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Had a busy afternoon in the garden getting most of the first and second early potatoes in. I planted a couple of rows of Charlotte and put the remainder of the Charlotte and Kestrel into 17 litre polypot bags. I’m trialing them this year to see if I can grow a good crop in bags and save space on the plot for other veg. I managed to get 15 bags filled with a mixture of compost, top soil, fertiliser and vermiculite so fingers crossed they’ll do well. Just Lady Christl to go now and then onto maincrop. The main varieties will go in my shared plot up in the next village where there’s lots of broad beans, onions and shallots that have just been planted.
The long carrots are up and there are a few of the stump carrots showing. All the seedlings in the greenhouse are doing well with the broad beans, beetroot, caulies, cabbage, calabrese, brussels, psb, sunflowers and red orache coming on nicely. I need to sow some rocket, radish and spinach direct in the beds tomorrow evening if I get a chance.
And a real April treat the PSB is out and will be ready for Sunday dinner, can’t wait to try it!!
I dead headed the first of the daffs as well and their vibrant colour is being replaced by these lovely tulips.
I hope you’re all having a colourful and productive weekend!
It was my local Horticultural Society’s Annual Spring Show on Saturday which provided lots of colour on a lovely afternoon at the Village Hall.
I picked up a couple of 3rd places in the five Daffodil classes I entered. And received the Arthur Symns Trophy for most points in the Photography section. Chloe won the Children’s Cup for her Easter plate and drawing of a princess – she ended up with more prize money than I did with £7, and there was no buying raffle tickets, it all went straight in her money box – very wise indeed!
Click here to see a selection of photos from the show.
And what fantastic weather we’ve been having recently. Back on the plot I’ve been making the most of it. I’m pleased to report the long parsnips are up – Stage 1 complete! And they were Linford Christie parsnips in the germination stakes – sowed on February 20th they took around 30 days to come up (I’m not sad enough to be checking daily, yet!). Just waiting for the long and stump carrots to emerge now. I also sowed a few rows of parsnips direct in the bed.
Then I re-assembled my two plastic cold frames to cover some lettuce seedlings and carried on with some more digging and sowing. All the brassica seedlings are coming on well in the cold greenhouse and the chillies and tomatoes are doing OK on the bathroom windowsill. I’m going to sow a second batch of tomotoes this week to see how they compare. Then next month I’ll move onto the tender veg, cucumbers, squash, courgettes etc. A very busy time!
Hope you had a good weekend and are making the most of the extra hour in the evenings. Doesn’t it make a big difference?
Update – I managed to win Craig’s competition over at Dyke’s Edge Allotments. Thanks Craig! I must remember to get that Euromillions ticket, they say things come in three’s!!
Spring had definitely arrived today with some glorious afternoon sunshine which made it a pleasure to be out in the garden. And I had two little helpers with me to make sure I was doing all the jobs properly!
The daffodils are out in full bloom and the tulips are coming through nicely both in the flower bed and in the pots. Around the garden there’s forsythia, primroses, hellebores, pansies, lungwort and heather all flowering. In the veg plot there is no sign of the parnsips germinating yet. I’ve also sown long carrots in pipes and stump carrots in a couple of old dustbins. Fingers crossed I’ll get some decent specimens in the summer.
The broad beans are doing well, as are the onions that were overwintered. I’m still digging up parsnips from last year but there’s no sign of the PSB yet, hopefully it will start to sprout in the next couple of weeks, it’s one of the great treats at this time of year.
Under cover all the brassicas are at pricking out stage – cauliflowers, cabbage, brussel sprouts, PSB, and calabrese. There’s a tray of Red Orache, mangetout and sunflowers germinated and I’ve just sown some Burpee’s Golden Beetroot in modules this afternoon. So much to do now for the next few weeks to keep up with everything.
And I’ll be even busier this year after meeting a chap in the next village who is happy to share his garden veg patch with me. I’ll be able to do the heavy digging work and we’ll share the crops so I should be self-sufficient in veg through the summer and autumn months this year.
It’s the Winterslow & District Horticultural Society’s Spring Show on Saturda 26th March. If you’re in the area pop into the Village Hall from 2pm to take a look at the exhibits. I may even enter a few myself this time!
In a bid for early flowers I sowed my first sunflower seeds this morning. And it reminded me of a lyric in the late 80s Tears for Fears song ‘Sowing the Seeds of Love’ which seemed appropriate for this time of year as we enter March and a frenzy of sowing activity. That song also included a rant against Margaret Thatcher, ‘politician granny’;by that time the gloss had well and truly come off her leadership with the Poll Tax. We’ve come full circle politically again as we do in gardening every year.
