Friday 26 February 2010


Nearly all the seeds which I sowed almost a fortnight ago have now germinated. The only exception is the Micro Tomato, which I know a few of you were interested in. I do have a couple of seeds left, so I will sow those this weekend and keep my fingers crossed. I really do hope that I can get at least one to germinate as last years plant produced lots of tiny tasty tomatoes.

Last year, my hubby made me a light box for my windowsill which worked really well. One side of a cardboard box needs to be cut out, leaving three sides which are then covered with silver foil. The plants are placed in the box, which is then placed on the windowsill and the light reflects onto the silver foil and back at the seedlings. This prevents the seedlings from leaning towards the light, and encourages them to grow straight. It's also a time saver as you don't have to keep turning the plants every day. I shall dig out my light box this weekend in readiness for my seedlings.

It's pouring down again today, so digging the allotment over will have to be put on hold again. This weekend's jobs will consist of sowing more seeds and potting on some of the seeds which have already germinated.

Saturday 20 February 2010

Planting Potatoes

Today, I have planted some first early potatoes - Sharpes Express and some second early potatoes - International Kidney into containers. I have planted three tubers into each container and as the foliage grows, they will be earthed up until each container is filled with compost. I have moved the containers into the greenhouse and covered them with fleece to keep the frost at bay, but once the weather warms up they will be moved outside. It's too early to plant potatoes into the ground yet, but I hope that by doing this I will have an early harvest, a few weeks before the potatoes planted at the allotment are ready.

Some of the seeds which I sowed last weekend are now showing through the compost. There are still lots more to plant, some of which will be done during the coming week.

We've had a few snow flurries here this week, but luckily it hasn't settled. I was hoping that some digging could be done on the allotment today, but unfortunately the ground is frozen solid. At the risk of sounding despondent, I'm hoping to get down there again before the end of August.

One thing which lifted my spirits this week was the award which Kella from Kella's Musings on Growing her Own, Wildlife and Her Brand of Parenting presented me with. It's the All Things That Glitter Award, and Kella has presented me with it as she thinks that my blog sparkles. I love to receive these awards as it shows that people do enjoy my ramblings, so thank you very much, Kella.

I would like to pass this award on to some blogs which I have recently discovered. I will keep popping back to catch up with these blogs as they too sparkle, and I would urge my readers to check them out.

You are under no obligation to accept the award, but I wanted to let you know that I enjoy your blogs.

Sunday 14 February 2010

The Start Of The Season

My gardening season officially started today with the sowing of my first seeds. I may be a little early with the tomatoes, but decided to have a go anyway. I've got more seeds if they don't germinate. After much deliberation I have decided to grow Tigerella and Gardener's Delight, which are ones I've grown before and always seem to go back to, Whippersnapper and Tangella, which are heritage varieties, and Harbinger, just because I received a free packet of seed. I'm also growing Micro Tomato which I grew last year after my friend, Georgie, sent me some seed. This is the cutest litte tomato plant I have ever seen and produces tomatoes which are smaller than cherry tomatoes. They were the first to produce any fruit last year and were the last to stop, such a hard little worker.

This year I want to make more of an effort with a patch to raise flowers for cutting. I did have a go last year, but with only just getting my allotment, my efforts were mainly concentrated elsewhere. With this in mind I have started by sowing some dahlia's and rudbeckia. I have others to sow at a later date such as zinnia and cosmos.

Other things planted today were leeks, lettuce and sweetpeas. I have decided to try two varieties of leek this year, just really to compare as last years leeks never really bulked up, though they were tasty just the same. I'm growing Musselburgh, which is a well known variety, and Lyon-Prizetaker. The lettuce will be grown in containers in the garden rather than at the allotment to keep the slugs as bay. We don't tend to eat a lot of lettuce so I have chosen Salad Bowl which is a cut and come again lettuce, and Little Gem. The sweetpeas have been sown into toilet roll inners, those very same which my hubby lovingly prepared for me. I'm undecided whether these will be planted at the allotment or in the garden.

