The Great Potato Fake-out

  

This week at the allotment I’ve noticed a few crops are starting to show signs that the time for harvesting is getting closer.
The quick crop radishes have suddenly bulked up and I was delighted to see the different coloured radish tops poking up out of the ground. 

I’ve been patiently waiting for what seems like forever for the strawberries to ripen and within the last week they’ve finally decided to put me out of my misery and turn a gorgeous deep red. 

   
   
The broad beans have continued to flower and the first pod has been picked, just as a tester to see how they’re doing! I’m more than happy with the sight of more and more beans developing and that there’s no black fly in them yet…happy days! 

   
   
The peas have started to flower, which I’m really pleased about, especially after I was so late in sowing this year. The peas are a double podded variety (Hurst green shaft) and there are loads of double flowers dotting about the crop. 

   
 Bolstered by the happy sights at the allotment I thought I’d chance my luck and check on the potato progress. For the first year ever, I’ve got flowers on the potatoes. I never realised how pretty they are. 

  
The first potential potatoes for me this year will be the international kidney. Earlier in the week I had a little dig around the bottom of the potato mound and lo and behold I discovered a lovely perfectly formed potato. 

  
Brilliant. 

This must be a good sign I thought. 

They must be ready I thought. 

They’ll make a lovely potato salad for lunch on Sunday I thought. 

   
   
Not quite the haul I was expecting! 

Not to worry, at least I know they’re growing, I’ll leave then another 3-4 weeks and I think they’ll be perfect. 

Timsey and the sweet peas 

  
Today I planted out the sweet peas at the allotment. They’ve been hardened off for about 2 weeks and with the weather forecast to be quite settled for the next few days I took the opportunity to let them loose in the big wide world. 

It’s the first time I’ve grown sweet peas and I’ve been really pleased with the germination rate. I pinched out the tops when the plants had 4 sets of leaves and I’m delighted that (as promised) more branches started growing out from the main stem. Brilliant!

  
At the allotment I’ve got a very special climbing support. 

Meet Timsey. 

 My sister made Timsey in high school and used her friend, Timsey, as the model. The original use was to hang clothes on but I think she will wear the sweet peas with style. 

   
   
I’ve picked a nice sunny spot for Timsey to hang out and I’ve taken a selection of the sweet peas and planted them at Timsey’s feet. The remaining plants I’ve given to my mum for her garden. 

A quick check over the allotment and more potatoes have started to pop up. I’m really excited for the salad blue ones, even their leaves have a blue hint to them! 

  
   
 The second sowing of broad beans have come through, these ones are the Crimson flowered variety I grew last year. I’d almost given up hope as they’ve been in the ground for 3 weeks! 

  
Last but not least I spotted the first 2 pea shoots to burst above ground. Everything is really starting to get growing now. 

  
Happy garden = happy gardener

Back yard beauty

  

I love my allotment. Its a little haven just for me.
It’s split into two sections, the first part is like a little garden, with a grassy area surrounded by roses and (at the moment) daffodils. The second part is where the vegetable beds are. I’ve not had a garden at home since I lived with my parents so I’m thrilled to now live in a flat which has a back yard. For months now I’ve been imagining the yard filled with flowers and pots and hanging baskets. (Perhaps the odd pot of salad leaves too) I’ve also been holding onto a wooden pallet with a view to transforming it into a beautifully rustic wall planter. (In reality I’ll probably butcher it and then throw it in a skip)

  
About 2 weeks ago my sister and I made a start on the back yard transformation. It’s quite a small space, with white painted brickwork, and the floor area is totally decked. We gave the decking a clean a week or so before, so we were good to get planting! 

  
We chose a mixture of plants both in size and colour. With the walls being white we wanted to add some additional colour and interest to the space by using a mixture of plant pots too. We’ve also repurposed an ikea waste paper basket I picked up free! 

