A Raised Bed Disaster!

I should really be essaying, and essaying I shall, but I am in a little bit of a rage…

I have a row of rather fab-looking cauliflowers and a row of slightly lesser-fab-looking turnips in the second bed. Or I did a few days ago, as it has all gone to pot, and all gone wrong, and I am in quite a mood, and have thus been on a rampage around my garden…

At the weekend I noticed two turnips at yon end of the bed were shrivelling up and looking rather dead. I dug one up and saw there was no turnip at the end! I showed Mamma who deduced that ‘something’ was eating it. The most dreaded of words for a gardener to hear… Clearly not for this gardener, as I discarded the turnip and thought no more about it.

Then on Sunday I dug up another one, and this time I saw horrid nasty little white maggotty things squirming around in the remains of a sad turnip! They were fed to father’s fish, and the remains of the turnip thrown as far as my little wimpy arm could manage. I dug around in the soil to see if I could see anymore (surely little white things on brown soil would show up?) and found nothing, so thought no more about it.

Then today I got home to a massacre!

Mother didn’t even notice anything was wrong!

My turnips had gone from being proud and flourishing things to shrivelled up things…

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The cauliflowers are tall on the right, and the turnips – only yesterday – were of a comparable size! Today though they were wilting and dying off. Sure enough, when I dug one up, there were horrid nasty white wiggling things in the turnips!

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Only about a couple of millimetres in length, and in the very centre of the above image, there were a few on all of the turnips. All got pulled up and mercilessly (though with a heavy heart) thrown into a bucket of water. Then I started to panic. I read in one of my gardening books (The Complete Vegetable Grower, if I recall correctly) that turnips are susceptible to cabbage root fly… which also likes to target cauliflowers. What did I have growing next to my turnips??

Damage limitation was in full flow. I dug up all my cauliflowers and thoroughly checked them. I felt sick having to throw half of them away – out of twelve plants, I have seven which I hope, hope, hope I have saved. Probably against all instruction, I potted them up separately. I didn’t want to leave them in the soil – which I am now stressing about being infested with this horrid things and am tempted to dig the entire section up and chuck it away – and I wasn’t about to plant potentially infected cauliflowers near my broccolis and squashes. I will leave them in pots and see how they fare. If they start to go downhill, I think I may cry.

I’ve since read that I should put felt discs around the stems of the plants. Oh yes, I’ll just go the felt from the shed!! I suppose I shouldn’t be angry: it is a learning curve, after all. I’m not even a big fan of cauliflower. Nor do I even think I like turnips. However I feel especially victimised now! And they’re horrible squirmy things and I feel quite sick thinking about them. I just hope it doesn’t ruin the rest of the bed! I have a bumper crop of beetroot to the side and then my lettuces, swiss and rainbow chard, kale, and then two rows of carrots. Hopefully cabbage root fly doesn’t morph into carrot root fly!

Such Monday rage. I had a nice day at work – obviously a nice day at work and a nice garden don’t go hand in hand!

The Raised Bed Diaries #11 – Fruits of My Labours

After an extended absence, obviously much will have changed on my plots! Last week I uploaded pictures of the two raised beds themselves, and how they have been growing over time. But I don’t just have the two beds, and things are flourishing elsewhere.


IMG_1479It’s not the best picture in the world, but this is one of my courgettes. This photo was about two weeks ago, so they are steadily growing and darkening in colour. The flowers are lovely and yellow once they open up.

IMG_1586Here i one about a week later. Most are coming quite dark and look great!

IMG_1585Now these two are in a pot. The other courgettes are (as you can tell) in grow bags, and the general size of the plant is twice as big as this one. Unfortunately I lost one of these courgettes today! It was beginning to rot, leading me to believe I’ve been overwatering them.

The Grow Bags



These are three of my five runner beans. The other two are in pots. (You can see the potted courgettes to the left and the monster grow bag courgettes to the right.) The runner bean on the left is a monster and is growing a couple of inches a day: he’s already well over two metres high. The one in the middle isn’t doing quite so well, but he’s giving it a go, bless him. They have lovely red flowers and I’m dead excited about them flowering.


These are my monster courgettes! They have huge leaves and they do have big yellow flowers but I took these pictures late on after coming back from work so they had closed up. I am very excited about having a glut of courgettes! I like them grilled or stir fried with a bit of garlic, oil and salt. Yum!


I have a lot of tomato plants. These are outside, and aren’t as impressive as the six in the tomato greenhouse, but they are do very well nonetheless. They have flowers on them, so fingers crossed! I’ve cut the lower leaves off as my RHS book instructs, but they are starting to look alarmingly bushy around the top.




This is my strawberry plant – or rather, these are my three strawberry plants. One is rife with fruit, one has a couple on it, and one has nothing whatsoever on it. You can see the big strawberry to the fore of the planter…

IMG_1589Here he is a couple of days later! Luscious and red! I ate him today and he was absolutely divine – so much sweeter than the watery stuff you get in punnets from the supermarket. I think next year I would like to properly plant out a row of strawberry plants and see how I go with that.

And finally…

Behind my beds is a bit of open space, though crowded with trees. My big plan was to dig this all up (it was formerly where I kept my muck heap and spare topsoil from doing the beds), dig in the manure, and then cover with top soil, ready for my broccolis, squashes and cauliflowers. I am a bit of a weakling, and so had to spread this over two or three mornings, but… I did it!

