Sunday, December 30, 2007


The new plot is now coming along nicely. I have planted up a soft fruit area now - I must take a photo of it, as I've actually managed to do it quite neatly (if I keep this up, I'll have to change the blog name to Elegant Gardener!).


  • 'Octavia' raspberries - we have some of these in the garden and they are excellent;
  • Blackcurrant 'Ben Sarek' (two of) - again, we have a bush of this in the garden; they are smaller than the average bush, and gave a wonderful yield this summer;
  • Redcurrant 'Redstart' (two of)
  • Whitecurrant 'White Versailles' (one of)
  • Jostaberry - these are a cross between blackcurrants and gooseberries. I've not eaten one, but they sound intriguing...
  • Gooseberries 'Hinnonmaki Red' and 'Hinnonmaki Yellow'.

Despite only having veg on the small half plot, we still managed to harvest parsnips and Brussels sprouts for the Christmas meal. Next step for the new year is planting broad beans, which I failed to do in late autumn, and continuing the digging and weed removal of the new plot.

The site is filling up gradually, which is good to see, although we've only seen one or two very hardy souls down there in the past couple of weeks. We have had some excellent views of the foxes, though - we only see them close up when we don't take the camera down!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

A special sighting at Ness Gardens

We hadn't been to Ness gardens for six weeks or so, and as it was such a gorgeous morning, we thought we'd go today. SomeBeans nearly didn't take his camera but I suggested he did, and I'm so glad he did!

The weather was wonderful and the low sun gave the gardens a whole new dimension. But best of all was our 10 minute front seat view of a weasel who'd made his home in a drain in one of the borders. Having only caught a glimpse of a galloping weasel in the past, this view was amazing. What a gorgeous wee chap! Here, he's admiring some autumn crocus.

The long borders were looking good in the sun, as were the acers and Hammamelis. But what a wonderful day - the chance to spare a few minutes with what is normally a very shy creature.

Obviously nothing happened in September

Well, nothing except digging and removing barrowloads of perennial weeds from the new allotment.

We have now dug (thanks SomeBeans!) over half of the new plot, and my ability to recognise perennial weeds by their roots has come on leaps and bounds. Bindweed, ground elder, horsetail, couch grass, thistles, docks - all of them have different roots. All of them are a b***er to get out, too.

We've been enjoying the taste of Sweetcorn 'Tuxedo' for the past couple of weeks, but yesterday was the first time we've enjoyed really, fully ripe cobs. Out of this world! There's absolutely no point buying the cobs in the supermarket again - they taste of nothing compared to the freshly picked cob.

I also pulled my first mooli/winter radish/daikon yesterday; this one wll be going in a stir fry, along with the pak choi harvested. As for what to do with the remaining 30 or so mooli, answers on a postcard please, as I'm not sure what to put them in.

Having ordered some fruit bushes and raspberry canes for the new plot, we will be putting down weed suppression membrane before planting. They should arrive in November - prime bare-root planting time. More info as and when they arrive.

With the last of the spuds dug up on 97A, the bed has been dug over, roots removed and then raked flat (again, thanks Somebeans, as he realises that I have an inability to rake things flat and so many of the plants I sow are raised on beds with a profile like the craters on the moon).
Into this bare earth has been planted my allium bed part 1. Hot on the heels of the success of the elephant garlic, I'm planting:
  • Purple Wight garlic (2 rows)
  • Elephant garlic (2 rows)
  • Shallot 'Griselle' (3 rows)
  • Overwintering onion 'Swift' (3 rows).

I've got one more overwintering onion variety to plant - that will be going on half of the 2nd potato bed.

The cold autumn days (some mornings down to 3degC) has led to the slowing down of bean production. 'Lady Di' has done very well as a runner bean; despite my dislike of the name, I was tempted to buy it as it says it is stringless - it's been a success. I've been a bit disappointed with 'Blauhilde' (purple French Bean), but it could be the poor summer. And yesterday, I picked the first Achocha 'Fat Baby' - wierd looking thing but I haven't cooked it yet.

