Thursday 22 December 2016

Solstice sowing

Well, the solstice was yesterday morning so we are on the up now! I decided to grow some garlic. I took 2 good cloves from a supermarket bulb today and planted them in small peatpots. They are sitting out uncovered and I await results?
(They were planted out into the plastic bed in late January or early February.)

Friday 25 November 2016

Autumn sowing

On November 17th I prepared my centre vegetable bed. It's 30 x 27 inches. I dug it over, incorporating weeds, dosed it with some blood, fish and bone, added a layer of 2015 leaf mould and topped it with garden compost.

Then I sowed 30 broad bean seeds, The Sutton. I finished the job by covering it with netting to keep out the squirrels, voles and mice who tend to visit this area. Now to see when they germinate. (First three up on Dec 18th.)

I must remember to give the plants plenty of support early this time.

Thursday 27 October 2016

New gardening year again...

...always begins when I plant my elephant garlics. The four "rounds" that I lifted in July went into the plastic bed in the first week of October. The plot was cleaned out after the dwarf beans and a handful of BFB added at the garlic end before planting. The area was topdressed with sieved garden compost too.   (3 came up on 8th December.)

I have nice seedlings of godetia and saved hollyhocks coming along and some anemones from saved seed too. The foxgloves, hesperis and honesty have been planted out at the equinox and are looking good in their beds.

I have prepared a new bed to become my herb garden. It had thyme in already. Lots more to go in.
(Lovage, sage, marjoram, oregano, lemon balm, mint, chives and garlic chives in a few days later.)

Apple trees and greengage have all been mulched with 2014 leafmould and the apple tree bed has been dressed with my spent potato pot composts.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

First Sarpos

My ten-inch pots with a single Sarpo Mira seed potato have yellowing foliage and don't look like there's much more in them so I decided to drop one of them today and see what was inside.  The roots were very strong with a lot of potatoes looking very healthy. Perhaps they would have done a bit more. But still it gave 600g of good potatoes, more than the average of my Pentland Javelin pots. So I have high hopes for the other two pots and even higher hopes for the 30 litre bags to come later.

The pot was planted up on 31st March,  118 days ago.

The empty pot has been replanted with six leeks using the same compost rejuvenated with some blood, fish and bone.

Update: The other two 10 inch pots gave 610g each. So a good average for a small pot.

The first 30l sack was turned out on 12 August. Only 840g with a lot of scab so not very successful. The haulms were dying but the potatoes were very immature. 2nd sack gave 1092g with some good big ones! 3rd - 703g !  4th - 944g 5th 578g in one big one!

Xtra!  A sprouted "shop potato" was grown in a clay pot with unimproved garden soil and a handful of blood, fish & bone. Harvested on Oct 19th it gave 880g of good size and quality potatoes. I won't be paying for seed potatoes any more!

The fridge saved pentland javelins planted in July have been harvested. They gave a fair crop of very good quality.

Saturday 16 July 2016

First tomato

I had my first tomato in a cheese sandwich for my lunch yesterday! Gardeners Delight is well ahead of all the others in ripening terms. They seem to flower much earlier than any of the other varieties I am growing.

Monday 4 July 2016

Pentland Javelin revealed

It was time to see how my ten-inch pots of Pentland Javelin were doing today. The foliage had begun to yellow (and been eaten by something too) so the potatoes were not going to grow any more.

So I cut off the greens and turned up the pot.  First views looked promising.

Then I noticed the extras. I was not expecting an ants nest in there!

But the potatoes were not affected. A fairly reasonable crop of 441g. That's near enough to a pound for me.

The compost is now back in the pot with a sprinkle of blood, fish and bone and another Pentland Javelin seed potato. This one was in the fridge from January till June 6th. It was then put in a yoghurt pot with some compost. It had about 3-inch sprouts when it went into the big pot today. I'm hoping this should give a crop in November. Wait and see!

Next pots - 410g, 620g, 360g (Average - 457.5g, a pound!)
Each pot was replanted with the saved seed potatoes.

September 30th.
First two "late planted" pots gave 445g between them of good quality new potatoes.

Saturday 2 July 2016

Some biennials showing

On Friday. Some foxgloves have germinated and some daucus carota. (The honesty were up by Sunday.)

My godetia have suddenly been eaten - about a foot tall and no leaves. Rabbits??

Tuesday 21 June 2016

The longest day

Last Saturday we had the first courgette off this year's plants. A Verde d'Italia. That plant is growing another one now, but none of the other zucca/zuccetta/zucchini are setting fruit yet. Quite a few male flowers around though.

On Sunday I sowed the biennial flowers in three inch square pots or modules. 10 of each - foxgloves (white, apricot and excelsior), hesperis (white and purple), sweet william (nigricans),  honesty and 5 daucus carota. They are outside this year.
The vipers bugloss sowed April 2015 is huge now and covered in flower spikes. The bees love it.