IMG_1508Here are my six broccolis, with the main heads snipped off to encourage the side-shoots, and my two squashes. The squash on the right was almost a goner… when I transferred him from his little tub into a slightly bigger pot, I thought I snapped his stalk, and he didn’t look great for a while – I had to bury him quite deep and prop him up with a lot of soil. But look at him now! I also have a third one that I sowed, thinking that I’d killed one. They have some flowers coming on them, so they should be flowering soon.






The Raised Bed Diaries – An Extended Absence

It’s been a while! I apologize unreservedly, but you know, I have essays to write… work to do… and while I have been in my garden, and have been taking photos, this has failed to translate into any blog posts!

I can’t even remember what my last blog post was. However I’m sure the beds have changed quite drastically…

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On the left, I have, from front to back, garlic and the invisible asparagus, then two rows of late onions sown from bulb, then a line of kale that has just started sprouting, and a few little plants of radish that I grew in the cloche. My spinach has escalated out of control and desperately needs chucking in a pan with some butter and wilting down. I’ve had some strange problems with my mangetout: I have two very fine plants either end, and then in the middle, a load of dead or dying specimens! Not quite sure what’s gone on there. Then behind them I have my rows of onions which are surely not far off now.

On the right, from front to back, I have two rows of carrots, which I began to thin out possibly a bit prematurely, so am hanging fire with those; then I have a row of Swiss chard which seems to be coming up nicely, then I have sown another line of onions from bulbs, and a new sowing of rhubarb chard. Beyond that I have some Cos lettuces which are coming up rather nicely to the right of the bed and rather not at all to the left; the same is true for the turnips behind, which I don’t seem to be so lucky with; however I have about fifteen little cauliflowers all coming up grand behind them. Finally I have four rows of beastly beetroots, but I pulled one up and it was about the size of a ten pence piece and a similar sort of depth.

It is our local Horticultural Society’s Open Gardens this weekend, so must get my beds sorted and in tip-top shape!

I will continue (I hope) to post more. Ta ta for now!

Massive Progress! – The Raised Bed Diaries #9

Hello all! I’m sorry my posts have been rather sporadic of late, I’m currently working on presenting a paper for the postgraduate conference at uni and it’s taking up most of my time.

Most of these Diary posts are quite back-dated anyway, but I’m trying my hardest to bring them all up to date.

Because I’ve not had as much time to sit by the cloche and stare at my plants, every time I go to look at them they seem to have erupted. My broccolis, courgettes and even my runner beans are turning into great beasts!



These are my broccoli plants, and they’re starting to look like small trees! I need to plant them out, but at the rate they are growing, there would be no room for anything else in my beds. I think I may clear away a bit of bare soil and plant them out beside my beds, so that they have the space to grow. Need to keep the rabbits off them though.

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Look at these two bad boys! On the left is one of the smaller courgettes. This one is probably my favourite because its two leaves are almost perfectly symmetrical. On some of the others, the proper courgette leaf is huge.

On the right is one of my beans! I’ve had a slight mishap with the beans, and one of them hasn’t germinated. A dud! But as you can see this one is majestic. They are all of a similar size, and desperately need repotting into something else. For the moment, they are OK, but they will soon need to be hardened off, and I need to decide what to do with them.


Coming Up Nicely – The Raised Bed Diaries #4

So after a week or so, my little buds have come out and they’re looking pretty fine! There are so many!


I’m dead pleased that I’ve actually managed to grow things: I was half convinced nothing would happen and I’d just have lots of little pots full of soil and nothing else. So to see all these little seedlings sprouting up is such a relief! Here are my spinach: IMG_0970


What’s the plural of spinach? Are they spinaches?

If you look closely on the below shot, you might be able to see my little beetroots, poking their noses out! They are very hard to see because they are a lovely deep burgundy red sort of colour.


It’s a Gardener’s World… The Raised Bed Diary #1

Many a hot summer holiday’s fun activity was being dragged around sticky greenhouses and garden centres… as a typical moody teenager, it wasn’t my idea of fun!

However, since moving to the farm, I’ve been getting itchy green fingers – which sounds like a disease in itself! I pestered Dad for where I could have my vegetable patch, and it was unanimously agreed that instead of a patch, I could have a raised bed. Then nothing much happened, beyond me dreaming of winning the village show with my excellent courgettes and fabulous onions, despite Nana buying me a trowel set and a pair of pink gardening gloves for Christmas. Then, lo and behold…

The Sleepers Have Arrived

Here you can see the two – yes, TWO! – beds have been marked out with the sleepers that Ma and Pa went to fetch from a nice gentleman who was something difficult to find.

Naturally, of course, being on a farm, we have access to pretty decent manure:

Who needs a compost bin?


So the next step is to get ’em dug up and filled in!

Half full!


And here is the first bed, full up! The soil was top soil shaken off the fodder beet out of one of our fields, and hence still comprised of a good few chunks – the barrow is full of the biggest bits.

So far, I am dead chuffed with it! And bloody knackered. And so, on that note… off to dream of shovelling manure and where to plant my crops!