I may have already spent time tidying up the garden and pottering on the allotment, but I class the start of my gardening year as the day when the first seeds are sown. That day was last Saturday when I sowed my sweet peas, stocks and also some broccoli - Summer Purple. The seed trays may not look like much at the moment, but I'm hoping that there'll soon be little green shoots appearing through the compost.
The sweet peas I'm growing are from a collection of different varieties. They're left overs from previous years, and as I'm trying to whittle down all the packets of opened seed in my collection, I thought these would do nicely. The varieties (and descriptions on the packet) are White Ensign (beautifully scented, large flowers in a classic pristine white), Noel Sutton (large fragrant flowers in a stunning rich blue), Air Warden (perfumed, large flowers in a vibrant scarlet-red), Mrs R. Bolton (beautifully scented, large flowers in a very pretty, bright pink) and Beaujolais (large, fragrant flowers in an elegant, deep burgundy-maroon). I also had a few seeds left in the New Horizons Mix packet so I sowed those too.
I've always thought of stocks as biennials, but the ones I've sown are Dwarf Ten Week Mixed. These should flower from twelve to fourteen weeks after sowing.
Both the sweet peas and the stocks are being grown for cut flowers, so I shall plant them out at the allotment. I hate cutting flowers from the garden for the house, but I don't mind if they're being grown on the plot.
I love purple sprouting broccoli, and as I didn't have any this winter, I thought I'd grow some to be harvested in summer. These seeds can be sown during the first three months of the year and should be ready to harvest between June and September.
I also got my onions and shallots planted up in to modules to get them started. Once they've put out some green shoots, they can be transplanted in to the ground. In previous years, I've had to wait quite a while before the allotment was in a decent enough state to get them planted out, the plot held on to so much water which the onions wouldn't have liked, they'd have likely rotted. The soil on my new plot seems to be in a much better state. We've already been able to do some digging, even with all the rain. It seems to drain so much better.
We don't tend to use very many onions or shallots as Mick is very fussy about the dishes he likes onions in, and there aren't many. Daniel doesn't like onions at all. Therefore, I don't tend to grow many, yet they still last for quite a while. I've got just short of a full seed tray of Turbo onions, that's slightly less than forty and just over a full seed tray of Red Baron, just over forty. I'm growing two different kinds of shallots, Yellow Shallot and Red Sun, they take up a seed tray between them with slightly larger modules, twenty three shallots in total, though of course I'm hoping to harvest more than twenty three shallots once the sets have split and produced more bulbs.
The flower seeds are residing on a sunny windowsill at the moment, but the onions and shallots have had to be put in the porch until the greenhouse is fixed. There's so many panels missing due to the high winds that it's not doing its job of protecting plants from the elements at all. We've ordered some new polycarbonate to replace the panels which have blown out and that should be delivered today. We knew we'd be needing some soon anyway as it doesn't last forever, it does wear with age.
I'm hoping that the snow forecast for this weekend stays away from here so that Mick can get it all put back together again, I've been without my greenhouse long enough now.
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