Leafyleith's Blog

June 11, 2010

New Best Friend

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 2:15 pm
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Wow. I think Cat War may have come to an end. And all thanks to this little fellow…

I was a bit sceptical because I’d read mixed reports on the internet about the success of these things, but as soon as the Mega Sonic Cat Repeller was in place the cats seemed to disappear. It’s absolutely amazing.

The pack said it can take up to a fortnight to have an effect. I thought it was just a coincidence but there were no signs of any cats from the moment it went out. Then a couple started appearing again and I thought it was too good to be true, but it turned out the batteries had run out. So I think this may actually work.

And long may it continue because tonight I returned home and there were a whole family of fluffy little chicks having a flying lesson from their parents. We hardly ever get birds at Leafyleith. The cats will have a field-day if they spot them, so have replaced the batteries and My New Best Friend is back in its place.

And into the bargain yellow slugs seem to congregate in the silver cylinder. Bonus!

April 12, 2010

Raised bed gardening

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 10:46 am
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Two tonnes of soil and horse manure delivered? Check.
Soil and manure carried through house? Check. (Thanks JB, Neil and Mel.)
Raised bed built and filled? Check.
Seeds sown? Check.

Raised bed gardening is go at Leafyleith.

Many (mainly JB, Neil and Mel) have asked about the merits of raised beds, so I am hoping for a good harvest this year to prove that raised bed gardening really works.

And what a transformation, don’t you think?

It’s been a glorious weekend – 18 degrees for the last couple of days – which has been rather welcome and a bit unheard of in these parts at this time of year.

I’ve probably been a bit premature but I couldn’t resist sowing a few seeds, just to test out the new arrival.

So down the far end, I’ve sown radish, rocket and lettuce (Lollo Rosso and an Italian mixed leaf selection), just a couple of rows of each, but the sunshine on Leith is set to continue for the rest of the week, so hopefully they will germinate.

Meanwhile, Cat War continues… The chicken wire is working a treat, however they are now using the flower bed on the other side. And they don’t even have the decency to dig a hole.

March 28, 2010

Commando Cat

Filed under: Gardening Year 2 — by leafyleith @ 3:02 pm
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I was feeling rather inspired last week. Spring has sprung, I thought. So I got my seeds out and started planning for the new raised bed.

I started sowing sweet peas, calendula and nigella for my summer pots and window boxes. And I began hardening off my delphiniums and cleaned the copper rings which will protect them from slugs and snails.

And then this happened.

This is Princes Street, Edinburgh at 6pm at the end of March. It’s just not right. And now I’ve just seen a weather forecast and it says it’s going to SNOW.

Another upset are these bleeding cats. There are five regular visitors: Monster Cat, Cagney & Lacey, Scabby Doo and Minging Fluffball Siamese. And at least another three that appear every now and again. They really make my blood boil because they use the veg bed as a giant cat litter tray. It’s truly disgusting.

I have tried lots of things to deter them:

  • citrus peel
  • cat shoo plants
  • cayenne pepper
  • lavender
  • half empty plastic bottles of water
  • throwing glasses of water at them (quite satisfying, but worried a person might be standing over the other side of the wall)
  • chicken wire

The chicken wire is a recent purchase. I’ve covered the veg patch in it. There is nothing in the veg patch at the moment because it will soon be converted into a raised bed, but I thought if I can stop them crapping in it with the chicken wire, they may take the hint and move off elsewhere.

That was my theory.  But a couple of hours after unrolling my new weapon I looked out and Lacey was using it like some kind of Commando Cat, pacing up and down between the holes, like it was in training to go to Afghanistan. Quite funny, really.

I’ve been thinking about getting one of these sonic cat deterrent monitor thingies, but they are about fifty quid and seem to get mixed reports.

If anyone has any suggestions of how to deal with these blighters, I’d love to hear it. Please don’t bother with the dog suggestions though.

September 21, 2009

Clean up time

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 5:15 pm
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It’s getting very autumnal here at Leafyleith. The veg patches are looking very bare and sorry for themselves. I’ve cleared the spots where the peas and pak choi were. Some of the runner beans are still in production along with tomatoes, but everything else is long gone and the butternut squash didn’t even make an appearance. Wee bit too chilly and perhaps a bit neglected?

pink-cyclamen-sep09

The sweet peas are well and truly dead. The marigolds are dying off. The geraniums are still in full swing but am not sure how long they’ll last, so I’ve been trying to inject some cheer and splashed out on some cyclamens and polyanthus last weekend.

flower-pots-sept09

It’s also been the first week that we’ve had no rain for as long as I can remember, so last weekend was spent scrubbing the deck and now it’s stained and ready for winter. Been meaning to do it all summer, but the incessant rain meant it just didn’t happen.

allium-bulbs

And I’ve just planted a load of allium bulbs out in the front garden, so hopefully they’ll put on a good display come spring – although I seem to be recall planting some alliums in the same spot last year and they didn’t make an appearance. It’s right in front of a privet hedge which could be zapping all the goodness from the soil. Or perhaps the mice got them? There are about 60 bulbs out the front, so the mice are in for a bit of feast this year.

