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What a cracking Bank Holiday weekend, not often you hear those words together! The good weather’s meant that there’s been much activity at the plot, a huge amount of sowing and some urgent jobs that needed attending to. One of the main tasks was fixing the mesh frames which were getting a bit tired after 5 years of good service and had taken the worst of the snow last winter. With new timber frames I recycled as much of the old mesh as possible and the first new frame is now covering a couple of cabbages (Ramco) and a line of calabrese (Aquiles F1). Also in are some Romanesco cauliflower the first time I’ve grown them.
The smallest bed is now full, with broad beans (Longfellow) at the back, some Hative de Niort shallots, garlic and a few onion sets.
The greenhouse is starting to fill up and the lastest sowings of sweetcorn and french beans are now coming through. Hopefully the warm weather will continue!!
What a glorious day to be out in the garden and about time too! Today I needed to get the first batch of potatoes in using 17 litre polypots filled with Medwyn’s Potato Mix – these are aimed at the SW Show at the end of August. There’s 12 bags of Winston, 10 bags of Kestrel and 8 bags of Amour. A week later than last year.
These were then sunk into the large raised bed with some Vitax pellets in the bottom of the trenches. It’s now just about managing the water and any feeding through the season until they come out in the middle of August.
I’ll fill up some more polypots to go in the trench along the back edge of the lawn and the rest of the spuds will go in up at the allotment next weekend, along with the onion sets which are coming along nicely.
Other jobs to do today are plant out the broad beans and shallots and get on with more sowing and potting on. I can really feel the new season starting to kick in now, it makes a big difference having the sun on your back for a change! Have a great weekend all!
More like April torrential rain today! I feel like this year is already well behind with the cold winter and early spring. Hopefully we’ll get some decent weather and everything will catch up soon.
There’s three main areas of activity at the moment. Firstly the south-facing living room windowsill the best place for young seedlings. There’s a couple of pots of rocket – interesting in exactly the same conditions Runaway is far outstripping Va-Va Voom – Lettuce (Little Gem), Aubergines (Money Maker), Chillies (Joe’s Long), Celery (Morning Star) and Tomatoes (Sungold). All are making good progress and I’ll keep sowing rocket and lettuce every couple of weeks throughout the season. Later in the spring these will be sown direct into a three tier planter that I’m putting near the kitchen door for ease of picking when we need a few leaves.
Next is the cold greenhouse which is housing shallots and onion sets that haven’t gone out yet. Broad beans (Longfellow), and various brassicas – Cauliflower (Romanesque & Cornell), Brussel Sprouts (Wellington), Cabbage (Ramco), Calabrese (Aquiles), land cress and more lettuce.
And lastly there’s the pipes that I covered in the last post – and the carrots and parsnips have germinated so the cover is off and each one has the top portion of a plastic bottle protecting the seedlings which I’ll thin down to one in the next week or so. The stump carrots aren’t through yet but should be by next weekend. I’ve started three potato planters with Charlotte and the task of filling the polypots and getting the Kestrel, Winston and Amour out has begun and will be finished next weekend. On the showing front I’m aiming for the NVS SW show which is at the end of August so I have time yet.
I hope you’re all having a nice weekend and managing to get some jobs done despite the miserable weather. Here’s hoping we actually get a summer this year!!
Despite the sub-zero temperatures the work has started on the Two Chances Plot. The mixes for the long parsnips and carrots have been made, passed through the shredder and the pipes are filled. I was going to sow this weekend but it’s too cold so I spent the time fixing four layers of bubblewrap around the pipes, then a couple of layers of fleece, then two bench covers – hopefully this will help warm the soil ready for next weekend’s sowing. There’ll be 6 pipes for the parnsips and 16 for the carrots so I should get some good ones for the end of August show I’ll hopefully be entering. The varieties will be Palace (parsnips) and New Red Intermediate (carrots) and I also have some bins to sow a stump carrot variety Sweet Candle.
Apart from starting some chillies and aubergines off indoors, planting the garlic out, and a few shallots and broad beans in the greenhouse that’s all I’ve done so far. I think it’s going to be a busy March,hopefully with some milder weather!!
Lovely sunshine today and whilst bitterly cold it was dry, the first chance I’ve had to get a few jobs done around the garden. The raised beds needed a bit of attention. I built them quite cheaply six years ago using 6 foot gravel boards from Scats (£2 each) and a couple of them had rotted through. But at that price they’re easy to replace and it wasn’t long before they were all fixed up.
I have three raised beds in the back garden – the smallest is 6′ by 6′, then 12′ by 6′ and 18′ by 6′. There’s also a narrow strip at the side of the greenhouse. In the front is a bed for soft fruit and another 12′ by 6′ veg bed – this will be home for the winter brassicas and leeks this year.
With the beds repaired I gave Stanleys a call and within 30 minutes a delivery of manure arrived – they’re in Pitton just down the road and always have decent stuff available. Then it was just a case of transferring it to the beds leaving half a bed free from manure where the root crops will go.
Not much happening on the sowing front just some broad beans (Longfellow) and chillies (Joe’s Long) on the go. And the potatoes are all set out for chitting. The next priority is sorting out the mixes for the parsnips that will go in by mid-Feb followed by the long and stump carrots late Feb into March. The serious work has started!
I had a long overdue sort out of my seed packets this evening and, as always, there’s far too many – will I ever learn?
