Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chitting potatoes

I bought some seed potatoes (Kestral and Sante) on the 12th Feb and they've been chitting on the kitchen windowsill and in the spare room...

...and this is what they look like now:

Kestral are a second early, while Sante are a main-crop potato. I wasn't really sure what I was doing when I chose them, but my local hardware store had their seed potatoes on display and I was tempted! Having read around a bit, it turns out I picked 2 very good types, with good pest and disease resistance.

The other thing I've learnt is that whereas I'm used to buying "new" or "old" potatoes, growers have 3 types:

1st Early = New potatoes, eaten small and early summer

2nd Early = New potatoes, grown larger and harvested towards the end of summer

Main-crop = "old" potatoes, harvested in the Autumn onwards and the only ones that store well.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A few spare minutes

I had a few spare minutes after school pick-up today, so went out and did some more sowing. Today I've sown mangetout peas in bed 5 and the Innocent seeds in pots in the greenhouse (by now we've collected 3 packets of carrots and 1 of tomatoes). The pea packet suggests planting them in a zigzag fashion, I'm not really sure why this is, but I followed the suggestion anyway.

More sowing

Having spent the morning tidying, I spent the afternoon sowing more seeds yesterday in the glorious sunshine.

Bed 5
In raised bed 5 I planted a row each of Spring onions, Red onions and Spinach, and a wide row (approx 10cm) of Mixed salad leaves.

Bed 2
Lupin seed
In bed 2, I planted Cabbage, Lupins and Brussel sprouts. The cabbage managed a whole row, but the Lupin packet turned out to only have 6 seeds in and the sprouts only had enough for half a row! The lupins were a freeby, given away as a soil improver, so I can't really complain, however, the sprouts I'd bought myself. Not having bought many seeds in the past, this year I've got them from all over the place. The sprouts came from Wilkinson and so far I'm not impressed - not many seeds and poor germination of the ones sown 3 weeks ago. I may have learned the hard way to spend a bit more on better seeds...

Greenhouse growing
In my mini-greenhouse, I planted Aubergine, Peppers, Courgette and Chillies (Joel's favourite!). I had intended to do half a tray of each, but there weren't that many courgette seeds so I ended up planting them all, which meant fewer chillies (I'll plant more later). The courgettes were 1 per cell, but the others are much smaller seeds to doubled up.

Sweet peas
I found some old peat pots in the shed, so filled these with sweet peas (mostly 1 per pot, but a few ended up with 2 to use them up). Sweet peas are one of my favourite flowers and can't be bad for companion planting - can they?

Monday, March 26, 2012

My plot

The completed infra-structure! I'm really pleased with how it's turned out. Let's just hope that the veggies grow!

Spring is here!

Tidying the back garden
Having been away for the weekend and enjoying the sunshine, I was raring to get out in the garden this morning. I started with a bit of tidying in the back garden. This area is where the guinea pig hutch tends to spend most of its time in the summer as it's very shady. Over the winter I let the fallen leaves provide a winter home for insects etc., but today seemed to be a good day to clear them away and expose the bricks again. The border looks very bare at the moment, although it won't be long before the Lilly-of-the-Valley start to appear. The friends we visited over the weekend had lots of wood anemones in flower - maybe this would be a good place for them to add some spring colour next year?

 The apple tree is springing into life again - this is a triple grafted tree I bought about 10 years ago. It has Malus Discovery, Fiesta and James Grieve apples on a dwarf rootstock, so it's self-pollinating.

My blueberry bush is also showing signs of life,

and the neglected parsley I thought was dead seems to have self-seeded!