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It's been a glorious, Spring like day today, spent most of it sowing seeds and marking out a new flower bed. The new bed will be eleven and a half foot wide by just over sixty foot long, fronted by a

This is a bit of a bugbear of mine so if I slip into rant mode, I apologise now.   Titchmarsh is right, gardeners are universally regarded as too thick to do anything else, the public perception is a

The Pergola is up, the digging is all done, the gravel is spread and the massive tree has had a trim to expose the trunk and let some light through ; all that's left to do is plant it up and pray for

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Well Jethro as a fellow gardener im impressed with the set up,very well laid out and cared for,what i would give for a nice big greenhouse like yours,has lucrative possibilities lol

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Wow impressive & lovely looking place you have there jethro! That greenhouse looks awesome - the things you could grow in there....

Really puts my tiny courtyard & plastic greenhouse to shame - oh for all that space!

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Thanks for the kind comments folks.

The greenhouses are amazing now, they were in a really poor state until a few years ago but they've had a major re-build. Originally there were four of them, one more running in the same line as those left and a forth at right angles, against the end wall - all that was left of the other two were foundations. They seem to date from Victorian times, at one point there would have been water pipes running the entire length of the floor to heat them, sadly long gone and concreted over. Digging has recovered some of the ornate iron grills which would have covered the pipes, they're now used as door steps.

The veg garden is just one part of the grounds which surround the Manor, the house dates from all parts of the last 800 years or so, the earliest bit being 12th century; at one point it was owned by Katherine Parr. It's an amazing place to work and I count myself as very lucky to not only have carte blanche to do what I want, but to have really nice employers too who joy of joys, love their garden and don't want corners cut.

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Indeed you're in a great position there!

I'd just love a bit more growing space then perhaps I could grow more than 3 or 4 of 'big' things like peppers/tomatoes/broccoli etc.

My winter veg didn't really grow at all until recently and the cabbages are all leggy - simply down to the lack of any sunlight late Oct to late Feb in almost the whole yard. Even in summer I can only use 50% of the space as the rest is shaded all the time.

Still learnt a lot and look forward to one day owning my own big garden to grow all sorts in...

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I'd normally sow my Runners and Courgettes this week but I think I'll leave it another week, the mid range still looks iffy even down here. The wind down the allotment today could cut right through you.

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I've had one of those don't know whether to laugh or cry moments today.

Spent much of Tuesday sowing seeds, lots of which had to be surface sown or covered with the lightest layer of vermiculite. All carefully sown and lowered into a tray of water to soak the compost and draw the seed in, rather than watered from above. My boss came home late last night, he's not there much but likes to fiddle in the garden if he gets the chance. Nothing to do outside so he chose the greenhouse for his re-connecting with the garden session, thoroughly and no doubt tenderly, watered all the seeds for me - with a bleeding hose pipe! The vermiculite is spread evenly an inch around the sides of all the seed trays with a fair covering all around on the ground too, heaven knows where the seeds are. Of course, sods law dictates I've sown all the seeds, not just half a packet, so it's well and truly back to square one.

Apparently the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, I'm sorely tempted to edge his bit of the road with severed hands.....

Grrrrrrr!

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They're all pretty similar, regardless where you get them from, shop around and get the cheapest. Word of caution, don't be tempted to save money by buying the ordinary polythene covering, UV stabilised ones last years longer, ditto the hot spot tape - worth it's weight in gold. Be careful about the door options, they're expensive. Often it's cheaper to buy timber from somewhere like Jewson's and make one yourself, you don't need any skill other than the ability to measure, cut reasonably straight and drive in a screw. If you're on an exposed site, a door either end is better as it stops the tunnel ballooning - make sure you concrete the hoops into the ground too or the whole thing will take off!

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They're all pretty similar, regardless where you get them from, shop around and get the cheapest. Word of caution, don't be tempted to save money by buying the ordinary polythene covering, UV stabilised ones last years longer, ditto the hot spot tape - worth it's weight in gold. Be careful about the door options, they're expensive. Often it's cheaper to buy timber from somewhere like Jewson's and make one yourself, you don't need any skill other than the ability to measure, cut reasonably straight and drive in a screw. If you're on an exposed site, a door either end is better as it stops the tunnel ballooning - make sure you concrete the hoops into the ground too or the whole thing will take off!

