Saturday, 25 February 2012

Springing into Action

It seems that spring has sprung a little early this year. Another beautiful sunny day here, my window thermometer recorded 16 degrees, although I don't know how accurate that is. It certainly felt very warm while I was working up at the plot this afternoon, I was down to my shirtsleeves. There is more warm weather forecast for this week, then we'll be into March - meteorological spring proper. My garlic (above) will hopefully now start to romp away, I weeded round it last week as it was getting a little swamped in chickweed. On the right, in the picture, the two sticks mark where I have put in one row of shallots. It doesn't seem very much, one row, but that's all there was in the packet. Might have to get another one. I have also put in three double rows of broad beans.

I have been aware for a while that my plot lacked a number sign, so I found myself an offcut of plywood, cut out a circle and turned it into this sunflower. I am going to grow a few real sunflowers and use this to support them, later in the summer.

At home, my onion seedlings are doing pretty well now, and the second batch I started have all now come up too. I  have pricked out the celery and celeriac seedlings, and they are now in the greenhouse, developing their first true leaves. A few sweet peas have come up, but I have had to re sow because most of the first sowing rotted off and didn't come up. I have also sown a tub full of salad and spinach leaves in the greenhouse, which look as if they are just starting to germinate. And last but not least I have sown chillies, peppers and a few Marmande tomatoes in the heated propagator a few days ago, but they have not come up yet. Next to go in will  be the red onion seeds, and if the weather continues mild, it won't be long before I can start doing the first sowings at the allotment: carrots, spinach, beetroot etc. Don't you just love the beginning of spring?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Seed Potatoes

I've just got back from my annual seed potato buying trip. It's one of the first landmarks in my gardening year and one I really look forward to. This year it has been even more exciting, because with more space to fill I can now choose an even bigger range of varieties than ever. I went over to Russells Garden Centre just outside Coventry, which is an independent garden centre, where you can buy most of the varieties loose. Unfortunately, one of my tried and trusted favourites, Anya, was not available loose this time, only in very large bags of about 40 tubers. I didn't want that many, so I'm giving them a miss this year.

Before I went I measured my potato patch, and carefully worked out exactly how many tubers I have room for. I decided I would plant four types of maincrops in rows of seven, and seven types of earlies/second earlies in rows of ten. This is what I have chosen:

Maris Piper
Cara (one of my regulars)

Second Earlies:
Charlotte (another regular)
Yukon Gold
Apache (pictured above)

First Earlies:
Lady Christl

The intriguing-looking Apaches were only available in pre-packed bags, so I will have two rows of those. So all except for the Cara and Charlotte are varieties I have never grown before (not that I can remember anyway!)

I shall now start setting them all out in their egg boxes to chit - hope I have enough egg boxes!