Tag Archives: spring onions

Veg Update

This morning I managed to get the front bed planted up and finished. There’s various trailing plants dotted around the edge – marrow, crown prince, jack ‘o’ lantern and a tromba courgette – I’ll train these up the fence so they don’t take up space in the bed. The rest of the plants are a cabbage walking stick plant (for our Hort Soc competition in the Autumn), early and late PSB, cauliflowers (snowball), brussel sprouts (Bedford – now earthed up and staked) and some autumn-fruiting raspberries. Two mesh tunnels will keep the pigeons and cabbage whites off the brassicas.

I’ve also filled the bed under the living room window. A few scraps of mesh have been joined together to keep the birds off the strawberries – we’ll be picking our first ones later today! There’s loads of fruit forming on the raspberries and in between is a blackcurrant, gooseberry and courgettes – black beauty and rubesa fruilana.

Out the back the beds are filling up.

From front to back are root crops, spring onions, spinach, rocket, radish, mangetout, garlic, broad beans, and runners/french beans on the canes right at the back. We’ve eaten spinach, rocket, radish and mangetout which was all very nice and the broad beans shouldn’t be too far behind.

And the cabbages are coming on well tucked up in their mesh tunnel.

Lastly the long roots in the pipes:

The parsnips and carrots are around 8″ high now, hoping they will be good enough for the show in mid-August. Hope you’re having a good weekend.

No Room at the Inn

The Two Chances Veg Plot is getting full to bursting at the moment. All the first and second earlies are now out along with the brassicas planted this morning.

The large bed (18ft x 6ft) has overwintered onions, shallots, calabrese, cauliflower, cabbage, celeriac and a couple of rows of Charlotte potatoes.

The medium bed (12ft by 6ft) has parsnips and long carrots in pipes, stump carrots and parsnips sowed direct along with spring onions, spinach, beetroot and mangetout. The small bed (6ft x 6ft) has garlic, broad beans and a trench for runner beans. The beds are surrounded by 20 polypot bags of spuds and a couple of old dustbins with stump carrots. The girls really enjoyed helping me fill up the spud bags!

That’s it really there’s a few spaces for some lettuce and radish but it’s pretty much full up. There is a strip along the back garden fence that will take the dwarf beans and the rest of the brassicas (brussels, swede, sprouting broccoli) will go into the front bed (12ft x 6ft) where there is already a few Autumn fruiting raspberry canes. In the other front garden bed there’s already summer fruiting raspberries, strawberries and a gooseberry and blackcurrant bush but I should be able to squeeze in some courgettes. The tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, chillies and aubergines will go in the greenhouse.

So anything else will be going up to the shared plot in the next village. At the moment that’s maincrop potatoes, sweetcorn, summer and butternut squash. These will join onions, shallots, broad beans, parsnips, carrots, beetroot and cabbage that are already in. Not sure when we’re going to eat all this veg!!

As you can see crop rotation and advanced planning are not my strong points. The crops rotate every year but I don’t follow a strict crop rotation plan I just try and ensure that nothing is grown in the same place for consecutive years.

And we had a bumble bee visitor today.

On Tuesday I went to a talk on bees given by a local bee farmer at our Hampshire NVS DA meeting. It was fascinating stuff, I didn’t realise bees were such a complex subject. Bee pollination supports every third mouthful of food we eat so they are vital to the environment and us. There’s a number of challenges ahead for bee communities under threat but it was good to hear there’s a lot of money going into research at the moment and progress is being made. Fingers crossed they can come up with a solution to the problems.

Anyway time to get back out in the garden. Hope you are all having a good weekend!

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.

I think the carrot infinitely more fascinating than the geranium

Forgive the film quote but I couldn’t resist for the title of this post. Like many people I have had no real success in growing standard carrots in my first couple of years. There were a few last year which got me 2nd prize in the local summer show but the fact that the judge couldn’t bring himself to award a first prize tells its’ own story. People round my way struggle with carrots!

