Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Spuds again!

Ah lots of hard yakka this weekend. Saturday was gorgeous, although the air was heavy with the promise of rain. SO in went just about all the Desiree maincrop potatoes, all except about ten that I forgot in the kitchen :-D I noticed that the earlies I planted end of February have tiny leaves peeking up. The mild March weather has done them good. The shallots and garlic and onions are all putting out shoots: this week is pretty rainy and I think a good soaking will boost them on no end.

Peas were also the star of the weekend. I filled in the gaps of the Kelvedon Wonders and planted out some samples I was kindly given in a swap - Half Pint and a Golden Mangetout variety (never got those to work before. Hopefully if there is not a lot to eat I will at least be able to save some more seed for next year!

The spinach is sprouting, excellent news - I sowed a new row of early Nantes carrots, mixed with a few spring onion seeds for fun. The plot is looking reasonably tidy (although that will change, with the rain) and spring is definitely pushing everything up. There is not that much to be planted in April, except some more sowings of beetroot, broccoli, kale, brussel sprouts and spinach and some flowers, so I will spend my time mostly tidying, weeding and edging the paths (a pretty big job!). It is starting to look OK, with some new pathing and I am keeping a check on the grass and weed, as far as possible.

Indoors, I repotted the aubergines and peppers. I am a bit disappointed with the germination rate to be honest, but I think there are at least 6 or 8 little plants of each which will be sufficient. the tomatoes are not all big enough yet to be potted on - there too I have had poor germination, I don't really know what the reason is. Perhaps not enough heat, not enough water, very mysterious.
Raining outside - fill up my rain barrels please!

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Monday, March 21, 2011


First week of spring!

Officially that is...
And the garden is definitely waking up. I worked hard down there this weekend (even made a semblance of tidying the shed, God forbid!). In went the mid-season spuds, Rosabelles, now just have enough room for the Desirée maincrop.
In went a row of spring onion seeds (probably a waste of time as usual, but you never know).
In went a seedbed of spring lettuce and leeks (which are doing hopelessly indoors. I wonder if the seeds are rubbish?? They hardly seem to have germinated).
I weeded the flower beds, and mulched them even, so they look really tidy. I relaid my paths in two places where they were getting out of hand, looks really different.
And I harvested all the old onions that were resprouting - gave me a whole heap of spring onions that I put in a stir fry! Yum! And had the first harvest of rhubarb - only 4 small stalks but they were yummy and the plant looks like it will give a good harvest this year, after lots of TLC in the winter. My second plant was divided so it is a bit smaller but that was to be expected.
The garlic has started coming through with a vengeance, and so have many of the echalotes. A few of the onions are laready showing green, which means they are taking root. I love watching alliums grow :-)

At home, I am a bit disappointed with some of my seeds. The aubergines and peppers are now doing Ok, they need to be transferred to new pots, I will buy some new potting mix for that I think. But the tomatoes are really slow coming up?? There is saved seed and bought seed and it doesn't seem to make a difference? I think I will still have at least 10 plants, but it is strange as usually I have so many I don't know what to do with them? Maybe it's still a bit cold...

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Monday, March 14, 2011


Spuds and sowings

In rather drizzly weather on Saturday, I still managed to plant out the early spuds, Belle de Fontenay, and a few more Ratte from 2010 that were sprouting merrily in the bottom of the veg trolley. You never know, they might grow oK, even though they are quite shrivelled.
That's one third planted, about 40 plants, the other two thirds to go in as March marches on.

I also sowed more peas, Alderman climbers (a first for me) and a variety I got in a swap called Early Alaskan, which is meant to be a nice cool weather pea.
I also have tried sowing some carrots (glutton for punishment) - Healthmaster and Early Nantes - and spinach - Medania - and have fleeced it, for once, so maybe I will get better results this year. I don't really know what else to try, as my carrots are usually so dismal. It was cold work down there but somehow I was pleased with the results.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011


Spring work starts

I had a full work session down the allotment on Sunday - sore legs afterwards though! But the weather was just gorgeous, although pretty cold still. Irresistible.
I got all the onions planted! Brown and red, so pretty pleased with myself. This week has been lovely and warm so that will encourage them on no end. I also gave the herb bed a good tidy up, digging out a lot of chickweed and some dock and groundsel, and turning over the soil, which had a good dressing of manure over the winter. The soil is just a treat right now, full of organic matter and worms. I planted a lemon thyme and oregano plant that I had picked up cheap and finally planted out my poor Christmas Rose that was suffering indoors. I can see that parsley is already coming up from self seeding and the thyme and rosemary are looking well.
My rhubarb and artichokes seem to have taken well! Which is a relief. So now I have 4 rhubarb plants and 4 artichokes. Which is probably too many... oh well. The rhubarb is still small but it has survived this cold winter, which is one thing, and it had a good dressing of manure all winter, so hopefully I will get a good crop from the 2 older plants. Love love love rhubarb.
I had some broad bean seeds left. Now I told myself I would not plant broad beans again but I just didn't know what to do with these seeds...so I ended up putting them in along the edges of the pea patch and the spring cabbages, and another small patch near the irises. I admit that I do like them in a spring veg medley... OK, you can say I told you so when they get blackfly :-(
I also gave the strawberries a tidy, sowed some radishes YES YES I say every spring I won't do it again as they never come good, but I did have some free seeds.... SO I stuck a trowel full of manure in a little row and whacked them in.
There is still a lot of work to do, as usual - the seed beds are completely delapidated so I need to mend them and fill them with compost and start some seedlings of beetroot, leeks and broccoli. I need to prepare the carrot bed - I had an idea and bought some fleece. I will dig over several rows and sow carrots interspersed with spring spinach and spring onions and fleece it. Maybe that way I will get a better crop (OK, get A crop since usually my carrots don't work at all).
Oh and plant ALL my potatoes... I think I need a few days off work !!!! ;-)

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Friday, March 04, 2011



I have realised why some of my neighbour's on our allotment site seem to find it so easy to dig over their site: They rotovate the whole 100 m2!!! I realised this the other day as there was mud all over the paths.
As I use the hand digging method, no wonder I seem to always have so much work on my plate!!!

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