Home Grown - A Project by Carl

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Made a litre of sloe gin, a litre of Apple vodka and a litre of Rakia with Apples (because we had the firewater sat around, undrinkable as is).

The SG had a little liquorice Sambuca added, and is amazing in tonic. A 1:1 mix of the vodka and Rakia is also drinkable now, and pretty good. :D
 

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Think you will struggle keeping healthy seedlings going if you sow that early. You're liable to end up with"leggy" and weak plants before they can go outside. Back of the seed packet sowing recommendations are usually good.
Well IIRC started the tomato seeding about march last year, but I think I used the wrong variety (Tamara) as it took ages for the tomatoes to grow...I'll try Ailsa Craig this year.
 

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The real question is not "Where's Wally?" but where's Carl?
 

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While we're talking about home-grown, some years ago we were given a LOT of victoria plums by a friend, and made both jam and wine with them. After 6 months the wine flavour embodied all that was unpleasant in plums.....

A couple of years later however it had become OK, if not spectacular - some was drunk, the rest forgotten. The jam was better suited to being used for the demolition of castle walls than slathering on toast, however I understand if it was chiselled from the jar then it tasted OK.

Fast forward a bit, over Christmas I cleared some of the old plum wine from the rack. Several bottles were very corked, but 3 were still sound. The nose was quite fragrant, somewhat like a nice German white with lots of green apple scents and the wine itself quite dry with a balanced acidity and fairly long (if a little unusual) finish. We also found a couple of jars of the jam lurking at the back of the larder. The date of preparation - 1996. I have a glass of 24 year old wine here, and it's actually not bad. :D
 

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Well I just have to post again my shot of a home grown carrot as I came across it going through my shots..so funny:-

 
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The real question is not "Where's Wally?" but where's Carl?
I was wearing a stripey jumper and bobble hat a few days ago, and someone commented that with my round glasses I looked like Wally. It's far from the worst name I've ever been called :D

Back to the garden, we're thinking of having a move about and moving the raised beds back to the other side of the garden. I also need to have a think about what I'll be growing this year, as I've recently found that I'm no longer able to eat decent sized quantities of foods like sweet corn, spinach or kale, so there's little point in growing them! I think last year I tried to grow too many different things, so this year I plan to grow fewer different types of vegetable but higher quantities of them.

I'm also planning on using both film and digital for my homegrown stuff now as I've got a new macro lens for the Fuji which costs me nothing to use, compared to buying and developing rolls of film weekly. Not sure whether to try and sneak some digital photos into this thread, try and get this thread moved to the project section, or start a new thread there. I'll still be using film for this, but not as much of it.
 

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I was wearing a stripey jumper and bobble hat a few days ago, and someone commented that with my round glasses I looked like Wally. It's far from the worst name I've ever been called :D

Back to the garden, we're thinking of having a move about and moving the raised beds back to the other side of the garden. I also need to have a think about what I'll be growing this year, as I've recently found that I'm no longer able to eat decent sized quantities of foods like sweet corn, spinach or kale, so there's little point in growing them! I think last year I tried to grow too many different things, so this year I plan to grow fewer different types of vegetable but higher quantities of them.

I'm also planning on using both film and digital for my homegrown stuff now as I've got a new macro lens for the Fuji which costs me nothing to use, compared to buying and developing rolls of film weekly. Not sure whether to try and sneak some digital photos into this thread, try and get this thread moved to the project section, or start a new thread there. I'll still be using film for this, but not as much of it.
Just use a ‘film’ plug-in for your digital shots, well never notice ;)
 

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Well my moan for the day:- I planted some raspberries last year and can't remember any warnings about under ground runners, they are popping up everywhere like convolvulus (bind weed). :eek:
Anyway now sowing tomatoes and peppers now in my home made heated propagator with mixed results as some are slow to germinate....or wont at all?.
 
