Friday, 21 March 2008

Snow ? We'll see 21.03.08

Welcome back to Reads Retreat, my guide to growing your own veg in Raised Beds.

I hope that wherever you are, the weather is being kind to you. As i write this update today, there are forecasts of Snow and Sleet for the majority of the country, though going by the current Met Office forecast, we should miss the worst of the wet and just suffer the cold instead. Either way, I'm glad I opted to leave my outdoor sowings for another week!

I've had a fairly busy, and productive week, and will have to wait 4 days to carry on, as I'm working over the holiday weekend.
My week got underway on Wednesday this week, with the planting out of my newly acquired Gooseberry bushes. These were a total of £5.00, from Wilkinson's DIY, and I'm hopeful they will grow well in their new homes. They were planted with generous layers of sieved compost together with some granular growmore fertilizer mixed in. The location on the plot was the area where I tried to grow new potato's for Christmas day. Whilst the spuds were none too successful - the tops wilted and died in the autumn frosts - i did decide to fork over the bed before planting the fruit bushes. Lucky for me that I did, as I managed to harvest about a dozen new potato's, which I'm glad to say had overwintered well, and went straight to the table for tea ! Therefore, thats either very late earlies, or very early earlies !! I'll let you decide. The main thing was, it's my first harvest of the year, and it was delicious.
Elsewhere on the plot, there's not a great deal happening, due mainly to the inclement weather of late. My overwintered Broad Beans are still putting on healthy spring growth, and are looking good. Fingers crossed that the blackfly stay well away! This year has panned out very different to last, as most of my gardening seems to be indoors. Its an old adage i know, but "Good things come to those who wait", and I'm hopeful of the weather improving in the next couple of weeks. Indeed, i have some time off work at the beginning of April, and hope to be busy gardening.
These 4 little gems were acquired on a recent trip to the local Garden Centre. I'm hoping these box cuttings (that were 50p each) will grow sufficiently to make a nice hedge in the front garden. Not sure how long they will take to grow - if they do grow that is ( another rescue from the hospital rack ! ) - but they have a nice tinge of yellow to the leaves, and I think the growth will be worth waiting for. As i stated above, they were 50p each. Originally they were in 3" pots, were completely pot bound, and the roots were waterlogged. I've transferred them now to 6" pots, together with more growmore and fresh compost. They're only about a foot tall at the moment, but if they put on some good growth, maybe I can plant them out in the late summer / early autumn. That delay will give me time to prepare the ground and get some manure in. I love these longterm projects!

The next activity for the day was more seed sowing, and potting on of my seedlings. I planted a seed tray of Pot Marigold ( Calendula ). These will be planted around the plot, not only for decoration, but also because the flower petals are edible and will add some fresh colour to salads. They are also great companion plants to Tomato's, helping to keep the whitefly away. Plant these with Basil , near the toms, and you should be ok.
I also planted a seed tray of Flat Leaf Parsley ( sometimes known as French Parsley), for its many and varied uses in the kitchen. I've still to plant many more herbs, and will keep you posted on mine and their progress.
The other job of the day was to pot on the 40 or so seedlings of Sweet / Chili Peppers into individual pots. A task made more time consuming as I always sieve the compost. It takes longer at this stage, but the results are usually worth the effort.

So that was a busy Wednesday ! and today was pretty busy too.I sowed trays of the following:
  • Savoy Cabbage (v. January King )
  • Brussel Sprouts (v. Red Delicious )
  • Cauliflower (v. All year Round)
  • Cabbage (Green Acre / Primo 2 )
I've had limited success with this group of veg, but am persevering as i know the rewards are great. I'd be especially pleased if the red sprouts were a success, as I've heard they are a bit harder to grow than their green cousins.

And that's about it for this weeks update, as I said earlier - I'm working all weekend - so thought I'd get in early on the blog front.

I hope you and your gardens manage to escape the worst of the elements. If you would like to receive my updates in your email inbox, simply enter your email address in the subscribe box on the right hand side of the blog. As and when I update my blog, the update will be emailed directly to you. Simple ! Alternatively - just bookmark this page, and I hope you will come back soon.

Take care all.



TopVeg said...


Have just read about your new potatoes - sound delicious! Nothing left to photograph!

Matron said...

My gooseberries came from Wilkos too! two are still alive and one hasn't woken up yet! Excellent value! Haven't had any snow yet, but keeping an eye on the forecast. Happy gardening!