Tag Archives: garden

Carrots, sunflowers, beans, and sweetcorn.

Apologies. This is just more pictures of the plants in my garden.

On the same day I made that flowerbed, I also planted some sunflowers (very much later in the year than they should have been planted). While some of my neighbours have ones over 6ft tall, here are mine at the moment:

Not bad for 3 weeks growth, though.

I also planted some carrots into a potato planter the same day (I was busy that weekend):

You’re meant to thin them by taking out the weaker ones, but I don’t know where to start as they’re all looking about the same.

Some of my plants are doing better than others.

No idea what’s happened to my runner beans:



They were doing quite well, but then started getting eaten, and have now withered a bit.

Have started again in a different area, with different plants:


Maybe those will last better (although something has started eating the leaves on the right already, and they’ve only been outside for about a week).

I think the runaway success is the sweetcorn.
Check this shizzle:

It’s big, and leafy.

And look what’s hidden under those leaves:



If you got some kind of gardening book, and looked up what sweetcorn should look like while it’s growing, that’s what you’ll find. Perfect.

The flower bed

For those of you who haven’t seen any of my “building a pond” video series, you won’t be aware of how frustrating my garden is.
It’s nice to live in the city, and it’s nice to have a garden while living in the city.
It’s also nice to have a friendly landlady, who will let you dig up her garden and plant things.
What isn’t so nice, is that when you start digging, you find a couple of inches of soil, then bricks, rubble, old bits of guttering, and any other crap the people who built the house couldn’t be bothered to take away with them.
There’s a tarmac road off one side of my garden. But if you dig pretty much anywhere in the garden, you’ll hit tarmac pretty quickly.

Today I started looking at a patch we’re not utilising. The patch between the pond and the back fence. Here it is:

That pond was hard work. Even with wet soil, it required a pick-axe to get through the rubble. The flowerbed on the left is actually only there because I couldn’t dig deep enough at the edge to put the pond there, due to a seam of solid immovable rock I hit.

A few weeks back, I rather stupidly suggested we dig the area between pond and back fence.
I had a go at this today, and the combination of poor soil, and severe lack of rain lately, has left it absolutely rock hard.

So, thought I – why not just build a raised bed?
I found a thing on Sainsburys’ website, which looks pretty good.
That’d almost exactly fill that space, but leave enough room to get to the compost bin. Perfect.

I’m impatient though, so I drove to Sainsburys, only to find they don’t stock them in store.
Then I went to B&Q, but they don’t have anything remotely like it.
I looked at some plant pots, but that just confirmed my fears that plant pots are either:
a) Expensive
b) Too small
c) Cheap-plastic-looking
d) All of the above.

So in B&Q, I picked up one of these liner sheets, for carrying things without getting your car boot dirty.

That was £1.

Next, I got some compost. Two of these 70 litre ones.



They were £3.98 each. Seems good value – I don’t buy compost often enough to know though.

Then I laid the boot liner out in the garden:

Problem is, it was really windy.

I guess with potato planters, and the Sainsburys product, that there is some sort of structure to keep it standing up straight.
I mean just look at it:

That maybe needs a little help to stay in position.

Luckily, I have some old bricks not doing anything, that I discovered while building a pond.


Much better.

Now I filled it with compost.
(Ok, it was two types of compost. I had half a bag of a different sort left over.)

At this point I realised a couple of things.
1. It still isn’t that sturdy
2. Boot liners don’t have holes in them. They’re designed to keep plants, compost, muddy shoes away from your expensive car’s carpet on the other side.

To solve both of these issues, I cut a bamboo cane into bits, and after using one piece to make holes in the bottom of the plastic, I hammered them through the liner and into the ground at various points.


Ok, so it’s a bit like a sandpit that’s gone very wrong.

Maybe it needs a few pots around it to hide the plastic nature of it.
And it’ll look better once it has some flowers growing in it. Maybe.

Update: 15th July.
Check me out.
After only 5 days, I’ve got shoots popping up out the flower bed. Not bad, considering I didn’t follow any of the instructions at all regarding propagating on window sills or anything. I literally just threw the seeds in, and watered them.