  
Pansies, violas and little begonias went into the hanging baskets, I love how bright the colours are together. In a few weeks time they should be really be blooming. 

  
We made a lavender trough, and went wild with a planter mixture of tall red spikes and more pansies and violas. 

   
 We were a bit spoiled for choice with the climbers so we went for everything; Clematis, climbing jasmine, Passion flower and a honeysuckle! I know there’s a lot going on but if they actually climb and flower, I think it’ll look (and smell) amazing. We found some low growing flowers so we planted them in a long tub hoping they’ll fill out a bit and cascade over the sides. 

 
I’ve also planted some summer flowering bulbs, gladioli and freesia. I know they’re a bit old fashioned but I think they look lovely as cut flowers. I’ve never grown these before so we’ll see how they go. 

  
I’ve managed to get a herb bucket going with all the kitchen cooking essentials included, thyme, rosemary, sage and oregano, and this week I’ve sown some wild rocket and spinach to be planted up into outside pots when the weather settles a bit. I can’t wait to just nip outside to pick fresh leaves and herbs to cook with.

Ps. I’ve not attempted to up cycle the wooden pallet yet, I’m still working up the courage to hack it to pieces but I’m sure there’ll be an update about that soon! 

 

Speedy Seeds

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It’s been 11 days since my super seed sowing assistant got in on the growing action and I’ve got to say, I think he’s got the gardening touch! Over the weekend, pretty much all of the seeds we planted germinated and they’re all doing really well. I’ve never grown sweet peas from seed before and I only realised after we had planted them that (according to the packet) for best results we should soak them in water overnight prior to planting.

Whoops

Thankfully all the sweet peas have germinated and I’ve avoided a seed sowing disaster. Now all I’ve got to do is find out when to pinch out the tops. I’m sure there’s plenty of time yet, I think it’s when they’ve got a few leaves on so that it encourages a more bushy plant. I’m really looking forward to using them for cut flowers, there’s even a category for sweet peas in the country show I go to in August, if I play my cards right I could have a couple of entries in the flower section…ok, I probably won’t but a girl can dream!

All is going well with the potatoes too. The little sprouts are really starting to put on some growth at the moment, hopefully they should be ready to plant out in about a fortnight. I’ve still got their patch to dig over at the allotment, so that will keep me motivated to get some more digging done. It will also give me time to get some manure. I’ve come up with a plan to dig the trench, line it with manure, pop the potatoes straight in and cover them up. I think I’m supposed to mix the manure into the ground a bit first but I’m sure (ish) that the potatoes will be fine going straight in.

The broadbeans that were eaten by the cat a few weeks ago have been brought back from the brink (my dad has been a fabulous bean keeper) and I’m pleased to say they have made a miraculous come back! I’ve started hardening them off and they’ll make it onto the plot at the end of the week. As a safety precaution I’m also going to plant some more broadbeans seeds directly into the ground at the same time. This should ensure I get a good steady crop of broadbeans throughout the summer.

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Miracle broadbeans

Next on the to do list will be to plant the sunflower seeds and to get some more digging done (this digging lark never ends does it?!)

 

Bringing the outside in

  
I love the idea of having beautiful flowers and plants all around the house. Nothing brightens up a room more than a lovely vase of freshly cut flowers, arranged just as you’d see on the cover of a magazine. Unfortunately I lack (quite severely) the skill of flower arranging and each time I’ve tried to make an arrangement it looks as if I’ve just dumped the flowers directly into the vase without any thought or care. Due to the ugliness of the arrangement it’s more often than not that the flowers are put to one side of the room in shame and forgotten about until all the petals have fallen off and they make their inevitable journey to the bin. I have also failed miserably at keeping a bonsai tree. The poor thing lasted about 3 months before it shrivelled up, the leaves turned brown, then made its inevitable journey to the bin. 

To say I’ve not had much success as an indoor gardener would be a fair statement to make. 

But I still yearn for house plants. 

