It’s a lovely day… and I feel soooo virtuous!


…and what better to do on a lovely day than finish clearing out the greenhouse, and get those seeds in?

On Monday I went into the greenhouse cum log store and realised that my scented geraniums were beginning to flower, and not just the scented ones either:


Ideally, they’d be going out about now but we’re still having some very cold nights and the wind can be sneakily chilly, so they’re staying in for the moment.

But it is time to get on with the planting – and I’d already excavated the shed which made me feel virtuous, spiritually cleansed and a little bit nauseous (mummified mouse, flat mummified mouse, I must have put something down on top of it at some point). My shed isn’t really a shed as such, mind. It was once the outside lav, though happily the hole has been filled in and there’s no seat to take up space. It makes an ideal garden store – or will until the roof collapses under the weight of Old Man’s Beard which rampages across it each year. Er, except for the fact that it’s not exactly mouse-proof.


Inspired by the Great Shed Clearing of Fate I decided to do the same thing to the greenhouse, and about time. It was fine enough for everything to be taken out, at last. All the old leaves were removed from the geraniums, all the old bits of bark were removed from the floor, all the old manky bits of string and other rubbish were retrieved, assessed for recycling possibilities and then thrown out. I was exhausted, but revived after coffee and planted tray after tray of climbing beans – Abundance, Cosse Violette, Cherokee Trail of Tears, Neckar Gold –  as well as mangetout (yellow podded ones, sound good), squashes (Crown Prince) and some wallflowers for next year.

greenhouse 2

The tomatoes (Gardener’s Delight), salvias (Blue Angel), parsley and dill are already doing well, even though they’re going on nightly trips back into the house. As is the radio…

Then, then, after MORE coffee, I got the broad beans out. They were desperate, poor things; they’ve been well hardened off now in the cold frame (lid up), so I thought they’d be fine. They certainly got through last night OK, so I’m sure they’ll survive. I’m not quite sure, however, why I grew quite so many:

broad beans

I like broad beans, which is probably just as well as I’ve got 29 plants. And if you grow your own you can get them at the sweet and tender stage. In fact, my mouth is watering as I think of baby spinach and bacon salad, dotted with broad beans; broad bean paté on home-made bread, baby broad beans in an omelette… that’s the trouble with me, I tend to forget about all the cultivating in between. Perhaps I was inspired by the thought of the Great British Allotment Bee Bake-Off Challenge Thing, which starts on BBC2 tonight. I’ll give it a go, but I’m not sure it has the same appeal as cakes or fabric.

I just had to share some shots of all my hard work. Click on one for a mini slideshow and gasp in amazement at all the space on those shelves – room for more stuff! (No shots of ex-mice, BTW.)

Given that it’s probably three years since I cleared out the shed (due to illness/injury), you can understand why I’m so chuffed. Even if it did lead to the Rodent Unpleasantness which is now in the brown – compostable stuff – bin. Well, it is compostable.


20 Comments Add yours

  1. Christina says:

    Is it compostable if it is mummified? Well done, though you don’t need me to say that. I never have enough broad beans but then I don’t think I’m very good at growing them.

    1. kate says:

      I don’t know – it won’t be in my compost bin but in the council’s giant heap and they take things like chicken carcasses. Memo to self: decline council offer of free compost for a bit…

  2. croftgarden says:

    May be you should have buried the mice under the broad beans (bone meal?).
    I’m sure your virtue will be rewarded, the garden and the shed look immaculate. I tidied the polytunnel in the winter, but now its resorted to the normal chaos as I juggle seed trays, seedlings,temporary and resident plants, amongst all the other gardeners essential paraphernalia.

    1. kate says:

      I wasn’t getting any nearer than the far end of a shovel – ergh…

      Oh, I know what you mean. The greenhouse is already returning to normal with even more seedtrays, the unfortunate upturning of a bag of Vermiculite and the fact that plant labels are everywhere. How does this happen? The shed’s returning to normal I can blame on the dog / her owner, but they’ve not been anywhere near the greenhouse. I’ll fall back on my mothers traditional explanation and blame the fairies.

  3. Pauline says:

    You have worked hard, fantastic! It makes you feel good doing all that hard work and knowing it won’t need doing again for a long time. I agree with Croft Garden, I would have put the mouse under your broad beans!

    1. kate says:

      I always think that, but based on past experience I give the shed six months, max, and the greenhouse will need doing again when the seed trays go out and the tomatoes go in.

