Saturday, 26 February 2011

Weeds are growing.

On Thursday we had a dry day so spent it at the allotment catching up on a few jobs.

The weeds have started to make an appearance so the soil must be starting to warm up. I started by turning the compost heap to aerate it and adding a few bags of manure. The amount of waste has reduced by more than half and is doing OK. Although I haven't had proper compost yet it seems to be on the way. I am going to save some newspapers to add to the mix and later I will add comfrey which will speed things up. I have covered it over and have my fingers crossed!

I have one bed left to dig over which is on the list for the next visit. I have raked the majority of the seed beds ready for sowing. I have noticed that the soil is of a much better structure since we started cultivating the allotment back in 2009. The soil looks a much healthier colour rich brown rather than grey, we have lots of earth worms, and the ground is easier to tend. We have been using manure which is added at the end of the season once the beds have been cleared and dug it seems to be doing the trick.
The leaf mould bin is full so I am hoping to be able to use this later in the year, as last year we filled it up and again this year it has been filled to the top so hopefully the leaf mould at the bottom of the bin may be ready for use at the end of the season.

Fruit trees and bushes have all been fed and mulched with 2 inches of compost this should help them get off to a good start as they are coming out of dormancy, producing big fat buds and green shoots. Whilst doing the raspberries in the fruit cage I had a good tidy up of the strawberry bed removing dead leaves. The rhubarb has big fat buds breaking through the ground so I have mulched around the plants to give them a feed.

I have sown a double row of broad beans, three different varieties as I had some seed left: Giant Exihibition Longpod, Bunyards Exhibition and Witkiem Manita.
Planted some early lettuce seedlings under a cloche, I have plenty more if these fail but lettuce is a cool climate crop and seems to do better at the start of the year rather than in summer.
Pea's: One full row of Onward and a half row of Kelvdon Wonder, both rows have been covered with sticks to deter wildlife.
Carrots: Early Nantes, Amsterdam Forcing and some Polish seed have all been sown under cloches.
Beetroot: Boltardy - Sown under cloche.
Parsnips: Gladiator and Hollow Crown sown under cloches.
All the above are old seed and I won't be disappointed if they fail to grow but will be delighted if they do. They have two chances!

The shed has had a good tidy up, brought home some soil for acid loving plants to pot on a Camellia which was a gift from a good friend the rest which was left has been spread round the blue berry bushes which are looking very well. Lots of new growth.

Today I have ordered some new herbs which won't be available until April which will be added to the new herb area. This afternoon I am going to divide oregano and three lots of thyme which are growing in the back garden to take to the allotment once they have started to put on some growth.

The weather here today: am tipping down and now its stopped and the sun has made an appearance.

Happy Gardening!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011


Today i have made a start sowing some herbs. I have a patch under some trees at the allotment that I want to fill with herbs. The trees are only dwarf trees so I am hoping the herbs wont necessarily be cast in shade.

I have herbs dotted around the allotment to encourage wildlife but this patch will home for the majority.

I love the scent that some herbs give off and they are very pretty in the height of summer.

Sown today:
Basil - Red leaved, Lemon, Sweet Genovese - These are destined for the greenhouse to be planted around my tomatoes.

Borage - Vivid sky blue flowers which are attractive to bees.
Oregano - Greek
Dill - Aromatic, ferny foliage.
Cutting Celery - Can be grown in full sun or part shade.
Parsley - Lidl Seed - This can sometimes be difficult to germinate but so far I haven't had any problems.
Thyme - Orange Scented - I have grown this one before typical thyme scent will a hint of orange.
Meadow Sweet - Hardy Perennial, leaves and flowers have a fragrant scent, prefers moist semi-shaded position.
Thyme - Old English Winter - aromatic herb with pink flowers attractive to bees.
Bergamont - Mixed
Hyssop - Tri-colour mixed
Thyme - Purple creeping.
Lemon Balm
Cotton Lavender.

I have also sown another two packets of sweetpeas - these are for the allotment - variety old fashioned mixed.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Seed Sowing.

Sown the following today:
Spinach - Tetona and Renegade.
Rainbow Chard
Spring Onions - Ishikura & Spring North Holland Blood Red
Cabbage - Grey Hound
Cauliflower - All Year Round
Kale - Dwarf Green Curled & Frosty
Mangetout - Reuzensuiker
Peas - Feltham First

Cleaned up strawberry runners, moved leeks, celeriac, broad beans, cabbage and lettuce seedlings to the plastic greenhouse. Later when they have grown up abit they can go to the plastic cold frame to be hardened off.

Sorted seeds out for next batch of sowing which will be herbs these will be started in the airing cupboard and I plan to do these tomorrow.

Soon be the 1st of March!!!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sweet Peas and Tomatoes.

On Tuesday I decided to sow my Sweet Peas, this year I am sowing the Giant Waved variety they did exceptionally well last year at the allotment and at home.

I always sow extra for my mum and sister so ended up sowing three packets. These will be for the garden. I am planning to purchase a new variety to go to the allotment this year. I just love the scent of sweet peas and pick them regularly for the house.

I have sown them in root trainers and 2 deep pots as they tend to have a good root run.

I have made a start with Tomatoes, last year I took part in an early sowing experiment and had lots of tomatoes that ripened in the sun a lot earlier. We made several batches of passata for spag bol with home grown herbs and garlic. Even the tomatoes at the allotment did well although I only planted Ferline which is blight resistant. So this year I will plant those again plus try a few others and see how they go.
Sown: Sungold (This tomatoe is one of my all time favourites as it tastes divine), Ferline, Pomodora, Black Cherry, Yellow Submarine, Money Maker, Golden Queen, and San Marzano 2.

I potted on 3 Newmex Twilight, x3 Big Banana, x6 Romano Sweet Peppers, x4 Cayenne Peppers.
Celeriac: Balder has been pricked out into modules.
Germination: Piccante peppers are up. Still 2 types of chilli's haven't shown their face as yet!! Leeks: Blue Solaise and Lyons Prizetaker are growing well although Musselburgh and Autumn Mammoth are taking their time.

Sown another lot of Broad Beans, Crimson Flowered this time. Never tried these before so looking forward to something new.