May 18, 2009

Snails With Attitude (SWA)

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 1:43 am
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Mr-Snail

Look who I found lurking around in Leafyleith this evening. There was a bit of a snail party going on tonight. I wasn’t actually invited, so I gatecrashed.

These guys normally come to a very squishy end, but after taking a number of photos I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. So they’ve been given a reprieve and have been moved to the garden refuse bin… I know, I’m a sucker.

Have been away on holiday so the garden has been sprouting forth without me. I am pleased to say that growth is coming on (albeit frustratingly slowly for me). 

After being in the heat of Ronda in southern Spain I got a bit carried away and expected to come back to see geraniums in bloom, sunflowers at least 30cm tall and a few rounded radishes. But alas, it wasn’t to be.  

I was only away for a week and it is only May, so I had to have a word with myself. I think the 10-15 degree temperature difference has a lot to answer for.

Anyway, Spain inspired me. I love going to foreign countries and I want my garden to remind me of the places I’ve been. 

I’m so excited about the prospect of beautiful, red geraniums and the heady scents of  jasmine and honeysuckle wafting in the garden door. You’ll see from previous entries that I’ve picked lots of flowers with delicious fragrances – honeysuckle, sweetpea, jasmine, mock orange. All I need is a bit of warmth to spur them on a bit, then I’ll be happy.

April 29, 2009

Radish Result

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 8:47 pm
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growhouse

This is my new lean-to growhouse complete with geraniums, marigolds, sweetpeas and various sleeping herbs. Got some plug plants a few days ago and have been busy potting them on. 

Not sure how the geraniums are doing as they were looking a bit sorry for themselves tonight. But I suppose I’d be feeling a bit sorry for myself if I’d just arrived from the warm Guernsey sun.

I’ve just been for a garden tour and I am pleased to announce that the radishes have pushed through. I’ve been getting a bit anxious about my seeds, you see. It’s been a bit cold of late and I thought I’d been a bit premature with my sowings, but tonight my spirits are lifted.

polytunnel-extraordinaire

I thought it might have been down to the polytunnel, but in actual fact the seeds have sprouted outside the tunnel as well. The gardening books do say radishes are easy to grow and this appears to be the case at Leafyleith.

Fingers crossed the beetroot, carrots, lettuce, parsley and dill make an appearance soon.

I am also taking part in a pea trial for the RHS to test out sugar-snap peas and mange tout. The packets arrived through the post last week, so I really need to get my act together and get them into the ground. Unfortunately there are over 500 of the blighters and the space at Leafyleith just isn’t big enough, but will have a go and see what happens.

seed-trial

Cats have moved off the veg patch (thanks to polytunnel extraordinare) but are now crapping by the compost heap. I’ve planted some Cat Shoo plants in their new ‘litter tray’ to spoil their fun. I’ve tried coffee grinds, half empty bottles of water, orange peel, you name it. Cat Shoo is my last resort. I don’t think I’m ever going to get rid of them now.

April 4, 2009

Let the gardening commence

Filed under: Gardening Year 1 — by leafyleith @ 4:06 pm
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Feeling quite excited about the onslaught of spring and have been doing some prep work over the last few weekends.

I found this photo of the place when we moved in last year. So hopefully there will be some sunshine on Leith this summer and the place will just get better and better.

 

Leafy Leith July 2008

The daffodils that I planted last November are still blooming. Can’t say the same about the snowdrops but somebody told me they take a couple of years to establish, so better luck next year, I guess. I spotted the beginnings of some alliums poking through the other day and the red lavender is beginning to sprout some new growth.

The back garden is weeded and have planted some honeysuckle and clematis. This should cover the back wall along with a couple of flame flowers and a boston ivy – going for a red theme out back.

I’ve germinated some sweet peas and potted them up tonight. The sunflowers and poppies and the bee magnet seeds are in the ground already.

A little lean-to growhouse arrived today so once that’s erected I will be all set to go.  Got some seeds in the post from Mr Fothergills… 

Sadly, a cat seems to think my soon-to-be veg patch is a giant litter tray, so I have to work out how to get rid of him.

So that’s me for now. I’m planning to use this as my online gardening diary, thought it was a great way of keeping track of what’s going on.

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