…it's a passionate obsession.

Garden

Hot Pepper

Since the weather was very poor and not much can be done outside. I figured it was time to sow my peppers before it’s too late. The seeds were covered with a 1/4″ of compost and put into a carrier bag to conserve moisture and placed in a warm place. Seedlings should appear in 7-14 days. Hmmm, we’ll see.

pepper

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Waiting for the sun…

Usually, the Easter weekend signals all things potatoes and garden centres. However, this year is different – it is snowing but only just…here in the Northeast, thank goodness. The same can’t be said for other parts of the country who have been shivering under a white blanket of the stuff all week. Thinking back to this time last year, we were in the grips of a mini heatwave with many of us basking under its rays down the local parks with the kids. Lovely it was !!

Sadly it proved to be the only bit heat to hit our shores in 2012 and the rest of the Spring and Summer was spent under a umbrella sporting an essential bit of kit; wellies.

I’m hoping this year will be different and this extended cold weather, which has been predicted to last for many more weeks yet, turns out to be a good omen for the coming summer. Long and hot. Oooh, what a thought !!

The potatoes I’ve chosen to grow this year are Rooster ( main crop). A versatile all-rounder which grow and cooks well, whether its mashed, boiled, steamed or baked.

So in the meantime, I’ll continue to nurse my cold with a beechams lemon and plot the season to come. Then hopefully in a few days I’ll be feeling well enough for a trip to my local garden centre to check the range of plants they have in stock.

I can’t wait.

beechams

Enjoy your Easter Weekend, whatever the weather.


I’ll be back !

It’s been a crazy 6 months or so and I’ve not had much spare time. Anyway it’s a new year, new season and I’m keener than ever to get started.

Checkout my 12 new babies they arrived a week or so ago as bare-root specimens and look at them now – unfurling and straightening out.

 Image


Red delicious

The first harvest of the season begins…


Today, I was on a mission. And the mission; to plant out the pumpkins.

Every day this week they’ve screamed at me, “plant me plant me,” as I’ve walked past the coldframe in which they’ve sat. “I will I will,” I’ve cried back in an apologetic manner. And nooooo, I haven’t gone insane, I really did hear them say this. Haha.

In fact, everything in the coldframes needs planting out in their final spaces. I think this year has been very testing, with all this rain lately, getting out into the garden has been very difficult. However, the weeds are loving it and I’ve noticed they are starting to develop a right little attitude, much to my annoyance.  I haven’t said anything out loud, but between you and me, they’re next on my hit list. Mwa ha ha. Now where was I, oh aye…..  Today thankfully, the sky above stayed overcast long enough for me to complete this mission, of which, there are many.

For anyone planting pumpkins for the first time, here’s a step by step – it’s never failed me yet.

1. Dig a hole – a spade deep as wide.

2. Fill the hole with plenty of compost – here I’ve used my own homemade-compost but shop bought is as good, for those who are feeling the money.
3. It took 2 florist sized buckets to fill. Pumpkins are very greedy and need plenty of rich organic matter – do not skimp at this stage.

Homemade-compost. Perfection, if I do say so myself.

4. Time to pop in the plant. Stop !! Check plant for any yellow or damaged leaves and remove them. Plant it slightly deeper then when, it was in its pot. They often send out roots higher up on the stem.

5. Back fill over the compost with the garden soil that came out of the hole, and sprinkle 2 handfuls of fertilizer around the plant. Water in.

6. Step back and admire your hard work. This variety is called Jack O’ Lantern and usually grows to a size slightly bigger than a football – perfect for carving. Also, these need a spacing of no less than a metre each way. I know what your thinking, don’t do it, I have in the past – and it was a nightmare !!

7. And finally; one I carved out last Halloween !

Stay tuned, for further updates about pumpkin growing throughout the season. There’s more!!
Thankyou.


What’s growing so far…

What started out as a cool dull day has ended beautifully – hot and sunny. In fact, it’s been so beautiful this past week I’ve even worn my shorts, and I confess, I’ve throughly enjoyed every minute of it. Waking up each morning to blue sky with temperatures to match, really does put a smile on ones chops and a spring in your step with an eagerness to get things done. So how fab was today, with 90% of the potting on completed and my hanging baskets all made up, that I finally got the chance to simply wander round the allotment, pretty much stress free, and checkout what’s growing so far…

Gooseberries

Lettuce – reddish bronzed leaf variety, seeds from the Eden Project.

Garlic

Pumpkins, Jack O’Lantern – ready for hardening off.

Peas, Early Onward.


Taste of summer

Strawberries, one of the most versatile fruits available and growing in my garden. If you’ve never tasted a sun warmed, freshly picked strawberry, straight off the plant, then your missing out on one major sweet, juicy pleasure – not long till I do just that.

Strawberry plants are very easy to look after – first year ;-

  1. Choose a weed free, full sun, fertile, well-drained site.
  2. Space plants 10-12 inches a part.
  3. Before planting add extra organic matter to make the soil rich.
  4. Once planted keep soil moist.
  5. In first year remove flowers to encourage a strong root system.
  6. Remove dead leaves at the end of the season.

Second year and thereafter ;-

  1. In spring feed plants with a general fertiliser such as growmore.
  2. Weed and keep moist.
  3. During the growing season, feed every 7-14 days with a liquid potash such as tomato feed.
  4. As fruits start to swell, lay either straw or fibre mats around plants to prevent strawberries from being contaminated by soil.
  5. Pin down any runners until a good root system develops, then cut from the mother plant.
  6. Once harvesting as finished, remove old leaves, straw or fibre mats and do a general tidy-up of the area to prevent a build-up of pests and diseases.

Strawberry plants crop at their best for 3 years, use runners as a replacement of old plants. It’s also a good idea to use the crop rotation method as this helps to minimise attacks from pests and diseases that lurk in the soil.