Sunday, 21 May 2017

There has been a good bit of rain since my last entry, but even so the bed in which I have chosen to put the cleome plants was still quite dry only an inch or two down.


I planted out the climbing beans and that bed was nice and damp because I had gone over it with the soil-miller just last week.



I just noticed that the winter onions are starting to bolt, especially the sets that I planted straight out.  No flower spikes on the sets that I grew on in modules before planting them out. Interesting!



Friday, 12 May 2017

The weather is warming up at last, but still very dry.

Both old and new pear trees have baby fruit and the apples are full of blossom




The runner and french beans are growing well so time to set up the bean frame.  X men style this year rather than wigwams.


A bit wonky but I don't suppose the beans will notice.  The forecast is for rain the next few days so that should soften the soil so I can plant out more easily.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Turned out to be a lovely afternoon after a grey cold morning. So I went to the plot to water everything and to plant out the sweet peas and some of the cleome plants.

There is something wrong with the blackcurrant bush...  Or half of it I should say...


The good half of the bush on the left, the neighbouring whitecurrant on the right.  In the middle? I don't know what is the matter.  Some new leaves and buds looking withered.  I can't tell whether it is recovering or whether it is dying.  I cut off one totally dead branch but I will wait  and see whether this side is coming or going before more surgery.

Planted out the sweet peas, but I spent so much time talking to various passers-by that there was no time for the cleome.  Hopefully there might have been some rain by tomorrow, the soil is baked hard.

Friday, 5 May 2017


Now that my new decking is in and looking lovely, I can assemble the plastic greenhouse for the tomatoes.

So a busy day potting and building.


Tomato plants potted up and tied in ready for summer!



Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Went to water everything, there hasn't been much rain for a few weeks, and I found... ta-ra!



And they were delicious! I ate them raw, crisp and tasting like pea pods.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sowed:
french beans Blue Lake and runner beans Czar.
pumpkin Crown Prince
and some more basil and coriander for the allotment plant scheme.

I would have sown some courgettes but the seed packets have mysteriously disappeared.  I wonder if I could have taken them to the allotment by mistake.  I am sure I had two packets of the same variety.  Perhaps I am going mad!
I hope this current cold snap doesn't spoil the apple and pear blossom.  It has been fairly dry so they might be okay, it seems to be the combination of cold and wet that seems to be the plant killer.
I wish it would warm up a bit so I could be putting things out. I've got nasturtium and celeriac that are outside in trays, waiting to go into the soil.  I have cleome and cosmos waiting to harden off.
I would like to sow some more flowers but my tiny greenhouse is getting crowded with overgrown tomato plants which can't go into the outside blowaway greenhouse until it warms up a bit.
I don't suppose I am helping the situation by sowing beans etc.

Monday, 24 April 2017



 A friend brought me some sweetcorn seeds from Thailand.

Thursday, 20 April 2017


This is one of the surviving beans I sowed in February, nibbled to death by pea and bean weevil.


I planted out the new plants beside the old ones.  They no doubt will be attacked too, but there isn't much to be done about it.



The onions are improving daily


As are the garlic and the leeks.


Predominant colour...blue, I do love the forget-me-nots at this time of year.


Monday, 10 April 2017

I gave the alliums a watering of ammonium sulphate solution because they were looking a bit yellow after the vicissitudes of the winter.  That is pretty much everything in the plot as there isn't much else at the moment.
The Brussels sprouts seedlings have come on well which is a surprise, as my previous attempts at growing any of the brassicas usually fail after the initial germination.  I planted them out among the garlic, the thinking behind this is that the garlic will be harvested by June-ish leaving plenty of space for the developing sprouts.
I hope...

I will have to get going on the seed sowing for the summer.  I've been given some purple sweet corn seed from Thailand, so I am interested in what they will turn out like.
The french beans I am planning on growing are Blue Lake and I am not sure whether I am going to bother with runners this year as the french beans are so nice. Although the runners are much more reliable than the french beans so I might put a few in.
And I am going to give Crown Prince pumpkin another go...last chance.


First harvest of the year...stewed rhubarb and ice cream with a meringue broken on top for pud today...mmm! To pot with the diet!

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

It's amazing what the difference of a few days of above 10C , makes to the garden.  Everything is looking stronger (weeds also, unfortunately, but that's gardening for you)

The onion family is looking slim, but perky

shallots

winter onions

The winter onions have struggled through with some losses, but the survivors have potential.


The late planted leeks from last year are filling out and might work for this year.


The row of broad beans sown in February.  Five survivors.  These are about the same size as the ones sown in seed trays (and kept in the shed) a couple of weeks ago.

New pear tree

Old pear tree
A regular reader (there is probably only one) of my little diary will remember me buying a second pear tree to provide a pollen-mate for the first one.  Last year the old tree's blossom was over by the time the new one had blossomed.  This year it looks as if the timings might be reversed. The new tree's flowers are wide open while the old tree flowers are still closed buds. There is probably only a day or two in it, maybe another sunny day might bring them together.

Planted the potatoes in bags and boxes this year to see if it works better than in the ground.


