The Land Rover Owners Wife


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A Chilli Greenhouse

I'm thinking this is enough chillies now

I’m thinking this is enough chillies now

On a morning like today, with the sun shining and the outdoor temperature an impressive 14.5C, you could almost believe that Winter was finally losing her grip on our part of the world and that Spring had arrived. That’s ‘almost believe‘ though, not ‘know for sure‘ because one thing that gardening has taught me over the last few years is that Ma Nature doesn’t read books and most certainly does not follow all the rules, or that the advice in regards the seasons and specifically their start and end dates, written by experts can only ever be regarded as guidelines, best case scenarios and should not be followed verbatim. Warm as the day is today, there is still the possibility of snow and hard frosts have been known to hit as late as the back-end of May, as I learned to my cost back in 2010. Continue reading


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Potting on and more seeds to sow

I'm thinking 27 tomato plants is enough

I’m thinking 27 tomato plants is enough

I spent an enjoyable if lengthy amount of Saturday, potting on the large quantities of chillies and tomato seedlings that have spent the last few weeks developing their root systems and putting on growth, in the seed trays they were originally sown in. In total I had 72 tomato seedlings across 5 varieties, 11 sweet peppers and 56 chillies across 4 varieties. Of course 72 tomato plants is a little excessive for a family of four, even with two tomato loving Mudlets’ who are happy to snack away on the red fruits as if they were sweets and no amount of chutney making could utilise the huge quantities of fruit that we could find ourselves harvesting come the summer. Continue reading


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Seedlings, seeds and a bug.

Grown from seed last year, this giant pansy was well worth the effort.

Grown from seed last year, this giant pansy was well worth the effort.

The continued cold nights are really beginning to get to me now, as I really do think it’s high time that 4C and below no longer featured so heavily, thereby negating the need for me to spend time carefully trying to ensure that all my seedlings are snug and warm, tucked up under fleece. With some of the tomato seedlings now relying on the support of short plant sticks to remain upright, the job of ensuring that my meager supply of fleece reaches all corners of the seedling rows, without huge gags appearing between sections, has got that little bit more difficult. No, all things considered, I think it’s time for night time temperatures to start getting their act together and remaining above the 5C mark, at least for the majority of the time. Continue reading


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Gardening by torchlight!

Winter Squash and Pumkins with some chillies on the end.

Winter Squash and Pumkins with some chillies on the end.

The sun has been shining, the wind has gone and the temperature has been pleasantly warm. In short, the last two days has offered up perfect gardening weather and I was happy and willing to make the most of it. Continue reading


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Improvisation in the greenhouse

The areas under the fleece frames are full to bursting

The areas under the fleece frames are full to bursting

You may remember that back in February I thought that I had a problem called ‘Damping Off‘ in my seed trays, as my seedlings did not appear to be doing so well. So to ensure that we had sufficient tomato, chilli, sweet pepper and cucumber plants for the year, I sowed a whole load more and hoped for the best. Well it would appear that ‘Sods Law’ has kicked in because despite my fears to the contrary, the original batch of seedlings all pulled themselves together and suddenly decided to thrive which I am convinced wouldn’t have happened, had I not sown replacement seeds (that’s the ‘Sods Law’ bit) AND the replacement seeds have also germinated in huge numbers and thrived. Continue reading


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A bit of a gamble

The framework in place for my fleece covers.

The framework in place for my fleece covers.

With my lovely clean large greenhouse taunting me with oodles of space, I turned my attention to my slightly over crowded propagators full of tomatoes, chillies and sweet peppers, not to mention cucumbers and more flowers, that had taken over the house and realised that I needed to do something about potting on some of the seedlings. Armed with 4 bags of freshly bought all purpose compost, I grabbed a tray of mixed tomato seedlings and made my way to the greenhouse. Continue reading


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Another big job ticked off the list.

From green to clean in four hours

From green to clean in four hours, these roof panels were thickly coated with algae

Not only was the sun shining on Sunday morning but there was actually some comforting warmth amidst its’ rays and with no wind to chase away that welcome warmth, the stage was set for one of the biggest preparation jobs of the growing season – greenhouse cleaning! Continue reading


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I predict a problem with available space ……

These aren't looking quite so sick anymore

These aren’t looking quite so sick anymore

You may remember that about eight or nine days ago I wrote about the disaster I thought was happening in my seed trays. The seedlings weren’t doing very well, a few had keeled over and several were looking decidedly dodgy. I felt that this was probably a problem called damping off and that I had over-watered my trays, resulting in the facilitation of the damping off fungus which was impeding both the growth of my seedlings and the germination of some of the seeds, not to mention causing some of the seedlings to give up the ghost entirely and fall over. Continue reading


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A disaster in my seed tray

The first true leaves should be in by now!

The first true leaves should be in by now!

The tomato seed tray to be exact and if the cause is what I think it is, then it is entirely my own fault. The majority of the seedlings appeared between 5 and 7 days after sowing which is about normal in my experience and all seemed well. However, a week further on and we still have no first true leaves, one seedling collapsed with a tell tale brown stain at its’ base and a few of the others are starting to look a little under the weather. So what do I think is the matter with my seedlings? I believe they are suffering with a condition called damping off and as I said at the start, if they are then I have nobody to blamed but myself. Continue reading


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A spike of green

Tomato Maskotka

Tomato Maskotka

Several actually. Cosmos was the first of the seeds to show it’s face, with tomato Maskotka nipping at their heels. Within a few hours Gardeners Delight tomato seedlings were starting to peep through and then, to my delight, I spotted signs of life in two of the “out of date” Marigold seed modules. Continue reading