It's always so exciting to be starting the new growing season and I hope that the sunshine we've seen here in Leeds today continues so that I can start preparing the allotment for planting out.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

Cold Snap

A couple of years ago, my hubby bought me a lovely watering can planter for Christmas. Each winter it has been moved into the greenhouse and has been perfectly fine, but not this year. I know that these type of planters aren't frost resistant but it's been covered with fleece and it's still cracked and broken. It just shows how cold it's been this year. I suppose I could always put another on my Christmas list for this year, but at the risk of sounding ungrateful, it wasn't a very practical design. The top had a band across it which made planting and watering difficult, the compost was always drying out. I do like to have quirky planters and ornaments around the garden though.

It's my weekend off this week, so I've decided that I shall start off my first batch of seeds. Some people can't resist the start of the new season and start their seeds off in January, but I've been trying to wait a bit so that the seedlings aren't hanging around on my windowsills for too long. This makes them go leggy due to the reduced light levels, and I find that later sowings usually catch up anyway. I have some shallots to plant and have heard of people starting them off in module trays before planting them out. I'm wondering if any of my readers have any experience of this and find it beneficial. Perhaps you could let me know.

There still hasn't been any work done on the allotment. It's still far too wet to get a spade in there, and at the moment it's snowing again. When will it ever end?

Saturday 6 February 2010

Heaving A Sigh Of Relief

They're here! My seed potatoes were delivered on Wednesday, and I received all my first choices. I placed my order this year with Thomson and Morgan, though I have heard of some people receiving substitutes from them in the past as they had run out of the ones on their order. I have set them out in egg boxes to chit and they have been placed in my conservatory which isn't heated, so they're in a light, cool place. This year I will be growing Sharpes Express for my first early, International Kidney for my second early, and Lady Balfour and Blue Danube for my maincrop.

My hubby is out shopping today looking for the drainage pipe which will be laid at the allotment to aid the drainage there. I didn't notice any drainage issues last year, but this is the first winter I have had the allotment and I can now see why it needs to be laid. It's a good job really that I wasn't growing crops there during the winter months otherwise I would have lost them all.

We had snow again on Wednesday evening but it had disappeared by Thursday evening. Thankfully there has been little rain so I'm hoping that the allotment will dry out so that we can get on with laying the pipe and some serious digging.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Under Starter's Orders

Look what my lovely hubby has been spending his evenings doing. There's over 100 toilet roll inners all ready to be planted up. When I first started recycling the inners I used to scrunch a bit of newspaper up to go in the bottom of the tube to stop the compost from falling out, but then I came across the idea of making a bottom from the tube itself. Four cuts are made in the bottom of the tube and these are folded and tucked into each other, like the bottom of a cardboard box. It stops the compost from falling out and the seedling can be planted out without removing it from the toilet roll inner, preventing any root disturbance. The toilet roll inner will just rot away once it is in the ground.

This week I have been given two awards, well actually it's one award but given to me by two people, Tanya from Allotments 4 You, and Kella at Kella's Musings on Growing Her Own, Wildlife and Her Brand of Parenting. Thank you both very much. It is the Happiness Award and has been given as my blog makes them happy.

There are some rules to the award. You must link to the blog who gives you the award, list 10 things which make you happy, and pass the award on to other blogs which make you happy.

So as this is a gardening blog I will list 10 things, in no particular order, about gardening which make me happy.

Being outside in the fresh air.
Seeing a weed free patch.
Having a hobby which the whole family can take part in.
Starting off the first seeds of the year.
Producing fresh food.
Growing things which I've never tried before.
Encouraging lots of wildlife (except slugs).
Sharing my harvest.
Having a colourful garden.
Seeing everything growing.

And now for the blogs which I would like to pass the award to.

These are some of the blogs which make me smile.

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