View of the strawberry bed and new overwintering onion bed.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Rooting out roots

Using the azada and right-angled fork from, we've been digging and weeding this weekend. The fork is proving itself excellent for grubbing up couch grass. I've been following Somebeans as he digs, pulling out the roots. Slowly, neatness is being produced...
Below is some of the produce we gathered on Saturday: a couple of tiny heads of calabrese, lots of lettuce leaves, runners, borlotti beans, french beans, my first tomato of the year (Orange Banana), courgette, carrots, radishes and two types of potato. Good stuff!
SomeBeans has been very busy and produced this wonderful structure on number 99 - a stonking new compost bin. It's been built to allow for expanson, too - Somebeans says that putting extra bays on will be easy enough. It has been completely filled with the piles of vegetation he's scythed down over the past few weeks.

Brilliant stuff! And soon, it'll be the time of year when the weeds will stop growing - won't it?!?

Sunday, August 19, 2007


I've been making use of some of our harvest this weekend. It's been raining pretty much non-stop all weekend, so I've kept myself busy indoors. I made 1lb of bramble jam from blackberries I picked on the allotment site. I also made some red onion marmalade with some of the 'Red Baron' onions grown from sets this year. It's delicious and very simple to make.

We did get down to the plot but pretty much only to harvest some bits and pieces. Harvested: 'Bonnie' potatoes, 'Pink Fir Apple' potatoes (tiny but will taste nice and won't grow any bigger as I had to cut the haulms off due to blight), courgette '8 ball' (we're having stuffed courgette later in the week), Chantenay carrots, the first of the runner beans (only 2 or 3 though), ditto Borlotti beans. Tasty!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We went down to the plot last night. Somebeans finished 'phase 1' on plot 99: he's scythed down all of the long vegetation.

We discovered a small toad on the plot, but didn't have a camera to take a photo. Unfortunately, it didn't look big enough yet to ravage slugs, but given time and a lot of friends, it might reduce mollusc populations a bit.


The gladioli are looking good - we've had 3 harvests so far. Next year I'll have to plant successionally to extend the season.

I also picked some more blackberries- they are looking so good at the moment. Time to surf for some more blackberry recipes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Food for free

The blackbirds have stopped singing, the nights are drawing in and now blackberries are ripe - a sure sign of the coming autumn.

I made a delicious use of free blackberries (overgrown allotment plots are useful for something, at least): blackberry crumble cake. A basic sponge base (made with plain flour) dolloped into a 2lb loaf tin, around 200g of whole blackberries thrown on top, and then a generous amount of crumble mix on top of that. Bake and enjoy!

The recipe can be found on the link below, but it has the wrong temperature for baking, and some of the ingredient weights are a little bizarre - I followed the amounts for crumble from a cookery book rather than the weights stated here which seemed to have far too much butter for the amount of flour. Note to self: make again next year, and would also be excellent with raspberries instead.

Original recipe:

Monday, August 06, 2007

Elephant garlic

We don't use an awful lot of garlic in cooking, but I though I'd try growing elephant garlic. I planted the cloves in October (the first crop to go into the allotment, pretty much) and it's now ready for harvesting.

I harvested the first head on Friday and it does look impressive! It's supposed to be more closely related to the leek than normal garlic and so has a less pungent flavour. I roassted the whole bulb at a lowish heat for 1.5 hours and I've squeezed some of the flesh onto potatoes before roasting - very nice. I've now found a recipe for roasted pork loin with elephant garlic and spice rub, which sounds rather nice!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Playing 'catch up'

What with holidays and rain, it's taken a few weeks to catch up with weeding on 97A. Now that's nearly done, and it's starting to get to the stage where harvesting will come to the fore.

SomeBeans continues his toil on 99, and we've put down some weed suppressant membrane to try and reduce regrowth where he has hacked down the undergrowth. We will continue to dig this.

Blight having struck the potatoes, I have cut down the infected haulms to ground level, in the hope that it won't have had a chance to travel down to the spuds. The potatoes I dug up on Friday looked good. I've ordered some sacks so that I can dig up the remains of the potatoes ASAP, to reduce the risk of attack by slugs whilst underground.

