Wednesday 30 May 2012

Chive Talkin'

I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I don't grow many herbs, but chives are one of the few herbs that I do grow. I enjoy chives snipped on to scrambled eggs and also in cheese sandwiches and baked potatoes, they add a light onion taste. I also grow chives for the bees which love their flowers. When I planted up my small border three years ago, I chose plants with wildlife in mind. Chives were one of the plants which made it in there, knowing how well the bees would enjoy it. Many of the plants in this border have now outgrown their space, so I'm hoping to move them in to the front garden at some point, and though the chives have put on lots of growth, it's one plant which will be staying.

In my last but one post, I told my tale of woe at the Uchiki Kuri squash seeds not germinating. When I looked at the plant label again, I realised that I'd made a mistake. It isn't the Uchiki Kuri which haven't germinated, but the Blue Kuri. I had one seed of each variety left so I sowed those and have just noticed today that the Uchiki Kuri has germinated again, but still no sign of the Blue Kuri. There's still time though so my fingers are still firmly crossed.

We've managed to get the bean wigwams up at the allotment and the Blue Lake French beans have been planted out. The Purple Teepee, which are a dwarf variety, are still waiting to go out, but I've only had a few of the Safari dwarf variety germinate, even though they were sown at the same time. I shall be sowing more French beans soon to give a staggered harvest. My sweetcorn is now ready to be planted out too, but it's bed isn't yet ready for it so that's next on the to do list.

Thursday 24 May 2012

It's Not Looking Promising

After last year's fantastic cherry harvest, I was hoping for more of the same this year. The blossom's been and gone, and what's set doesn't look very promising, certainly nothing like last year. It's only a small tree so it's not too difficult to throw some netting over it, which I shall definitely have to do if I don't want to share the few cherries there are with the birds. It's just a case of waiting for them to ripen now.

We've finally got round to planting out the peas - Hurst Green Shaft and mangetout - Reuzensuiker. They've been languishing in the greenhouse since the end of March, so they look a little worse for wear, but I'm sure they'll soon pick up now that they've got their feet in some soil. The next things which will be turfed out will be the French beans. I'm hoping that they'll be in the ground within the next couple of days.

The allotment is in a bit of a state to say the least. Although many things I've wanted to grow have been held back by the weather, this isn't so with the weeds which have grown astonishingly well. I can see we've got out work cut out this year to bring everything back under control.

Friday 18 May 2012

Last Year's Harvest

We had such a good onion harvest last year that we're still eating our way through them. We checked on them last weekend, and unfortunately some had started sprouting again while others had started going soft. We sorted through them and this is what we're left with. It's a shame that some have had to be composted, but overall we've done well with them. These were grown from sets, but this year I'm having a go at growing them from seed. They're still in the greenhouse at the moment but I'm hoping to get them in the ground this weekend, though they're still on the small side. They may not do very well but I won't know unless I try.

My blueberries haven't done very well for the last couple of years. I'd decided to repot them in some fresh ericaceous compost this year thinking that they may need a bit of rejuvenation, but like many things, I never got round to it. I'm pleased to say that they're covered in flowers so I'm hoping that the last two years have just been a blip and that we'll end up with lots of berries this year. Blueberry Muffins are calling.

The Uchiki Kuri squash which I sowed nearly three weeks ago now haven't germinated. They've been kept indoors on a warm windowsill along with the Blue Kuri and Sunburst squash which were sown at the same time, and which have both germinated fine. I don't usually have many problems with none germination, at least some of everything I sow usually germinates, but I've also had problems with the Tigerella tomatoes this year too. None of those germinated in the first sowing, and only two in the second batch, which actually look quite deformed. It's definitely a funny year this year. I only have one Uchiki Kuri seed left so I shall get that sown this weekend and keep my fingers crossed.

Saturday 12 May 2012

Pesky Molluscs

I've been out to the greenhouse this morning to find that seedlings have been munched away. These are, or should I say were, a couple of Salad Bowl lettuces. One looks to have a tiny bit of damage, whereas the other has been totally decimated. There's even the tell tale slime trail on the top of the compost that shows me the culprit is slugs. This isn't the only damage, the slugs have had a right old meal. All my brassicas which were doing so well have just about vanished, only stalks left where yesterday were healthy leaves. I shall have to start again.

Some of the squash which I sowed a couple of weeks ago have now germinated. These have been kept indoors on a windowsill, but I'm also pleased to see that the courgettes which I sowed four weeks ago have also germinated. I've kept these in the greenhouse, and although they've taken longer to do their thing, they should make strong, healthy plants.

The weekend has started off nice and bright, though it's a little breezy. Unfortunately, I won't be able to get to the allotment due to other commitments, but I'm hoping the weather holds out this coming week as there's lots of things just waiting to be planted out. I also need to get my parsnips sown otherwise I'm going to miss the boat, and that really won't do, parsnips are mine and my daughter's favourite.

Sunday 6 May 2012

Some Things Are Doing Well

Even though many things have been held back in the garden this year due to the cold spell we've experienced, it's not all doom and gloom. These are the potatoes which I'm growing in containers. As you can see, the foliage has reached well above the top of the container and looks nice and healthy. These are Arran Pilot, a variety I grew last year which did very well for me, but I've also got a few Nicola. I'm hoping that things are growing just as well below the soil, and that I get a decent haul.

Last weekend, I sowed my sweetcorn and squash. These are quite tender so I've kept them indoors on a windowsill rather than outside in the cold greenhouse. I'm pleased to say that most of the sweetcorn has now germinated, though I'm still waiting for any sign of the squash. It's early days yet. The sweetcorn I've gone for this year is Sweet Bounty, this is one I haven't tried before. The squash I'm growing are Sunburst, Uchiki Kuri and Blue Kuri.

It's bright and sunny today, and much warmer than it has been just lately. Ideal gardening weather, though we won't get much done as we're in the middle of decorating at the moment. It's typical that the weekend we decide to give the hall, stairs and landing a make over, the weather decides to play ball.

Tuesday 1 May 2012


There's been many posts about herbs on blogs just lately which have inspired me to give them a go myself. I don't really use herbs very much in cooking so I don't have that many in the garden, though many of them attract bees and butterflies and other beneficial insects as well as having attractive flowers and foliage, so they're useful in more ways than one. I visited my local nursery at the weekend who had quite a good range and I came away with Flat Leaf Parsley, Compact Marjoram, Spearmint, Painted Sage and Archers Gold Thyme. I forgot all about the rosemary in the garden which I wanted to replace as it's gone rather woody, but I can pick that up on my next visit. Perhaps now I'm growing them, it will also encourage me to use them more when I cook.

The tomato seedlings which I moved in to the house from the greenhouse have really picked up and seem to be growing well now, in fact, they're ready for potting on, a job I'll get round to this week. The back up seeds I sowed last week are also starting to germinate, so I'll probably end up with more plants than I need. There's always someone willing to take them off my hands though.

I popped down to the allotment at the weekend, not to do any work as it was like a bog down there with all the rain we've had, but I wanted to check on the onions, shallots and broad beans which I had planted out. I was relieved to see that they were all doing well, and had grown too since I left them there. All this rain is good for something then.
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