      Mouse – ergh. Just wanted rid of it ASAP. Can’t work out why I’d not smelled it…

  4. Cathy says:

    Oh well done Kate – your virtuousness is completely justified. But don’t you think you should have nailed your mouse up as a warning to other rodents?! I am impressed with your Gardeners Delight – mine are still tiny!

    1. kate says:

      Am coming to the conclusion that I know some very strange people. You mean like a gamekeeper’s line? EEEEEOOOWWWW….. don;t know about other rodents but it would certainly have worked on me!

      The toms have been in about five weeks, I think. Started them in the propagator, then windowsill, then greenhouse. They really need to be in bigger pots but I can’t put all the geraniums outside yet and free up space. Grew them for the first time last year and they converted me to cherry tomatoes.

      1. Cathy says:

        Some people can be quite dismissive of cherry tomatoes, but I enjoy the bite size flavour of these. I thought I would sow some early so mine were planted on the 3rd Feb and are about 2″ high ….. 😦

        1. kate says:

          Mine went in on the – hang on, just getting my diary – ah ha, all I’ve written in ‘end Feb’. But they were in the propagator… yes, me too until last year when I failed to grow any and had to rely on the kindness of friends for my plants. They were fab – and this year the wonder gave me seeds instead. I shall try and save some and not just eat all the toms…

        2. Cathy says:

          I wonder if it’s my compost.. although admittedly I could have pricked them out a little earlier. Hey ho! AND I knocked over my recent second sowing and had to rescue them 🙂

        3. kate says:

          Well my compost IS highly specialist (er, Levington’s finest, three bug bags for £14 at the local farmer’s co-op). We had a ‘bring your own compost’ competition at the last gardening club and I was in awe… er, always supposing people had actually made their own, and not just sieved some Levington’s…

  5. I’m truly impressed, your ex loo looks very smart, and your broad beans are making me green with envy, my early ones (I was going for careful succession sowing) are being eaten to death, and the next lot are on a go slow. The third lot are still refusing to germinate. Yes, I love broad beans too, you can’t have too many IMHO! Love your scented geraniums, that is on my list for next year, the theory being that the basics will be basically sorted and I can start indulging in pots etc again…

    1. kate says:

      The loo is still smart and I’m fighting to keep it that way – it’s never made it past the end of the week before. Oh, thanks – you’ve reminded me that I haven’t yet slug-pelletted the broad beans – must do so, rain is forecast for tomorrow! (And now I can even find the slug pellets, yippee!)

  6. Lucy Corrander says:

    I like shed cleaning – even dead-mouse-clearing-away-ing. But broad beans? No!!!!!!!!!!! (Everything looks very neat and inspiring – even the dreaded broad bean plants.)

    1. kate says:

      It is so satisfying, bringing order to a great heap of chaos and finally doing things like throwing out that ripped tarpaulin you’ve been keeping ‘in case’. Possibly just me…

  7. wellywoman says:

    Ha ha! I feel for you on the mouse thing. I would tell you about our rodent issues at the moment but it’s too gross. I love feeling all virtuous after tidying my shed or greenhouse. It’s just a shame it never stays that way for very long. 😉 I didn’t like the ‘let’s shoe horn allotments into a format that has worked for other shows’ show. But maybe it will encourage some people to give growing a go but I don’t think it showed them the reality. Have a lovely mouse-free weekend.

    1. kate says:

      Now I’m imagining giant fetid rats – eek… At least I don’t have a rat problem (or, as my brother calls them when his cats bring them in – ‘big mice’).

      I’m with you on the Allotment thing, I’m not at all sure it works in the same way. I can’t get involved with any of the people, either, whereas on Bake-Off and Sewing Bee there’s always someone to dislike or cheer on. Hope you had a good weekend too, hopefully without too much rodent involvement!

  8. Loving the thought of the flat mouse ! Could have been worse … could have been a live one ! Today I have been startled by – not a flat mouse – but a pheasant totally concealed under a Lonicera. She was sitting on a clutch of eggs and was reluctant to leave them, so waited tip the last possible moment before flying up in my face. I love birds but it was the sort of shock which made me give a feeble little scream ! damn! Also a frog did the same thing to me in the greenhouse. It was NOT sitting on a clutch of eggs but was hiding in the compost and jumped out when I started watering ! Eek!

    1. kate says:

      Thought was fine. Reality – ergh. It’s blackbirds that are startling me most at the moment – they sound like elephants moving around in the shrubbery; you here all this ferreting about and rootling and then you move and one zooms out in a huge flutter and panic. Hitchcock was right about birds!

      (But I can’t see him making a movie called The Frogs, though it would have undoubtedly involved some icy blonde who was scared of amphibians…)

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