Tag Archives: Red Orach

Spuds & Tulips

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!

Little Helpers

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!

First Foraging Trip and Veg Update

I mentioned in my last post that this blog would start to diversify a little as the garden winds down for the winter. One of the things I’ve been interested in for a while now is foraging. Now I’m not talking running the gaunlet with wild mushrooms just yet but simple “get out into the fresh air and fill up some plastic tubs with stuff” type foraging.

So off we went for a drive and stopped in the first likely looking spot by a track alongside a lovely looking hedgerow.

Chloe spotted them first, although Emily didn’t seem too interested……….

Elderberries!

Whilst the girls sat down to share the blackberry spoils I went about stripping a couple of kilos of elderberries from the hedge. A batch of wine was the goal, more on that next time.

We spotted a nice patch of teasels and lots of sloes and rosehips we’ll be back for.

On the veg plot I decided to tackle the front bed which I’ve been neglecting for a while. The sprouting broccoli are getting quite large now so I earthed them up and staked them to protect from rocking. This year I’m growing early white and late purple varieties. The sweetcorn came out, I’ll be growing more next year as it was superb. The last of the cabbages will make some more coleslaw.

Still not sure what I’m doing with the celery, it must be a self-blanching variety as it tastes quite good.

I tidied up the brussels and picked the first handful which the girls loved with their roast dinner. Elsewhere in the garden I belatedly staked the raspberry canes, took out the sweet peas and red orach and started to pot up 120 strawberry plants! After which I deserved a sit down with a beer. More foraging and brewing to come!

Cucurbits update

At this time of year there is one family of plants that starts producing serious amounts of veg on the plot. Cucurbits include cucumbers, squash and courgette which are all in full production now.

I finally cut my first cucumber of the season today. It’s been a bit of a disaster after the first plants (Carmen) sucumbed to a greenhouse move when it was still too cold, if I’d have waited another week or two we would have been picking them a good 6 weeks ago. Last year two plants produced over 40 cucumbers from the end of May to the end of October, Carmen is a great all female flower variety that I will definitely grow again. But it wasn’t to be and my back up is not all-female, I think it’s called burpless tasty green or something like that but it’s nowhere near as productive. Still there’s one in the fridge now so can’t complain.

I’m leaving this squash to grow on but cut the rest when they are fairly small. One or two rot off but most make it to the oven.

The variety is Mixed Scallop, a packet of seed I’ve had for three years now, some plants produce yellow fruits and others are a light green colour.

The courgettes are flying along, this one is Black Beauty.

And this one is F1 Orelia.

The girls love picking courgettes!

The Sweet Peas, Cornflowers & Red Orach are still going strong.

Whilst I’ve been trying to grow more exotic flowers this year the old stalwart the pot marigold is still one of my favourites. These two pictures do it some justice, great colour.

Off to the village music festival tomorrow, fingers crossed that the weather will hold out. Hope you are having a great weekend!

Did you miss me?

Naively I thought the garden would really struggle without my expert attention whilst we were on holiday for the last two weeks. How wrong I was, it quite happily looked after itself, everything has come on in leaps and bounds, basically a big two fingers up to the landlord – sod off we don’t need you!

Apart from friends watering and taking whatever fruit and veg was available nothing was done. But other than harvesting the last of the caulies and spring cabbage when we got back there wasn’t much to do. So here’s a quick catch up on progress so far.

The runners have come on well, at the top of their canes now.

The courgettes are well away, a bit of blackfly but nothing to worry about. This is F1 Orelia and the Black Beauty plants are also fruiting nicely.

The greenhouse is full. There’s a couple of cucumbers at the end, tomatoes down the side edged with salad bowl and french marigolds. On the staging are chillies, peppers and aubergines.

Harvested a few courgettes, broad beans and squash.

And the first tomatoes, these are Brasero.

The first raspberries were ready as well which were fantastic. The strawberries keep coming to, we only have a dozen plants and are into our fifth week of picking now, they have gone mad this year.

And the chillies are getting big. This one is Fresno Supreme, I also have Cayenne, Jalapeno, Californian Wonder and Scotch Bonnet growing.

The front garden flower bed is in full bloom. The Red Orach that I grew from the seeds Maureen sent me are now 7 feet tall, I love the coulour which is a great backdrop for the sweet peas.

I grew the carnations from seed last year from a Woolies flower selection pack that work colleagues gave me for my birthday. They didn’t do anything in their first year but are now making up for it. The Sweet Peas are over 4 feet high on the wigwams. Just after taking this photo I cut most of them to encourage more flowers.

Finally the Dahlias have started flowering. This one is my favourite so far, Atika. More on the Dahlia progress next time.

So everything has pretty much run to plan, I should go away more often!

Harvesting: Spring cabbage, Cauliflower, Calabrese, Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Tomatoes, Courgette, Broad Beans, Squash, Strawberries, Raspberries.

First Cauliflower and Broccoli

We’re off to France very soon and are taking as much veg as possible with us in the cool box. I’ve cut the first cauliflower and broccoli today which I am really pleased with. Pretty much the same size as the supermarket but I bet they taste better!

There’s loads to follow so I’m hoping the rest will develop over the next two weeks and I’ve told our friends who are looking after the garden to take what is ready. There’s never a good time to go on holiday when you have a garden (although I say anytime is a good time for a holiday!). I’m sure there will be loads of veg coming to harvest just when we are away but it means I’ll be back to man the defenses against the cabbage white invasion later in the season. I’ve just cut the main head off the first broccoli so it should now sprout more heads to follow on. It’s the first time I’ve grown them so it’s all new but I am very happy with the results so far!