Photo of potato beds with foliage removed

Our first courgette was harvested - very nice lightly fried in butter. I also harvested and roasted a bulb of elephant garlic. This has proved to be a hit, with some of the flesh squished into potatoes during roasting to give a mild garlic flavour. We haven't had to buy potatoes since May, which is hardly self sufficiency but still is exciting to me!

In the garden, the Californian poppies have been ruthlessly uprooted as I decided they were too untidy. This has luckily given me lots of space - to plant more plants! :) I bought a variety of plants from Penlan nurseries - most of the plants have now been put into the ground. The plants arrived promptly and were a good price - a recommended supplier. The front garden will have some of the love-in-a-mist removed, and hardy geraniums put in, to tidy it up a bit.

And, living up to the name of the blog, the Inelegant Gardener has a rather inelegant tanned segment on her back, from weeding in the sun in a tee-shirt which doesn't quite cover her back! Still, cheaper than a tattoo...

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Not so bad, really.

As a reminder when I look back on this in 2008, this summer has still yet to start. Having rained most days for the past 6 weeks or so, the garden is green, but I've not been able to do much in it.
In the garden, I've harvested one Pershore Yellow egg plum, but some are rotting on the tree - some more will ripen soon, if they don't rot before then. I had an excellent crop of blackcurrants from the bush in the garden (Ben Sarek). I've used the currants to make blackcurrant sauce.

Recipe: Hot blackcurrant gin sauce:
Harvest and wash blackcurrants, and weigh. Add sugar (around half the weight of the blackcurrants) and some water. Heat for around 15 minutes, until the currants are cooked and soft, and the sugar dissolved. Depending on the amount of water added, the sauce may need to be boiled to get it to a sauce like consistency. Cool slightly and add a generous amount of gin. Goes very well served hot on lemon curd ice-cream.

The allotment has been abandoned for a fortnight due to rain and then holidays. It is very wet - my main concern when taking the plot on was that the sandy soil would mean that I lost plants through drought. Pah! On our return to the allotment this morning, the weeds have taken over, the onion bed is under water and we can't dig on number 99 as it is so sodden. However, we're better off than some on the site. Having asked Henry for his advice, the onions have stayed in the ground. If it's still sodden by the end of the week I think I'll have to harvest them and try and use them quickly as they are not really ready yet. Sweetcorn is growing very well, and weeding on the bed is a doddle as I put down membrane when I planted the corn. Must do that for more beds next year. Harvested potatoes (blight ahoy!), a couple of carrots, some beetroot, the last few mangetout and some peas. The beetroot will be roasted by SomeBeans along with the potatoes for dinner this evening - roast beetroot are a delicious discovery.

No. 99 is looking rather sorry for itself - the pink fir apple potatoes are OK, and we have one or two small round courgettes, and quite a lot of weed regrowth. SomeBeans is doing a stirling job scything down weed growth, having passed the half way mark. It's just too wet to do anything else - I'd have liked it to be half dug by now but it's impossible. We'll get it done over autumn and winter and hopefully be able to get some fruit bushes in over winter, too. SomeBeans is learning from the more experienced allotmenteers and is going to construct a sturdy compost bin on 99, using waste wood we've got at the house.

I'm confident that I can beat the weeds this week, as I have a week off work - if only it stops raining...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Weeds, glorious weeds

"Weeds, glorious weeds,

Horsetails need mowing,

Big docks and bindweed

Take no notice of hoeing"

Torrential rain and warm weather has increased the growth of those lovely perennial weeds. However, we have had the excitement of harvesting 'Lady Christl' potatoes - delicious. We've also had the last of the broad beans. Golden Mangetout continue to crop well, and there's lots of lettuce.

The birds have had a good gnaw (if birds can gnaw) of the strawberries, so I'll have to put nets over them next year.
The sweet peas are producing lots of blooms. It's vital to keep cutting the flowers, so that more buds form - if they go to seed, the flowers will stop.
I planted sweetcord 'Tuxedo' through weed suppressant membrane, and that seems to be working well. The brassicas are looking much healthier and happier now I've put netting over them. I'd not experienced pigeon damage before, and assumed the damage was due to particularly voracious slugs. Next year I'll be ready...

