Saturday, 23 June 2012

The current state of the garden

A quick update to bring you fully up to speed on how the garden looks now and the current plans for it.

I was having a real problem with moss growing over on the left hand side of the garden through the lawn. So bad in fact that I even sought professional help to sort it. Sadly the verdicate was that the main cause of the problem was the hedge growing to the side which was casting a large shadow over the area and preventing any real sunlight getting to it. The options were simple, remove the hedge or live with the moss, I chose neither. Instead I decided to pull the lawn back and create a large bed for planting instead.

The vegetable patch with most beds planted.
I was reluctant to do so because I really didn't want to lose any of my lawn's acreage (lol) but a lawn covered in moss is no lawn at all so something had to be done.

I managed to get it all dug out in one session and put what little grass there was into the strange corner of the garden on top of a pile of sticks and branches that were there. It would be nice if the grass was to take there but I doubt it will because of the sticks and what not but I'm just happy to have it out of the way.

The strange corner. A small strip of garden down the side of the building.
As for planting I took care of that just a few days ago when we had a reasonably sunny day and I had some spare time after work. I don't have as much free time as I would like and wasn't sure when I would next have a chance to get in and get things done if I didn't finish them today so I took care of all the planting again in one sitting. I was exhausted by the end! It wasn't a huge amount but the digging of the soil and turning it over really takes it out of you without frequent breaks and because I had a limited amount of daylight hours left when I started I just plunged right into it.

I got it all done though and by the end I had planted Onions, Lettace, Cucumber, Peppers, Carrots and Watermelons. I'm pretty certain that not all of these will grow and a bit regretful that I didn't use the propagators this year but the mess I made around the house last year with propagators on every window sill was a bit much. Never the less I am hopefull that I'll at least get a few carrots, onions and lettece out of it if nothing else.

I also took the time to plant some Sunflowers at the side of the house in the same place as last year since they done so well before, hopefully this year will be the same.

I didn't record the names of the plants I put around my border this year although I know there were some Lillies, my fiancee's favourite flower. They don't seem to be coming though too well in the border and I may replace them with some sapplings my neighbour gave me but in the large planter I have they are coming through tremendiously. Maybe the soil is better quality there since I used it for mixing compost and soil for smaller pots or maybe it is just in a sunnier location, whatever the reason I'm really happy about the growth they are showing.

Lillies, perhaps?
And finally I also have a border round the garden now. Just a cheap plastic one which was about £1 per 6 meters but it adds some definition to the garden and helps keep the borders tidier. I plan to dig up the grass on the outside of it near the hedges and plant flowers in its place at some point. I'll also have to take the strimmer or grass shears to the lawn since the council don't seem to be interested in it.
The council isn't keen on strimming.
And that's where we are to date. Future plans are getting the border finished, planting potatoes in the left over veg bed and planting the neighbour's sapplings somewhere.

If only I can find the time get it all done!

Oh and for those that are interested, this is what the slabbed section looks like:
Entrance and staging area.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

My history of gardening

In order to set the scene for future posts I think I'll take a little bit of time to go through my journey so far with each of my key topics. First up let's look at gardening.

My gardening history is quite a short one, only a couple of years long, and even then we are only talking the spring and summer months since there isn't a great deal to do in the autumn and winter (or if there is I don't know about it yet). There is a good reason for this, I've only stayed in a flat with a garden for a couple of years! Growing up I always stayed on at least the first floor or above so never had a garden of my own and even if I did I doubt I'd have a huge interest in gardening as a kid since my mum (who raised me) didn't show a particular interest in it.

It's kinda strange that actually. Despite not growing up around any gardeners or ever having a garden one of the things I really wanted when looking for my own flat was a place with a garden. Maybe it's just a case of me wanting what I've never had. Whatever the reason, 3 years ago I got one when I moved into my first flat with my then girlfriend (now fiancĂ©e and soon to be wife!) and it's a beauty:

The garden circa May 2010
Ok so she's not exactly 100 acres but she is good enough for me. I'd already made a few changes to the garden when the above pic was taken, putting down a few slabs at the entrance, tidying up the ones that were already there and adding some small stones for decoration and to make it easier to take the brown bin in and out. I was planning on parking my motorbike where the brown bin is in the picture but it was too much hassle getting it in and out of the small entrance and down the narrow path. A shame as well, if I'd managed to keep her there maybe she wouldn't have gotten stolen and set alight. Such is life though.

Here it is from another angle, I'd also planted several flowers all along the border at the side of the house:

May 2010
Nothing came through though and I vowed next year to learn more and to try harder.

So next year my garden was looking like this:

March 2011
You can see the lawn is in a bit of a bad way, covered in weeds and brown patches, the hedge is cut way back but it is still alive and well, the council cut it once a year for us and I think they got a little carried away last year. They also mow the lawn several times a year for us which is pretty handy.

So when I said I vowed to try harder I meant it, I even went so far as to measure the garden out and draw scaled plans of them! And a colour coded planting plan as well:

I didn't get everything planted that I wanted to but I did get quite a bit done. I didn't create the circle in the middle as I decided it would be too much of a nuisance for cutting the grass between it and the diamond but I did expand the square and remove the pampas grass from it. This time I also researched my plants before planting and bought some propagators to germinate them in first and pots to grow them in doors until I felt they were strong enough to survive the Scottish climate. Here is some photos of the process and the results:

And finally throughout all this I also made a wee cold box to try and grow tomatoes in, the box is good, not hole free but good enough, the tomatoes were rubbish:

2012 hasn't saw much action so far. I've been pretty busy with work and wedding related things but I have added in a bird house with several feeders to the middle of the garden and also got some professional help on restoring the lawn from GreenThumb (expect more on them and their great value for money service in another post). Here's a pic of the garden earlier this year:

February 2012
There has been some changes since then but they'll need to wait for another post, this one is already way too long. Hope you've enjoyed it though!

Monday, 18 June 2012

The beginning...

So what exactly is this blog going to be about?

Well, I'm a fan of all things computer related, zombie related and gardening related. Ok, maybe not all things but certainly most things. In fact with respect to gardening I just like pottering about and I'm not too interested in all the ins and outs of it but I do enjoy it, even if I am a complete amateur. When it comes to computers I like to think I'm a bit more experienced, having spent most of my life around them and having spent 4 years studying for a degree in Artificial Intelligence at The University of Aberdeen and now working as a software engineer. I guess my zombie experience, my real life zombie experience that is, that being the actual experience with real life zombies, is, perhaps unsurprisingly, non-existent but I certainly enjoy the genre! In a world stagnated with zombie related things I still can't get enough! It may be controversial but both the traditional shambling zombies and the more recent runners are good in my book and I think any sensible zombie apocalypse survival plan will take account for both situations (and of course a mixture of the two!).

So I've decided to fire up a blog that discusses all three topics and tries to relate them to one another in some shape or form, as you do.

The general premiss is going to be relating how my work with computers and my time spent in the garden can be used to help in the upcoming and inevitable zombie outbreak. I'll also from time to time fire up some garden, computer or zombie related content might not make any great contribution to your survival plan but should hopefully be interesting none the less.

First real post coming soon...