Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Tag Archive: potatoes

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. Update 5th May. The Purple Cascade have suffered from the cold spell and I have replaced the seeds today. The other beans, Blue Lake and Borlotto are still in modules awaiting a decision as to where to plant them. Update 5th May. These Blue Lake and Borlotto have also been reseeded.

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.


Growing Update – Seeds and Seedlings

The Lupin seeds have germinated and are already forming true leaves. I have sown seeds of dwarf Nasturtium both a mixed packet and some with variegated leaves and deep red flowers. I have had a go with some dwarf Scabiosa seeds in modules. These are not easy to germinate in my experience so fingers crossed. The other flower seeds I have sown are Honesty, a few collected seeds from my sister.
I bought some bulbs from the pound shop. They are a white Anemone and out of twenty bulbs I have five decent plants which is not bad for a pound after all.
13th April – I have potted on most of my tomato seedlings. I have Black Cherry, Money-maker and Yellow Plum.
I have sown seeds of Beetroot Boltardy in modules today and covered them with Clingfilm. I have also sown runner beans Blue Lake, Black Bean Delinel and Kelvedon Stringless in pots. The White Lady will be sown direct. Down at the allotment all the potatoes are now in. They are Sharps Express, Vivaldi and Rocket. We have put most in bags but some in the ground. The peas and the broad beans are now in their permanent beds at the allotment and one on the new rhubarb crowns has been planted.

Ready for Season 2011 – Sean 40 Today

We have started to think about the new season. I know it is too early yet to sow seeds and I am determined to be patient. First thing on the agenda is to get the seed potatoes and start them chitting in egg boxes on the window ledge. I am sticking to earlies only again this year and planting them all in bags. My favourites from last season were Vivaldi, grown from potatoes bought from Sainsburys and Sharps Express, bought as seed potatoes from Focus. I am just growing those again this season. The second task is to get the parsnip seeds in in February if we have a fine dry day.

I intend to have another go at onions from seed as I have good seed left. Last years were not too good and got neck rot and went soggy before we could harvest them. I am not sure what I did wrong but will have another go.  I have Onion Ishikura, Ailsa Craig and a Sweet Spanish Onion. My instructions say sow very thinly in February under cloches or March to April out in the open. Ishikuri are salad onions and are meant to be harvested as spring onions, when they are about six inches high and pencil thick.  Ailsa Craig and the Spanish Onion are mild cooking onions which stay in the ground longer and are harvested when they have formed a large bulb. I have just read that the Ailsa Craig are known as Winter Onions and so should have been sown in the winter ready to grow on and harvest the following Autumn.Because of Christmas, very bad weather and flu I haven’t been to the allotments for a few weeks so I am looking forward to my first visit of the year. I am sure there will be lots of tidying up to do but hopefully a few nice surprises too.

Happy Birthday Sean. 40 today!!!!!!!!!

Strawberries, Salad and New Potatoes

Once again I have brought home a large bowl of strawberries and a couple of massive butterhead lettuces. I also managed to get enough potatoes Sharps Express for a meal tonight. The potatoes have been slow to grow as we had a cold start to the season followed by a very long dry period. The tops are looking green, lush and healthy but few potatoes up to now which is bad news in one way but good news for my belly because I can’t resist freshly dug potatoes.

A Few Hours At The Allotment

We spent a lovely few hours at the plot this morning and caught up on loads of jobs. We put in the last of the potatoes which were the second batch of Charlotte and British Queen. We planted up the three courgette plants All Green Bush and put a polythene cover over until the plants are a bit hardier. I had left a tray of runner bean plants White Lady in the fruit tunnel to harden off and I noticed that most of them had been eaten by something so I am putting another batch in today to try and catch up. Into the brassica tunnel we put twenty five cabbage Greyhound plants, thirteen cauliflower All The Year Round and ten onion Marathon. Onion – The regular consumption of onions has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure  helping to prevent atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease, and therefore reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke.





