The diary of two novice gardeners and allotmenteers

Chris and Steve's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: peas

Beans and Potatoes

22nd March and I have put some seed potatoes, Maris Piper, into a growing bag in the garden. We shall probably grow in a small way this year as the allotment needs a lot doing to it to get it ready. It has been quite neglected whilst we have been looking after Adam so this year may be spent just getting it back up to normal. I also sowed just nine broad bean stereo seeds in modules. We bought an oblong planter from Wilkos and I have sown Carrot Early Nantes into it and put it in the garden. The bean seedlings are also in the garden in a large 50cm pot. They are Climbing French Bean Purple Cascade and I have popped a few French bean Dulcina around them. The other beans, Blue Lake and Borlotto are still in modules awaiting a decision as to where to plant them.

Update The Blue Lake and the Borlotto are also in a large planter and we have put in a silver obelisk bought from Wilkos for a little support. 24th March and the last four Maris Piper potatoes plus one Vivaldi are now in a big growing pot. First batch of Peas Ambassador have gone into a tray today after being soaked overnight. 29th March and the peas are germinated and have been put in the plastic greenhouse outside to grow on a bit. Laura and Glenn went to the pound shop today and bought three packs of seed potatoes. Two were early, Maris Piper and Pentland Javelin, and one Charlotte, was a second early. They seem good value at £1 for eight decent sized seeds in each bag. The Charlotte and the Maris Piper were planted at the allotment today, 2nd April, and the Pentland Javelin have been put into a raised bed at home.

 

Rain at Last

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. We have had a couple of weeks without a drop  and have enjoyed rising temperatures and sunshine which have been welcome after the coldest Winter in a decade. Ideally I would want light rain overnight every night followed by dry sunny days but unfortunately nature isn’t controlled by a switch so we have to deal with what we get and in this country we are blessed with mild, changeable weather. However the sound of rain this morning was welcome. The garden and the allotment plot were dry and dusty which is not great for new plants and seedlings or the newly seeded lawn at home. We spent a couple of hours this morning at home in the garden then popped to the plots for an hour. The rain kept off and the hour turned into four hours. We sowed more seeds of Parsnip Hollow Crown and Carrot Nantes into the bottom bed. There was great excitement when we saw two asparagus spears peeping through already.

Rob put in some Peas Kelvedon Wonder in the bottom brassica tunnel. I had been swishing them for a few days and they were already germinated so should be off to a good start.  The Hurst Green Shaft that I put in the top tunnel are well up now and the Meteor are showing through too. Rob has moved the obelisk that I grow the Sweet Peas up and I have planted the Spencer Mixed raised from seed at home. They are now situated at the bottom of the plot by the seating area.We came home with another bunch of Raddish French Breakfast, my favourite. I shall have to sow more next time we go down. At home I have pricked out the Gardeners Delight seedlings and potted on some Alicante and Black Cherry.

Garden Pea – Hurst Green Shaft

I have never grown these peas before but have read such good reports about them I decided to give them a go. They are a second early so I shall put them in during March. They should be ready to harvest in 13-14 weeks.

Pod length is about 4″ with 9-11 peas in a pod. Pea Hurst Green Shaft is a super heavy-yielding variety. Only 28″-30″ tall, with all the pods close to the top. A second early, wrinkle seeded variety, which matures in 100 days from sowing. Pea Hurst Green Shaft resists downy mildew and fusarium wilt. And the taste! Has to be eaten to be believed. info and picture from Thompson &Morgan from whom I bought the seeds.

Rain, Rain Go Away

 

rain

We managed to dodge the heavy rain yesterday afternoon and get the peas Fortune and the sweet peas planted. There were forty four pea plants and they just fitted around the inside of the old brassica cage. They will be safe from the pigeons but I am sure they will fall prey to slugs and such. The sweet peas are now planted around a lovely obelisk we bought from Lidl and I have secured it with canes and string. The plants look quite strong but we have protected them with some netting until they get better established.

pea shootsToday I transferred the peas Starlight, that had been germinating in a bowl. I had been swishing them in a little water several times a day then draining them so that they were just damp. They all had lovely healthy looking shoots on them and are now sitting in damp compost for the next stage of their lives.