So what’s happening on the Two Chances Veg Plot at the end of February? Well on the plot I’m still harvesting leeks and parsnips with PSB eagerly anticpated. Parsnips were sown in the pipes last week and the overwintered broad beans and onions are coming on well. Tulips are starting to come through in the tubs and in the flower beds there’s crocuses, daffs and more tulips doing their thing and taking advantage of the mild spell we’ve had recently. In the greenhouse the shallots are starting to sprout and I’ve got a loads of brussel sprout seedlings pricked out into small pots.
Indoors the spuds are chitting nicely and the second batch of broad beans is starting to germinate. On various windowsills a tray of lettuce (Webb’s Wonderful) needs pricking out, tomatoes are poking through and the first true leaves are showing the peppers and chillies. The onions look exactly the same as they did last week and I’ve just sown the first batch of sugar snap peas along with cabbage, early and late purple sprouting broccoli and some asparagus peas.
On the ‘to do’ list this weekend is the mix for the long carrots which I need to get into the pipes and sown. More brassicas to be sown – cauliflower and calabrese which can grow on in the greenhouse. So that’s it you’re up to speed on everything going on!!
Hope you all have a great weekend!
When we moved into this house 3 years ago I inherited a stump of a plant in a half barrel covered in bindweed. From the few leaves on it I guessed it was a Camelia. Not knowing anything about them and needing to move the barrel to make way for my veg bed I carried it round to the side of the garage and dumped it. And there it has stayed. Last year I felt sorry for it and removed the bindweed and started watering it from time to time (as it was underneath the outside tap anyway!). So not really nurturing it at all. And here it is three years later and it’s flowered!
Here’s a close up of one of the flowers, there’s a few blemishes but I’m not complaining. There’s half a dozen or so flower buds to come. So a tale of neglect that has paid off, sometimes you just have to leave well alone. Problem is now I have a half decent plant I am bound to start meddling!!
I really like this daffodil flower I planted in Autumn, quite a fancy one.
This Periwinkle has grown up around the bottom of the wall, lovely bluey-purple flowers.
I can’t believe I’ve started watering parts of the veg plot in mid-April and the forecast for the next 5 days is sun, sun, sun! Can’t wait to get out in the garden this weekend.
Finally got some plants in today and a tour of the veg plot is showing a very healthy position indeed. I’ve planted out a row of broad beans that I grew in toilet rolls next to the couple of rows that I sowed direct that are starting to come through. Next to them 18 cauliflowers, (Snowball), and 6 calabrese (Aquiles) have gone in. The rest of the bed is now full of spuds, Anya and Charlotte and a couple of rows of maincrop (think they’re King Eddies). At the other end of the bed are half of dozen PSB, my nemisis, but a close inspection revealed loads of tiny purple heads so it’s getting quite exciting now as I should be picking PSB in the next couple of weeks! Only 12 months after I planted them, they better be good!! As soon as they are harvested the runner beans and climbing french beans will take their place. So that’s the large back garden bed full up.
In the medium bed there’s the long carrots, a few spring cabbages, some salad crops (lettuce, salad bowl and red deer’s tongue, spring onions Lillia and white lisbon and a mix of radishes) and finally parsnips, which have germinated! So that bed is full up as well, I will just replace the spring cabbages with something when they are ready. The small bed is full with onions, shallots and garlic which have all sprouted nicely.
I’ve also dug over the front garden veg bed and flower bed so they are ready to plant up. More tulips have come out today which is great to see.
I’ll be planting dahlias in the front flower bed in a few weeks.
The BBC DigIn seeds arrived today so more sowing to be done!
I also managed to mow the lawn and Dad popped up and jet washed the patio and conservatory for me so all in all a good few hours work. It’s great to see some nice warm weather at last. Grand National and FA Cup Semi Final for me from 4 o’clock and a family day out somewhere tomorrow.
It poured down for about 12 hours last night through this morning and the garden is like a bog so nothing done on the veg plot today. I would have planted some spuds as the tradition goes but no chance with all that rain.
I got a few indoor jobs done in the morning and by 2 the sun started to poke through so I grabbed a couple of hours out in the garden. The daffs are finally in full bloom and looked great in the afternoon sun (you can see the tulips in the background, they’re some way off yet).
The greenhouse is getting full so I set up the mini-greenhouse that I bought last weekend. I put it against the back fence which is south facing and gets full sun all day. It’s tied to the fence and I’ve also driven in two iron rods which I’ve hooked over one of the tiers so there’s no chance of it blowing away (famous last words!).
I potted on some Arabis, Erysimum, Gazania, Antirrhinum, Impatiens and Sweet Peas which pretty much filled it up. In the greenhouse there’s calabrese, cauliflowers, leeks, broad beans, red orach, nasturtium, french marigolds, more sweet peas, sunflowers, dahlias (from seed and tubers in pots), primroses, a blueberry, onions, little gem lettuce and carrots (Amsterdam Forcing) all coming on nicely.