97A: looking good, if full of horsetail
On 99, the potatoes are growing well, including the 'volunteer' potatoes left from previous years cultivation. I've also planted some squashed and courgettes in the vain hope that they will grow rampantly and smother weeds. The rest of the plot is rather overgrown, with the warm weather, but SomeBeans is doing very well with his slow and steady digging, forking and root removal.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Laburnum Arch at Ness Gardens

Progress on plot 99, including smart number made by SomeBeans!

Long time, no post...

Everything's growing so quickly, especially the horsetails down the allotment.

Somebeans has been digging the new plot, but the weeds are growing quicker than he can dig - warm weather and rain have combined to produce something which would shame a rain forest.

In the greenhouse:
  • various squashes
  • cucumbers 'Marketmore (for outside) and Aurelia F1 (for inside)
  • cosmos which need planting out
  • Tigerella tomatoes which I'll try outside, as I've already got some inside
  • alpine strawberries
  • and lots more!

Flowering in the garden:

  • Californian poppies
  • Alliums
  • Rainbow chard (!?!)
  • Forget-me-nots
  • Heuchera
  • Snapdragons which survived over winter
  • Lupin (singular)
  • French lavender
  • Aquilegia
  • Roses

And as for harvest from the allotment: broad beans, a few golden mangetout, lettuce (all year round planted in November), and strawberries.

Notes for allotment for next year:

  • Not sure about crimson flowered broad beans - look pretty but don't loook as though they'll produce a big harvest
  • Plant more mangetout
  • plant more strawberries
  • Don't leave grass paths in!!

Monday, May 07, 2007

A small deception

One of the reasons I haven't posted much recently is due to a small deception on my part. Feeling the need to expand my little empire, I took on a new plot at the allotment site, but took a little while to tell SomeBeans about it. Pictures on the blog would have given it away a bit...

Anyway, I've now come clean to him about Number 99, which he has very kindly started to dig for me - I made a start, but SomeBeans has lent his stamina to the project.

No. 99 is a full plot, with two small fruit trees on it. The idea is to have around half of it down to fruit.

This is No. 99 with my minimal amount of digging done

Oh dear, the view from the other end shows we've got our work cut out...

SomeBeans has made an excellent start!

I haven't been neglecting 97A - lots of weeding has had to be done. I enjoy the mindless monotony of weeding, except when I sit on a partch of nettles

Progress on 97A:

  • broad beans are flowering, including the crimsone flowered beans, although these are not as tall as the 'normal' type.

  • golden podded mangetout are now starting to climb the frame.

  • Lady Christl potatoes are growing well and have been earthed up twice so far.

  • asparagus are coming up - not so much 'spears' as needles, (or 'sprue' as I believe weedy asparagus is called).

  • strawberries are flowering - exciting!

  • kohl rabi slowly growing

  • parsnips have germinated and are growing

  • lettuce is growing

  • onions are sprouting (grown from sets - red and yellow)
  • carrots are sort of sprouting (one line) but the Chantenay have yet to make an appearance.

  • I planted out 'Primo' cabbage and 'Trafalgar' brussels - in well firmed down soil; these have been seiously nibbled but should recover. If they don't, I've got plenty of brassica seedlings to replace them with.

  • garlic is surviving, elephant garlic is thriving

  • raspberries are alive, but I won't get a harvest this year. They need some nice manure around them to give them a bit of a feed.

  • I harvested four radishes - to go with the lettuce I harvested last week! Ok, so we're not going to be able to give up Morrison's just yet, but it's a start!

Me weeding the asparagus bed - potato beds in the foreground (successional planting)

For those who are keen on asparagus, there is the British Asparagus Festival in the Vale of Evesham to look forward to.

Ness Gardens in the sunshine!

Well, in its capriciousness, the weather decided to be nice to us at Ness last weekend. A beautiful morning, and very quiet there to start off with - it's nice to imagine that you're wandering through your own gardens in the peace of a sunday morning.

