Sunday, 17 May 2009

Kohl Rabi

I totally and utterly forgot that I'd planted Kohl Rabi!
I was in the garden and saw seedlings coming up in what I'd believed to be an empty pot, in fact one I'd decided I was going to plant my courgette in.
After coming back inside and checking the list of what I'd planted I realised it must be the kohl rabi, which is quite exciting.


Less exciting is the something that seems to be ferreting about between my lettuces. I wonder if it might be a hedgehog. If it is and he's grabbing himself a feast of slugs then I think I can forgive a misplaced lettuce seedling or two. I think the slugs would be more voracious.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

May 11th

Seedlings:

=Broad Bean (The Sutton (Dwarf)) - 12 days after planting
=Carrot (Purple Haze F1 Hybrid)
=Leek (King Richard) - 12 days after planting
=Pea (Ambassador/Sugar Bon) - 12 days after planting
=Squash (Sunburst F1)
=Sweetcorn (Incredible F1)

Sunday, 10 May 2009

May 9th

Planted:
=Artichoke (Green Globe)*
=Leek (King Richard)*
=Sweetcorn (Incredible F1)*

Seedlings:
=Pea (Kelvedon Wonder)

* All originally planted into cardboard tubes for planting on without disruption to roots into final growing position. Planted out in the garden, with fluorescent straws to mark their positions (I have zero faith in remembering where I planted them!)

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

May 6th

Planted
=Potato (Anya/Red Duke of York) - third planting.

Also:
=Cucumber (Fempot) - shop bought seedling, potted on to final growing pot.
=Lettuce (Webbs Wonderful) - seedlings thinned out and replanted to allow lettuces to develop.
=Tomato (Sweet Million) - small seedlings separated and planted into individual pots - going to have to find some new homes as I don't think I'll have room for me and the tomatoes!
=Tomato (Alicante/Gardener's Delight) - shop bought individual seedlings, potted on into final pots and getting ready to will them to fruit.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

May 5th

Seedlings
=Salad Leaves/Cut & Come Again - 6 days after planting
=Turnip (Golden Ball) - 6 days after planting

Monday, 4 May 2009

Wild Garlic Foraging

There are some woods just a short walk from my house, in the next village over. At this time of year the floor of those woods have huge swathes of wild garlic, so despite the insistent drizzle my friend and I headed out for a short walk and my first attempt at foraging outside the realm of picking blackberries.
We picked a few handfuls of that wild garlic and fought the wind and drizzle on the homeward stretch.
Once home I gave some of the wild garlic a bit of a rinse and found my recipe for Wild Garlic Pesto - which I'll be posting over on my recipe blog tomorrow.
It's safe to say it creates a smell that will permeate through the house, I'd make it on a day when you can keep your windows open!
That said, it wasn't an unpleasant smell and 100g of wild garlic leaves & flowers, plus the other ingredients, filled an old peanut butter jar that was approximately 450g in size.
Now I have to go back and study what else I can harvest, as thus far I'm just waiting for Elderflower, but hell, I have to start somewhere!

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Compost & Mice

I've been planning on building some compost bins using pallets for a long time, but it was one of those jobs that required other jobs doing first, none of which were particularly going to be any fun.
Then, the sun was shining this morning, I was up and about quite early and decided to crack on.
First I had to cut down two small conifers, the end of a hedge that I loathe.

That was pretty hard work, you know it's going to be before you start, but a part of you hopes that you'll be surprised and the saw will slide like a hot knife through butter. Alas, twas not to be, but finally both trees were down and the space opened up.
Next was the removal of the current, cone-shaped composter which was full to capacity, emptying its contents into the wheelbarrow and using the well composted waste on the borders, to bulk them up a bit.
I paused a moment and noticed movement in a part of the compost heap I hadn't got to yet and the nose of a mouse appeared. I stood absolutely still and the huge eyes of a field mouse appeared. It was clearly a little dazed and surprised, having anticipated a long day in bed. I confess to feeling a little guilty for disturbing it and was careful around that patch of compost in case it could recreate its home in the night.

I went on to screw together 3 pallets into a 'U' shape, obviously upside down, with the open end facing me. I replaced all the compost and threw on a big dustbin of turf & soil that I'd dug up to create my borders and stood back to admire my handy work (read: botch job). It's a long way from perfect but it's a hundred times better than what went before and I'm really pleased that I'm going to be able to get all my kitchen waste into the compost, as I'd been forced into putting it in my household waste and that really irked me.
I plan to add another couple of pallets to make another bin. I'd prefer to have three bins but space won't really allow that sadly. Although I might be able to take out another tree from the hedge and make room.
To my mind it makes sense to have three bins, one to use, one to compost and one to be adding to. That way you'd have an automatic rotation, which has to be healthy for the heaps.

Friday, 1 May 2009

April 29th

Seedlings
=Potato (Anya/Red Duke Of York) - actually noted on April 27th - 12 days from second planting

Planted
=Alpine Strawberry (Mignonette)
=Broad Bean (The Sutton (Dwarf)) - Secondary Planting
=Carrot (Purple Haze F1 Hybrid)
=Climbing French Bean
=Courgette (All Green Bush)**
=Dwarf Bean (Tendergreen)
=Kohl Rabi (Blusta)
=Leek (King Richard) - Secondary Planting**
=Pea (Ambassador/Kelvedon Wonder/Sugar Bon) - Secondary Planting*
=Salad Leaves/Cut & Come Again - Secondary Planting
=Squash (Sunburst F1)**
=Sweetcorn (Incredible F1) - Secondary Planting**
=Turnip (Golden Ball)

* At first planting of peas 4 seeds were planted of each variety, resulting in 0 seedlings from the Ambassador variety, 4 seedlings from Kelvedon Wonder and 2 seedlings from Sugar Bon.

