Monday, January 26, 2009

Seeds and seedlings

The rain this weekend did nothing to tempt me into working in the garden. I ventured out as long as it took to do a quick weed tidy of the cabbage plot and harvest a couple for spring greens, but then scuttled back indoors to the warmth. I used the opportunity to have a long-overdue sort out of my seed box. How on earth have I managed to accumulate so many packets of seeds when I've been gardening for barely a year? I definitely didn't buy them all - lots came free with gardening magazines. I'm sure I won't use them all - there's only so much coriander leaf a girl can eat.

The seedlings are coming on well: a couple of lancashire lad peas and aquadulce claudia broad beans will go out under cloches shortly after hardening off, the moneymaker and gartenperle tomatoes are starting to show secondary leaves and I followed them up with sowing a couple of roma tomato seeds (plum toms for cooking apparently) and some scotch bonnet chili seeds obtained in a postal seed swap. Latest on order: floridor courgette seeds (little round yellow ones!)

1st potato update of 2009: currently chitting Mimi and Anya seed potatoes on the bedroom windowsill (rapidly running out of space!). I'll start these off in potato grow sacks in the greenhouse next month.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wind and water

Having survived the frost of early January, my veg plot has now been buffeted by winds and rain from this weekend's gales but came through virtually unscathed. Come Sunday morning the only casualty seemed to be a water butt lid that had been thrown around the patio. We decided that it was finally time to set up the new butt to collect rainwater from the greenhouse guttering. I'm not sure how long this one will take to fill compared to the two connected to main drainpipes on the house, but every little helps given the predictions that the summer of 2009 will be a scorcher!
Some more seeds were sown (lancashire lad peas, aquadulce claudia broad beans, rosemary, moneymaker and gartenperle tomatoes), some seedling pricked out into larger pots (purple sprouting broccoli) and all of these are sitting happily in an unheated propagator. Mid-morning, the sun put in an appearance whilst I was weeding the cabbages and made me forget all about the wintry weather.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Plot preparation

The very beginning of the growing year seems an odd time. This is my first January with a veg plot so each season reveals something new - and I'm loving the discovery. And my first discovery of 2009 is how much growing there actually is going on - even despite the below freezing temperatures of late. My fears for the spring cabbages were unfounded after all - they seem to have shaken off the worst of the freezing conditions and are looking happy in their little bed.
After weeks of searching I finally managed to locate a source of manure - from a local riding stables. And it's free! So, I found a small space near the compost heap and have begun to build up a manure pile which should be rotted down enough to be used in the summer. My veggies are going to love it!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Welcome to 2009

A frosty morning awaited my first garden visit since before Christmas. My broad bean plants were looking less than perky but they are under horticultural fleece so I'm hoping that they'll be okay. The spring cabbages seemed okay but as the weather forecast this coming week could be as low as -3C overnight, I covered them in fleece also. Belt and braces, as my granddad used to say... Despite the weather, the onions (4 different varieties, including 1 red) seem fine with the frost and their green shoots are still growing strongly.
My inherited rhubarb patch is already  showing signs of new growth. It seems only last week that we pulled the last stalks! I've decided that 2009 is to be a year of garden experiments, so I've upturned a plastic dustbin over the patch to try out forced stems.