SomeBeans tried out his new lens and got some lovely photos...

Pleione taken in the alpine house

The fresh new growth of the Tulip Tree (Liriodendron)

I've seen Pleione at the Malvern Spring Garden show and assumed that they were difficult and wondrous beasts to grow. This website has information on their cultivation: Heritage Orchids

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Where's the rain?

Yet another day of sunshine. It must be weeks since the last rain.

No posts for a while due to holidays. Almost everything in the greenhouse survived the holiday cooking, except the Ricinus.

Down the allotment, we could do with some rain, but I really don't want to start watering all and sundry - seed germination may be delayed, but it's better than wasting water.

On the allotment:
  • first flowers on the strawberries (note to self: need more strawberry plants)
  • signs of life on most raspberry canes (put in last autumn)
  • kohl rabi: first sowing has germinated
  • radishes showing where I have sown parsnips have germinated, even if the parsnips haven't
  • salad leaves have germinated
  • the lettuce sown in November is nearing harvest
  • the Nigella seeds that I harvested from the garden have germinated and are growing away well
  • Three (yes, THREE) spears of asparagus have come up - all about as fat as a shoelace - I think they need feeding.
  • Some carrot seeds have germinated
  • sweet peas have survived being planted out and will pick up soon; ditto golden mangetout peas.
  • purple flowered mangetout have germinated (well, half a row has)
  • normal broad beans are flowering; red flowered broad beans are growing away quite well
  • I've had to earth up the Lady Christl potatoes twice!

To do:

  • more digging out of roots
  • plant pink fir apple potatoes
  • lots more sowing of seed - may wait until it rains a bit though

Talking of waiting for rain, I can pretty much guarantee rain tomorrow as we are off to Ness Gardens again, for SomeBeans to try out the new lens on his camera. It always rains when we visit Ness.

In the garden at home:

  • planted a deciduous azalea under the cherry trees at the back of the garden, along with hellebore seedlings I bought last year.
  • potted up some Strelitzia (Bird of Paradise) plants bought for Somebean's birthday
  • started ruthlessly weeding out Spanish bluebell plants - plenty more still to come up.

Down the allotment tomorrow afternoon, probably in the rain as we are visiting Ness as well. Plots seem to be filling up rapidly - there was a pice in the local free paper recently saying that only 1 site in Chester had free plots - ours. It'll be nice if the bramble inested plots are brought back under control - apparently they've only been out of cultivation for 2-3 years. I'll try to plant some of the 75 gladioli bulbs I bought for £2.99 down there tomorrow. I hate cutting flowers from the garden, as I feel it 'spoils' the garden. So, the cunning plan is to have a load of flowers for cutting at the allotment, for a house full of flowers from the summer through to the end of autumn.

Pretty photos of Ness are bound to follow tomorrow :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

British Summer Time

What a beautiful day! Sunshine and mild weather drew me out into the garden. I've neglected the garden a bit for the past few weeks, so spent nearly four hours this afternoon doing some tidying up. Lots of weeding, and cutting down herbaceous perennials ready for the new year's growth.

It was wonderful to spend a little time looking more closely at some of the plants. The jonquils have a beautiful scent, once you get down to their level. Forget-me-nots are starting to flower, but I've had to be rather ruthless and pull up many of the seeded plants from around the front garden.

I also sowed more seeds - red cabbage, rudbeckia, snapdragons and some lettuce and carrots in containers.

It's wonderful to have the extra hour of light in the evening. Blackbirds, wrens and thrushes are singing. Glorious.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More photos from the weekend...

Some photos of my re-digging of beds down the allotment. A great many handfuls of marestail roots, couch grass roots and dandelion roots were pulled out...

I planted some 'Lady Christl' second early potatoes in part of the lower bed.

I'm digging up the grass paths I've left between beds - there's just too much chance of yet more couch grass spreading from the paths. I've ordered some weed suppression menbrane and may put that down in the paths, and cover it.

Next job is to weed the strawberry bed as it's looking a bit bedraggled.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Running out of room already!