** Sown in cardboard tubes.

April 17th

Seedlings
=Broad Bean (The Sutton (Dwarf)) - 19 days from planting

April 15th

Seedlings
=Carrot (Early Nantes 5) - 17 days from planting

Planted
=Potato (Anya/Red Duke of York) - Second planting*

* I'm using tyres to grow my potatoes in. I find it to be the easiest way of earthing up.
I start with one tyre, fill it with compost, add the chitted potatoes and wait for the shoots to appear.

Once the shoots have properly broken ground, I add another tyre on top of the first and fill it with compost and add the second round of compost. I'm aiming for a stack 3 or 4 tyres high this year. Also, when you're harvesting, you can just remove a tyre at a time and take the potaoes out, leaving the others in the ground.
I'm not sure if you're 'supposed' to do that, but I've done it twice and always had great potatoes.

April 14th

Seedlings
=Carrot (Parmex) - 16 days from planting

April 13th

Seedlings
=Pea (Kelvedon Wonder/Sugar Bon) - 15 days from planting
=Pepper - 13 days from planting

April 12th

Seedlings
=Lettuce (Salad Bowl Red & Green) - 14 days from planting

April 11th

Seedlings
=Beetroot (Chioggia Pink/Perfect 2) - 13 days from planting
=Leek (King Richard) - 13 days from planting

April 9th

Seedlings
=Lettuce (Saladin) - 11 days from planting
=Spinach (Bordeaux/F1 Tetona) - 11 days from planting

April 8th

Seedlings
=Artichoke (Green Globe) - 10 days from planting
=Broccoli (Early Purple Sprouting) - 10 days from planting
=Jerusalem Artichoke - 18 days from planting

=Raab Cima di Rapa - 10 days from planting
=Radish (Cherry Belle/Long White Icicle) - 10 days from planting
=Salad Leaves/Cut & Come Again - 10 days from planting
=Sweetcorn (Incredible F1) - 10 days from planting

April 7th

Seedlings
=Lettuce (Webbs Wonderful) - 9 days from planting
=Rocket - 9 days from planting

April 2nd

Seedlings
=Potato (Anya) 13 days from planting

April 1st

Seedlings
=Potato (Red Duke of York ) 12 days from planting.

March 31st

Planted
=Pepper (Bolivian Rainbow)
=Tomato (Sweet Million)

Both planted indoors, from kits.

March 29th

Planted:
=Artichoke (Green Globe)*
=Beetroot (Chioggia Pink/Perfect 2)
=Broad Bean
=Broccoli (Early Purple Sprouting)

=Carrot (Early Nantes 5/Parmex)
=Cress (American)
=Heartsease
=Leek (King Richard)**

=Lettuce (Salad Bowl Red & Green/Saladain/Webbs Wonderful)
=Parsnip (White Gem)
=Pea (Ambassador/Kelvedon Wonder/Sugar Bon)
=Raab Cima di Rapa
=Radish (Cherry Belle/Long White Icicle/Sparkler 3)
=Rocket
=Salad Leaves/Cut & Come Again
=Spinach (Bordeaux/F1 Tetona)
=Strawberries - replanted into new container and compost.
=Sweetcorn (Incredible F1)*

* Planted into cardboard tubes, to be started off in conservatory.

** Planted into cardboard tubes, although seed packet advised planting in final growing position as I intend to plant these amongst my borders as I am living with a small garden. I wasn't confident I would recognise them as leeks when they grew and didn't want to be ripping them out, mistaking them for weeds!

March 20th

Planted:
=Jerusalem Artichoke
=Potato (Anya/Red Duke Of York)

February 20th

Started secondary chitting of potatoes.

First Early - Red Duke of York
Second Early - Anya

Definition of chitting here.

February 2nd

Started chitting potatoes.

First Early - Red Duke Of York.
Second Early - Anya.

What Is Chitting?

Chitting is the process of placing seed potatoes in a cool, light place to encourage strong sturdy shoots to grow before they are planted in the ground. If you want to grow very early varieties, such as Maris Bard, and to harvest them as early as possible, then chitting is essential. All potatoes will start to sprout at this time of year and if they are not offered the right cool, light conditions they may develop elongated and white shoots (or chits). You should leave all the sprouts on seed potatoes. The aim is to have a small number of sturdy shoots, not masses of elongated sprouts, which dissipate the energy of the seed potato. If you rub sprouts off, then you’ll get a smaller crop but larger potatoes. Keep seed potatoes in a cool but light situation, rose end upward. This should encourage a small number of eyes to sprout. Commercial growers never bother to chit their potatoes and it seems to make little difference to the yield. However, they are able to keep their seed potatoes dormant by providing very exact storage conditions and this is very hard for the home gardener to do. For this reason, most amateur gardeners do chit their seed potatoes but any you have bought late can go straight in the ground, unchitted, at around Easter time.

Answer taken from GardenOrganic