Fingers Crossed

Potato Wm


We’ve been pressing ahead with work in the garden this week, so much to do and so little time.

The greenhouse has been bursting at the seams. No choice but to get things planted out. And now the weather forecast doesn’t look promising at all. 3 deg C is the minimum predicted for this area this weekend, but if it gets any lower it’s a gamble I may live to regret.


Tomato 1 Wm


Tomato ‘Sungold’


Mike has been hard at work. He has built staging that is now multi-purpose. In the winter it supports trays of tender plants and, up until recently, germinating seeds. In the summer it acts as a support for the tomatoes. I couldn’t wait any longer to plant them up. The leaves were starting the turn yellow, even though I’ve potted them on twice since sowing the seed in February.

There’s still room for seedlings on the other side of the greenhouse, but many more are now scattered far and wide. Those that can cope are in the cold frame, some in the shed. I’ve resisted the windowsills. So far. Let’s just hope the temperature picks up again soon.


Brassica Wm


Brussels Sprout ‘Trafalgar’


Last year we were gifted a vegetable cage. More construction work for Mike, it’s a bit like a big boy’s Meccano set. Covered in butterfly netting, it’s the ideal place for brassicas. At our previous house, I lost an entire crop to cabbage white caterpillars and vowed never again. At 1.5m off the ground, the cage is almost the same height as me. So no more crawling about on the ground under netting to get at the veg, I can just walk straight in. At least that’s the theory.


And finally..

A huge apology to anyone who has had difficulty reading or commenting on the blog over the past few days. We contacted the site host yesterday and there was indeed a problem. I am hopeful that the work they have done will resolve it. Certainly the site is now working better for me.

Those of you who blog will know just how precious comments are and I truly value each and every one.

Could I just take this opportunity to thank you all for contributing to rusty duck and for your patience if it’s been a pain.

Have a great weekend!

Jessica x


2017-11-13T09:30:29+00:00May 24th, 2013|Tags: , |


  1. Anne May 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Your tomatoes are way bigger than mine; every year I vow to sow the seed earlier but it was so cold this year I was as late as ever. All our veg is on a go slow with this cold weather. Let’s hope June blows in some warm sunshine.

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      It’s the first year I’ve sown the tomatoes so early, and it has paid off. But, apart from salad leaves and peas, everything else is doing miserably. Beans that germinated in the warm spell at the end of April and started so well are now looking sad.

  2. Denise May 24, 2013 at 3:14 pm - Reply

    It is soooooooo cold here in Kent, too. Hailstones the size of peas yesterday and constant rain today. However, new fencing arrived for the garden yesterday, and paving slabs arriving this weekend, so we garden on regardless and hope June comes in aflamin’!

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm - Reply

      Hefting paving slabs about is great for muscle development Denise.. No doubt the chickens will help. Here here re the aflamin’.

  3. Jacqueline May 24, 2013 at 3:21 pm - Reply

    Oh Jessica,
    I am not one to moan about our weather BUT …….. it’s beyond a joke now !! What with trying to have a new roof, having the flank wall re-pointed and the whole house painted, this weather is not helping !! I think that the weekend is going to be much better though so, things might be better for us gardeners { I can’t see the roofers, painters and pointers coming round this Bank Holiday weekend !!!! }
    Your greenhoise looks brilliant as does your vegetable cage …. good old Mike !!
    Have a productive weekend and I look forward to reading about your progress. XXXX

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Crikey, you are having a lot of work done! I hope it’s going well! In any ‘normal’ year late May would have been the perfect time to do it.

  4. countrysidetales May 24, 2013 at 3:45 pm - Reply

    Your toms are much further on that ours and I love the veg cage idea. We also lost an entire crop of cabbages to caterpillars. I put some in a fish tank for the children to enjoy watching them turning into pretty butterflies then looked on in horror as parastic wasps took them over and burst out of them! Yuk!

    ps- had to put email etc in this time so am hoping that means the comment will appear 🙂

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm - Reply

      Hurrah! Welcome back CT.
      The veg cage doesn’t look very pretty, but it saves an awful lot of work and keeps the pigeons off too. Oh goodness, I would have been having nightmares about the wasps..