More sowing and potting on today.
  • Cosmos bipinnatus'Candy Stripe'
  • Two types of bedding dahlia
  • Marigolds (for the allotment)
  • Rudbeckia 'Rustic Dwarf' (grow every year)
  • Ricinus 'Impala'
  • Leek 'Jaune de Poitou' (yellow leaved, early)
  • Leek 'Bleu de Solaise' (blue leaved, late - withstands frosts well)

What's coming up:

  • radishes
  • dahlia seeds sown last week
  • Swiss Chard
  • second sowing of red peppers

What's been potted on:

  • Cabbage 'Primo'
  • Brussels Sprout 'Trafalgar'

Weather: around 12degC, overcast this afternoon.

No trips down the allotment this weekend, as we went to visit Dad. He gave us a beautiful orchid plant, which is currently sitting on the dining room table. I'm going to have to get to grips with orchids, as this is the second we have now. My sister in law has a wonderful way with them, including unusual and difficult to grow ones. A new challenge!

Coming out in the garden:

  • large daffodils
  • both camellias are now in flower
  • the Kerria planted last year is just starting to flower.

Next weekend, I'll have to get the early potatoes planted doen on the plot. A busy time of year!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lighter nights!

The increased light in the evening has meant that I've been able to do a bit of gardening after work today.

I've pricked out and potted on the Tigerella and Orange Banana tomatoes which I sowed 10 days ago. I'm too soft when it comes ot pricking out, as I feel guilty about not using every single plant and just throwing those I don't need onto the compost heap. Consequently, I've now got 15 Tigerella plants and 25 Orange Banana. That's not counting the 12 Tumblers which are growing in small pots, although I will be potting some of these up and giving them to Dad. Three more peppers have germinated, but I've kept these in the heated propagator, in the hope that some more will germinate, given time.

With some room made in the propagator, I've sown some 'Cayenne' chillis which I got free last year, and some mixed bedding dahlia seeds.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ness again...

We are 'Friends of Ness Gardens', which means free entry to the gardens all year, for a membership (for two) of around £30.

So, we went this morning, although the sky was looking rather grey. Unfortunately, it was only around 10 mins into the visit that the heavens opened. SomeBeans managed to get some photos of the camellias and hellebores before we had to admit defeat and withdraw to the cafe for coffee and cake.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

A good afternoon's work

Down the allotment today, with sunny and warm weather meaning that I was working in a T-shirt.
The warm winter means that weeds are growing well. I've had to fork through a bed to remove yet more couch grass roots - I'll gradually make my way through the other beds again over the next few weeks.

Just because I'm over-keen, I also planted some seeds:
  • Carrot 'Early Nantes' (free from a magazine) - 1 row
  • Spring Onion 'White Lisbon'
  • Leek 'Autumn King' (?)
  • Parsnip 'Avonresister', planted with radishes
  • a few broad bean plants which were over-wintered in the greenhouse.
  • Calendula 'Sherbert Fizz'
  • Nigella (seeds harvested from the front garden)

Progress on plants in the greenhouse:

  • the red-flowered broad beans are up, and a second sowing done
  • tomato 'Tumbler' are up
  • tomato 'Orange Banana' are up
  • several types of salad leaves have germinated
  • Rudbeckia have germinated
  • Cabbage 'Primo' is starting to germinate.

Spring has sprung!

It was also nice to chat to another lady down the allotment - she has been there for 8-9 years, and has 2 plots (one shared with her daughter) and has just taken on a very overgrown allotment next to them. She said that there is a vixen which omes to see her, for marmite sandwiches.

No photos of the plot, as I forgot to take the camera down. We may have some photos of hellebores to put up tomorrow, as we're off to Ness Botanic Gardens in the morning if the weather is OK.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.

Margaret Atwood

Little packets of anticipation

Days are lengthening and I've come over far too optimistic and have just sown lots of seeds. So, to remind me of what I've done when, for next year's planning, here's the list:

  • Tomato 'Orange Banana'

  • Tomato 'Tigerella'

  • Lettuce mix: Herb Salad

  • Lettuce mix: Oriental Mixed - second sowing

  • Red Pepper

  • Broad Bean (crimson flowered) - second sowing

  • Sweet Peas - mixed variety

  • Celeriac 'Giant Prague'

  • Cabbage 'Primo'

I've also potted on the Aubergine 'Calliope' sown over a month ago, but the tomatoes gor too leggy and so have been consigned to the compost bin.