While browsing Pinterest recently I came across something that might just be the solution to all my houseplanty problems..

A Terrarium. A lovely little plant world inside a glass. 

Today I’m giving indoor gardening one final whirl and if I can’t keep a Terrarium I’ll resolve myself to only out door gardening. 

To start making the terrarium I picked up a couple of glass bowls, some stones, a selection of alpine plants and cactus potting soil. 

  
Alpine plants like free draining soil, so to help with the drainage I placed a selection of stones in the bottom of each bowl. I then filled the bowls about 2/3 full with the soil then arranged the alpine plants into the bowls. Once in their positions I added more soil around the plants and topped off with some decorative stones and pebbles. 

  
   
 How easy was that?! 

I’m really pleased with the end result, the only thing left to do is to find a sunny spot for them. 

  

Eyes down for a full house

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At last, the beds are full at the allotment. Over the last 2 weeks I’ve been a busy bee planting out the last of my home-grown seedlings to finally fill the vegetable plots.

Last week I gave myself the task of getting the Brassica beds finished. If I’m being totally honest, I’ve been putting this off a bit as it would mean I’d have to build some kind of netted structure to protect the crops but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to do this. I’d had an idea about using an old garden hose to make an arched tunnel  across the bed. This plan went quickly down hill after I cut the first length of hose, secured each end into the ground across the vegetable bed then watched the hose arch promptly collapse to the ground.

Under construction

Under construction

Plan B was to use bamboo canes along the outside of the vegetable beds and to attach the net to those. I’ve been saving squash bottles to use as snail and slug protectors and I’d kept the tops of the bottles to put on top of the canes to secure the netting. This plan was much more successful and after an hour or so I’d made 2 Brassica cages. In went the Calabrese, the Kale and the Purple sprouting broccoli, along with the green and red Brussel sprouts. I’ve still got a little room left in one of the beds for the cabbage. I’ve not been so successful with the summer cabbage this year, but I’ve still got my winter cabbage and my turnips to sow so I’ll probably use the space for those.

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The beginning of a much more successful plan

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Ready for planting

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Bird Proof Brassica beds

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Cauliflower and Brussel Sprouts

Calabrese, Kale and Purple sprouting broccoli

Calabrese, Kale and Purple sprouting broccoli

Now, building the cages was primarily to keep the birds and butterflies off the Brassicas, but I was still quite concerned about the slugs and snails. I’ve been reading about organic ways to keep these types of pests off the vegetables by using beer traps, wool pellets, crushed egg shells, sharp sand or nematodes, but the method that appealed to me the most was to sprinkle used coffee grounds around the newly planted vegetables, the main reason being that I could get a huge box full of them for free from work – it’s a no brainer really! So far I’ve been really pleased with this method, I’ve used it around all the Brassicas, the beans, sweetcorn as well as all the squash and pumpkins I planted out the week before and there’s only been a very slight nibble to one or two of the leaves, nothing more…brilliant.

The only things I had left to plant out were the leeks and the courgette plants. I’ve had to make a bit of a “space sacrifice” in order to plant out the leeks. I’ve decided not to plant parsnips this year and only plant 3 short rows of carrots so that I can fit the leeks into their allocated bed. The reason for  this is that I’ve got really heavy clay soil and I don’t think the carrots or parsnips will be particularly successful, but if they are, I’ll reduce the number of onions next year to give me more room.

3 short rows of carrots

3 short rows of carrots

So, on with the leeks. I’ve been intrigued about planting leeks, all because of how this is done. Puddling in. Doesn’t it sound great! Armed with the handle of my garden hoe, I started making deep holes in the ground for the mini leeks to be dropped into. Once they were all cosy in the holes I topped them up with water to allow the earth to settle around the base of the plants. Hopefully I’ve made the holes deep enough to blanch the base of the leeks, giving them a lovely white stem. I’ll earth them up later on in the year to help with this too.

