Tag Archives: Spring Cabbage

Plot update

It’s been a while since my last post as I’ve been very busy in the garden. Things are moving on quickly now as the weather is warming up.

Brassicas

The brassicas are coming along well. There’s 4 cabbages – Dutch White, a few broccoli – Aquiles, and Cauliflower – a Romenesco variety, the purple Graffiti and the standard white variety Cornell.

Cabbages

And the spring cabbages are almost ready to start cutting. I usually cut a cross in the stem from which more spring greens will sprout. Very nice with a Sunday roast and also great shredded as an alternative to rice if you’re watching the calories.

Long carrots

The long carrots are starting to take off now, still fairly small but they will put on loads of growth in the next few weeks.

Shallot thinnings

And finally I thinned my exhibition shallots down to 3 shallots per plant and these have been very tasty in our lunchtime wraps over the last couple of weeks.

After recent renovations of the front garden I’m planning some new raised beds – more of this in the next post – needless to say the extra work is keeping me very busy!!

Winter Greens

The lettuce planted in the greenhouse have done really well over winter and keep us supplied with plenty of leaves for sandwiches. There’s a couple of land cress plants also which are easy to grow and give a bit of variety at this time of year.

Winter lettuce

With the warmer weather I decided to sow some parsnips (Gladiator), carrots (Sweet Candle, Match, Flyaway, Purple Haze) and some broad beans (Longfellow) direct in the beds. And I also finally got round to planting out a few spring cabbages I had in pots.

Spring Cabbage

The shallots are coming on well – now thinking of keeping them in pots to save space in the beds.

Shallots

On various windowsills indoors there’s chillies, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and potatoes chitting. I’ve just sown another batch of tomatoes and some cabbages.

All in all quite a productive day and long may this warmer weather continue!!

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.

Container Veg

The plot is full so it’s up to various containers to take the strain of the remaining planting. The first job was to get the rest of the tomatoes out. I used a couple of growbags with three tomotoes in each (Brasero, Moneymaker and Gardener’s Delight) grown in bottomless pots. I also stuck a couple of old squash bottles in each growbag for easy watering. The Brasero have started to fruit already. I’m hoping there’s no blight this year, we have enough green tomato chutney!

There’s also a couple of tomtoes (Tumbling Tom) in chimney pots.

And some runner beans in a plastic trug.

Carrots in tubs.

The long carrots in dustbins. They don’t look up to much but I thinned them out this weekend and the thinnings had 3-4 inch tap roots as straight as an arrow. I am cautiously optimistic.

Some potatoes in bags.

Herbs in an old Belfast sink.

I pulled out the last purple sprouting broccoli plant which had gone to flower and harvested the first of the spring cabbage.

And what about the rest of the weekend? We’ll be off out with the girls of course. But if I get a few minutes to myself I’ll be drinking a couple of beers. Tribute from St.Austell Brewery and Gem from Bath Ales, which I tried on a recent visit to Bath, are my favourites from the south-west.

And watching a Dennis Hopper film or two. Sad news to hear of his death, Easy Rider and Apocalypse Now are among my favourite films.

Looks like the rest of the weekend will be warmer now the rain has passed through. Hope you have a great Bank Holiday!

Bloomin’ Marvellous

I thought I’d take a few photos of all the lovely flowers in bloom in the garden and give you an update on veg progress.


The Iris that I got hold of through Freecycle last year is now in flower, I’m really pleased as I put it in a narrow space that runs alongside the beech hedge and it has flourished.


I love this yellow rose which is by the front door. I moved it a couple of years ago and it was in a bit of a state. Now there’s nearly 30 flower buds on it which is fantastic.


Just above the rose bush is a hanging basket with pansies in full bloom.


The first sweet pea flower isn’t far away.


Even the veg are getting in on the act, here the broad beans are blooming and the caulies are filling out nicely.


The Spring Cabbage aren’t far off harvesting now.


It’s the first time I’ve grown Calabrese and they are coming on well. The girls are going to love devouring the green florets when the appear.


I almost can’t wait for winter to taste the sprouts.


The front garden bed is now fully planted with courgette and squash. The gladioli along the wall of the house are starting to show. We should get dozens of strawberries and raspberries as well, I must get the netting organised to keep the birds off them!


It’s the first time I’ve grown this lettuce, Red Deers Tongue.


I took a gamble on this sweetcorn planting it out over a month ago, now it’s come through the plastic bottle cloche, so fingers crossed it was worth the risk. It’s the first time I’ve grown sweetcorn so we’ll see how it goes.

The onion bed looks a lot tidier now, I’m hoping that the ‘visitor’ doesn’t return, I lost 8 onions to the burrowing but I’m hoping the rest settle down and fatten up over the summer.

Finally I don’t know about you but I’ve been watching the Chelsea Flower Show in awe of what these people can achieve. It was great to see Medwyn win the President’s Award at Chelsea, how does he do it? Amazing veg display! One day I’ll get there!!!

What’s been growing?

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There’s lots growing in the garden and on the veg plot so following Flighty’s guidance I’ve set up a quick slideshow to keep you all updated. I’m off to Cambridge and Newmarket races for the weekend tomorrow so the garden jobs will have to wait again. Given the neglect most things seem to be looking after themselves. The photos include the rockery, mini-greenhouse, cauliflowers, broad beans, calabrese, spring cabbage and lettuce from the plot and some herbs and mixed salad leaves in the greenhouse.

But not all in the garden is rosy. I think I’ve lost three cucumbers that I transplanted to the greenhouse the other week. They look in a pretty bad state, I think the unheated greenhouse has been too cold for them at night, my own fault I moved them too early. I’m hoping they recover but I’ve just sown a couple more as emergency replacements. On the plot the frost has also caught some of my spuds, and a rogue slug has been nibbling at the bedding plants in the mini-greenhouse. To top it all off I think Polo has taken a fancy to digging in the onion bed and has made a bit of a mess of things so I’ve now got a temporary fence around that to keep him out.

But all in all despite the cold nights most of what has been sown is coming on in leaps and bounds and the photos give you a flavour of what’s happening. Hopefully it’ll all survive another weekend of neglect!

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.

Planting up

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.

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!!