  5. snowbird May 24, 2013 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Goodness me, your toms are huge! Mine are only just germinating, even in the greenhouse.

    I love those cages, I lost all my caulies too….

    Oh Lordy! The weather is simply dreadful, it’s freezing here too and has been blowing a gale for the last few days, hard to believe it’s nearly the end of may isn’t it…..xxxx

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:22 pm - Reply

      Very windy here too.. it’s such a shame to be constantly showered in torn off bits of leaf when they’ve only just appeared on the trees.

  6. little red hen May 24, 2013 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Did you plant those tomatoes right in the bag of soil? What a good idea! Must have saved a lot of work.

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:37 pm - Reply

      Hi little red hen and welcome to rusty duck!
      I germinated the seeds in a propagator. They’ve been growing in pots ever since in the greenhouse, but had filled the gap between the staging and the roof so I had to get them planted! The soil in the greenhouse border is pretty awful so we planted them into these grow bags instead. If I had more greenhouse space then they would have gone in a lot earlier and on to the watering system, which would then save work!

  7. Em May 24, 2013 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    I love the way everything you do is so beautiful and neat. I aspire to such beauty but rarely achieve it! Perhaps that’s just my own self criticism but it’s a joy to see your lovely garden. You’re so right about comments by the way – it always feels like a privilege to have people bother to do so. Have a great weekend! x

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Close up photography hides a multitude of sins Em.
      It really is a privilege to have comments and for me the most enjoyable part of blogging by far!

  8. 1gus1 May 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Your plants are looking really healthy – come on sun, SHINE!! (It’s cold in Berkshire, too.)
    Who printed the label in the first photo? It’s lovely, so neat.

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      Oh we really need the sun, and some warmth in it when we get it.
      It’s called a blackboard label, basically wood covered in blackboard type paint. You then write on it with the pencil that comes with the labels. They give the effect of posh slate labels from a distance, but don’t last long. I am reusing some from last year and am finding they break very easily. Look good if you can avoid treading on them though!

  9. Vera May 24, 2013 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Some of my tomatoes were planted out two weeks ago. They are now drowing in a big puddle. I had other tomato seedlings in a mini greenhouse. They were doing well. Then a big wind blew the mini greenhouse over and put the seedlings all in tumble. So have given up for this year and an going buy tomato plants in. Hope yours flourish. I am sure ours will – eventually!

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Oh no! It sounds like the jet stream has slipped even further south this year. You have our weather from last year, we have arctic!

  10. Wendy May 24, 2013 at 7:32 pm - Reply

    I completely agree with ‘so much to do and so little time’ in the garden but it doesn’t help dealing with a cold, wet, miserable late May. Hope your veg thrive and you get a lovely tomato crop. I lost all my tomato-fruit last year to pests so I’m hoping that this year will make up for that.

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Last year I lost all the outside tomatoes (and maincrop potatoes) to blight, so I’m growing the toms inside this year and hoping for the best. It’s all got a bit tricky hasn’t it.

  11. rabbitquilter May 24, 2013 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Am awaiting the arrival of my first greenhouse!!! Yay!! Only a small one, but have my tomatoes ready and waiting!! Really looking forward to being able to plant my own seeds to bring them on instead of having to get the seedlings from the garden centre!! Hurry up greenhouse!!!

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      Hi rabbitquilter and welcome to rusty duck!
      Yay! Oh that’s so exciting! And you will love it. I’ve only had a greenhouse very recently too, we inherited it with the house. It’s like having a mini extra room, a place to retreat to on a miserable day (do we have those??!), and so satisfying to see things grow. It is my own domain (Mike has his shed!).

  12. Rosie May 24, 2013 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    Your potatoes are about the same size as ours, we’ve planted those out but everything else is in the greenhouse. I just hope it doesn’t get too cold this weekend. Where is that sunshine and warmer weather? All the plants need it now:)

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 11:27 pm - Reply

      I know, just looked at the local weather forecast and the nights now colder still.. I’ve really had enough.

