Wednesday, 27 April 2011

On The Menu

It won't be long before strawberries are on the menu again. These are on plants which grew from runners last year. I potted them up and they've been in the greenhouse over winter, though they're outside now waiting to be planted at the allotment. My original strawberries at the allotment will be three years old this year, so they'll start to lose their vigour. Strawberries only produce well for three or four years so it's worth taking runners from them to create a new bed.

I used to spend quite a lot of time and effort growing bedding plants for my hanging baskets and for containers in the garden. For the last couple of years I've bought plug plants from the local nursery. They've been very small when bought and I've potted them on and grown them on until time to be planted out. This year I've cut down further still and have decided to fill my hanging baskets with only one flower variety, Impatiens or Busy Lizzies. I bought the small plug plants a few weeks ago and they've been potted on once. On Sunday I decided to pot up my hanging baskets, they've never been done so early but this lovely weather has spurred me on. The plug plants cost me £3.50 for forty and they've filled three hanging baskets and two wall baskets. I don't think I could have grown from seed any cheaper. They're hanging outside now, but I shall watch for predictions of frost so that I can move them in to the greenhouse. I've noticed many people have already got bedding plants in their borders which I fear won't survive if we do get another frost.

After a long Easter weekend just gone, we've now got another long four day weekend this week to look forward to. I've got lots of things which need potting on, but I'd also like to spend some time at the allotment so I'm hoping that the weather holds out. I hope you all enjoy your weekend whatever you're up to.


  1. I've got some strawberries coming too - can't wait. Enjoy your weekend.

  2. Wow, well done Jo, your strawberries are well on their way to your table! Never thought of overwintering them in the greenhouse - will try that later this year. I potted up and gave away all my runners in the autumn to a friend who wanted to try strawberries, but this year i may keep them!
    My strawberry plants are looking good with lots of lowers, but still a way off them being berries.
    The plug plants sound very good value, must try that too now i have the greenhouse - must write all these tips and ideas down else i will have forgotten when the time comes - thanks for them!
    Thanks for all your lovely comments! You made me laugh when you said about Archie being like Logan with toys everywhere! No sooner do I put Logans toys away in his puppy cage, then he's in there straight away, (looking at me in disbelief that I've put them away again)dragging them all out one by one and rushing them back to the centre of the hall for us to trip over! Its his fav playing place, and he drags his blanket there, any socks or pants he can pull from the washing basket in the utilty room - it all gathers there in a heap with the toys - a real welcome to our house in the hall!!!!
    Enjoy this weather whilst it lasts - supposed to rain soon.
    Gill xx

  3. Wow, great strawberries! Ours have flowered but like gillyflower, are still a little way off having berries.

    Those plugs are good value - not only would it have been harder for you to do it cheaper, we've all got enough on our gardening plates at the moment - much better to outsource where you can.

  4. This is why I am glad I found your blog - lots of great gardening tips!

  5. Seems like our berries are the same age. I'm also thinking ahead to replacing them.

    Container/bedding plants - somehow I've lost my enthusiasm for them this year. But as you say, there's still time before the last frosts are over, so perhaps visiting some blogs and seeing the displays of flowers will get me started.

  6. Snap ~ my strawberries will be three this year too :) Looks like you will be having an early crop off those runners Jo. Hope that your baskets and containers thrive and that we have seen the last of the dreaded frost. With the recent weather it is hard to remember that it's still only April so frost is still possible.

  7. Wow! Your strawbs are way ahead of mine. I've got flowers but nothing resembling a strawberry.

  8. My strawbs are in their second year. I grew them in growbags on the patio and overwintered them in the greenhouse. I'm giving them more feed this year as the compost in the bags is probably exhausted. They're looking very strong already with lots of flowers and huge leaves. Think our first taste will be be after yours though judging my the photo!

  9. It has certainly suddenly turned cold here - just after I have planted lots of things out. My father warns about late frosts, but I am hoping they won't get this far south! It's always good to discover someone else growing their own!

    Pomona x

  10. Wow, your strawberries are looking great! We've just got the first few flwers on the ones in the garden that are in their second year, while the ones taken from runners last year still look a way off flowering...