And today was the solstice. It rained heavily and some of my potted tomatoes were beaten down and needed staking. I planted three deeply into the large bed where I had just taken up the elephant garlics. They were not so good this year. They didn't send up scapes, are now yellowing and collapsing, so I lifted them. They are all "rounds". I will probably save them to plant again in the autumn.

Friday 10 June 2016

More leeks

I lifted one of my bunches of leeks from the bed on Wednesday and separated them. I planted two large pots with four leeks each and put some more into the plastic bed where there was space alongside the beans. This should give me some idea of the different ways I can grow them. They were Lyon Prizetaker. The King Richards I sowed some time ago in another pot are growing very slowly - but they have plenty of time!

Wednesday 8 June 2016

First potatoes

I opened up one pot of my Pentland Javelins yesterday. 4 potatoes of fair size for earlies - about 6 ounces. That's after 130 days but it has been unusually cold most of this time. I'll wait at least two weeks before trying another pot. The tops are still growing well. Perhaps I should wait till they start to yellow.

The Sarpo Miras are beginning to flower! That's after just 66 days. Should I take the flowers off before they set seeds? The RHS website states that it makes little difference to crop but nobody says it makes things worse so i'll do it! (But I didn't!)

Saturday 28 May 2016

More potting

Yesterday, I put out the rest of my squash/courgette varieties into pots. One of each variety is still waiting to go into the haybale bed. (They went in on 29th) I also potted a "left over" red kitchen potato that had sprouted in the cupboard. This is an experiment to see if that gives decent results, but I don't know the variety. (Maybe Désirée)

The day before, I potted on the eleven tomato plants (right) that are waiting to go into the broad bean bed. We ate broad beans in their pods last night. (They were lovely!) So the tomatoes may not have to wait too long.

The foxgloves (left) sown last June are flowering now, along with the hesperis and putting on a good show. The vipers bugloss are getting enormous and nearly ready to flower. The James Grieve apple tree appears to have set about 200 fruits!

Thursday 26 May 2016

Potting peppers and squashes

I potted up a custard white squash today and left it in the greenhouse for the night. One of the peppers got potted on too. That one stayed in the conservatory. I intend to do the rest of the peppers and squashes into pots over the next few days.

I applied Nemaslug to my beds today. Will it work?

Thursday 19 May 2016

Beans are out

I planted out the Hestia beans today. Only 2 of the Boby Bianco were good enough to go out with them. (left)

And five of the Meraviglia di Venezia have gone into a large pot with the obelisk to climb up. (right)

The other one has gone into the leek bed with a spiral stake to climb on. (It got eaten by slug/snails!)

The garlic chives are potted up now and sitting outside and the first two lovage are potted too.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Boby Bianco beans

Of the 10 Boby Bianco sown only three came up and one of those does not look good. So I sowed another 6 today in toilet rolls again. The 7 which did not come up had rotted. Why? Too wet? Too cold? 9/10 Hestia and 6/6 Meraviglia di Venezia came up in the same conditions. Those appear to be doing well now, hardening off outside in the daytime.

Thursday 12 May 2016

Potted tomatoes

I potted up 12 tomato plants today. 6 are in the greenhouse, 3 by the summerhouse and 3 around the conservatory. All were potted very deep with lower leaves removed.

Basil plants are growing well. I removed all the tops today to make them bush out.

It was sunny and all the bean plants had a day outside, hardening off.

Sunday 8 May 2016

Beans are started

Last week of April. Sow beans my calendar said. So I did. 10 Hestia, dwarf runners; 10 Boby Bianco, dwarf French beans and 6 Meraviglia di Venezia, climbing French beans. They all went into the conservatory and the Hestia are up today. (The others followed in the next couple of days.)

I planted one tomato Principe Borghese out in the plot three days ago and a couple of purple basils went out next to it today. Six garlic chives were potted up, one gardeners' delight tomato went out in a pot next to the conservatory today and one Verde d'Italia courgette went into the squash bed. Broad beans are just beginning to appear and the apples have an enormous amount of flower just opening.

I bought two cucumber plants this week and potted them up into small pots in the greenhouse. Pak choy and salad greens have gone out into the shady plot and chard seedlings are just showing.

Sunday 24 April 2016

Squashes and courgettes

Last week I sowed squashes and courgettes. 2 seeds to a 3 inch pot. 2 pots each of 8 varieties! Golden Zucchini and Butterpie were seeds left from last year and new from Seeds of Italy are zucchino Verde d"Italia and Custard White, zucchetta Rugosa Friulana and Tromba d'Albenga, zucca Marina di Chioggia and Butternut Rugosa. The Verde d'Italia were first up but they are all up now and the weaker seedlings are being discarded from each pot.
My basils had their first potting on last week and are sitting with the tomato plants in the conservatory.
The tomatoes have been up a month now and are doing well. The new Italian varieties are about 6 inches tall and the old seeds are about 3 inches.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Another sunny day!

