Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Lovely weather for plotting

I suppose that depends on what you are plotting, World domination? There has been so much going around about GMO crops and not being able to buy old type seeds or keeping your own to re-sow (farmers). Of course I hope that doesn't end up applying to us allotment holders in the future. It seems a certain company is hell bent on World Domination.

Well not here. I have lots of seeds to keep going with and I keep some from my last harvest (except beetroot, carrots & parsnips). I'm still waiting for the seeds to arrive from my prize I won from Spaldings. It will be too late soon. In the meantime I have sown plenty of what I had left over. They are all in my greenhouse. I also managed to find myself 2 new heated propagators. Wait for it, bargain price of £14.90 each. They are massive, twice the size of the ones I had before. They were half price in Wilkinson's, I found them at £39.90 in Homebase. I sold the old ones for £15 the pair, so that paid for one of them. They are great, I have managed to get so much in them & all the plants are sprouting really quickly (quicker than they did in the old ones). So far I have got Calabrese seedlings, lettuce, tomato, squash, pumpkin, beans, sweetcorn & lots of other things. This time I have labelled thing so I remember what's what.

I have made it down to the plot for the last week, on Monday I had to come home rather quickly (we have no toilets there) so didn't spend much time there. But I have managed a few hours every day. It's all dug over, weeded & I have started sowing direct. Potatoes are in, dug a trench, filled with manure, chicken manure pellets & my magic ingredient. Then potatoes went in & got covered up.. I have sowed a few rows of carrots, parsnips & beetroot. I had to water them today as the soil had dried on the surface creating a crust so I also put a layer of fleece over it. I have also emptied my compost heap & put it into the tyres I got. Each is piled 2 high, manure into the bottom (fresh for the warmth) and then filled with the compost. These will be my Sweet Potato beds. I love Sweet Potatoes. I have ordered mine, 5 slips, I intend to put one slip in each tyre pile. I think that will be enough, it says plant 9inches apart, the tyres are only 18 inches wide. It would be a squash to fit 2 in, I think. So now everything is ready.

Except for the garlic, it didn't come up at the plot so I've had to buy more. I've popped it in the freezer & will plant it into modules soon. Then when they've started I can plant them out.
New propagator with beans & squashes

New propagator with sweetcorn & salads

Garlic at home has come up

Strawberries plants from last years runners

Raspberries at home in leaf


Remember that pieris I bought last year, it is red.
You might also notice a lot of plants in trays in the pictures, they are all from B&Q and are for the baskets at Mina's, she is one of my gardening clients. I tried to over winter the baskets from last year but most of it seems to have died off, the fuchsias are not showing any signs of life either (still green under bark so alive), so I need to get in there & take out all the dead bits and put new in. They will stay in the greenhouse until all frosts have passed & then I will take them to hers. In the meantime I am re-pointing her patio. So very busy.

And then of course there is the new puppy. My garden has been decimated, there are holes in the lawn, I've had to put fencing up everywhere and there are chewed bottles, cardboard tubes & pots everywhere.

The forecast is for rain tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

April already

I can't believe it's April already, where has it gone. The weather so far has been pretty appalling, we had snow in March. At least the sun came out for a couple of days, so off to the plot.

I had managed to finish digging over the end bit of the plot, very slowly due to not wanting to hurt my knees again. So I took my chitted potatoes down to get them in. Luckily this year the mice didn't eat them, I put some poison down in the greenhouse this year. A friend from FB has just had her dog die, the vet said it was poisoning probably due to eating a dead mouse killed by rat/mouse poison, so that's it, no more poison going down ever. I had put mine where the dogs couldn't get it but hadn't thought of them eating a dead mouse. So next year I will have to find another way of keeping the mice out.

I planted 4 rows of potatoes and have space for another one. I dig a spade depth and put some manure into it, then some chicken pellets and a magic ingredient. Now to see if the magic works. Last year I had a good crop, although I didn't record any of it. This year I will make notes of what I get out of the plot.

I covered the fertilizers with a layer of soil before putting the potatoes in, then covered them over. I will be able to earth up a bit later but usually cover with grass clippings.

I have started filling the tyres (to the right) with soil, manure & compost, I will be planting Sweet Potatoes in these. This will be my first ever. I love Sweet Potatoes and hope they grow well, I have heard they are difficult.

The runner bean wigwam is up & ready, 2 beds are all ready. The other beds just need a rake over to remove the surface weeds  stones. Now all I have to do is wait for my seeds to come up. I bought myself 2 new heated propagators, large ones. They are twice the size of my old ones, in Homebase they are selling them at £39.90.  Good job I found 2 in Wilkinsons at half price, yes I paid £14.95 each (original price £29.90- cheaper than Homebase to start with). It pays to look around. I still need to get a shed and now I need to get rid of my 2 old, small propagators.

I sowed 2 rows of carrots & 2 rows of parsnips. Still need to start the beetroot rows. I have lots of pots, still waiting for them to start to grow. My chillies are up, in the heater. My tomatoes had come up but died off so I've had to sow more. I found 2 packs of onions I didn't know I had so I popped them into some modules to give them a start. The garlic hasn't shown an appearance, don't think it will now so may have to buy more.

The last 2 days weather wise have been lovely, today it's raining. So I think more work in the greenhouse.