Elsewhere in the garden the rambling rose is in flower.

And the first cornflower.

The Red Orach are between 4-5 foot tall now but the Sweet Peas are catching up fast.

And the Dianthus dotted around the flower bed are in full bloom.

One thing I think I’ll miss in the next 2 weeks is my first Dahlia flower as there are quite a few buds on the ones I started in containers in the greenhouse back in March.

Fingers crossed we’ll all see some good weather over the next two weeks, it’ll be “cracking the flags” as I would say.

I’m also starting a footnote on posts to keep a record of what I’m harvesting.

Harvesting: Spring Cabbage, Lettuce, Rocket, Radish, Courgette, Squash, Calabrese, Cauliflower, Strawberries.

First Sweet Pea Flower

I thought I’d share my first ever Sweet Pea flower with you; as I’ve never grown them before this is a bit of a landmark moment.

I’m growing quite a few plants this year so I’m sure there’ll be many more to come.

It’s also the first time I’ve grown Red Orach, I have no idea what the finished article looks like but here’s how they’re progressing.

Not many slugs about, luckily we are blessed with lots of amphibian visitors to the garden.

So much to do!

Now is the time of year when everything on the plot comes to a head. The weeds are growing, space in the greenhouse is at a premium, plants need hardening off, watering if it’s hot, keeping an eye on the cold nights still to come, successional sowing, potting on, the list is endless. So whilst I’m indoors keeping an eye on the girls whilst Rach is out I thought I’d take stock of where I am and what needs to be done this weekend.

The large bed is full up. The front half is potatoes, Charlotte, Anya and Desiree. Then cauliflowers and calabrese, broad beans and, at the back, the purple sprounting brocolli plants which will be replaced with runner and french beans eventually.

The shallots and onions are doing well. Some of the garlic didn’t come up so I’ve filled in the gaps with onions that I grew from seed.

The front garden bed gets full sun most of the day. Strawberry plants line the edge and are in full flower. There’s some raspberry canes at the back and I’ve planted gladioli all along the house wall. There’s also a gooseberry and balckcurrant (I will be getting a couple more of these to put in). This will also be the courgette and squash bed, there’s one courgette already in and it’s protected at night by the water cooler bottle.

In the middle bed the spring cabbages are coming on, I planted them out quite late so they are not as big as I’d hoped yet and I desperately need the space for other plants that are in the greenhouse.

I’ve not been very successful with carrots so this year I’m growing some in containers, these are Amsterdam Forcing.

The purple sprouting is in full flow now, eating it pretty much every night.

The lettuce are coming on well, there’s a mixture of Artic King, Winter Density and Little Gem here. I’ve also sown salad bowl, lollo rosso and red deer’s tongue.

The greenhouse is full to bursting point as always!

The next crop of brassica seedlings and lettuce are coming through. I’ve not sown direct as I don’t have the space at the momemt. At the back are some more sweet peas and various pots with the mixed salad leafs from the BBC DigIn packets coming through. To the right are pansies ‘Joker’ that I’ve grown from seed.

The squash and tomatoes are coming on nicely.

It’s the first time I’ve grown Red Orach, they are ready to plant out now.

The chilli and peppers need potting on too.

And finally the dahlia tubers I put in pots have sprouted.

There is so much to do, here’s my list, I’m sure I’ve missed something!

1. Plant out / pot on courgettes and squash.
2. Pot on brassica seedlings (space not available yet).
3. Move beans into bigger pots until space becomes free on plot.
4. Tie up sweet peas and plant out remainder.
5. Pot on greenhouse tomatoes into final bottomless pots which will go on top of the gravel bed.
6. Plant cucumbers in their final spaces in the greenhouse.
7. Plant more gladioli bulbs.
8. Plant out unsprouted dahlia tubers.
9. Harden off and plant out rest of bedding plants that have been growing on in the greenhouse.
10. Mow lawns and tidy up edges.
11. Weed everywhere.
12. Sow successional radish, lettuce and beetroot.
13. See what is surplus to requirements for the Horticultural Society plant sale on May 22nd.
14. Pot on chilli and sweet peppers.
15. Plant out Red Orach.
16. See what containers are available and what I can plant in them to save space.
17. Get last of salad potatoes into compost bags.

Hope you all have a great Bank Holiday weekend whatever you’re doing and we get some sunshine in between the showers.

Wig-Wam bam

Spent the morning planting my sweet peas out. I made a couple of wig-wams, not perfectly geometrical by any means but I like that, very simple just bamboo canes and string. I’ve got around 60 plants so there was plenty to go in the main flowerbed around the wig-wams, some have gone into a big pot and the remainder are still in the coldframe. The varities are Appleblossom, Janet Scott, Princess Elizabeth and some seeds that Maureen kindly sent me. I’ve never grown sweet peas before so have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve pricked off any sideshoots so there is just one main stem and planted 3 per cane, hope that’s right!

Following my charity plant sale there was some space to fill up in the greenhouse so I sowed some runner and french beans. I also pricked out 20 or so Asters and about 50 pansies to grow on before planting out. So that’s the greenhouse full again!

The Red Orach are doing well.

I should really get the cucumbers in the greenhouse as they are getting quite big now on the bathroom windowsill.

In the conservatory are the squash, courgettes and tomatoes.

And the Chillies and Peppers are doing well, more space in the greenhouse required!

The Long Good Friday

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!!