Lovely weather today. I spent most of it potting and sowing. I potted up seven pepper plants. The one which I overwintered already has two one-inch green peppers on it! I sowed 40 carrots into a trough for outdoor growing, James Scarlet. My earlier sown carrots have gone outdoors as well now. Early pak choy are now potted on in the greenhouse.

Monday 11 April 2016

Strawberry field forever.

At the end of March I prepared my "central" bed to give a greater depth of soil, added some compost and nutrients and then planted out my 6 strawberry plants. The new bed should make it easy to net them off from birds this year.
The spare space in there is being used to shelter trays and pots of seedings under a cover until they are ready to be planted out.

Sunday 3 April 2016


I planted my sarpo mira potatoes on 31st March. 6 growing bags had 3 plants each and 3 ten litre pots had 1 each. my growing medium was made up from leaf mould and last year's spent potato bags and a bit of sieved gravel compost. It was all enriched with BFB at a rate of about 1 ounce per plant.

They are all sitting in the greenhouse now. The early sown pentland javelin are still in there too, just showing about an inch above the soil.

Monday 28 March 2016

First flowers

A lot of seeds were sown on 24th March. 7/8 modules each of eschscholzia, nicotiana, candy tuft, gypsophila, cosmos "Purity", cosmos "Sensation", scabious "Ping-Pong", scabious "Crown", 15 sunflower "Vanilla Ice",  a tray of  calendula and some mixed calendula and others. The hardiest left outdoors but nicotiana, gypsophila, cosmos, sunflowers needed to stay in greenhouse.
Gypsophila, cosmos, sunflowers began to come up on 6th April.

Tuesday 22 March 2016

A sunny spring day

Sowing seeds was my first job today. Radishes and garlic chives in the plastic bed, lovage and parsley in small modules and left outside, two types of basil and pak choy in modules in the conservatory and nasturtiums in modules outside again along with some chard.

Pak choy up on 26th March, basil on 28th, radishes on 1st April.

I also prepared bed 1 for this year. The seaweed and leaves was raked in, the whole bed was forked over to disrupt the tree roots which had grown. It was nice to see a few worms this time. The bed was dressed with 150g of lime and 200g of BFB, raked over and fork-smoothed.

Monday 14 March 2016

Sowing gets going

Today I sowed a good pot of carrots (Gigante Flakkee). The medium was 50/50 leaf mould and Jack's enriched with an ounce or so of blood, fish and bone. And I set about tomato sowing. Five varieties this year: Gardeners' Delight (2yo), Black Russian and San Marzano from last year, with Costoluto Fiorentino and Principe Borghese, both from Seeds of Italy. These were sown in three inch square pots with Jack's compost.

Tomatoes came up between 20th and 22nd March. Carrots started appearing on 27th March.

Thursday 11 February 2016

Sweet peppers

I sowed some sweet pepper seeds in the first week of February. They are in 2 inch peat pots, with my mix of seed compost. There are two seeds in each pot. One old, one new! - 3 pots of shop Ramiros and 3 of California Wonder. I saved some seed from a late maturing small pepper for the new seeds. I wonder what the germination will be like.
Notes: First one up (a Ramiro) on 23 Feb.and by 27th two of each variety were up.
28th Feb. Sowed 10 potlets, 3 seeds each of Ramiro for Steyning Museum sale on April 9th. Up on 12th March.

Monday 8 February 2016

First seeds up!

On Saturday 6th February, I saw that my onions and leeks had both come up in the conservatory. That's just 8 days after sowing. The same leek seeds took 16 days last year. This confirms that they came up because I moved them closer to the heat source. Germination does not seem to have deteriorated with last year's seeds.

Friday 29 January 2016

Throw in the Javelin!

My first potatoes went in yesterday. 5 Pentland Javelin into pots (10 litre).  Each one went on a bed of Jack's Magic compost enriched with about an ounce of blood, fish and bone and was covered with more Jack's. They will sit in the greenhouse until they are showing well.

Wednesday 27 January 2016

First seeds

I sowed onions and leeks today. 40 modules of Tropea Rossa Lunga and a potfull of Lyon Prizetaker.   The compost I used was Jack's Magic, leaf mould and sand in ratio 2:2:1. They are on the conservatory window sill to germinate.  

Friday 22 January 2016

Pentland Javelin

I bought 10 seed potatoes yesterday. (£1.99). Five are set up to chit in the conservatory at the moment and the other five are in the fridge to save for a "second crop" planting, probably in July. I'm following the experiment from "Home Grown Veg" on YouTube.