Certainly easier than all that digging trenches and earthing up.  Did I say I wasn't going to do potatoes this year?  I think I must say that every year, but I found a few leftover potatoes from last year, chitting all unasked by me, in the garage, so I thought "waste not, want not".


I came across the little soldier lounging in the sun under an apple tree, on a soft bed of dried leaves. Shame the orange peel spoils the idyllic scene. Just hope there are no enemies lurking in the shrubbery..he's just not battle-ready.


Monday, 13 March 2017

Even the cleome seeds have decided to make a push, the second sowing and,
surprisingly, the first ones which I thought were gonners.


Just shows, you can't rush these things, however keen you are.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

 The leek seeds decided to come up after all.  I had just about given up on them since they were sown 5 weeks ago.  I think I must have buried them too deep.






























Sadly, I think I have fried the few sweet peas that managed to germinate.  They were in the plastic greenhouse inside the greenhouse and this morning the temperature was in the 40s when I opened it up.  A reminder to check the plants earlier in the day, it only takes a sunny hour first thing in the morning to heat everything up.
I have now re-installed the automatic window opener.  Signs of spring!


Oh well...back to the drawing board...























Down to the plot later to do some weeding and to hopefully burn the ivy that was pulled off the hydrangeas the other day.  It has rained a lot since, so I do wish I had put the bags in the garage to keep dry, but no, laziness struck me.
However, it's amazing what you can do with firelighters and copious quantities of paraffin.

I noticed when weeding around the winter onions that the sets that were started inside in modules, have over-wintered better and look much sturdier than the ones that were planted straight out.  It looks like it might be a good plan for future years.  Of course that is at this stage in early spring, it could be that it will make no difference in the long run.  It will be interesting to see whether it does.


The ones at the far end are the sets started in modules.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017


The Lady Eleanor can see the world once more.  Thank you Pat.

A lovely spring day today, did some weeding of the strawberry beds.  Lots of willow herb and hairy bittercress and of course the usual dandelion and buttercups.  Finished off by scattering chicken pellets around each plant.  Only one loss over winter.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Sowed some more wizard beans.  This time in modules, seeing as how not a single bean came up from the ones direct sown a month back.  I had a feeling it was either too early for spring or too late for autumn but was desperate to sow something.
I haven't got them at home on the windowsill as it is getting a bit crowded already, they are in the shed at the allotment.  We'll see how that works.


Lady Eleanor is in distress at the moment.  Her hat is not standing up too well to the winter winds.  I have tried to help but it needs the hand of her creator.
I had to use the zoom as I couldn't get near today, without plodging.  There has been a lot of rain.

Friday, 3 March 2017

The ground is drying up a bit, working it is still pretty heavy going, but I took a chance and sowed some parsnip seeds and half a row of mangetout. It is still quite cold so I have covered them with a cloche. Mmm, not very straight rows , I see now. Still, I don't suppose it makes any difference to plant health.

half row of mangetout, row of parsnip
I took time to do a progress report on the plot's fruit bushes...

pear tree
lots more buds on the pear trees than on the apple trees.

 Lots and lots on the blackcurrants...

blackcurrant

jostaberry
...and quite a few on the jostaberries.  They are ahead of the gooseberries and the red and white currant bushes.

The raspberry canes given to me by a friend are still looking pretty stick-like.

raspberry canes
I hope they won't turn out like yesterday's tayberry!

A look at the other over-wintering crops...
 ...the shallots

shallots
... the garlic

garlic
...the onions, looking a bit bedraggled but persisting...

onions
Leeks...
leeks
..these are last years leeks which I left very late to sow.
In theory, I should be cropping these now, but they aren't even as big as spring onions yet.
 I will leave them and see how they develop.

I might need them, as the seeds I sowed at the beginning of February for this year, haven't shown at all.
The other seed sown at the same time; sweet peas, brussells, celeriac, tomatoes have all germinated.  The cleome seeds were a no-show except for one solitary stem which popped up and promptly fell over when I took the lid off.

tomatoes

celeriac


Thursday, 2 March 2017

Some time ago I planted a tayberry that I had bought from the pound shop.


As this was about 18 months ago and there is no green showing, I suspect that it may not have flourished...


Sadly, it is no surprise to pull out....a stick!


I have given up on the wizard beans for the moment, nothing has appeared so it must have been too soon for spring planting...or too late for autumn planting.  I will try again in a few weeks.

March now and the seed sowing season begins in earnest.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Dug up the Brussells sprouts and I will freeze the sprouts.  I want the bed for the next crop.... parsnips, I think.... I will have to swot up on what is best to follow brassica. Time to consult my ancient Dig for Victory leaflet.

I was going to turn the bed over but after the rain in the last few days, everything is very claggy, so I only gave it a quick fork over.



Saturday, 25 February 2017

And now the first camellia...


Never noticed until this photo that the wall behind desperately needs re-pointing..oh dear!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Signs of spring...


The first little daffodil, thank you Beverley, this is the pot you gave me last year.

Doesn't look much like allium christopherii, but it is a very fine mini forest of moss fruiting bodies.


Don't know what this one is but it has flowered all winter in the crevices of the back yard wall.