Monday, 31 March 2008

Finally it's here - British Summer Time 30.03.08

Welcome back to my weekly update at Reads Retreat, my guide to growing your own veg in Raised Beds.
Awaking to sunshine with a bonus of a dawn chorus - what a great way to start the summer. After changing all the clocks, it was time to crack on in the garden - so much to do and so little time !

It's been a busy and productive week, and i've loads to tell you about! In no particular order:

  • I potted on my Gardeners Delight into 3" square pots. Having sowed the usual 40 or so, i was somewhat surprised when they all germinated ! I guess I can add these to the list of plug plants I will be giving away! Some colleagues at work have already put their orders in!
  • The tray of brassica's are nearly all germinated and putting on good growth, the only no shows from the seeds planted last week are the Savoy Cabbage (v. January King) and I'm wondering now whether I have a bad batch of these? This is my second planting to no avail. I may have to opt for buying plugs of these but would rather be growing my own. Let's give them a bit longer, and see how we get on.
  • My sowing of Flat Leaf Parsley has failed to germinate. I'm guessing this may be because they are in a cooler location than I would have preferred. I will move these today and see if we can get them going.
  • My Pot Marigold's ( another ebay purchase from "Premier Seeds Direct" ) have all germinated and are putting on good early growth, and i'm looking forward to having these out on the plot this year. I will probably sow a few more batches of these, as time and space permits.
New sowings:

With the weather only just starting to warm up, i am still a bit restricted on indoor space! I did however manage to plant a few bits up for outside:
  • After a recent visit to S & T's (you know who you are ! ) I decided to plant a hanging basket with some strawberry plants. This seems like an ideal way to grow them, as the fruit will be less prone to ground based pests such as slugs, and I'm hoping the fruit trusses will cascade over the basket for easy pickings. Let's hope the birds don't find them first! I don't eat these myself ( seems I'm allergic to them ? ) but it's a great way to get the kids interested in and into the garden. I chose 3 different varieties ( 1 of each ) to crop at different times throughout the summer. They are: Pegasus ( June ), Hapil ( July ), and Pandora ( Late July - August ). I'll keep you posted on how these go.
  • My first batch of spuds were planted up (v. Aaron Pilot FE ) in buckets on the patio. I know that last year I had great success in the raised beds, but this year the space they were going to occupy has now been taken up with onion sets. If you read / hear the news, you will know there is an expected shortfall in supply for onions this year, due to the bad weather, so I've given one of my large raised beds purely to this crop. I've read up on planting spuds in containers, and it seems there's no reason why they wont grow successfully. Therefore, the First Earlies will all be going in buckets, and I'll plant them up with a few days gap between plantings to get a successional crop. Later in the month of April, I'll be planting my second earlies into large tubs formed from an old plastic barrel.
  • My stepdaughter has recently indicated a bit of interest in my gardening exploits, and with that in mind we planted some seeds for her. With her pocket money she bought packs of Oregano, Chives, and Curly leaf Parsley. I added to her haul with some Sunflower & Morning Glory seeds. They have all been duly planted, and their germination is eagerly awaited!
Recent Purchases:
Wilkinson's has a lot to answer for ! Seriously though, they have some great products at great prices, which i just could not resist :
  • Fruit bushes at just a pound each. I bought one each of Raspberry and Blackcurrant. I had a little chuckle to myself as I noticed the spelling on the packaging - Rasberry & Blackcurrent !!! The plain english lobby would have a field day!
  • How about 5 x 6" Pots for £1.29 - How do they do it ?
  • Lawnmower Blades for my Qualcast mower - 20 for a quid.
  • 15Metres of heavy gauge plastic coated garden wire for 69p
  • 100 Plastic coated wire rings ( for plant support ) 99p.
A trip to the local Garden Centre yielded the following :
  • Aubergine Seeds ( v.Black Beauty )
  • Nasturtium seeds (v. Jewel Mixed ) A purchased inspired after reading Matron's blog.
  • A new trowel for £1.50 - cant remember last time i bought one !
  • 8' Canes - 8@40p each. These were 30p each last year ?
Recent Harvests:
You may think I'm a bit early to be reporting harvests but i cant resist:
  • We had a second cutting of Forced Rhubarb, made a lovely crumble! I've removed the plant cover now, as I dont want to weaken it too much.
  • We have a nearly red chili (v. Winter warmer) to pick one day soon.
To do list :
This seems to be growing at a rapid pace, and its hard to know where to start:
  • Plant out Seed potato's, French & Runner Beans, Build wigwam supports for beans, plant aubergine seeds......
I can see I'm going to have a busy week! I hope you are progressing with your gardens and wish you all every success. Pop back soon as I intend to add some pictures when I get any time.
Take care all,



VP said...

Hi Big Gaz,

Thanks for your visit and comment! I see you've been very busy over here. I 'succumbed' to a pear tree for a fiver from Wilkinson's. I've had to hide it up at the allotment as trees aren't allowed. I figured if I planted it by a recently dead tree by the hedgerow, I could argue I've replaced it!

Matron said...

Summer time! it's snowing! I grew Gardeners Delight for the past couple of years, very tasty and prolific. If you want to see a photo, do a word search on 'string of pearls' on my blog.