Saturday 18 August 2012

Creating Fig Trees

In the past I've had a bit of a problem keeping fig trees alive. They've always been fairly small and in a pot, and they've rarely lasted more than a winter and certainly never given me any fruit, but I still want to be able to grow them! I just love the fruit.
My mothers fig tree - never given a fruit but it's huge (didn't restrict the roots enough I think!)
Long term I'm planning to build some pits against the south side of the house (when we extend) to grow them in. But that wont be for a few years and I can't bring myself to spend any more money on fig trees with death wishes. Instead I'll try taking some Summer cuttings and maybe some Autumn ones later in the year so I can have some free plants!
My mother has got a large fig tree with some branches I can steal so that seems like a good place to start. There's lots of conflicting information on the Internet about how to do it so I'm just trying a mix of the best I read and see what happens. If they don't take I'll let you know, so don't copy this method!

Cutting the leaves in half to reduce how much water the cuttings need
The cuttings I took were around 6" long of this years growth. I cut just below where a leave has grown out, then trim the leaves off leaving about three on eahc cutting. The larger leaves I cut in half as I hope this will reduce how much water they need but still let them photosynthesis and reduce die back.
Sandy, gritty compost for cuttings

I then dip the tips in rooting powder and place them in a pot full of compost mixed with grit and sand.
Lets see how long these last!
 I put four in the pot, round the edges, and I'll check in a few weeks to see if any roots have started to grow. I'm leaving these under a cold frame (or something similar - I've got to build/find one yet) out of direct sunshine.
At worst I've got some compost and at best I've gained a fig tree or two! Might try blueberries next! Anyone else got any tips for cuttings?

Thursday 16 August 2012

English Peaches

I've added something to my wish list.
The large house where I'm currently working has a lean-to greenhouse on a south facing wall of one of the barns.
Peach house
 This green house contains just a single peach tree, full of peaches. It's had no care from anyone this year (although plenty in the past) but it's seems to have a really good crop, just perfect for a treat at the end of lunch time!
To tempting to leave!
 It's a great place for a green house as the south facing stone wall must hold and store so much heat, making the peaches ripen perfectly. The roots on the tree must be plenty big enough to get it's water from outside the greenhouse (and the holes in the roof).
Beautiful peach

Good sized peach tree
All I need now is a south facing wall and a peach tree that's got a bit of age to it! Something to plan to build and plant in a few years time! Anyone else love to grow food that shouldn't really ripen in their country (I've still yet to conquer figs!)

Sunday 12 August 2012

Ride On

Our lawn is so rough it feels like a battle has been fought on it. I tried pushing my big old Honda up and down but decided this was something I wasn't going to persuade myself to do very often. And short of making hay on the garden (which I have considered) I needed something to make my life a little easier.
Luckily my dad always knows someone selling what I want, within three days I was the proud owner of a secondhand ride on lawn mower, and for 300 quid I think it's a bit of a bargain. It handles the lawn nicely (after I strimmed it) and it can squeeze up the side of the house to do the little front lawn as well. Well it could get up there after I attacked the hedge with my little hedge trimmer and large chainsaw.
Not sure if my little girl enjoyed this or not!
Slowly I'm starting to get on top of things! I've got to learn to try and take these things on steadily or they can get on top of you and every job can suddenly look like a major one. Like the veg garden. But I'll depress you all with that another day...

Saturday 4 August 2012

I Beg Your Pardon,

I never promised you a herb garden!
Bargain Herbs
I've been looking out at car boot sales for lots of herbs so I can plant up a herb garden at the front of our house, but we found them just as cheap at a garden centre today. They were buy one get one free, which worked out at 75p for a good sized plant.
We went mad and bought 6 rosemary plants, 4 different thymes, Lemon Verben, a Curry plant, a gold veined sage and a pot of chives. Not bad for just over £10.
Now I need to sort out the area I'm going to plant them in, the trouble is this means digging up some large roots from an old rose bush and other shrubs so lot of work involved. It should make a nice herb boarder when it's done and make the front of the house look nicer.
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