Leeks ready for planting out

Leeks ready for planting out

Leeks ready for puddling in

Leeks ready for puddling in

30 leeks, puddles

30 leeks, puddled

Last but not least were the courgettes. I cleared a bed for them last week, thinking I was digging up a couple of errant brambles but to my surprise this is what I found…

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Surprise potato

Surprise potato

More potatoes

More potatoes

I must’ve left a couple of little potatoes in the ground when I cleared the patch!

Once I removed the last of the potatoes, I planted my 6 courgette plants. I’m growing 3 types, an Italian striped variety, Defender which is a deep green variety and Atena, a yellow variety. They’re all suppose to be good croppers too so I’ll be sharing them with friends and family.

Courgettes planted

Courgettes planted

After they were planted I gave the area a good sprinkling with the coffee grounds and stood back to survey the plot.

The sunflowers are starting to flower now, mine was the first to bloom (much to my son’s disappointment) closely followed by my Mam’s and my sons in third place.

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The Alliums are starting to flower in Nature Corner now which is great for attracting bees and hoverflies to the plot

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The apple trees seem to be doing well with the new fruit starting to swell. There seems to be loads of new fruit on the trees at the moment, I’m in two minds about whether to leave them or to remove some of the fruits now to allow the remaining ones to get larger. Any thoughts on this would be fantastic.

Apples

Apples

Lots of apples forming on the tree

Lots of apples forming on the tree

Last but not least the Nasturtiums have started to flower. I had planted these to attract the green-fly away from the crops but they’re too pretty to be sacrificed! Don’t they just look lovely.

 

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Blooming marvellous

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It’s official, I love this time of year! Is it spring? Could it possibly be the start of summer? Sometimes it feels like winter, but, what ever the season it is, I think it’s fantastic.

Over the last week I’ve been weeding like crazy, trying to keep the vegetable plots in tip-top condition ready for the seedlings to be planted out. Even though I’ve been, what I consider, to be very thorough in my weeding, I can’t believe the amount of bindweed still coming out. It’s fortunate that it’s been raining over the last few days, the ground is really soft making weeding all that much easier, still, the bindweed root was much chunkier than before, fingers crossed I’ve got most of it out now.

Revenge of the bindweed 2.0

Revenge of the bindweed 2.0

This month I’ve got my onion seedlings to plant out. Well they’re not really seedlings any more, they’re more like an onion jungle in their seed trays, but I’ve been gradually hardening them off along with my first batch of summer cauliflowers ready for planting either this weekend or at some point next week. The Brassica collars arrived this morning so they’ll go straight on to the cauliflowers when I plant them out. I’ve saved an old hose to try to construct a sort of arched tunnel covered in netting to protect the veg from bird attacks, haven’t quite figured out how to make it yet but that’s a challenge for another day!

Summer cauliflowers ready for planting

Summer cauliflowers ready for planting

Onion jungle

Onion jungle

While on the plot this morning I was absolutely delighted to see that the broad beans have started to produce flowers. I’m growing a crimson flowered variety and the lovely deep pink colour is just gorgeous. I’m hoping that the bean plants themselves will continue to grow taller as they still seem quite small, but as I’ve never grown broad beans before I’ll look forward to seeing how they come on.

Crimson flowered broad beans

Crimson flower buds on the broad beans

Elsewhere on the plot the first leaves on the potatoes have started to poke through the soil. In first place we have the Lady Crystl variety which seems about right as they are the earliest cropping of the potatoes I’ve planted. In about a week I’ll start earthing them up, and I’ll need to keep an eye on the weather forecast just in case we get a sneaky frost.

First leaves on the potato plants

First leaves on the potato plants

The flowers in nature corner are coming along a treat and more tulips are starting to bloom. I think it’s really important for the allotment to have a little section which is slightly wild to encourage bees and other pollinators to the plot. There are still a few more tulips to come through and in a month or so I should have some alliums for the bees to feast on too.