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Well my moan for the day:- I planted some raspberries last year and can't remember any warnings about under ground runners, they are popping up everywhere like convolvulus (bind weed). :eek:
Summer friuting varieties are notorious for sending out roots and stems popping up yards away. Autumn fruiting varieties can do but less vigorously. I planted some sunny fruiting last year in a trench lined with v thick ground cover material to limit there spread but think I already spotted an "escapee".
 
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excalibur2

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Summer friuting varieties are notorious for sending out roots and stems popping up yards away. Autumn fruiting varieties can do but less vigorously. I planted some sunny fruiting last year in a trench lined with v thick ground cover material to limit there spread but think I already spotted an "escapee".
Well all I can do is to continually chop the runners off :( Maybe it would be better to dig them up and bury them in a large container\containers hoping the runners don't come through the holes in the bottom.
 
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Well all I can do is to continually chop the runners off :( Maybe it would be better to dig them up and bury them in a large container\containers hoping the runners don't come through the holes in the bottom.
Look on the bright side, you won't be moaning when you're the only one in your area eating raspberries during the continuing lock-down this summer! They'd taste even better if you could only get some cream to put on them! :giggle:
 

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Look on the bright side, you won't be moaning when you're the only one in your area eating raspberries during the continuing lock-down this summer! They'd taste even better if you could only get some cream to put on them! :giggle:
:)

Anyway I'll take a photo as a warning not to grow raspberries in the same bed as other vegetables, :(
 

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After digging up the raspberry runners have put a board in to see if that will stop them, looks like a fox was nosing around by the foot prints.
In case no one has mentioned it:- If you cut a 4 pints milk container, just below the handle, they make handy transfer pots for seedlings e.g. tomatoes that can't be put into the ground until frost has gone...in the pic on the LH side.
All my print dev trays have come in handy L and R in pic o_O:rolleyes:
BC1-28mm (25)-500px).jpg

BC1-28mm (27)-500px.jpg
 

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We've been assembling a raised bed today. So far, four sides completed. There's still a capping for the four sides and corner posts to put on, and a same area but lower extension to add to the front. It replaces the earlier circular-but-only-raised-until-the-soil-washes-down bed.
 

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Progress slowed down as the first half (minus capping) was complete, but there are three other walls to attach to double the total area. Now, this will not come as a surprise to anyone, but levelling a piece of ground becomes more difficult as the area increases. When we had a trailer tent, we never had to worry about leveling, as the base was small. Upsize to a caravan and it becomes more important. So here. The second half was semi assembled (three side joined to form an open square), but getting the ground to a state that it could be joined and also level took more time.

As things stand (we downed tools on Saturday evening), 4 screws needed to complete the basic assembly, and then the capping to screw on (two screws each for six posts, and two each for seven capping pieces).

Photos have been taken along the way, I'll post when the job is finished. Given the strong winds at the moment, and more promised, that may or may not be tomorrow.

For anyone interested, this is what we're putting together.
 
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excalibur2

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Erm what about uses string for leveling? Taut string and carefully lower a long spirit level onto the string....everyone should have a long spirit level, cheap and other uses for hedges to keep vertical and horizontal.
 

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We were using a spirit level on the wooden structure; determining that it wasn't level and by how much was easy; levelling the ground took more time. Of the three sides (remember, this was for the open square part of the structure) to all intents and purposes, the long side was level, with the two short side both out but by a different amount.

We do have a spirit level that has hooks to attach it to a string, but (presumably because I'm not a handyman) on the occasions we have used it I found that ensuring the string didn't slip down the tent pegs used to hold it, and not pulling the pegs out when tightening the string before measuring was more difficult than I could have imagined before trying to do it. Added to that, it still left it to the eye to check that once the string was level it was at the same height above the ground along its length. Probably I was doing it incorrectly. This was when we levelled the circular bed that the raised beds are replacing.

Using the structure itself was the simplest way (for me, anyway) as it remained taut and I didn't have to worry about whether the two ends were at an equal height above the ground.

