Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Lord Derby takes a trip

I moved my Lord Derby apple tree on Monday. The last couple of leaves were hanging on but we have had a couple of good frosts now so I thought it was a good time. it has moved to a hole in the lawn. I gave it most of a bag of Jack's Magic compost to help it along. There was a good fibrous root system but I had to break the longest deep roots. I'll wait to see how it does next year. I'll leave pruning till January.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Elephants are up

My elephant garlic bulbs had come up by Sunday (15 November). I noticed the shoots about an inch tall on Monday. The single shallot I planted has been up for a week or so. It has a nice group of leaves growing. There is no sign of any of the little bulbils growing yet except for one of the leek bulbils planted on 14th August. All the offsets of leeks are coming on and I get more to put in each time I pull a leek!
(20 Nov. The first of the garlic bulbils has sent up a shoot.)

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Today I prepared a bed for next season's squashes. I broke up the one year old haybale within a cage. Mixed in were some of the old squash plants, some used compost from pots and some grass clippings. A layer of composted horse manure went over this. Finally a thick layer of "rough" garden compost. The whole was covered with black plastic sheets to keep the worst of the winter weather off. In the spring I will top it off with some good medium (Maybe leaf mould and sieved garden compost?) The squashes must not go out so early next year. Perhaps a couple of bean plants can join them?

Monday, 19 October 2015

Beans and peas

I sowed 3 rows of 7 broad beans today in the large bed, between the leeks and garlic. I've got about 7 beans left to sow in "holes" in the spring. I watered them in with peppermint flavoured water to deter mouse predation.  Then I sowed some sweet peas in loo rolls set in pots, 1 in roll, 1 in pot for most of the ten pots. Some of the seed were this year's saved seeds, some were last year's from Higgledy. These have all gone into the cold frame.

Note: 2nd November. The first broad beans are showing. Some of the sweet peas have been up for a few days now.

Monday, 5 October 2015

The new gardening year begins

Today I took down the bean sticks, tilled the area, added growmore and some spare seed compost. I then planted my elephant garlic cloves, 1 round and 1 shallot!
Around these I planted out some salad greens which have been growing well in the conservatory. It will be interesting to see how they do. On 11 October I added some pak choy to this bed which has also been raised in the conservatory.

Friday, 14 August 2015


The two elephant garlic bulbs I harvested in July had 24 little bulbils attached around their bases. On Thursday I sowed these bulbils into small pots. I didn't know whether to remove their hard outer coatings or not so I removed half of them and left the other half complete with coats. I will be able to tell from the results I get which technique works best.

Two of my leeks had bolted to flower a couple of weeks ago so I harvested them, using the scapes and the leek bodies in a ratatouille. But these had two small bulbils too. I planted them into small pots and sunk them in the ground to see if they came to anything. Reports later!

Over the next few months I planted many offsets from the bases of leeks as I pulled them for use. If these grow my leeks look like a perpetual crop!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015


Today I sowed some peas. I've been reading that early peas, sown now, may give crops in October. So I'll give it a go in the ground recently cleared of broad beans. My variety is Piccolo Provenzale from Franchi Seeds of Italy. Reports of success or failure to follow!

Report 9 October. Just a few pods to harvest today, used as mangetouts in a ratatouille. Not a real crop.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Bean harvesting

On Wednesday I cleared the broad bean patch, collecting the main crop of beans. I was very pleased and consider that this was a good harvest! I did a rough clean-up, lightly raked an area and sowed a drill of salad greens. I'm not sure if there's anything I can use the rest of this plot for at the moment. I could have had some squashes, courgettes or cucumbers to go in.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Elephant garlic harvested

It looked ready so up it came. I'm pleased with the results. Two cloves planted last autumn and two good bulbs harvested. I'll probably save more than two cloves from these or I may just be patient and bring on the bulbils. I've got two round bulbs from last years bulbils - one about an inch in diameter, the other about half that. I wonder what they will produce next year?

