Embrace the Dark Side

In previous years I’ve just grown veg, now I’m embracing the dark side and having a go at growing flowers. It’s a pretty miserable day here and I’ve been left alone to look after the girls. Rach is off at a local NCT sale helping out and trying to make some spending money for our holiday.

So in between nursery rhymes, painting, stories etc I thought I’d sow some flower seeds. I moved the operation indoors and the dining table became a temporary sowing area. I’ve recently received some seeds from Maureen which was amazing and a very kind offer. She has collected them from her garden, something which I need to learn to do this year! And put a little note on each packet to help me. There’s a whole host of them, some I’ve never heard of, so it’s exciting to learn more about them and to see their progress. Here’s the list:

Mixed Sweet Peas
Marigolds
Red Orach – hardy vegetable like spinach and deep red leaves mean it can be used as an ornamental border plant.
Mixed Dahlia’s
Sweet William – to be sown direct outside
Cenrinthe Major pururascens
Nasturtium tom thumb mixed
California Poppy ‘Golden Values’
Pumpkin Rouge Vif d’Etamps
Tomato Gardener’s Delight

I’ve sown all but the Poppies and Sweet William in a mixture of trays and pots filled 3/4 full with moist multi-purpose and topped with seed compost. After sowing I’ve covered the larger seeds with a thin layer of seed compost and the smaller ones with just a sprinkling of vermiculite. Then into the sink to soak up some water and then onto the windowsill. Job done!

Most of the seeds sown so far are up and well away with the first true leaves on the cauliflower, calabrese, onions, sunflowers and lettuce. I have some peppers and chilli seedlings coming on and waiting for the courgette and squash to germinate. I’m really pleased that all 3 cucumber seeds I’ve sown have come up as the seed I use, Dobies Carmen F1, is quite expensive at £3.75 for 6-8 seeds (although I do get 50% discount on that price ordering through my local Horticultural Society). If they survive the pack of seeds has latest me two seasons and I will manage to give one plant away each year as I only need two plants in the greenhouse to be self-sufficient in cucumbers from May-October (and we eat a lot of cucumber!). So all in all good value.

A week to go to our local Spring Show and my daffs are nearly there.

I’ve never entered, or even been to, the Spring Show before so have no idea what I’m doing other than what’s on the schedule. I was hoping to enter some of the flowers I planted as bulbs back in the Autumn. There’s a dozen daffodil classes of various sizes and types, a couple of tulip classes (no chance for me as mine are only 3″ out of the ground), flowering shrub, primula and a few other classes such as collection of spring bulb, mixed vase of cut spring flowers etc. Then there are handicraft, homecraft, photography, art, flower arranging and junior sections. We’ll see how it goes, I need to get my entry form in a couple of days beforehand so I will wait and see what I’ve got in the middle of next week.

Here’s the Plot Defender aka “Polo”, my dog, a rescue Staffie cross. He hasn’t featured on this blog before. He likes sticks and proving how destructible so called indestructible toys are (I used to have a Staffie as a kid, Grip, full pedigree name, Grip ‘The Dandy’ III – he used to chew up a car tyre in a few weeks!). Polo’s dislikes are cats and pigeons so he makes a great defender of my patch of earth.

Whilst I’ve been typing Chloe has been busy practising being the next Jackson Pollack!

9 responses to “Embrace the Dark Side

  1. Yes, I think you’ve definitely got a budding artist there in Chloe, and what a gorgeous plot defender you have in Polo. I’ve never entered the local show either, but I always go to support it. I should really have a go this year. Sounds like you got a lovely assortment of seeds there from Maureen. I know she grew some gorgeous dahlias last year, especially the Pink Giraffe, so I’ll be watching to see how they do for you.

  2. Thanks Jo, yes I have a lot to live up to on the flower growing front. We’ll see how it goes in a few months.

  3. I’ll forgive you for going over to the dark side and growing flowers… only because you have a very sweet dog, and a rescue dog at that! There are lots of garden bloggers with dogs out here. Just do a search for Matron’s dog blog and you will find lots.

  4. You can’t beat a rescue dog Matron and I am a sucker for staffies in all shapes and sizes!

  5. Seeds are ridiculously expensive, aren’t they? I save seed wherever possible, as much to save money as anything else.

    Also I try to avoid the F1 ones, because it’s such a horrible con; obv they don’t come true, so it’s the seed company’s way of making you dependent upon them…

    • they are expensive, I’m definitely collecting as much as possible this year, the only F1 I buy is cucumbers, I find most of the time the cheap value packs of the staple veg are just as good.

  6. Nasturcians you only have to plant this year and the blighters will appear EVERYWHERE the following year…but then they’re free! Hurrah! My dad saves seeds when they go to Spain and last year we grew the BEST tomatos. The dark side is also a good side (sorry veg growers). Budding artists can paint the flowers later in the season. Love rescue dogs! We’ve got one…beagle. Nuts!!

  7. Ah I love beagles very cool! Planting self-seeders is the way to go I think, let nature do its work.

  8. Pingback: Looking Back……. « Two Chances Veg Plot Blog

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