Our back garden is pretty close to being on a north/south line. It slopes upward away from the house, and sideways being higher on the west. Our back fence is about eight feet high on our side, and five feet on the other (the lower part is a brick wall; no bricks are visible on the other side). Our neighbours on the west can approach their fence and it reaches just above the waist, whereas it's higher than I am on our side. As a final geological detail, we have a foot plus of soil at the house end of the garden, and only a few inches above the chalk at the south end. Sorry, this is probably too much information :) but writing this makes a pleasant change for me as it's an escape from lockdown blues.
 
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After digging up the raspberry runners have put a board in to see if that will stop them, looks like a fox was nosing around by the foot prints.
In case no one has mentioned it:- If you cut a 4 pints milk container, just below the handle, they make handy transfer pots for seedlings e.g. tomatoes that can't be put into the ground until frost has gone...in the pic on the LH side.
All my print dev trays have come in handy L and R in pic o_O:rolleyes:
View attachment 276922

View attachment 276923
Hope you've got on top of your raspberry runners. I'm having to try this:
 

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excalibur2

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Hope you've got on top of your raspberry runners. I'm having to try this:
Well that should stop them, for me they are still popping up but less now because like bind weed if you just leave a small piece in the ground they will shoot from that. :eek:
 
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I've never grown raspberry canes in a veg plot, they've always been planted in a row in a lawned area. Any runners get dealt with when mowing the lawn then. (y)
 

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I've never grown raspberry canes in a veg plot, they've always been planted in a row in a lawned area. Any runners get dealt with when mowing the lawn then. (y)
Lucky you as I have a formal garden for most it and at the back is for veggies etc but have found a way for free blackberries as the property at the end has unused ground and is overgrown with them, well every year let the spurs come through my Loncera hedge, enjoy them and cut them back after. (y)
 

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My new arrangement (in that before last year it was just long grass and weeds:D). We grow our raspberries in pots to save any escapees.

Veg Plot 1 by Andy, on Flickr
Veg Plot 2 by Andy, on Flickr

There are also a large number of pots with spuds in (about 15 I think) apple, pear, cherry, damson and plum trees (1 of each) and 4 pots with strawberries in. Then theres the wildflower bit to attract the bees.

Wildflower Garden 3 by Andy, on Flickr
 

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Finally, the raised beds have been assembled.

First, the site. There used to be a circular veg patch here, slightly raised. The green strip on the left is part of what was a complete circle, held in place (only semi successfully) with tent pegs. To the left is a pear tree, with a plum tree to the right.

1 the site DSC02563.JPG

Next, the first short side for the deeper bed assembled:

2 first short side DSC02564.JPG

And after assembling the second one, here they are placed roughly in situ:

3 2 short sides roughly in situ DSC02567.JPG
 
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My new arrangement (in that before last year it was just long grass and weeds:D). We grow our raspberries in pots to save any escapees.

Veg Plot 1 by Andy, on Flickr
Veg Plot 2 by Andy, on Flickr

There are also a large number of pots with spuds in (about 15 I think) apple, pear, cherry, damson and plum trees (1 of each) and 4 pots with strawberries in. Then theres the wildflower bit to attract the bees.

Wildflower Garden 3 by Andy, on Flickr
That's some amount of garlic there Andy, are you expecting vampires? :eek::eek:
 

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That's some amount of garlic there Andy, are you expecting vampires? :eek::eek:
20 cloves of Solent white and 3 elephant garlic....you can't be too careful in these strange times in which we live :D
 
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True enough, although it seems the Wuhan bat was more dangerous than the vampire one.:(:(
I think Andy still needs to stay alert though, as apparently pangolins are good climbers and would be into those raised beds in no time, and I think I might have seen one trotting down West Street earlier. But it could have been a ginger cat. :giggle:
 
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The soil isn't bad, as what you're seeing is the remnants, slightly trodden down, of the previous circular raised bed. The problems with the former arrangement were two-fold.

