Wednesday, 14 May 2014


It wasn't a bad day on Tuesday apart from the thunderstorm, torrential rain and hailstones in the middle of the afternoon. 
I’ve started renovating another part of our garden. It’s a sort of underused area behind our greenhouse. For many years now it’s been the home to our cold frame so while it might be underused it’s played an important part in our growing cycle.
Back in spring 2011 the renovation started so it’s certainly not been a rushed job. We've made lots of plans for this little area and then changed our minds before actually doing anything. The result of the 2011 renovation is shown below.
The cold frame remained in place and various plants have been grown through summer on the area covered with bark chippings. The area looked much better than it had done but we weren't yet satisfied that we were getting the best out of this area. The plans were put in place to install a raised bed to grow a few salad types crops and herbs at home which we can just pop out of the kitchen and harvest as required. Last summer we had this large pot of mint which kept us supplied with fresh mint all summer and enough to make mint sauce to last us through winter.
This is the sort of result we want but for salad crops too. One of the problems is that this little area has become a dumping ground for all those pots and large tubs that aren’t currently growing anything but might be in a few weeks time. They have to be stored somewhere don't they. Notwithstanding the fact that we haven't really sorted out this storage issue we decided to replace our ancient aluminium cold frame with a couple of new cedar ones.

I've pondered long and hard about whether to continue to place our new cold frames and raised bed on the existing bark chippings or to pave the area using concrete paving stones. The area seems to be a popular haunt for slugs and snails and for a while I thought concrete paving stones might be the better option to control them. I've come to the conclusion that if they're going to be a problem then whatever ground cover I use they’ll continue to be a problem.

As our cold frames are due to arrive this Friday I thought I'd better get an area sorted out where the cold frames can be constructed. I’m anticipating using old and new cold frames side by side for a few weeks as plants are moved out of the greenhouse into the cold frame to be hardened off. The plan is to eventually dismantle the old aluminium cold frame and re erect it on the plot. This will then give us space for our raised bed.
All was going quite well until the middle of the afternoon and the arrival of a that very untimely thunderstorm. It was just as if someone had turned on a hosepipe except that there were hailstones mixed in with the rain. It’s not far from the back of the greenhouse to the shelter of the kitchen but by the time I'd made that short journey I was soaked to the skin.
The water didn't drain through the weed control fabric going under the bark chipping and concrete paving flags forming the footpath. All I could do was leave the area to dry out and hope the weather forecast which is for settled weather conditions for the next few days turns out to be correct.
The ivy is from our neighbours garden but has taken a liking to the timber fence. The birds love it and I think a blackbird has nested in the thickest part this spring. The shrub at the far end of the cold frame is also growing in a neighbours garden and will be pruned back to the fence line to tidy up the area. Sue has some ideas of new plants to grow up the fence but I’ll leave those ideas for another time.


  1. It's great to have room in the garden for a working area. It's going to be all poshed up though with your new cedar coldframes and your lovely raised bed. We didn't get a thunderstorm here but we did get a huge downpour. Eleanor was out walking Archie in it, you can imagine what they both looked like when they got home, the pair of them were bedraggled.

    1. Cold frames arrived today (Friday) and built by the delivery team. Looking good so far now I need to move the old aluminium one to the plot to make space for the raised bed.

  2. It's going to be a nice little area when it's done, the ivy backdrop is lovely. It sounds like a mega downpour, hope you dried off quickly. I'm intrigued by the knobbly pots in the 2011 photo - some sort of fancy insulating pot? My next-door neighbour has bark chippings between his raised beds and swears that the slugs and snails don't like them much. I have grass, they love grass, perfect for the nightime slithering.

    1. I've needed a good name for those pots and now I've got one "knobbly pots". I think their correct name is air pots. The idea is that as the roots of plants grow through the holes in the pots they get sort of air pruned and the plant develops a better root system than if it just goes round in circles and becomes pot bound as in normal pots. No idea if it works!


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