Sow 20138 January 2013

One week done of the sow 2013 project, heres a catchup

3. Aubergine, Black Beauty - possibly my most favourite variety this will be going in the poly tunnel when it's old enough.

4. Sweet Pepper, Long Red Marconi - this is by far the most popular sweet pepper we sell because it's just so tasty. Grilled and stuffed with cheese is great but I think this year I might try preserving a few.

5. Tomato, Yellow Submarine - Beautiful little yellow cherry tomatoes, these rarely make it into salads at home just so moorish.

6. Artichoke, Imperial star - I'm planting these now for an annual crop but I'll be sowing again later in the year to keep a perennial crop

7.  Chilli Pepper, Numex Bailey - Super hot little chilli, great for cooking with and making chutneys

8.  Well that's today so I'm thinking salads perhaps.......

Happy New Year2 January 2013

Happy new year gardeners

I read about someone who is going to knit a square every day this year and I assume will have some kind of huge blanket by the end of the year.  This has inspired me so I'm starting a plant something everyday plan.  I confess I'm not a very organised gardener I tend to plant as much as I can when I find the time.  Things tend to get forgotten, planted late or not at all and we end up with the inevitable gluts and famines.

So this is the slightly ambitious,  overly optimistic new year style plan to sow seeds every day of the year. 

Number 1.

Chilli Pepper, Early Jalapeno - I'm using a cheats way of germinating the seeds.  The seeds are spread evenly between two sheets of damp kitchen roll in a sealed food bag (cling film works too).  These go into a warm dark cupboard until they germinate, simple.

Number 2.

Tomato, Gardeners Delight - cheating with the germination again but when window space is limited it's a great way to save space at least for a while.  If you have old seeds and your not sure if they will grow it's a great way to test germination rates.

7 January 2012

Last year has left me full of motivation for the new year, I have a 'I can do that better this year' kind of new years resolution. Still fresh in my mind are try not to let the rabbits eat the Christmas sprouts and don't let Chris 'take care' of the special chilli's

Some of the best bits of any garden are the unexpected suprised and new discoveries.  I was delighted to find a patch of wild strawberries behind the polytunnel.  Even though I had to move the fennel plants from an area that turned out to more more or less a bog it was great to see them springing up all over the place having self seeded.

I am very excited about the new seeds we have in the shop this year.  Particulary the return of Tomatillo in it's traditional green and now in purple too. I loved growing this last year from some seeds I had saved, great fruits in delicate papery lanterns.  Never liking to disappoint I am delighted we now have a gherkin type cucumber, Hokus.  I'm really looking forward to a few jars of these in the fridge.

Dig For Victory5 September 2011

This weekend we were at the Heywood 1940's festival.  Not the usual place for organic gardeners amonst the camoflague and spitfires but I we had some great inspiration.

Back when the Second World War broke out the goverment launched a campaign to get the public using every spare peice of land to cultivate vegetables.  The most memorable slogan from the campaign was 'Dig For Victory', It also launched the first celebrity gardener 'Mr Middleton'

I would love to see this (I wasn't around at the time), Instead of a paved driveway there could be rows of raised beds bursting with beautiful leafy greens.....  Well we did our best to spread the gardening spirit. With the use of the handy paper potter we made take away spinach pots

The Balsalm is coming12 August 2011

I found the dreaded Himalayan Balsam out side the field gate.

I almost convinced myself that it's not that important, it is after all a great source of nectar for honey bees and they need all the help they can get. Thinking about it that's quite a short sighted view.  It is a pest, an aggressive weed that spreads rapidly and smothers all other vegetation.  The bees are enjoying it now but i think they really appreciate a bit of biodiversity.

Himalayan balsam is a tall growing annual plant, about 2-3m tall. Clusters of purplish pink flowers are produced between June and October and are followed by explosive seed pods.  Seed pods can shoot seeds up to 7m away.

The BTCV regularly organise 'Balsam bashing' jobs, clearing waterways and other important areas.  Destroying the plants before they set seed is a very effective way of control.  I chose the 'pull them up' method, as the plants work their way down the lane I can see me doing this more often in the future.

If you want any more info on the Balsam the RHS has a good advice sheet


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