Nature corner

Nature corner

Hover fly on a dandelion

Hover fly on a dandelion

Big bee

Big bee

Both apple trees are blossoming now which is just lovely to see. I was a bit worried when the male tree started to flower a week or so ago and the fruit bearing trees only had buds on them, but just yesterday the blossom on the female trees opened up, hooray! Apples will be had in the autumn!

Pink Apple blossom opening up on the fruit bearing trees

Pink Apple blossom opening up on the fruit bearing trees

Getting a move on with seed sowing, I’ve planted my sweetcorn today. I’m growing a super sweet variety called Swift and following the success of sowing my broad beans in cardboard tubes I’m doing the same with the sweetcorn. I’m planting about 20 seeds in total so I when they go into the ground they’ll make a decent sized block. I’m told that the corn tastes best if it’s cooked within 20 minutes of it being picked, before the sugars turn to starch, now that’s something I can’t wait to try!

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The last job on the plot today was to tend to the greenhouse crops. The rocket and spinach I’ve been growing for micro salads are ready to be picked. I’ll pick them tomorrow so they can be enjoyed fresh for tea. I’ve got some radish seeds I was going to plant outside but I might try a few in the guttering once the rocket and spinach have been picked. The purple basil seedlings are taking ages to grow, they’ve been at the 2 leaf stage for weeks now, I’m hoping once the greenhouse warms up more they’ll have a growth spurt.

Rocket

Rocket

Finally the tomatoes. While I was watering them earlier this week I noticed that suckers had started to grow from the main stem. As I had a little time before I needed to leave the allotment, I got to work pinching them off. It’s important to remove these extra leafy growths because the plant can put more energy into producing fruit rather than into growing more leaves.

Suckers starting to grow in the V between the main stem and the leaves

Suckers starting to grow in the V between the main stem and the leaves

Tomorrow, the plan is to harvest more rhubarb, plant up the strawberries, check the onions and cauliflowers have survived their first all nighter outside, and to dig over the last 2 vegetable beds (again). I’m so happy to see the allotment really coming into bloom after months of waiting for signs of life. It’s definitely been worth the wait.

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Sowing frenzy

I can’t believe its April already. It doesn’t seem 5 minutes ago since I was waiting for spring to arrive so I could get growing. This week, I’ve been unleashing my inner seed sower and I’ve been planting like mad! Spurred on by planting my peas on Monday, I thought it best to keep up the momentum and plant my next batch of seeds.

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Adding drainage holes to the recycled plant pots

Adding drainage holes to the recycled plant pots

Thursday was the seed frenzy day. First up were the pumpkins.

When I was choosing which pumpkins to grow I was governed by 2 things, size and taste. Firstly I wanted to grow a massive pumpkin, you know, the kind of pumpkin you only hear about:

“its so big they needed a crane to lift it”

“I heard its bigger than a whale”

That’s the kind of pumpkin I want to grow! So I chose the Atlantic Giant. According to the description, it holds the world record for size, so it’s got to be worth a go. On the opposite end of scale I’m also growing miniature squash. I chose the Buffy Ball winter squash which will grow to tennis ball size and also tastes quite sweet too. I’m planning to grow them off the ground, up and over a teepee made from bamboo canes to provide an interesting focal point to the allotment (plus it’ll be a great place for me to hide out). The last of my squashes are a Japanese variety I got free with a magazine called Uchiki Kuri also known as Onion squash. The flavour is smooth and nutty which will be great roasted, perfect for the autumn and winter months.

Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds

Atlantic giant pumpkin seeds

The next lot of seeds to be sown were some of the brassicas consisting of Purple Sprouting Broccoli, regular green broccoli, another round of summer cabbage, red brussel sprouts and last but not least, kale. I’d had to take my onions and my flower seedlings to the allotment earlier in the week to make room for all the new trays of seeds. Hopefully in a few weeks, I’ll be able to move all the seedlings to the allotment and my parents can get their windowsills back!