  13. Helen May 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm - Reply

    Wow! You have been busy. You put us to shame – our garden is a disaster area. My excuse is that it clearly isn’t spring yet as we still have the heating on and giant hailstones today!

    • Jessica May 24, 2013 at 11:29 pm - Reply

      I think I may have jumped the gun though.. your approach may well have been the wiser!

  14. haggiz May 25, 2013 at 7:18 am - Reply

    It’s looking great Jessica. I have pots everywhere waiting to go out, but no greenhouse so I think they’ll have to wait a while Julie x

    • Jessica May 25, 2013 at 9:20 am - Reply

      Thanks Julie. It’s going to be cold again tonight 🙁

  15. BadPenny May 25, 2013 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Fingers crossed after all your hard work. I want to get some salad leaves in but it’s turned very cold here too.

    • Jessica May 25, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

      Mine are not growing very fast at all. Briefly we were self sufficient, now I’m having to buy them again.

  16. Helene May 25, 2013 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    Looking very good! My ‘veg patch’ is confined to 4 window boxes so it is limited what I can grow, but I have already had my first dinner with this year’s salad! The rest is very late though. We need some really warm weather and sunshine for weeks to catch up 🙂
    Good luck with your new cage, hope it keeps everything out that is supposed to be out!

    • Jessica May 25, 2013 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks Helene.
      It’s amazing what even one day can do… it’s been lovely today and beans are suddenly germinating! Just a shame it’s not going to last. 🙁

  17. Simone May 25, 2013 at 9:46 pm - Reply

    Good luck with all your veg Jessica. I have lost almost all the plums off my potted plum tree despite having loads of blossom this year. Gardening is a hard slog 🙁

    • Jessica May 26, 2013 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Oh that’s a real shame. It isn’t always easy Simone, there will be good years and bad years with fruit. The weather has been really difficult this year.

  18. erickett124 May 25, 2013 at 10:51 pm - Reply

    It seems we are doing the same sort of jobs there comes a point where you just have to plant out regardless of the weather and hope for the best. We had a lovely day today too much to hope that it will last over the bank holiday.

    • Jessica May 26, 2013 at 9:51 am - Reply

      One more cold night forecast for down here, then the cloud comes in. After the next lot of rain I plan on doing just that.

  19. woolythymes May 26, 2013 at 7:49 am - Reply

    this is the first year i’ve put in a lot of cabbage….last year my two little plants did great, so I went a bit overboard this year…..but now I have to worry about cabbage caterpillers???!! YUK.

    • Jessica May 26, 2013 at 9:56 am - Reply

      I don’t know whether you have cabbage white butterflies in Kentucky! But it’s worth checking. Even if you do, just put butterfly netting over (but not touching) the plants. Then the butterflies can’t get near the leaves where they lay their eggs.

  20. Jo May 26, 2013 at 10:57 am - Reply

    I hope the weather has been better than was predicted for you this weekend, we had a gorgeous day yesterday and the sun’s back again today, we’re being spoilt. It’s so nice to see some sunshine at last though. Potting on my tomatoes in to their final positions is a job I must get round to sooner rather than later too, they’re growing at quite a pace now, I can almost taste the first sun warmed tomatoes, delish.

    • Jessica May 26, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Yesterday and today lovely here too, I will be back outside in a minute to make the most of it.
      I love growing tomatoes but can’t stand eating them – they are all for Mike!

  21. Denise May 26, 2013 at 11:11 am - Reply

    There is nothing like the smell of tomatoes in a greenhouse. Mine will be lovingly looked after by a neighbour as we are away for our annual pilgrimage to the Isle of Man TT Races. Sun is out today so Mike will have a good day!

    • Jessica May 26, 2013 at 11:41 am - Reply

      Yep, I like the smell too. Just not the taste. Or the texture.
      Have a great time! Jx

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