Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Still frosty

First of all, apologies for the lack of pics on this one, I forgot to take them before I wrote this in a hurry before leaving for the airport...

In previous years there have been things sprouting under cloches on the farm at this time of year, but this year so far... nothing.

There are 2 reasons for this, firstly we are still getting some pretty impressive frosts and secondly I go away for 2 weeks shortly meaning popping in to water on the way home is a no no. Once I'm back hopefully it will have warmed up a little and we can get cracking. This doesn't mean we have been doing nothing, at home the sowing and potting has continued.

Every broad bean came up and they seem to like it out in the mini greenhouse. They will be planted out when I get back at the end of March, hopefully after the winds have abated.

The cabbages and Kohl Robi have been pricked out and are growing on nicely. They may go under cloches soon, I haven't decided yet.

The chillies are slowly germinating but taking their time. Once up they spend the day under the grow lamps to stop them getting leggy.

The Marigolds, unusually had a poor germination rate and had to have a second sowing, again with mixed results. I'm not sure quite what is going on here, they usually germinate under almost all conditions.

Onions germinated well, now thinned to one per cell they are getting their first proper leaves. I've been trimming them back to about 3-4 inches in height to stop them falling over. They seem to like the mini green house as well.

This weekend I planted some beetroot in cells. I've never done this before but as you can buy plug plants of beetroot I figured I'd give it a go. Also some Convululus and sunflowers, leeks, pumpkin on a stick and a couple of Apero tomato plants to see if the grow lights stop an early sowing going leggy.

I almost forgot these, under the bed the spuds and Oca tubers are chitting nicely.

When I get back things will start to ramp up with the main sowings of peas, parsnips, early carrots, and early spuds. I look forward to finally getting things moving on the plot.

Happy gardening folks!!

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Lets get this party started....!

Or more to the point, lets get this planting started.

The 2019 season has officially started, last Saturday (9th), armed with a bag of John Innes compost and a well organised seed box I made a start on the planting over the weekend.

Downstairs on the cooler windowsill in the kitchen are marigolds, broad beans, white cabbages and kohl robi. While upstairs on the heated bedroom windowsill there are chillies and red and white onions.

A bit of recycling in this years planting equipment, a mixture of used mushroom trays and coffee cups from work.  Both have a bit of extra depth, and hopefully the broads will be pleased with the cups as they like a deeper pot apparently.

After a week, already putting in an appearance are the marigolds, white onions, cabbages and kohl robi and a couple of broads, not bad at all.


I want to start radishes, early carrots and salad off down on the plot under cloches but we are still getting quite a few severe frosts so I'll wait a couple more weeks before starting anything off down there.

Last year I had a lot of seedling failures and wasn't sure if it was down to the compost. This year I'm trying John Innes for the first time but I did make a bit of a boo boo. Instead of picking up number 1 compost for planting seeds I picked up number 2, which is for young seedlings. This means it has added zinc, I have yet to read what differences that makes, but surely as soon as a seed sprouts its a young seedling! I have noticed that the John Innes is more soil like, rather potting compost and may need careful watering as it retains a lot of it. The moisture meter may be on overtime.

Happy gardening folks!!  

Sunday, January 27, 2019


Since the last post we've done, well pretty much nothing.... I don't like winter

I did make it down to the farm on a Saturday morning for a couple of hours when the weather was warmer to do a few general tasks but more of that later.

It is that time of year when things start popping through the letter box. This years seed order was a lot larger than the last couple of years but the seed tin did get a good clear out of the older seeds and things we've decided not to grow any more. 

We ordered from DT Brown and Mr Fothergill's this year and this beautiful little lot is what has arrived. This shot includes the pumpkins on sticks and blue bosque tomatoes we got from

The Mr Fothergills seed potatoes arrived today too. This year I've restricted it to Arran Pilot for a nice early spud and Shetland Black, I've always fancied trying a different coloured variety.

One reason to restrict the spuds to 2 varieties was to make space for Oca. Also known as New Zealand Yams and originating from South America They can be used cold in salads with a citrus taste or roasted like potatoes. They have less pest problems than potatoes and are expected to catch on in the UK.

They aren't the cheapest thing to start off, 5 tubers for £7.99 but with some seed saving it should become cheaper. Excited to see how these turn out. As an added bonus the more observant may notice I got 6 instead of 5!.

Jobs wise, the compost bins have been moved to their permanent home. I put a thin strip of weed control fabric around the edges and between the bins leaving the bottom of them open to the soil and then used wood chips to hold it down. Should keep the weeds down and hopefully stop critters digging into the bin.  

Last years asparagus stalks have been cut down and composted and the bed weeded. It might get a top soil top up before the season start.

All the remaining carrots were dug up, none salvageable unfortunately and the ground dug over and the contents of the moved compost bins dug in ready for squashes and tomatoes. I might even put in a couple more bags of manure.   

We haven't planted anything at all yet this year but in the next couple of weeks the onions and leeks will be started from seed... I really must get the cold frame built!

Happy gardening folks!! 

Friday, January 04, 2019

Meet Percy..

As some of you will remember, 2018 was not my year for parsnips, something I'm normally quite good with. In fact we have only two this year.

We popped down to check covers etc over the weekend and decided to dig up this fellow, one of the cleanest parsnips I've actually ever grown, at the moment he is destined to be soup. 

Elsewhere there is very little left growing, just some chard, kale, slightly eaten cabbage, holey carrots and the last parsnip.

The Cape Gooseberries and Chillies have been killed off by the frost and once again the allium leaf miner struck and ruined what was once looking like a promising leek crop. That's 3 years in a row now I have had trouble with these pests.  I know a few fellow plot holders have also had issues, although it seems totally random who they hit. 

There doesn't seem to be any chemical control available but here is an extract from the RHS site regarding non chemical control

"Plants can be protected by covering them with horticultural fleece, or an insect-proof mesh such as Ultra-Fine Enviromesh, at times when the adult flies are active and laying eggs (March to April and October to November). Crop rotation must be used, as adult flies might emerge from pupae underneath the covering if susceptible plants are grown in the same piece of ground in successive years."

I will be growing onions and leeks from seed this year and am unlikely to plant them out before May, so it appears that my best hope is cover any unharvested crops for Oct-Nov. Guess we'll give that a try.

Happy gardening folks!