Then I thought why not give a few away? So if you want to have this “summer salad” collection (5 packets – all are sow 2013/4 bar the Radish which should be OK but a little old) – Wild Rocket, Mixed Lettuce, Golden Sunrise Tomatoes, Radish Rudi and Telegraph Improved Cucumbers – just leave a comment on this post. I’ll contact the first person to say “YES” and get your address and post them to you. Simple as that!
And for the record here’s what’s left:
Aubergine F1 Bonica
Beetroot Burpee’s Golden
Broad Bean Longfellow
Broccoli (Autumn) Beaumont F1
Broccoli Purple Sprouting Late Purple Sprouting
Broccoli Purple Sprouting Sprouting Redhead
Brussel Sprouts Bedford
Brussel Sprouts F1 Cumulus
Cabbage (Spring) Pixie
Cabbage (Summer) Ramco
Calabrese Aquiles F1
Carrot Autumn King 2
Carrot Sweet Candle
Cauliflower Romanesco F1 Celio
Chilli Pepper F1 Joe’s Long
Courgette F1 Orelia
Courgette Soleil F1 Hybrid
Cress American / Land
Cucumber Carmen F1
French Bean Climbing Barlotta Lingua di Fuoco
French Bean Climbing Cobra
French Bean Climbing Sultana
French Bean Dwarf Pencil Pod Black Wax
French Bean Dwarf Prince
French Bean Dwarf Sprite
French Bean Dwarf Ferrari
Garlic Solent Wight
Lettuce Artic King
Lettuce Little Gem
Lettuce Salad Bowl
Lettuce Tom Thumb
Lettuce Webbs Wonderful
Lettuce Winter Density
Marrow Table Dainty
Onion (Sets) Stuggart Giant
Onion Spring White Lisbon
Pea Oregon Sugar Pod
Pea Show Perfection
Potatoes Red Emmalie
Pumpkin Rouge Vif D’Etamps
Rocket Va Va Voom
Runner Bean Stenner
Shallots Hative de Niort
Squash Butternut Autumn Crown F1
Squash Butternut Butterbush F1
Squash Butternut Hunter F1
Squash Winter Sweet Dumpling
Sweet Pepper Etiuda
Sweetcorn F1 Earlibird
Sweetcorn F1 Sweetie Pie
Tomato Tumbling Tom Red
Tomato Sungold F1
The 2013 list!!! 35 different types of veg and 60-odd varieties, don’t think I’ll get round to them all!
I helped out on the Hampshire DA NVS stand at the Hampshire Potato Day in Whitchurch today. We had a really good day selling merchandise, seeds and plants plus quite a few tickets for our vegetable growing seminar in March (more on that in a later post). The organisers said the numbers were way down this year which is a shame, I guess this may be a result of the poor growing conditions last year, but there was still around 1200 people through the doors over the two days.
This year’s purchases were first early Winston, second early Kestrel and main crop Amour. With a bag of Charlotte and a few Red Emmalie (red flesh), a bag of onions sets (Stuggart Giant), Broad Bean seeds (Longfellow – reselected by our Chairman) Dwarf Bean Prince and Pea Show Perfection.
Thankfully all the snow has gone now. This is what it was like last Friday in the village.
Next job is to set the potatoes out to chit and then start shredding the 8 75-litre bags of F2S compost I have. Early season preparations are now well and truly underway!!
The 15th Hampshire Potato Days will be held on
Sat 26 & Sun 27 January 2013
10am – 3pm
Testbourne Community Centre, Micheldever Road, Whitchurch RG28 7JF
Entry adults £2, accompanied children free
Sorry I’m a bit late in posting this as it’s on tomorrow and Sunday but if you’re in the area why not pop in to stock up on your seed potatoes, onion sets, shallots etc. The great thing about this event is there’s dozens of varieties and you can buy tubers singly for just under 20p each. I’ll be there on Sunday on the NVS stand so come and have a chat if you’re there. This is a good site to see what potato days or seed fairs are near you.
I’m slowly coming out of hibernation after being offline for most of the last 3 months so you’ll start to see more activity on here and I’ll be stopping by from time-to-time to catch up with my favourite blogs as well. Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year and here’s to a successful growing season!!
There are a few things that mark the end of the season for me. The first ground frost about a week ago which took out my Dahlias, had to remove about 150 flowers and buds, such a shame as they had a good few weeks left in them and we haven’t had a frost since. The flowers on the Jerusalem Artichokes and the pumpkins turning a lovely orange colour mean it almost time to turn the clocks back. By then everything, bar a few brassicas, parsnips and leeks, is pretty much finished and the plot can be dug over and manured.
I had three small pumpkins off one plant this year as you can see next to the last of the Ramco cabbages. The veg for Sunday lunch was all from the garden – parsnips, potatoes, carrots and cabbage – and hedgerow blackberries and cooking apples from a friend up the road made the crumble. Not bad that, considering the weather we’ve had, you can still feed the family from your plot!
And the last of the carrots came out of the pipes as I was clearing the plot yesterday. This one was around 3 foot long and 6 inches round at the shoulder – not a bad specimen but I noticed a crack in it early on which meant it wasn’t any good for showing – tasted good though.
The plot (and blog) has been rather neglected recently due to a spate of DIY activity – normal service will resume very soon!!
Regular readers will remember I planted out around 50 sweetcorn plants at the allotment at the end of May and today they have all been harvested. I had my reservations with the rubbish summer we’ve had that I would get any crop from them but I harvested 70 cobs which is not bad all things considered.
From the 70 there were around 10 that hadn’t germinated and a similar amount that were ‘overcooked’ as I hadn’t been to the allotment in the last 2 weeks with one thing and another. So considering the neglect on top of the weather I was very pleased with the result!