It functions.
And my girlfriend liked it, and said (without me even mentioning it), that it’ll help kill the rubbish grass underneath it (when we dig it out properly at a later date).

Update: 31st July.
Nearly 3 weeks since I did this, so thought I’d do another update.

It seems I have a slight issue, in that my soil has started to turn a bit…green, and the consistency of something you might find in a shady forest.
This could be down to insufficient drainage in the boot liner. There’s not that many holes in it really. I may attempt to make some more.

Plants looking fine though, except the ones on the left which have been nibbled by something.

Building a pond – day 4

It’s day whatever of this never-ending task that I still haven’t completed.
Ponds are hard.
I consulted two people – someone who has worked in the building trade, and someone who is a keen gardener – and both told me that building a pond is “a lot of work”.

Still, I’ve started, so I’ll finish.

My girlfriend suggested we needed some oxygenating plants for our pond, before we put the tadpoles in.
Luckily her mum has a pond which had (spawn, and then) tadpoles in it, so we took some (plus some water) from there.

Oxygenating pond weed is hard to come by. I tried B&Q and several garden centres (by phone), and several didn’t sell it, but suggested Almondsbury Garden Centre. They seemed very friendly on the phone and confirmed a selection of oxygenating plants, so I went out there.
What doesn’t come across in the video (because I didn’t film very much) is how big the place it. MASSIVE.

The next video may be more interesting, as I’ll be attempting to feed the tadpoles.

Building a pond – day3

There’s been some debate about whether you technically “build” a pond.
Surely you “excavate” it, more than “build” it?
You’re taking away, mostly…..although I suppose then you put some things back in.
This is the third day of me digging a hole anyway.

As you can see, I’ve had a busy few days, mentally.
I had a sudden worry with all these huge “rocks” I kept finding and killing with a pick-axe, that one of them might be a water/sewer/gas pipe or something else important, so contacted the landlady to make sure there wasn’t anything running through our garden, before continuing.

Also, unfortunately it rained on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

On the upside, that means I was continuing the build on Saturday, when my girlfriend was there to help.
With me pick-axing, and her shovelling, things sped up infinitely (well, at least by 2-3 times, anyway).


And there we have it. There’s a pond in my garden. Currently without any water, filters, or animals to speak of, but a pond nonetheless.

Building a pond – day 2

This is like a mid-season episode of Lost. It could be called “day2”, or “the day not much happened” or just simply “Tuesday”.
In fact, it is quite difficult to see what I’ve done, on video.

After day 1, I was exhausted.
After putting the video online, I thought “this is really dull – nobody will want to see the rest”.
Yet, without me mentioning this project on Twitter at all, that last post got a surprising amount of views. In fact, it got more views than any prior iwantedparklife post.
It could be a complete concidence. Maybe it is just because the Twitter festival was about to take place, and my name was mentioned with the other ticket holders on their site.

Anyway here is what happened on day2:


It’s like digging your way out of a quarry. There’s no soil, just more and more bloody rocks.

Building a pond – day 1

“Pondbuild – almost live”?
I need a better name for this.

I’ve been pondering a pond since I lived in my old house. I’ve just moved house about 6 weeks ago, and thought I saw a frog in the street (cul-de-sac) recently. My suspicions were confirmed, sadly, by a dead frog squashed flat after being run over, a few days ago.
Our garden was a bit too square, with patchy grass and waterlogged, so me and my girlfriend decided to do something about this, and also put some trees, bushes, and vegetables in.
When the landlady found out what we were planning, she insisted on giving us some money to help out with this, and coupled with the frog I’d seen recently, we decided to build a pond.

There will be no fish, as they’ll only attract more cats. Plus fish are really dull, aren’t they?
My girlfriend said she only really liked tropical fish (so can’t go outside), and having them indoors would make the place look like a dentist waiting room.

So instead, I’m going for frogs, plants, and rocks.


They say that farming contributes to global warming, due to the high levels of methane produced. It’s all true.
After an hour of digging with a spade and all that bending over, I can tell you that the level of gaseous emissions in my garden had at least doubled.