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...