Monday, 14 April 2008

Sunday and today at the plot were both smashing. It was often sunny - I was digging in my t-shirt several times and with the odd sprinkling of rain. Really feels like Spring is on it's way!

Sunday we got the maincrop spuds in, 36 in total. 9 Sarpo Miro, 9 Cara, 9 Romano and 9 Valor. Unfortunately I sowed, then immediately forgot what I had put where - DUUUUUHHHH! I couldn't bear not knowing what I was eating so I had to have a grope around to check :oS.

I planted the two rows of peas I sowed in guttering - and very happy they look too! The left hand side row is Kelvedon Wonder 1st early which the packet says will grow to 45cm high, and the right hand row is Lincoln maincrop which should grow to 60cm. I also sowed two more rows in the guttering, Waverex Petit Pois (60cm) and Rondo (90cm) my favourite pea from last year. This is not the end of it...I went a bit mad when I ordered seeds, so I am sowing a few of each sort so I will know what I like and then can scale it right down next year (yeah right!!).

I set the kiddo to work today sowing giant sunflowers in old plastic cups with holes snipped in the bottom. She was happy as anything and went on to sow nastertiums and convovulous too. 

Today was mostly spent in the greenhouse sowing or pricking out and it's filling up very rapidly, I'm seriously going to need some more shelving! The loo rolls in the front are my brilliant parsnips!

Thursday, 10 April 2008

This weekend had some very bizarre weather. While at the plot on Sunday we had beautiful sunshine (e.g. when I took these pics) and we were working in t-shirts, then next snow!! Mad! It wasn't particularly cold though and the ground was workable. I weeded the broadies and gave them a little feed as they've been in since Autumn. Since then they have burst into flower!

I rescued these smashing poles from the bonfire in November. I am really proud of my teepee. The bottom of the poles are really thick so we bored holes with a cricket stump before I pushed them in - so it's rock solid. I wound some string round and have since planted some Magnum Bonum peas as the base. It looks great and they should easily reach the top - they're supposed to grow 2m+.

My spuds are romping away and I had to earth the 'experimental spud bed' again. In the space of a week they had poked 2 inches out of the top! I also put some strawy manure on too this time to keep 'em warm if they come out again before I get back.

Just a pic of my greenhouse from outside. Filling up already and I've tons more to come from home. You can see my loo rolls and peas in guttering. The parsnips I sowed the other week are through both in the loo rolls and in the ground.

I finally succumbed to buying a tree from Tescos. I chose a cherry thinking I would put it on my plot. However, there really wasn't room. So I brought it home thinking I would put it in my garden instead. Nope, no room there either. Finally decised to train it as a fan against a fence. I looked up the instructions from the RHS site (I think) and had a go. It took me AGES to do but I think'll be great. It was such a lovely tree - though now all strussed up :o). I've covered in fleece and bubblewrap at night as frost is forecast - lifting it up in the day. Hope it'll be okay!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

April At Last!

Saying that, I haven't updated for ages and it's mostly going to all be about March!

The parsnips got sown the next day after my last blog entry. I sowed 2 rows each of the four different types, hopefully they'll come up fairly rapidly as they are pre-chitted. I covered them in fleece though, as a cold snap was forecast and I didn't want them to be too chilly! I'll probably take it off this weekend for a bit so they get a proper watering as it does feel drier underneath it.

Most of my peas in loo rolls are up and looking strong, as are those in the guttering - they look like healthy little plants. I'm going to try to get them into the ground this weekend too.

My friend gave me a little greengage tree from her plot. It was right in the middle and seemed to be a baby from a large greengage tree on a neighbours plot. I asked about greengage care on the Grapevine forum and was told that it would probably be a sucker from a root stock and wouldn't get any fruit, but I'm quite hopeful that it will as there were 7 or 8 'teenage' greengages that seem to be from the same tree and I've been told that they have smashing fruit. I've got my fingers crossed. I've planted it in front of the shed with lots of room to grow (though I will probably keep it quite tightly pruned).

My autumn sown broadbeans seem happy enough. They are about 6 inches high and seem to have some buds about to flower!? I thought they were usually bigger than that before they flowered - but then what do I know? They need a little TLC I think - I'll give them a bit of time this weekend, weeding, tying in some string for support, etc.
My Salad Bowl Mixed in the greenhouse are doing well. The Non-Moon seedling actually seem much happier ( I know they were sown a bit earlier, but the moon ones seem much more spindly and erratic germination). The kids have taken to pinching the odd leaf off to eat which is great (both claim thay like a different colour better :o)- can't taste any diffence myself). Not quite enough to pick for tea yet! (they got a bit fattened when they were a little over-enthusiastically watered).

On to the spuds! I've been checking the experimental 1st Early bed (under black plastic) regularly for shoots so I can earth them up, however when hubby checked properly they seem to have come up, (we hadn't seen them) and got zapped by the frost :o(. Some of the shoots had gone black and mushy - not good! So we removed the sheet, trimmed off the poorly shoots and properly earthed them up. I'm not sure if it was the right thing to do, but felt right at the time. I've heard that they can still do okay and not all the shoots were affected so I'm hopeful that I caught them early enough.

We then turned our attention to the rest of the 1st and 2nd earlies that we'd put in the joint bed 13 & 14 and earthed then up as well (most of the chaps on my allotment had them earthed up this way). They are all nice and toasty now hopefully. The spuds I put in these beds were 5 of each: mimi, pink fir, salad blue and highland burgundy red, and the remainder of the rows and the rest of bed finished off with red duke of york and maris bard.

After we earthed the rows up.

One of my absolute favourite things growing in my plot at the moment is the rocket I let go to seed. It still tastes great - as do the flowers (thanks for pointing this out JCL!). I love how pretty they are too. I'm hoping it will self seed itself around the plot.

Finally at home my toms are doing great, as are my baby chillies and peppers. My sweetpeas have some -if a bit erratic- germination (the Gardeners World telly prog had a sweetpea giveaway and the 'Percy Thrower' sweetpeas I was sent in the post are by far and away the best of all that I have sown). They are now about 5 inches high with 2 pairs of proper leaves and I've pinched out the tops to hopefully get bushier plants and more flowers, yay! I have finally managed to get 3 White Wonder cucumbers to germinate and 2 of a possible 40 strawberry spinach. However I've loads of alpine strawbs from seed doing well (tiny, but happy!).

Next is the first round of squash, pumpkins and courgette seeds in pots and about a hundred other things!- :oD


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