Tuesday, 30 June 2015


My first sowings, planted out, just went to seed with no substance worth cutting. I have potted up my second sowing into 3 inch pots but they look like they are going the same way. I found on the internet today that you should not try transplanting coriander! And they seem to sow it thick in situ without any thinning. So I have sowed a couple of big pots with the rest of my seeds today. I will be interested to see the results. They also seemed to feed a lot so I will try that too.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Biennial futures

Hesperis and foxgloves sown on the solstice had germinated yesterday. (I think.) Certainly the hesperis are there but the foxglove seed is so tiny it's difficult to see the first sign of germination. Higgledy gardener says they should be planted out well before the equinox. (Foxglove definitely up on Sunday 28th. But they are so TINY! I've never seen them at this stage before. )

Friday, 26 June 2015

Hay bale

I planted a squash (Metro) into the hay bale today. The trowel slipped easily into the bale. It seems to have composted inside OK - but then out came a million ants! They have decided it's a good place for a nest. I don't think they are very pleased about the soaking I gave the new squash plant. I await developments. What else will go in the hay bale? - Answer: A couple of days later, another nasturtium and a butterpie squash.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

More veg.

The chard seemed ready so I planted it out today - hottest day so far! The second sowing of spring onions also went out. Chard is in the bed near the hedge. I think it can stand a bit of shade. The shelter may be useful for an overwintering crop.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

New Garden Plot

I weeded the patch around my apple tree on Tuesday and started to make it into a flower patch. One large catnip and 5 small ones in the front row, with 5 or 6 marigolds growing behind. There's still room for more flowers to go in. It could become a nice plot in the future. Picture needed!

Hollyhocks added to this patch on Sunday 28th.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Try again!

On Thursday I potted up my late sowings of courgette (Golden Zuccini) and the first Butterpie squash into large pots for the summer outdoors. Must remember this next year. The early ones were hopeless. I still have some small things trying to get going. It seems there is no recovery from an early check to growth. I used a 50:50 mix of the growbag material with my leaf mould as the medium for these.

My potatoes look fairly good. I saw some peeking through the surface today so I did a topping off with sandy garden soil to keep the tubers in the dark.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Cosmos and larkspur out.

Planted them in the garden today. Now to see if they can survive all the beasts of the garden. Little fences should keep my greyhound off but it's the slow, slimy ones I'm most concerned about! But good news! 6 out of 8 of last week's larkspur are still there!

Basil plants are about a foot tall now and five are in the greenhouse as companions to the tomatoes. The other one is still in the conservatory and provided the herbage for tonight's dinner. The second sowing is nearly ready to pot up now. I think we are going to be overwhelmed in basil!

Thursday, 11 June 2015

More salad

The sowing of purslane and the second sowing of mizuna were both up this morning.

Eating rocket, mizuna, parsley, leaf beet and beetroot leaves in tonight's dinner.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Salad days

On Monday I planted out my third sowing of rocket and my first of mizuna. I sowed another set of each in the conservatory along with a tray of purslane. I added my outdoor San Marzano and Gardener's Delight tomatoes to the beds too. Black Russian is already in the broad bean bed.

The salad bed is beginning to look productive now but growth is still limited due to the persistent cold weather.

Some of my weakest larkspur have been planted out by the greenhouse along with a border of trailing nasturtiums. Other nasturtiums have been planted out the front on the garage bed and some in pots to trail down the "pillars" in the back garden. One of these pots has some of my white cosmos in as well.

Broad beans, both whole pods and shelled beans, along with carrots and leaf beet in tonight's dinner.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Cucumber potted

On Thursday I put the cucumber into its final pot. It's got leaf mould and garden compost (1:1) and has moved to the greenhouse. It has a male flower fully open and a couple of female flowers beginning to open with their mini-cues behind. It seems to be going well!

I planted out the marigolds among the veggies and  around the apple tree today. A few moved into large pots to be used later.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Second tries!