The weather forecast doesn’t look too good for our plans to build the tunnel next week. Rob has a week of annual leave and we were hoping it would brighten up a bit as we have a long list of jobs that need doing both on the plots and outside at home.

Peas in a Pod

In complete contrast to yesterday we worked at the plot today in torrential rain. Rob pulled up the rest of the pea plants and I sat in the shed doorway and pulled the pods off. We filled a large washing up bowl. The peas were growing around the inside of the second brassica cage so after Rob had pulled them up he pulled all the weeds too. When we left it looked really tidy with quite a bit almost ready to harvest.

peascauliflower

We brought home two cauliflowers, one we shall eat with our evening meal and the other will be put in the freezer. The plants we put in yesterday on plot eighteen were looking good and seemed to like the rain. The rain hasn’t let up all day and the garden at home is like a swamp. Luckily the allotment plots are on a gentle slope so no waterlogging there, thank goodness.

Judgement Day

We both got soaked to the skin today but came home laden with produce. A lovely bag of Charlotte potatoes hardly touched by the blight, four meals worth of peas and a bowl of salad leaves. The view in the lean to was heartbreaking as the cucumbers had been attacked by blackfly and mildew and the whole bed was a sea of yellow leaves. I set about cutting off all the offending leaves and gave the blackfly a blast with insecticide. When I had finished the plants looked naked but ready to fight another day. The tomatoes just needed tidying up a bit and side shoots removing. There were lots of fruit on the tomatoes and the beginnings of fruit on the aubergines. Trevor told us the local council judges had been to inspect the plot yesterday as we had been entered into the newcomers class . Its too much to hope that they didn’t peep into the lean to so I dread to think what they thought. On the whole the plots are looking quite productive despite the terrible weather and the blight.

Sad Day – Potato Blight

Today, as well as a bit of weeding and tidying up between showers, we cut down the haulms of the potatoes. Most of the plot holders have lost their potatoes to the blight and we felt very sad and were remembering back to a few weeks ago when we were so excited digging up the first earlies and anticipating being able to harvest potatoes throughout the coming season. We did harvest quite a large bag of peas however and enjoyed them with lamb chops and potatoes for tea. The flower bed is full of colour but the strong wind and rain has caused quite a bit of damage in there too.

In The Frame

The greenhouse is at the plot and the frame has been built up. Stirling work by Glenn with assistance from Roy and Janice. Two panes of glass got broken in transit so we shall probably replace them with polycarbonate panels with a view to eventually changing the whole lot. The next job is to lay a firm foundation so we will have to buy some slabs.

broadbean2Rob decided to plant the peas, Starlight on plot 8 and sowed the new broad beans against the low trellis on plot 18. I thinned out the swede seedlings and replanted the thinnings. Not sure they will survive but it was worth a try. We are having to keep on top of the weeding as they pop up as soon as your back is turned. We had a late Sunday dinner with produce from the plot and it was really nice. We were able to give some potatoes and cabbage to Roy and Jan too.

Garden Pea Starlight

The rain subsided for a while so we popped down to the plot to do a few jobs and check on the progress of the slugs and snails in the lean to. Nothing to worry about there as we didn’t find even one. I picked a couple of lettuce that had hearted up reasonable well.

snail

The Cucumber Gherkin plants, although still quite small, had quite a few flowers on. I shall have to read up on them as it seems strange to be flowering when they aren’t even in their final pots. Growing Cucumbers in general is still quite a mystery to me and I have a lot to learn. I transplanted a few brassica seedlings into the new brassica cage. I am very pleased with the plants in there at the moment, only one of them looking a bit weak and, fingers crossed, no slug damage as yet.