Thanks for the reply I have a "mini" polytunnel over a veg bed which has the hot spot tape on

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Where would you guys recommend for buying a full sized polytunnel?

I've looked here but i was just wondering if there is anywhere else anyone would recommend 8x10 is the size I'm after

I've used First tunnels twice now over the last 10 years and they are good. The tunnels come with good construction instructions that most averagely competent diyers can manage.

The first one I bought had anchor plates and a base to trap the plastic to tighten it. We didn't bother with that the next time as it wasn't worth the extra cost and just used the trench and burying the plastic method. Perfectly secure in even very strong winds. I agree hot spot tape is a must and it's worth having some repair tape handy just in case you have any accidents. Its also worth spending plenty of time on the ground prep and measuring accurately and you'll need several pairs of hands to put the cover on. I had to cover mine on a cloudy damp day as torrential rain was forecast and it has never been as tight as it should of been so try and cover on a warm sunny day................you could wait awhile for that!

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Compost from Home Bargains.. Yey or Nay?

What make is it? I did some growing comparisons a few years back and I have always found cheap compost to be quite poor but it depends what you want it for. If it quite light and drys quickly then it's probably not worth buying.

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My propagator on the windowsill is now chock full of seed trays. Should stay there for the next few weeks while winter finishes packing his bags and gets lost! The snow has now melted from the veg garden but the clay soil is going to take a long time to warm up this year. I've now invested in some mini poly-tunnels, I have a feeling this spring is going to be a bit stop-start. Don't want a repeat of last April when a lot of veg just gave up in the constant cold rain.

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I normally grow lots of runner beans each year.. but this year I may be possibly moving house, so i have grassed over my allotment patch..

My question is, Can i grow runners in pots, so if how large do the pots have to be ? Any suggestions ?

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I normally grow lots of runner beans each year.. but this year I may be possibly moving house, so i have grassed over my allotment patch..

My question is, Can i grow runners in pots, so if how large do the pots have to be ? Any suggestions ?

You can but they are heavy feeders and need lots of nutrients to produce a decent crop. Personally I'm not sure it's worth it for the yield you'll get per plant but perhaps that's because I'm gutty! Buying them from a doorstep seller or car boot seller is probably a better option if you don't want to buy the horrible ones in the supermarket. (that's if people sell from the doorstep like they do where I live.)

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Indeed lovely - had my overwintered peppers basking in the greenhouse (which I noted reached 40c! Had to open the door at that point...) now if they could start growing some leaves again that'd be great.

Going to water in slug killing nematodes tomorrow. The pack said use by 1st April but it has been far too cold for slugs until now. Hopefully my garden will be more productive veg wise and less slug wise this year!

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Indeed lovely - had my overwintered peppers basking in the greenhouse (which I noted reached 40c! Had to open the door at that point...) now if they could start growing some leaves again that'd be great.

Going to water in slug killing nematodes tomorrow. The pack said use by 1st April but it has been far too cold for slugs until now. Hopefully my garden will be more productive veg wise and less slug wise this year!

Any room for a couple of Ducks? They're the very best thing for keeping Slug numbers down.

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What make is it? I did some growing comparisons a few years back and I have always found cheap compost to be quite poor but it depends what you want it for. If it quite light and drys quickly then it's probably not worth buying.

Not sure, it's a normal size bag £3 i think in the window, it's not on the website though.

I'm going to be growing Tulips, Rose, Mint and Strawberries (first time growing so just some easy stuff inside), definitely getting that online rather than from a high street store though the pots are nice in Home Bargains.

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Frogs are good too but I'd steer clear of chickens, they scratch everything to shreds. Ducks are far more garden friendly, they don't scratch, just wobble their beaks around in the plants and maybe walk over the odd one which will bounce back. The eggs are yummy too.

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