Factory Setting Peas

I have a 52 litre plant pot in my factory. I previously has some plants in here but lockdown killed them.

Instead of replacing them, I threw a few peas in there and look how well they’re doing.

There’s also a few surprise parsnip seeds in there, for which I’m curious what will happen.

Hedgehog Hotel

For my birthday, Tim got me a hedgehog habitat. It’s very well made and I’m sure will do great for any passers by or spikey friends who are looking to settle down.

I expect this isn’t a great time of the year to put a hedgehog hotel down. They’re probably all already hibernating. On the other hand, I also read that they wake up sometimes, if they get too cold, and look for somewhere else.

British Februaries are not much warmer than Januaries, so hibernation might not be ending just yet. For any brave hogs who are out and about, they’ll be happy to come across this bit of safety. Apparently, the hole is smaller than cats and foxes are willing to go into (I find this dubious, but who am I to argue).

Finding a spot for it was a little difficult, and I think we went with the best of the worst positions at the moment.

At the back of our garden is a place where I throw the grass to dry out before composting or throwing it in the garden bin (or forgetting about it and leaving it there for six months – I’ve not experienced the mouldy smell others said might happen in this case). I cut a whole into the dirt so it can sit just underneath the surface level, where other dirt mounds up against it. My hope is that this’ll keep it a little warmer.

It is facing away from the north wind, as suggested. It’s right next to our pergola though, so we may end up distrubing it more than they’d like. Once I’ve cleared out more bramble bushes (I’ve filled my entire garden bin with one plant so far), there might be a better place for it to go.

Right next to it is a hole someone dug out – a dog, or a fox maybe? The garden it leads onto do not have a dog, so I’m not too worried about it. I’ve never been pro-fence anywhere, as it stops all sorts of wildlife from getting around. Including frogs, foxes, and hedgehogs of course. So, for the meanwhile, I’m fine with the hole.

A lot of mint

Websites say just keep it in doors in a jar of water. Last time I did that a bunch of sneaky bugs had hidden their eggs in a way my casual run under the tap did not remove. So now I’m freezing it. Mostly I use it for tea, and presumably the hot water will defrost it immediately.

Spider mites and garden centres

Unfortunately, my croton did not survive. I couldn’t rid it of the spider mites and eventually (after a number of tries) we had to move it to the conservatory for fear that there’d be spider mites wandering around my kitchen. From there, it was even more neglected. It lost all its leaves and gave up.

I didn’t even want to recycle the soil, so I had to put it in the bin. I’m not quite sure where spider mites live, but if it’s within the soil I don’t want to put that in my recycling bin nor my garden compost.

I have a small shrub in my office whose flowers had begun to wilt faster than I expected. I used the “Picture This” app to see if it could tell me if I’d over or underwatered it. Turns out, it was dying because of the small, white bugs which had made its home on the leaves. (I was quite impressed that the application spotted this, as I didn’t with my own eyes.)

I Google around for how these bugs managed to get into my house and office. Both parasites seem to come from the same place: they probably came from the shop with them already. Eggs, babies, or just well hidden and in small number. It’s not likely that a pregnant spider mite found my kitchen and the single plant that they’re interested in in there.

This has sort of put me off growing potted plants. However, croton seeds are purchased by the 100g increment an cost £15 for them. I just want one seed…

The little mower who could (not)

Whilst I’ll be the first to admit that I let this grass get out of hand, it’s not looking like I’ll get this done today.

The ground is still too wet. The grass too long. It all gets chewed up in the blades. I stopped when I noticed smoke..!

Unsure if that means it’s broken, but it’s going back into the shed for now!

Focus thistles

We’ve taken to calling this area of the garden the “focus area” as it’s the only area of the garden I’m actively trying to keep clear. Daily I’m out here plucking grass or other weeds I don’t recognise. And still they come.

But we’re not talking about weeds today, I want to show off how great these globe thistles are! Theres three in this picture. The two left most are standing tall. The right most one is a bit squashed due to a fallen bird (a sad story for another time, maybe). They’re shooting right up and I couldn’t be more pleased.

The lavender you see there is neither dying nor growing. I’d really love to dig it up again and see if it’s bothered taking root or if it’s still kept itself pot bound.

Also in focus are some marigolds that have managed to stand themselves up. These haven’t grown anywhere near the speed that the greenhouse one have. They’ve mostly filled out, rather than growing upwards, which is fine by me.

The tree house

One of the things we loved about the house when buying it was that there was a tree house. In fact, when the surveyor looked around, he suggested that the home owner at the time remove it before we buy it because it’s potentially not entirely safe, yadda yadda.

We emailed our estate agent and requested that the seller absolutely not remove the tree house.

You can see Pebbles and No Pebbles in the conservatory there.

It proudly flies a … sort of… Welsh flag. We’ll eventually get around to changing it, but our current flags are mostly too large.

It is quite sturdy. I’ve sat up there reading at lunch times. Tim likes to stand atop it and survey our lands.

The wood needs treating (or replacing) in some places, but that will be an adventure for another time.

I’m also on the lookout for a more appropriate chair…

Buy cheap, buy twice

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a “good” deal and gotten in trouble for it.

This watering can was three whole British pounds from Morrisons and is worth… well, probably £3.

I bought it because my current watering can only has a single spout. This isn’t good when I’m trying to not drop many litres per second on my tender plants. The spout here creates a lovely rainfall effect which was exactly what I wanted.

However, in the few days I’ve been using it, it’s gone wrong in every way that it could have.

The white plastic head has fallen off. It’s gotten jammed with a few petals. The entire spout has come off. The thin plastic of the can nearly buckles whilst I was holding it (admittedly unusually).

The worth of buying this is that I’ve realised some things to look for in my future purchases.

  • The top handle and side handle is very important.
  • The spout needs to not block easily.
  • The spout needs to not fall off.
  • It needs to be fillable without my needing to get my hands wet when dipping it into my water bucket.

Reaching the glass ceiling

(More plastic ceiling, honestly.)

Remember a while ago I started planting some seedlings into pots? It looks like they’re just about out growing my single level greenhouse.

You can see them here pushing right up against the plastic. Being in that much contact with the wet surface probably isn’t good for them, so my next project will have to be graduating them to big plant school; the soil.

Many of the nasturium look like this. Long, with very few off shoots. I’ve no idea if this is their natural look, or a symptom of miniture greenhouse growth. Nonetheless, I’ve given it a deep drink of water that’ll hopefully allow it to perk up.

The marigolds are looking brilliant. I’ll be moving all of these into the ground quite soon.