Welcome back to Reads Retreat, the home of "Growing your own Veg in Raised Beds".
Are you enjoying the weather ? Me too - gloriously sunny and getting warmer all the time.
We've had a busy time of late, plenty of activity in the garden, coupled with a day out yesterday to Brands Hatch ( courtesy of Big sis - Ta very much ) to see the A1 GP Meeting. A great day was had by all, and it was great to see everyone again - and a chance too to deliver some very late Christmas presents !
Meanwhile on the gardening front .....
My better half ( secret squirrel as she will be known from now on ) ordered these lovely plants from the Gardeners World supplement. They arrived minutes before we left for Brands on saturday morning, hence it was much later in the day before I had a chance to look them over. I've been perhaps over cautious in the past in not ordering "plugs" through the post, as I thought the packaging would have been an issue. How wrong I was / am, these arrived in perfect condition, just a few days after despatch. Well done Thomson and Morgan! All I needed to do was let them get wet, and then leave them to settle for a few days, prior to potting on. Simply double click on the image for info of varieties!
Things are looking good in the onion bed too. Not sure how well this pic will appear on the blog, but i can assure you all is growing on well.
There are various varieties planted herein, including :
Stuttgarter Giant (25 Sets)
Red Karmen ( 25 Sets)
Bedfordshire Champion ( 12 from seed )
Leeks Musselburgh (20 from seed - in 2 rows)
The leeks were started in toilet roll inners and have been transplanted complete to their growing positions. I find this helps to blanch the lower stem during growth, negating the need for earthing up later in the season.
My repotted Rhubarb crown, is now sporting some new growth, and i'm hopeful that it will survive. I will leave indoors and in the bucket till later in the year when i will replant into its final growing position.
My other crown in the garden is now fully recovered from the early forcing, and on closer inspection I found it's growing now from 3 individual crowns.
Not bad really for a second season plant. Rhubarb crumble coming my way - yummy.
As you will know ( if you're a regular reader ) I'm quite partial to these B&Q buckets. They add instant colour to the garden, and make for a very cheap large pot.
This year they are home to all manner of things, and in this shot, my Early pots. The two in the foreground have just been planted, with the 2 at the rear having been planted a few weeks ago.
This is a deviation from the raised beds - a bit of an experiment! I'm trying to free up raised bed space to grow other crops, and am hopeful of good yields from these "pots" instead. I'm only growing first and second earlies this year, as maincrop whites are easily available at £4.90 for 25kg!
In another adjacent bed, things are moving on quickly:
The garlic continues to add growth at a staggering rate, and all plants are looking healthy - even the one my darling daughter Ruby ( 10 months old ) tried to pull free from the soil!The Chives are also looking good, with the flower heads forming nicely - cant wait to try these ( yes, the flowers ) in a nice fresh salad.The netting was added in an effort to deter the local moggies from littering the open ground. I take great pleasure in returning the cats doings to their rightful owners!I've also planted some Rhubarb Chard, which is beginning to show. The toms ( v. Gardeners Delight) are suffering from Slug attack but I'll persevere with these. Its a gamble trying to get an early outdoor grown crop, but hopefully it will succeed.
The Broad Beans are getting bigger by the day, and i've already spotted the first pod ! I'm so excited, especially after last years plants were totally engulfed in blackfly and had to be destroyed.
Fingers are still crossed on this one!
Just thinking about them now I can almost taste them!
I planted some pot marigold seed along the front of the bed, and these too are starting to show.Again, this is an edible flower, not just an attractive companion plant.
Strawberries in the hanging basket seem to be doing ok, although I'm worried that they might struggle for moisture as the growing season continues.
Theres plenty of flower buds already which is a good sign, so i'll have to keep a close eye on this one over the next few months.
If it doesn't work out, at least i will know for future reference.
Anyway, I cant eat the fruits as im allergic to them.
These are the "Christmas Spuds" that I planted for last christmas !
I left them in the ground when the the frosts killed off the foliage, and simply forgot about them.
Now I'm being rewarded with fresh growth where i least expected it.
Not sure if the fact that the seeds in the ground for so long will affect this years harvest, but with nothing else planned to go in this spot, I guess I'll wait and see what happens.
Raising plants from seed seems a never ending task.
I'm lucky that secret squirrel lets me use the available space in the conservatory.
Hoping soon that the seed raising will tail off, and we can start to enjoy the fruits of my toil.
Hope you've enjoyed this update. I've been quite excited to find my blog listed at number 12 in the Top 100 Gardening sites, and thats all thanks to you - my readers. Thank you !
Join me again soon for more updates from Reads Retreat.