My second sowings of courgette (Golden Zuccini) and squash (Butterpie) came up this week. My first sowings have nearly all failed completely under the assaults of slugs, snails and cold, wet weather. The extra sowing of chard in modules has germinated too. At the same time a few have come up in the outdoor bed! The next sowing of spring onions is just beginning to show as well in the greenhouse, while acouple of the previous sowing have come up in the bed.

My second sowing of cucamelons is doing well in the conservatory. I potted them on today and am keeping them in the conservatory birdcage. With luck that should make a good picture later.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Little harvests

In the last week I have harvested and eaten my first two crops! First went the broad bean tops. Pinched out, sautéed gently and served on a slice of bread. Second was the turn of the elephant garlic scapes. Given roughly the same treatment as the bean tops. Both were lovely and are the first taste of spring - gone for another year!

Oh! - and I managed to get together enough rocket to garnish a cheese sandwich last week as well.

Hoping for bigger things to come. The weather is still so cold - hardly any growth on anything.

Thursday, 28 May 2015


Chard and spring onions sown outdoors seem reluctant to come up. So I sowed 15 modules of chard and a tray of spring onions Wednesday.

The chard has been in 11 days and the spring onions 15. Maybe I'm too impatient.  But if they are just extra plants they will be welcome anyway.

The chard is in the conservatory and the spring onions in the greenhouse.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

This year's fails

1. Courgettes and squashes put out too small and too early. Sowed originally in peat pots which were too small. In future, sow in larger pots and keep them in there longer. Grow bags are not as good as large pots. (Further for snails to climb!) I think I'll keep them indoors until June next year.

2. French beans "Blue Lake" put out too small - slugs and snails got 4 of them. Wait until they are bigger!

3. Rocket - not enough plants in each batch. Sow more at a time so that they can be used when they are young.

4. Despite what they say, broad beans need individual staking. Do it early.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Peppers repotted

The peppers have gone into their final pots.  I used my home made potting mix (50:50 leaf mould and garden compost). Two plants are staying in the conservatory and three have gone to the greenhouse. I'll be comparing the performance of California Wonder with my shop-bought Ramiro seeds.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Planting and potting

On Tuesday my kale was planted out into a bed (6).

The basil was potted up and stays in the conservatory for now, with the module reseeded.

The recent sowings of rocket and mizuna are already up. Just three days!

Two cucamelons were potted up and moved to the greenhouse.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

More plants out.

On Saturday I planted the rocket seedlings and the coriander seedlings into the salad bed. The latest set of leaf beet seedlings went into the ground too. And I sowed 2 squares of chard. The modules of rocket and coriander were resown for a later crop, and a module of mizuna was sown. One of the nasturtiums sown into the haybale has come through.

My parsleys were  planted out on Sunday and the module reseeded.

On the flower front, 7 larkspur, 12 cosmos and some catnip were all potted up.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Tomatoes potted

On Monday I potted up 9 tomato plants - 6 for the greenhouse and 3 outdoors. There are 3 each of Black Russian, San Marzano and Gardeners' Delight. One of each is outside, although they had to go in for the night Tuesday night beacuse of a frost forecast.

The spring onions went out into their bed too along with a new sowing oudoors.

The squashes in grow-bags are struggling against snail attacks. I'm trying several different measures - picking them off, copper strips and fleeces so far.

I potted up my one cucumber plant on Tuesday into a 5 inch pot as an intermediate home. It's staying in the conservatory for now.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Squashes all out.

The rest of the squashes and courgettes went out today.  9 into growbags (3 each) and 2 into large containers filled with rough compost and a potting compost topping.

The first vipers bugloss has germinated - just one so far.

The small trays of catnip and valerian have some seedlings showing as well.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Beans out.

 On Monday I planted out my French beans by their supports. I also planted a courgette and a Hunter squash in the haybale. I'm interested to see what happens to them! It's time for some pictures I think.