On the plot I noticed that my long carrots have started to germinate. They’ll now grow on for a while before I thin out to the strongest seedling. The onions, shallots and garlic are all sprouting. The spring cabbages are showing signs of life and the salad veg has all germinated. Still nothing from the PSB, how much longer do I have to wait? The overwintered lettuce is starting to thicken up, I’m sure if I’d have deployed the plastic bottle cloches before the snow it would have been ready to pull up by now!
My chillies and peppers have germinated but it’s slow going, no true leaves yet. I paid a visit to B&Q last weekend to see what they had and bought a Scotch Bonnet plant marked up at 78p. When it went through the till it came out at 21p so I went back and bought another 10 plants, yellow bell pepper, Californian Wonder and Fresno Supreme. At that price I thought it was good value as they each have half a dozen leaves on them.
Indoors the plants are coming on well. Chillies, peppers, courgette, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, pansies, asters, marigolds and sweet peas. Just waiting for Cerinthe to germinate. And last of all I love the flowers on this Fritillaria meleagris.
Hopefully the plot will dry out soon and I can get those spuds in!!
Today was the Winterslow & District Horticultural Society’s Spring Show and the local village hall was full of flowers and other exhibits. I couldn’t go last year and this year the entries are significantly down so I can only imagine what it would be like on a good year.
I managed to get one entry in, 5 daffodils (3 varieties), but now I’ve seen the categories I could have entered 3 or 4 more classes. I won 2nd prize! Rach entered a Victoria sponge, although had a bit of a disaster with the edge of one half breaking away slightly but she managed to patch it up and also won a 2nd prize! That will go down nicely later with a cup of tea! So not bad considering we weren’t going to enter anything just before the deadline.
First and second prize in the flowering shrub went to a Mahonia Japonica (should have entered mine!).
Nice collections of spring flowers.
The baking section.
This flower arrangement won a first prize in the “arrangement for Easter” class.
This arrangement took second prize.
This arrangement won the “fun without flowers” class.
Last, but not least, were the children’s entries, decorated eggs, welly boots, Easter hats and bunnies!
I’ll definitely be trying some more classes next year and can’t wait for the summer show now as I did really well last year.
First though I’ve got my sights on the Salisbury Community showin early July. The schedule is out now so if you live around Salisbury why not give it a go? See you there!
Had a day off work today to catch up with a few jobs round the house and garden. My last post said I was giving up on this year’s Spring Show but I’ve been talked into entering one of the classes as entries are only half what they were last year (Rach is also entering one of her lovely Victoria sponges). So first job was to get some daffs cut for the class of 5 daffodils, three varities. I’ve grown three varieties of daffs, St. Keverne, Ice Follies and Fortune plus there’s a few random ones scattered around the garden already. So now there’s a dozen cut flowers in water and I’m hoping they will be in full bloom for tomorrow.
I’m really pleased with the daffodils in the front garden, they’ve started to bloom at last!
I wanted to do a tidy up of the flower beds and noticed that I do have a hellebore growing, just the one flower, despite what I said in my previous post. Hadn’t noticed it before, I have no idea when I planted it!
I noticed the smaller of my two Japonica’s was still in flower (the larger one flowers in Autumn).
I tidied up the herb containers ready for some new arrivals in a couple of weeks.
On the veg front everything is growing on well. I planted some broad beans that I’d grown in toilet rolls and noticed that some of the ones I’d sown direct ages ago are just starting to poke through the soil. I dug over the main bed that I manured a few weeks ago so that can settle ready for some salad potatoes that I’ll put in next weekend. No sign of my exhibition carrots yet but all the salad veg I sowed under the cold frames has germinated nicely.
Strange going’s on in the onion bed though. I covered the shallots and onions with one of my mesh tunnels to stop the birds pulling them out. Now a hole has appeared at one side of the mesh tunnel and something, I presume a rat, has tunneled underneath two of the onion rows and there’s a couple of tiny carrots lying on the soil surface. So this creature must have found a couple of tiny carrots in the soil I’d dug over in one of the other beds and dragged them through it’s tunnel in my onion bed. Weird! I replaced the soil and put back the one onion that had been dug up so no damage done really.
It turns out I don’t know my trumpets from my doubles, my multi-headed from my large cup, the list goes on! I didn’t realise that showing spring flowers was so complicated. Add the fact that only a couple of the 100 or so daffs I planted in Autumn are starting to show themselves and apparently I should have already cut them in preparation for Saturday’s show. To heap misery on the situation the tulips are weeks away and I don’t even grow hellebores or container primulas. I give up!
So I will just be a spectator come Saturday afternoon rather than in the running for a 1st or a cup. I’ll have to wait for the Summer show to take on my local rivals!