Sunday, March 21, 2010

planting progress

At long last the ground outside seems to be warming up enough to start planting out or sowing direct. The sun has started to linger on the raised beds in the suburban veg plot making it a warm and fuzzy place to potter around in once more. Even the comfrey, planted only last week, looks like it's growing strongly.
The Lancashire Lad purple podded peas were planted out in their final position and are looking very contented. They grew over 6 foot tall last year and I struggled to support them on canes - so this year I've put them at the base of a fixed trellis which should support them easily.

The overwintered garlic cloves are looking really strong. I selected the largest bulbs from the 2009 Purple Moldovan harvest and they're certainly looking even better than this time last year (the concept being that year on year the selected variety adapts to the conditions in your own garden).

The Solent Wight bulbs - every last one of them has come up and a couple seem to be developing as multi-bulbs.

The tomato, chilli and sweet pepper seedlings that are growing in the kitchen have been benefitting from daytimes spent in the greenhouse - the all day light should bring them on swiftly and strengthen them further. They're still coming back indoors each evening as i don't think it's yet warm enough to leave out overnight.

And cosy in the sunny kitchen still are my little celeriac seedlings. Gosh they're tiny! One of them produced a teeny weeny true leaf this week but goodness knows how long it will be before they're big enough to transplant - 2012 maybe??

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the comfrey patch

There's been a lot of comfrey talk recently on a gardening forum I frequent. I understand it has a number of uses from liquid fertiliser (aka comfrey tea), to compost activator, from potato fertiliser to mulch, so I decided to grow some in the suburban veg plot. Here comes the science bit, so listen carefully. If you're going to get comfrey, you need the 'Bocking 14' variety. This can be obtained only as root cuttings as its seeds are sterile. If anyone offers you comfrey seeds back away very slowly and carefully - if sown in your garden, this stuff will self seed all over the place for the next few centuries and you'll never be rid of it (nor be able to find any of your lovely vegetables among its copious leaves). Bocking 14 is all you need to remember. So anyway, I ordered some root cuttings via eBay, which arrived well packaged, healthy looking and moist. I decided to clear a space behind the compost heap to grow the comfrey - a currently unused area but one that I can access easily to harvest the leaves come 2011. I just have to resist until then as it needs a growing season to establish itself.
I'll have to venture out on a nettle harvesting walk in the meantime for an alternative 'tea' base.

Friday, March 5, 2010