Weather is mild and damp (around 10 Celsius).

I've put out the hyacinth pots that I planted up in October - the pink flowers are out, but the blue ones are lagging behind.

In flower in the garden:

  • Narcissus 'Tete a Tete'

  • Helleborus x hybridus - variety of colours, from dark pink, green, cream, cream with red speckles, and a double cream flowered variety.

  • Anemone blanda blue

  • Miniature iris - 'Katherine Hodgekin' in the window box and unknown dark blue variety in the rose tub by the front door.

  • The Sarcococca is now going over

  • Mixed Crocus

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The final bed

We spent some time down at the allotment yesterday afternoon. Happily, the shed survived the gale force winds, although others weren't so lucky. Mr HM finished digging the final bed, which I'll use for cutting flowers such as dahlias, gladioli and sunflowers. I merely pottered, weeding and digging the runner bean trench. I remember my dad doing this, when I was a kid - digging out a trench, lining it with newspapers and then gradually filling it over the following couple of months with compostable veg waste and lawn clippings. This gives the beans a good moisture retentive material in which to grow - important on the sandy soil on the plot.

Another couple of weeks and I'll be putting the heating on in the greenhouse, when the next wave of seed sowing can start in earnest!

Friday, January 19, 2007


A useful day spent in the garden on Sunday. I managed to put back up all of the bubble wrap which had fallen down from the previous week (note to self: masking tape doesn't work). Mr HM finished distributing soil around the garden from the turf pile.

Nights are getting slightly lighter and my fingers are itching to get sowing seeds, so I did. I sowed Tomato 'Gardener's Delight' and 'Tigerella' and Aubergine 'Calliope'. It's probably rather early and I would have been better off waiting until February, but never mind. Having checked them this afternoon, they have now germinated - I have started them off in a heated propagator in the conservatory, covered with a thin layer of vermiculite. From sowing to germination in less than a week! My problem now will be to stop them getting too leggy in the low light levels of Late Jan/early Feb. If the tomatoes get leggy, it is possible to plant them quite deeply, as they produce roots from the stem to help anchorage. I've started these off early as last year, my aubergines only got to flowering size by September, so I didn't get any fruits at all.

The next seeds to get started will be the peppers I have just bought, from 'Plants of Distinction'.

I've also started some potatoes chitting. I got 1kg of 'Bonnie' free from T&M. I also got the following from Kings Seeds: 'Pink Fir Apple' - salad/maincrop; 'Lady Christl '- first early; 'Catriona' - second early. 'Lady Christl' will be grown in containers to give nice early potatoes, but the other two will be going down the allotment. I've started the first and second earlies chitting, although the jury is out on its usefulness. I won't bother chitting the 'Pink Fir Apple' as chitting seems to have no benefit for maincrops.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A clean and tidy New Year

A busy day today. Two years ago, we produced a turf pile of the grass we took up when we were expanding the borders. Over the two years, the turf has broken down to give some nice soil. Somebeans spent a busy two days moving this soil around to various areas of the garden in need of topping up.

I have cleaned out the greenhouse, inside and out, and put up the bubble wrap insulation, ready for when we turn the gas heater on in the beginning of February. I also cleaned lots of pots and trays, and threw a load away. Much tidiness has therefore been produced, which pleases Somebeans immensely. Not too many scary spider incidents, which pleased me immensely.

The area where the turf pile was will be planted up over this year. It is beneath two flowering cherry trees, so is quite dry and also dark when the leaves are on the trees. There is currently a holly bush under there, and a pinkish rhodedendron (variety unknown). I'm thinking that some spring woodland bulbs will look good before the cherry leaves arrive.

Sadly we're both back to work tomorrow, so it's a return to seeing the garden only in the dark during the week. Roll on the lighter spring evenings...