I am a Finance Manager by trade; not anything to do with banking I hasten to add, and although I am not one of those that talks in ‘management speak’ one thing that has sunk in is that “if you don’t change something you will continue to get the same result”. So this year it’s all change on the carrot-front. So following my usual ‘run before you can walk’ approach I’m having a crack at growing exhibition standard long carrots! Why not I can’t do much worse than I have already.

The seeds have arrived, they are ‘Javelot’, a long carrot from Exhibition Seeds. If they get anywhere near those in the photo I’ll be well chuffed.

I’m growing the majority in a raised bed but the main effort will go into two sand-filled dustbins. These have been ‘settling’ for a couple of weeks.

An Internet trawl led me to Ted Bailey’s “Grow and show guidelines” and a recipe for the growing medium as follows: to 25 litres of John Innes number 3 compost add 16 ounces of silver sand, 8 ounces of medium vermiculite, 8 ounces of calcified seaweed and finally 4 ounces of lime. I bought the John Innes and lime from Scats, the Silver sand from Homebase and the vermiculite and seaweed from eBay. I mixed the ingredients in a wheelbarrow and then seived the lot throwing any lumps onto the plot.

First I watered each dustbin to get the sand nice and moist. Then using a long thin iron bar I made a 3″ diameter tapered hole in the sand near the outer edge of the dustbin. I then filled with the growing medium, I did this carefully by hand tamping down with my fingers to get rid of any air pockets. I then packed in as many as I could (Ted recommends 6 inches apart, mine where a bit closer together than that). I managed to get 12 holes into the first dustbin and 15 into the second as I got a bit better at it.

I then carefully watered each of the filled holes and sowed 4 or 5 seeds in each. They will be thinned to leave the strongest one and the foliage supported in some way eventually to prevent any damage. I covered in fleece to speed up germination a bit.

That’s it, all in all it took me a couple of hours to do and hopefully it’s just a case of keeping an eye on their progress and I should have some exhibition standard carrots. We’ll see!

It was a lovely afternoon, and as I wandered around the garden I found some more signs of spring.

And my one and only rhubarb crown is growing for the 2nd year.

I picked any dying leaves of the overwintered lettuce (winter density) and was pleased to see some signs of growth. I wish I’d put the plastic bottle cloches on earlier, like before the snow, as they may have been bigger by now. Still they’ve survived.

Finally I made up the two plastic cold frames I bought cheap from B&Q last year. I set them up on one of the raised beds and sowed some salad veg in them. Lettuce (Salad Bowl and Red Deer’s Tongue), Spring Onions (White Lisbon and Lilia), Radish (Mixed, Saxa and Albena) and some Wild Rocket.

All in all a satisfying afternoon. Off to the coast tomorrow for a well earned family day out.

What’s Growing?

Time for an update on what’s growing………..or not.

On the plot the overwintered spring cabbages and lettuce seem to be growing but no sign of the broad beans, garlic, onions or shallots yet. The 1 rhubarb crown I have is poking through though. I sowed carrots and parsnips last weekend so not expecting anything from them for a while.

In the greenhouse there’s cauliflower, onion, leeks, little gem lettuce and sunflower seedlings growing on. Sweet peas still yet to appear and the containers of carrots and dahlias which I made up on Tuesday night.

Indoors there’s calabrese, tomato, pepper, chilli and french marigold seedlings growing on. Waiting for more peppers, some back-up broad beans, tomatoes, squash, courgettes and cucumber to germinate.

It’s a really exciting time in the season, loads of potential and expectations are high. Can’t wait to start planting these out, patience is a virtue though, go too soon and pay the price.

Plans for the weekend. I’ll re-build the two cheap plastic cold frames I bought last year and place them straight on the plot and sow some salad crops in them, lettuce, radish and spring onions. I need to prep the two dustbins full of sand and sow some carrots which I’m hoping will come good for a couple of shows this year. The remainder of the beds need to be dug over and I’d like to start work on some compost bins. So much to do!