Tag Archives: sunflowers

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!

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!!

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!

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!

It won’t stop raining!

Well I felt a bit better today and just needed to get out of the house after two days stuck indoors. With all this greyness around at the moment I was in search of some colour to share with you. So I packed the family off to our local In-Excess and garden centre. Picked up some bargains in In-Excess, packs of summer bulbs (Dahlias and Gladioli) for 95p, seeds (Summer Squash, Autumn/Winter Cauliflower, Rudbekia) for 50p and some more marigold seeds for 25p. Well worth a visit, they have stores in Salisbury, Ringwood, Bournemouth and Christchurch.

The garden centre we went to was quite small but had some welcome colour.

Some nice Polyanthus.

Beautiful primroses and some daffs.

Back home just a bit of sowing and pricking out to do really as the plot is unworkable with this heavy rain. In the greenhouse growing on are onions, cauliflowers, calabrese, tomotoes, sunflowers and marigolds.

On the windowsill indoors are leeks, pepper, chillies and little gem lettuce. No real signs of life on the plot yet, the broad beans haven’t come up so I have some in pots as back up. Garlic, shallots and onions are still dormant and nothing off the PSB yet. Hopefully we’ll get some sun and warmer weather in the next couple of weeks.

A couple of bursts of colour in the garden. A nice clump of winter heather and some Crocus (I think) almost coming into bloom.