  11. I love Impatiens and Busy Lizzies and they look lovely once in flower in hanging baskets so it was a very good choice!!

    I'm hoping to get a lot more done down the plot this weekend too....fingers crossed the weather holds out for us all!!

    We don't have fruit on our strawberries yet so I'm very jealous!!

  12. It's exciting waiting for the first strawberries, Su. They always taste so much nicer when they're home grown.

    The strawberry plants were only overwintered in the greenhouse as I didn't have any ground prepared for them, Gill. It has brought them on though. Buying plug plants rather than growing flowers from seed doesn't take up as much time as well as being cost effective, it works for me anyway. I have the same problem with Archie pinching socks and pants, he helped himself to a sponge out of the bathroom the other day. Luckily, I found him in time before he shredded it.

    Buying in plug plants helps with both time, space and cost, Louisa. We've got a nursery nearby which do a good selection, but there's always mail order too.

    Thanks, Ruth. I try to mention things which work for me, but of course, gardening isn't an exact science which means that what works for one person doesn't always work for another.

    I too have lost my enthusiasm for containers, Linda. I still have a fair few in the garden, but I used to plant lots up with bedding plants, but Archie does my dead heading now and pulls off flowers which have just come in to bloom. My poor bamboo is taking some hammering too.

    I believe there was a frost in some parts of the country last night, Anna. We missed it here but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before it's back.

    My strawberries are only early because they've been overwintered in the greenhouse, Phil. Don't panic yet, it's very early for fruit.

    We had a wonderful harvest from our strawberries in their second year, Surburban Veg Gardener. Fingers crossed that you get the same from your's this year. It certainly sounds like the plants are thriving and you're giving them everything they need.

    Thank you for visiting, Pomona. It's been much cooler here this week, though still not cold by April standards. I think we've been spoilt with the weather this year already. Let's hope we get a good summer too.

    I hope your strawberries do well for you, Paul. I'll be taking more runners again this year, it's good to increase the plants and get a bigger haul.

    The thing I like about Impatiens is that they'll grow quite happily in shade as well as sun, Tanya. We get a lot of sun at the back but the front is usually in shade, yet I can use the same plants in both locations. Another thing is that they're very forgiving if you forget to deadhead.

  13. I have a few strawberries peaking through as well Jo - spurred on by the warm weather!

    Have a great long weekend.


  14. We too have strawberries setting and our old plants will stay put for now as they are loaded with flowers.

    Watch the frost doesn't get to those busy lizzies if we get one.

  15. Enjoy your weekend! Flighty xx

  16. I'm looking forward to strawberries too, with all this hot weather the ones in the geenhouse (to give me an early harvest) are only marginally ahead of the ones outside! Enjoy your long weekend gardening.

  17. Your strawberries look great! Wish I could eat some already, mines started flowering some time ago too, but I decided to snip away some of them to give them a bit more time to settle, hopefully they will gain enough strength

  18. Great strawberries Jo mine are still in flower no fruit forming yet.

  19. This weather is making lots of things early this year, Jeanne. I'm just hoping that we don't get a frost to ruin it all.

    My old plants are staying this year too, Sue. Mustn't look a gift horse in the mouth. I'll make sure the Busy Lizzies are moved in to the greenhouse if a frost is forcast.

    Thanks, Flighty. I hope you're enjoying the weekend. The weather has turned out much nicer than was forcast, though it's a bit windy today.

    I think there'll be lots of early harvests this year, Janet. That's providing the frosts don't finish everything off first, I'm hoping we don't get any more now otherwise there'll be lots of lost crops.

    You've probably done the best thing, removing some of the fruit, Fer. It's supposed to help the plant to put down roots but I can never bear to remove them.

    Mine are only fruiting as they've spent some time in the greenhouse, Damo. I'm sure you're expecting a bumper harvest this year with all the plants you bought.

  20. Fantastic blog! We stated one last month about our journey to 'the good life'.

    Our strawberries are doing well too.. won't be long now!!


  21. Thank you, Martin. I wait all year for my strawberries, shop bought just don't taste the same.


!-- Start of StatCounter Code for Blogger / Blogspot -->