Sunday, 3 May 2015

More seeds up

The marigolds have been up for  few days now and the nasturtiums put in an appearance today. The first two nigella seedlings are up too. And, after giving up on my sowing of cucamelons they came up a couple of days ago. Three out of four germinated. That was about three weeks.

We've moved on to a mild week of weather now so it's probably safe to put more things into the ground. I planted the sweet peas yesterday around an "obelisk" that I've been saving. They may make a good show in the bean bed. I also put up my French bean supports. It's a very sturdy affair this year made from home grown bamboo sticks. The plants may go in tomorrow.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Spring update

The sun is now in Taurus and the beds are beginning to fill.

The plastic bed has elephant garlic, leeks and chives growing.
The spaces are filled with pots to stop the squirrels digging!

The big bed is nearly full of broad bean plants with a few pots covering the spare patch at the end. 
I am expecting French beans to go in there.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Beetroot in bed

I planted the betroot seedlings into their bed yesterday.

6 sweet peas are getting daily outings to harden off now and my French beans are getting the same treatment. Days are very warm but nights are still really cold.

The conservatory varies from 38º down to 10º and the greenhouse from 30º to about 6º.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Another warm day

And in the greenhouse first seedlings of basil and coriander are up. In the veggie beds swede and carrot seedlings are up.

The cucamelon seeds have not germinated - so I sowed another 2 pots today, 3 seeds in each. These are in the conservatory in a covered tray.

The second rocket plant is out in the bed, covered by half a tonic bottle.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Still sowing

Today's sowings included 2x15 trays of nasturtiums, 1x24 + 1x9 of marigolds, small trays of catnip and valerian, all outdoors.

First candy tuft seedlings up today in the greenhouse.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

More seedlings

Cosmos and kale both made their first appearances yesterday in the greenhouse, cucumber in the conservatory.

I potted up the Tumbling Toms ready to go out but kept them in the greenhouse so far.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Squash and beans

The squashes were all up yesterday in the conservatory and the French beans (at last!) made an appearance. I moved them to the conservatory about a week ago to give them more warmth. It took 24 days for them to show.

The first rocket (just 1!) went into the ground on Tuesday covered by a top half of a tonic bottle.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Second Rocket.

Rocket sown 8th April is up today in the greenhouse. I put it outside to get some sun. The larkspur, spring onions and earlier rocket sowings also get their daily outing.

Above: Seedlings in the sun
Below: Spring onions, 17 days after germination.


I planted my potatoes on Monday. 3 x 3 King Edwards and 3 x 3 Rockets in potato bags 3 x 2 and a 1 rockets in pots. The rest of the rockets went into my turf pile and the spare King Edwards went into my waste soil pile. Pots and bags had a sprinkle of Growmore too. Bags had multi purpose peat based compost. Pots had a bag of topsoil. let's see how they all compare!

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Flower sowing day.

Today (Saturday) I sowed lots of modules of flower seeds. Cosmos, 36 cells; Viper's bugloss, 12; Nigella, 12; Candy tuft, 12.  All are in John Innes seed compost in 24-cell module trays. There's nearly a whole 24-tray of larkspur growing in the greenhouse and 6 pots of hollyhocks from seed sown in September outdoors.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Big sowing day

Warm weather and things are getting moving. The beetroot are all up in the greenhouse.

Today's sowings:-  Basil 6, Coriander 6, Kale 12, Squashes 3 ea of 3 types, Courgettes 6, Cucumber 1, Cucamelon 2, second sow of Rocket 6.

First outdoor sowings Carrot 1x16 square, Swede 2 x 9 squares.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

More movement

A sunny day today (Easter Monday)  - at last! Two parsley seedlings up in conservatory and 4 out of 6 of the second sowing of sweet peas. Disposed of the 3 pots of first sowing that had not germinated. The single early seedling went into the bed two days ago.

Friday, 3 April 2015

First planting out.

Good Friday! The leeks are now in the ground. They went into one of my raised beds along with a generous helping of garden compost.

