The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: Autumn

Autumn – Seed Collecting and Bulb Planting

I have quite a lot of bulbs already in the garden both in the ground and in pots. However I couldn’t resist a few more and have bought some single snowdrops, Russian Snowdrops and Iris bulbs. Now I have to decide where to plant them. My other hesitant purchase was English Bluebells. I already have some very old Bluebells in the garden so I must be sure not to plant them too near to each other I think. My garden is quite small but my appetite for flowers is enormous. Laura has also caught the bug and has bought Glory of the snow and Honeybells, a new one to me. Update – Most of the bulbs are now either in the garden or in pots.

Our other passion has been seed collecting. As well as collecting as many as we can from flowers in the garden, which is very rewarding, we have been known to steal the odd seed head from friends. Whilst watching Gardeners World last week I saw something that made me smile and think, why didn’t I think of that. There was a couple who had dedicated their garden to perennials and wildlife. The lady shocked me when she said when my flowers have gone to seed I simply cut off a stem that has seed heads forming and push it into the ground where I want the flower to grow next season and let nature take it’s course and the seeds gently fall exactly where I want them to grow. Well, it’s so simple I just had to try it out. I tried it with Japanese Anemone, Black Eyed Susan and Verbena Lollipop. I will update this post next year with results.

The Science – A mature seed typically consists of a mature plant ovum containing a minute, partially developed young plant, the embryo, surrounded by an abundant supply of food and enclosed by a protective coat. Plants that seed are divided into two main groups: the gymnosperms, primarily cone bearing plants such as pine, spruce, and fir trees, and the angiosperms, the flowering plants. The gymnosperms have naked ovules which, at the time of pollination, are exposed directly to the pollen grains. Their food supply in the seed is composed of a female gametophyte, rather than the endosperm found in angiosperms.

In angiosperms, seeds develop from ovules that are enclosed in a protective ovary. The ovary is the basal portion of the carpel, typically vase shaped and located at the center of the flower. The top of the carpel, the stigma, is sticky, and when a pollen grain lands upon it, the grain is firmly held. The germinating pollen grain produces a pollen tube that grows down through the stigma and style into the ovary and pierces the ovule.

Two male sperm nuclei are released from the pollen grain and travel down the pollen tube into the ovule. One of the sperm nuclei fuses with an egg cell inside the ovule. This fertilized egg divides many times and develops into the embryo. The second male nucleus unites with other parts of the ovule and develops into the endosperm, a starchy or fatty tissue that is used by the embryo as a source of food during germination. Angiosperm seeds remain protected at maturity. While the seed develops, the enclosing ovary also develops into a hard shell, called the seed coat or testa. 

Autumn 2009

It seems that September has gone by without a mention on my weblog. It was a warm dry month and lots of time was spent in the garden at home. As far as the allotments go we visited to harvest tomatoes, cucumbers and cabbage and did some weeding and tidying but not enough time was spent there I’m afraid.

DSC00bcf014a

It is now one week into October and the weather is still mild with some sunshine and so far not much rain. The pumpkins have suffered from the lack of water and aren’t so good this year. The butternut squash is almost non existant unfortunately so that is disappointing. The runner beans were prolific but also not as good as last year because of the lack of rain.

We have blown our savings and bought a car. Not a new one, a 2002 registration Jaguar, but have kept the Rover so I will have my own transport and we can also use the old one for allotment visits.

 

At six weeks old the runner ducks have grown at a terrific pace and now stand well above all the others in the garden. They are lovely creatures, very shy and quiet. All the ducks are now living together in one shed. The old gardening shed that I cleaned out, treated and adapted for them. I am looking forward to seeing the first egg from the new girls.

Signs of Autumn

We spent a couple of hours at the plots this afternoon. The weather was warm and sunny and the ground was workable so we did a lot of weeding. Still back breaking work but easier than when the ground is dry or heavy with rain. Rob dug up a few rows of potatoes and we emptied three bags too so we came back with quite a haul. They seem ok as far as the Blight is concerned so lets hope they store ok. This evening I cooked some Charlotte and they were very good.

cucumber carmen

We cut another cucumber from the Carmen plant and though they are few and far between the quality of them is brilliant. We also cut one of the Butterhead lettuce. Pity the tomatoes are still not big or red enough to eat. The outdoor tomatoes seem to be getting the first signs of Blight with the young fruit turning black. Very sad. The runner beans were loaded and I picked a large box full as well as giving Frank and his wife quite a few as his were a bit late going in and are only just starting to produce. I pulled a few of the Rainbow carrots too. There seem to be plenty of snails, earwigs and wood lice having a go at everything, especially the brassicas and the white fly is starting to show itself again. We brought home a couple of cabbages and found one that was so nibbled we had to throw it on to the compost heap. The pumpkin plants are rampant and covered in yellow globes of varying sizes and are a reminder that Autumn will soon be here.

jenne20st20pumpkin20field.jpg

Autumn

A few of the Charlotte potatoes from this year’s harvest had spurted so I have put them in a pot in the lean to. To be continued……. Apart from tidying up and laying compost on the empty beds there is not much to report from the plot so I thought a picture of our grandaughter Libbie enjoying the Autumn leaves would brighten up the weblog.

Potato Famine

Rob has finally finished the heartbreaking task of digging over the potato beds on plot 18. I suppose I shall have to start buying potatoes from Sainsburys again. Blooming Blight! Never mind. The plot looks very tidy and we are planning to put a few loads of horse muck on the beds ready for next year. We cut the one big pumpkin and delivered it to our nephew, Matthew, who had asked us to grow one for him for Halloween. I harvested the remaining few beetroot and pickled them. I picked a few nice runner beans again but I feel this may be the last of them. I have left some bigger ones on for seed. Also brought back two lovely pointed cabbages, one for us and one for Roy and Janice. The carrots and parsnips are doing well and we have decided that next year we shall sow the seeds then count the days and harvest at the recommended time rather than letting them get too big. We bought some onion sets today from Focus, one Radar yellow, one Electric Red and one bag of white Snowball. We plan to put them over on plot 18.

radarwhitered baron

Autumn Sunshine

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
with fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run.

To Autumn – Keats

The leaves are starting to fall and there is a feel of Autumn in the air this morning. I love the Autumn even though it means the end of the growing season for most things. I really must soften the soil around the swedes and give them a water and a feed today. I also have some overwintering brassicas to plant out. The rest of the grim potato harvest is yet to be done. The strawberry runners are still waiting to be potted too. Autumn may be knocking at the door but there are still lots of jobs to do on the plots. Although when I set off to the allotment the sky was overcast and it looked like rain I enjoyed two hours of warm sunshine and managed to tick a couple of the jobs off our list.  After picking a few runner beans I weeded and hoed the swede bed and prepared the bed next to it for the brassicas. I transplanted all but a few of the overwintering greens and then gave the whole lot including the adjacent sprout cage a good watering with soapy water to get rid of the white fly which had already settled on to the new plants. Before leaving I covered the new row with wire cages to keep off the birds.