Next batch of seeds planted

Next batch of seeds planted

Today saw the first actual intentional harvest of the year. I’ve been forcing a section of my rhubarb plant and I promised myself I’d not look until it had been covered for about a month. Well, 3 weeks is pretty close, so I took a little peek.

Unforced and forced rhubarb plant

Unforced and forced rhubarb plant

Lovely long sticks of rhubarb

Lovely long sticks of rhubarb

We have rhubarb! I couldn’t resist taking a stick.

Ta-da

Ta-da

It’s much taller than I thought it would be considering the bucket covering the section is orange and the black plastic bag that I’ve wrapped the bucket in is quite thin, but who cares? It’s fantastic!

The other part of the rhubarb is growing nicely with the stems looking big and chunky, perfect for making crumble. Hopefully it’ll not be long before I can get some more sticks picked off.

Unforced section of the rhubarb growing sturdy stems

Unforced section of the rhubarb growing sturdy stems

The rest of the plants at the allotment are doing well. The barriers I put around the broad beans to stop creatures nibbling the leaves seem to have done the trick with no more chunks being taken. The ground where I planted the peas seems un-disturbed, fingers crossed I’ve fooled the birds and mice.

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Nature corner has really stared to come into bloom over the last week. The little blue grape hyacinths are growing well and the tulips and more daffodils are starting to come through. Birds have started to take some of the fillings from the bug hut to use to make their nests, their favourite seems to be the wool fleece. I’m imagining them all snuggled up cozy somewhere.

Nature corner

Nature corner

I’m over the moon with my little harvest today. I also picked some herbs (sage, thyme and oregano) and a bunch of daffodils to take home. I gave the flowers to my mam as she loves spring flowers.

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Spring in a jug

Spring in a jug

Finally, I know you’re wondering about the the fate of the single stick of rhubarb. There’s only one thing you can do with a single stick of rhubarb.

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Dipped in sugar

Dipped in sugar

Going in for the kill

Going in for the kill

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Perfection

Perfection

Man Down

This week I’ve had a bit of a disaster. I’ve been getting rather excited about the prospect of planting out my seedlings so I’ve started to harden off my broad beans and my cauliflowers. The broad beans have loved being outside and thrived in the great out doors, soaking up the sunshine and breathing in the fresh air. The cauliflower seedlings on the other hand have not fared so well.

Poor Cauliflowers

Poor Cauliflowers

I’m not sure whats happened to them. The first day of hardening off, the weather was slightly breezy and quite mild so they were only out for an hour or so. The second day they looked fine, so they went out for slightly longer. I wasn’t too concerned about this as it was probably the most lovely sunny day we’ve had so far this year. The following day however, the seedlings looked extremely poor. Quickly, they were watered and they have improved slightly, but they are still in need of a serious rescue plan. Needless to say they’ve not been outside since. I’m hoping that they have just been dehydrated and that over the next few days their next set of leaves will continue to grow. Worst case scenario…its cold shock, and I fear they’ve had it.

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I’m going to plant up a few (lots of) extra seeds over the weekend to try and make up for any that don’t pull through. Failing that I can plant them directly into the ground and we’ll do battle with the slugs and snails.

Other than that, its been quite a successful time this week. I’ve almost finished digging the whole of the allotment and there are just 2 small sections left to do. After what seems like hours upon hours of digging and weeding the end is in sight.

I spent Thursday and Friday at the allotment and was delighted on Thursday to be joined by a squirrel. The allotment backs onto a park and I love how the animals pop over the fence to say “Hi”. I’m sure I’ll change my tune though, when the squirrels are tucking into a 3 course meal at the expense of my vegetables, but for now I’m enjoying seeing the wildlife in action.

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I’m really pleased that I’ve managed to keep on track with the digging and weeding over the winter months. After spending most of last year clearing the plot, it’s a really great feeling to look at the allotment now its ready for planting, and vision the vegetables growing.