Larkspur are up in the greenhouse  and most of the spring onions are showing now.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Some seedlings are up - but not many!

My greenhouse sowings are taking their time. By today there were just three spring onions and two rocket showing, and, up today, the first two leaf beet. It's still very cold though this year.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Get sowing.

Yesterday I sowed some more veg. 6 modules of parsley in conservatory; 10 toilet roll halves for beetroot in greenhouse and 16 French beans in whole toilet rolls, 9 purple, 7 green, seed saved from last year's plants. All in J.I. seed compost.

I also moved the leeks to the garden, under the large plastic cover, along with the one sweet pea.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Sweet Peas

One seedling came up about 15th March - no sign of other three. So I sowed 6 more today in toilet rolls containing J.I. No 2. They are in the conservatory to germinate.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Pepper pots!

Yesterday I potted up the five pepper seedlings. I used John Innes No 2 compost in 5 inch pots to grow them on for a while - should not need feeding for about 6 weeks.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Salad seedlings

The first rocket (Rucola) seedling was up on 15th March.
The first spring onion on 19th March. ( or is it a weed?)  It was a weed!  First spring onions showed up on 29th March. And by then just one more rocket seedling up.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Tomatoes up!

The first seedlings appeared yesterday - 1 Black Russian, 2 San Marzano and 2 Gardeners' Delight. I'll update this post as others appear.
14th March: Now 3 Black Russian, 2 San Marzano, 3 Gardeners' Delight, 1 Tumbling Tom.
16th March: 3rd San Marzano arrived. - - - 17th March: 2nd Tumbling Tom.

Monday, 9 March 2015

More carrots

There were five "gaps" in the carrot trough so I resowed those stations today. Try for a full set!

Thursday, 5 March 2015

March Sowings

I sowed my tomato seeds yesterday. 4 varieties - Black Russian, San Marzano, Tumbling Tom and Gardeners' Delight - 3 of each in fibre pots.  Today I sowed spring onion; 12 modules, rocket Rucola; 4 modules, rocket Dragons Tongue; 4 modules and land cress; 4 modules, all in a 24 module tray. And another 24 module tray of larkspur. Both trays left in the greenhouse to germinate along with the trough of leaf beet I sowed as well.

My Ramiro peppers have all come up today - no sign of the California Wonder yet though. (Update - the first California Wonder came up one day later!)

Friday, 27 February 2015


The first carrot seedling was up yesterday in the conservatory and the leek seedlings (below) are growing on!  Also - I sowed 4 sweet pea seeds in pots in the conservatory today. Let's see if they germinate.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Potatoes and peppers

I set up the potatoes for chitting in my conservatory a couple of days ago. Two kg each of Rocket and King Edward. They already had small sprouts.

Today I sowed seed for my sweet peppers. Three jiffies each for supermarket Ramiro seeds and California Wonder. Two seeds in each jiffie. Ramiro have always done well in the conservatory. 21 peppers off one plant last year between August and November.

Saturday, 14 February 2015


Carrots sown on Friday 13th! That's tempting fate. Seventeen stations of James Scarlet Intermediate sown in a trough in my conservatory. The trough has a base filling of garden compost, then a layer of New Horizon compost topped off with a sieved layer of New Horizon. Three seeds in each station.

I got a good early crop from this trough last year.

Sunday, 8 February 2015


Sowed 23rd January in my slightly heated conservatory. First seedlings showing today after 16 days. Could that be because I moved them nearer the heat  two days ago?

Thursday, 22 January 2015


My seed orders arrived this week - from Moreveg, Simply Seeds and Higgledy Garden. I can't wait to start sowing - but there's still hard frost outside!

I plan to start with leeks in cells at the weekend.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

The New Year

The year has begun and preparation has started in the garden. I've got four new beds prepared for this year. One of them already has autumn planting of elephant garlic growing taller and the winter portion of last year's perpetual spinach is staying on until I need the ground. I'm hoping the new beds will give me better crops than I had last year!