 

starlightRob built a trellis for some more peas on plot 18. They are Thompson and Morgan Pea Starlight which are at present in a bowl on damp kitchen towel to germinate. A British Wrinkle (Early Maincrop). Very dark green leaves and paler pods. Mostly double-podded but some treble-podded per node containing tasty dark green peas. Has a high resistance to downy mildew. He also sowed a row of Frech Marigold Bonita Mixed along the middle of his seed bed. He had a third of a bed left after he had planted all the potatoes and he fancied making a mixed seed bed. He has great plans.

The fruit cage was looking very good and after hoeing up the weeds we decided to put a wood chip path down the centre. It looks very smart now and we were both pleased. However whilst in there we noticed one of the redcurrants had red spots on the leaves. I looked it up when we got home and it seems we have Blister Aphids. The prognosis doesn’t look too bad though so we shall remove the damaged leaves and treat the plant in December.

blister aphid

Currants affected by blister aphid still make growth and produce a crop, so treatment is not essential. If desired, plants can be treated with winter tree wash in December to control the overwintering eggs.

Happiness – £30

Happiness is not having what you want but wanting what you have.”

Arrived at the allotment at 8.30am to find the car park full. A bit blustery but dry and warm, perfect. We put the chicken bedding over the new brassica bed and Rob raked it over. First stop was to check in the shed for our delivery of potatoes and shallots from Mick Market. He brought us three bags of white shallots and a large bag of Winston seed potatoes. Next we checked on the seedlings in the lean to and everything was doing well. Even the rhubard was showing some growth so we removed the plastic covering in readiness for planting it out into its permanent bed later this month.

Parsnip GladiatorCarrots

We sowed about twenty parsnip (Gladiator) into a small bed adjacent to the carrot bin and rigged up a wire cage to protect them from the pigeons.

After topping up the carrot bin with some clean compost we sowed a couple of rows of carrots, Early Nantes, and a row of small white salad onions De Barletta which we covered over with a polythene sheet. They should germinate in a couple of weeks.

The Winston seed potatoes were put into the lean to on a tray to chit and we set about preparing the bed for the shallots. Rob dug over a full width bed which we then broke down with the hoe and raked fine. Using a plank we firmed two rows and Rob planted the shallots with just the tip on the neck showing above the soil. I am a bit concerned that the pigeons may pull them up but we shall have to see.

We had a word with Trevor about the rent and he said it had gone up to £15 a plot so we have to give him £30 for our two plots in the next couple of weeks. A bargain. We popped to Keith’s plot to have a look at how he had put in his potatoes and as usual it was immaculate. He has used the trenching method and has fleece on hand in case of the threat of late frost Our second plot is immediately above his so we have a lot to live up to to keep up with our neighbour. We spoke to Joe and he advised us to trench too. He said sprinkle some slug pellets and Bonemeal in the base of a trench 6-8″ deep, place the seed potato on the bottom then cover and earth up leaving valleys between the rows.

Next job was planting up the Bluberry bushes that had been waiting in the lean to. We had prepared a bin with some ericaceous compost and just had to top it up with some decent compost before planting them. When we opened the packaging we found that there were three roots in each pack so we had six instead of two and they were only £1.49 a pack. After planting them we rigged up a wire cage and secured it with string to protect them until they get established.

Finally we checked in the fruit cage to find that there was plenty of new growth on most of the plants but the two gooseberry bushes we bought from Ken Muir still look dead. However, the three roots we were given by Joe and the cheap red gooseberry Rob bought from Dudley, were covered in green shoots.

The broad beans along the trellis down by the shed were pushing through. We may need to replace four of the seeds as there are gaps. Could have been bad seeds or pigeons maybe.

broad beanspeaswhite onionsprout spiral

We sowed a couple of rows of Pea Fortune in the bed alongside the brassica cage and covered them with a cloche. Rob tidied the brassica cage and cut a head of broccoli and some Kale to take home. He also dug up a stem of sprouts. When we got home Glenn commented on how beautifully the sprouts spiralled up the stem. I had never noticed that when I used to buy them in bags from Sainsburys.