First, there's the slope. Numbering the photos in the two posts 1-5, photo one which shows the site has the edge of the lawn in the foreground. This is actually about 6 inches above the bare earth, due to the downward slope in that direction. The slope continues, and the ground level at the fence is another 6 or so inches down. Knowing that, you can just about see the slope in photo 3. That means that keeping the soil raised is a problem, with rain washing it down, or just general wear and tear. Again in photo 3, on the extreme right hand side, you can see a brick wall underneath the fence. None of this brickwork is above ground on the other side, as the land is sloping up, The brickwork is actually higher as you move to the west (the raised beds being on the east side).

Our drive is higher than next doors on that side, by about two feet at the house end. That's an indication of the way the land goes. In their garden, they have a number of buildings and the concrete bases were protected by a low brick wall on our side because of soil drifting in. We had the same problem on the other side, until the fence was renewed and next door used concrete blocks at the base to adjust for the height difference. About two feet, before the fence starts, rather like our far fence, although by the time we reach the south west corner, our wall is more like three feet high.

Secondly, the soil you're seeing is additions to the ground. We might have almost a foot of soil at the north end of the garden (next to the house) but at the south (far) end it's more like a couple of inches above the chalk. Dig down, and there isn't much soil, which, apart from the general advantages and trendyness of raised beds, is a good reason for using them.

In brief - to ensure a reasonable depth of soil which won't be washed down out of the bed.

And as a matter of interest - half of the shallow bed has now been planted by Sue (who is the gardener, not me) using compost from the bin, some bags of compost bought a day of so ago when garden centres opened, and some plants bought at the same time - seeds not being available at the right time for her normal grow from seeds strategy.
 
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excalibur2

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Ah good reason to use raised beds...if you want exercise my garden is the one for it as the area has many lakes (old gravel pits) and of course mine is full of stones as well and I reckon my garden might have been compressed by an ice block in the large ice age o_O, as the deeper you go even a fork can't penetrate to remove the stones easily :(
 

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'my garden might have been compressed by an ice block in the large ice age'

Blimey Brian I didn't realise you'd been in that house for that long
 

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'my garden might have been compressed by an ice block in the large ice age'

Blimey Brian I didn't realise you'd been in that house for that long
:D:D:D

Well no old coins etc in my garden as I doubt the Celts and Saxons could have farmed it, which comes to my very interesting story :rolleyes:o_O:-
Digging beds and holes for fruit trees etc was a nightmare (well daymare) as what did I do with all the stones? well at the end of my garden was old land roughly level with mine with a small hill and what the buyer did was to employ a M\C to take the gravel away and lowered his land by about 30-40ft and to stop my land (and others) from sliding down created a stone bank I suppose about 45 degrees, and erm that's where all my stones went after using my device of small holed chicken wire nailed to two post and at the bottom was a tray....set at about 60 degrees you shovelled the stones onto the wire and the small stones go through and the big ones collect in the tray as they rolled down. Applause? :rolleyes:
 
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I'm glad I got all this 'grow your own' stuff out of my system while I was still a youngster; all that digging, thumping and hacking was so much easier in those days! :)

Reminds me of a retired chap, an ex WW2 Major (senior Medial Dr), who I used to compete against in those days in the local pub marrow contest (yes, really; and it was good fun too, with plenty of 'Terry-Thomas' style banter about spying, sabotage, mosaic virus, etc!). However, the good Major's mantra in respect of any other aspect of gardening was: "Gardening is a man's job... and, fortunately, I have a man to do it!".

The older I get, the more I realise how wise the Major was! :giggle:
 
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excalibur2

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Well one reason to use a camera is for record shots (memory is unreliable) as I have photographed all changes to the garden for over 30 years. (y)
 

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Any supreme being in earthly form here as we need rain in the South east. o_O
 
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