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The potatoes I started chitting last week are getting some lovely purple sprouts on them. With a bit of luck they’ll be ready to plant out in about 4 weeks time. The tomato seedlings are also up and running and are smelling absolutely marvellous. There’s something about the smell of their leaves that is just summer in a sniff! The Nasturtium flowers I’m growing for companion planting have germinated and now look like mini lily pads. I’ve grown enough to plant along side most of the crops, but I’m hoping they’ll be most effective in the brassica beds as well as with the pumpkins and squash.

Sprouting potatoes

Sprouting potatoes

Tomato seedlings

Tomato seedlings

Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums

After watching Gardeners World last week, I’ve gone a bit Monty Don and started to force a section of my rhubarb. I didn’t have a black bin to use, but located an old bucket and covered that with a black plastic bag. I know it’s not pretty but it’ll do for now.

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Now you see it…

 

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Now you don’t

Next week is going to be full steam ahead down at the plot. I’ve taken the week off work to get all the little jobs at the allotment done including getting the broad beans supported and planted out. Now, when I say little jobs, I mean the jobs I’ve been putting off, like cleaning out the shed, burning all brambles I dug out last year (the plot was over run with them), making the path section between the beds wider using the bits of bricks I have dug up, finding a glass door to fit and replace the one that was smashed by vandals on my home-made green house a year ago and to plant out the herbs and lavender. Hopefully by the end of the week, I’ll have a beautifully clean and tidy plot with some actual vegetables growing in it. Wish me luck!

I’ve started so I’ll finish…

Over the last few weeks I’ve been steadily working my way along the plots at the allotment, carefully digging and weeding, (don’t mention the bindweed) getting the ground ready for planting. I had planned on spending both my days off work this week at the allotment, but yesterday I just didn’t have the time I needed to get a whole section dug. Don’t get me wrong, I could’ve weeded a section of the Brassica bed, possibly even half of it, but the thought of starting a section and not having the time to finish it completely didn’t quite feel right to me. This would just have to wait until I had the time to get the whole section done.

The next batch of seeds to be sown

The next batch of seeds to be sown

As I wasn’t going to be digging at the allotment, I took the opportunity to sow some more seeds. The next batch of seeds due for planting were my summer cabbages and the first variety of Brussel sprouts. I fear I got a bit carried away when I started sowing seeds last month, and planted all of my cauliflower seeds at once, not thinking about the fact that they’ll probably all be ready for harvesting at the same time…all 12 of them! I didn’t want to fall into the same situation with my cabbages, so I’ve only planted 3 seeds now. I’ll plant another 3 seeds in 3 weeks time, and I’ll repeat this until I’ve got about 12 well-developed seedlings. This should give me a good few weeks of succession cropping later on in the year, and then my winter cabbages will be ready to take over. In the allotment I’m trying 2 types of Brussel sprouts, one green and one red. The green variety is slightly earlier cropping, so these are the seeds I’m sowing now, I’ll plant the red variety at the beginning of May. With a bit of luck, we could have red and green sprouts for Christmas lunch. How festive will that be?!

Weeded and ready for action

Weeded and ready for action

Today I had much more free time, so I spent a very cold day at the allotment. It’s been blowing a gale, all the leaves have been swirling round my freshly dug plots, my toes were numb, but I’m pleased I completed the weeding of my second Brassica bed. The next plot to dig will be for my peas, beans and sweet corn. The broad beans I planted a few weeks ago are growing well and should be ready to be hardened off and be planted out in April so I’ll have to keep on track with the weeding and the digging if I’m to get them out on schedule.

The peas, beans and sweetcorn area waiting to be dug

The peas, beans and sweetcorn area waiting to be dug

Broad beans

Broad beans

The daffodils at the allotment are really shooting up now, and their flower heads are starting to develop. Let’s hope they bring some warmer, sunnier weather with their cheery arrival.

Daffodils

Daffodils