grown on chains before, most people here either have small free standing 'legs', or they are trained on wires between posts.  In the North of Portugal, and in some cold spots, you will see the main trunk trained up to about 1.5 - 2m before they train the shoots horizontally, to avoid frost pockets.

I also have a fence question.  Are solid planks laid on top of each other, like yours, the most common sort in the Netherlands?  In the UK we have flimsier larch panels, where each plank is feathered on top of the one before, so the rain doesn't penetrate so much.  However, I much prefer yours from an aesthetic point of view.  

I like your set-up MT, its very neat and practical.  Over the years I figure I have wasted a lot of time keeping edges of naturally mounding beds free of encroaching weeds and grasses, your method is much better.  And a good looking haul as well! 

Beantree, I don't know specifically about France, but here mostly everyone grows maincrops, 1st/2nd earlies are quite rare.  Obviously it does get extremely hot here, but maybe the difference is that we have incredibly free draining soil, so lifting in the summer isn't so difficult.  My parents lived in the Dordogne for a year, and they used to moan about French maincrops, saying they didn't taste of much, so much so that sacks of spuds would be taken over to them from time to time!  I know things have changed.  The maincrop I buy here, which comes from France (the origin has to be noted) is Mozart (its a red), I used to buy it in the UK too.

 

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Grape was here when I moved in and together with the pear tree the only things I kept over the years. I had to salvage the grape as it was flopping all over the ground. Think it must have been attached to the fencing at one point, but couldn’t see any of it anymore.
It does very well every year, but not incredibly keen on the result myself... they are an eating grape, but not very sweet or big and it does have pips... yes I’m a spoiled girl! So I tend to leave them to the birds and the chickens get an occasional bunch too.
But it does make for a lovely green fence in summer. And I really don’t do much other than some summer pruning and the big cut back in winter.

Had to redo the fencing completely as it was all rotting away, when I moved here. Don’t think the fence I now have is the most used. The cheaper option is the alternating planks either horizontally or vertically, but those don’t offer much protection and the horizontal ones make for a handy ladder for thieves and such.

Couldn’t find what it is called in English, but this Wikipedia explains the gist:  https://nl.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabat_(timmeren)

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Ah, I see, thanks for posting that, it gives me food for thought for the future.  Wooden fences just don't exist here!

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8 hours ago, Daphne said:

I like your set-up MT, its very neat and practical.

Thankyou. I bought and installed those beds last year after being here four years with three sort of terraces that were slowly collapsing into one big slope. I’ve lost a bit of growing space in real terms but I think having better access actually means I can make more of what I do have. I’ve never had a neat garden before and I do like it.

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The chain and hooks idea is a good one Cattails. Here we have steel wire lines and tie the branches with plastic plant string; a thin walled brown tube which comes in 100 metre rolls. It's time consuming and the plastic does degrade in the sun.

Daphne, I now understand the reason for the choice of potatoes. With well draining soil they can be watered deep and lifted at any time and main crops will give the biggest crop for a given area. Our soil is heavy clay and sets like concrete. It's not possible to water it deeply because a compacted crust forms on the surface and the water just runs off, so the potatoes have to be lifted whilst the soil still has some softness to it. Last year I left it too late and had to water the beds heavily in sections for days before digging out. Basically that's the method we employ to dig a post hole in Summer. Our soil is improving with our compost, but we've put a cubic metre onto the veg plot and still need more.

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