A greyhound cabbage from last year

Seed Potatoes

I chose Focus to buy the seed potatoes this year and have limited my spending to £10. They look in good condition and I am pleased with the varieties I chose. I plan to chit them on the window ledge and plant from March to April in bags except for the main crop which will go in the ground. We should have a seccession of potatoes to last until late August. I am giving Rob the important task of labelling and planning the harvest.

charlotteCharlotte are salad potatoes which we have grown many times before and have always had a good harvest. They are good for salads, boiling and roasting and will store well. They are great dug up early as small potatoes but can be left in the ground to grow on a little too. I bought two bags of these. They should be ready to harvest in fourteen weeks from planting.




Sharps Express are a first early and are best boiled or steamed. They should be ready to harvest in ten weeks.

Rocket is another old favourite also for steaming and boiling. Approximately eleven weeks to harvest.

British Queen is a second early and are best roasted, mashed or used for chips. They should be ready in thirteen weeks.

Maris Piper is a versatile main crop also good for chips, mashing and roasting. They should be ready to dig in twenty weeks.

Charlotte Potatoes

charlotte potatoes

It has been another beautiful day today and we popped to the plots to put in the first of the potatoes. We planted the Charlotte potatoes in the green bags bought last year from the £1 shop. We brought back the final four stalks of last years sprouts. There are four lovely Savoy cabbages almost ready so we left those for a little longer. I dug over the lean to borders and tried to dig up the mint that has taken over in there. We couldn’t  stay long as Rob was at work really early and needed a rest. There is so much to do and we have so many plans. Roll on his next holiday.

Garden Birds Brighten up A Grey Day

It’s grey, foggy and cold outside this morning so, after making sure that all the pets are fed and comfortable, to cheer myself up I have ordered the seed potatoes for next year. I am using Alan Romans again as we have always received reliable quality goods from them. I have ordered one bag of Charlotte, three bags of International Kidney and three bags of Vivaldi. We have grown them all before so no surprises. They are first and second earlies so they should be up before any risk of Blight. Despite the greyness of the day there was plenty of colour and entertainment in the garden this morning as the birds were busy feeding.



We’re Off!!

Today I ordered some cucumber seeds, Carmen, from Thompson and Morgan, as advised by a forum member. I also ordered cauliflower and tomato seeds to make the order worthwhile. The cucumber seeds are very expensive at £7.99 for five but on a special deal at the moment the most expensive packet of seeds is free so even with delivery charges it was a good price.


Cucumber Carmen A unique all female variety with resistance to all known strains of powdery mildew, scab and leaf-spot. Fruits are bitter free and produced in abundance – 50-100 per plant. Ideal for organic gardeners. Easy to train and day length sensitive. For maximum yield plant after 1st March. Sow singly from late winter onwards ½” deep in 3″ pots of moist compost. Germination usually takes 7-10 days. Transplant at the 2-3 leaf stage into 5″ pots and then into final position. Train up the main shoot to top of wire and then either pinch out the growing point or tie along the roof of the greenhouse. Keep moist but not wet, apply shading as required and provide a moist, warm atmosphere. Regular picking will encourage fruiting.


maxineRocketThe seed potatoes from Alan Romans arrived today and are now sitting in their egg boxes. This year we aren’t planting as many potatoes and the varieties we have gone for are Charlotte and International Kidney, both of which gave us a good harvest last year, and three we haven’t tried before, Rocket, Maxine and Annabelle. The Rocket were grown by some of the other plot holders last year and gave a good crop of earlies with a nice taste. Maxine is a nice looking bright red early Maincrop. Annabelle is a white early salad potato. We plan to grow all the potatoes in tubs this year and give them some cover too if we can, to try to avoid the blight which took most of our crop last season.

Things are beginning to get exciting now and I can’t wait to get some seeds sown. Hopefully tomorrow we shall be able to go and buy some compost and vermiculite. Watch this space……..

Red or Dead



This evening we spent an hour and a half at the plots. I gathered some beans and carrots for tea. We also cut a decent cauliflower to go with them. Half went in the pot and half in the freezer. We decided to dig up the Roseval potatoes and one whole row only gave enough for about two meals for the three of us. What we did get looked ok so we will do the taste test later as they are in the saucepan at the moment. I was unsure about peeling or not but in the end I scraped them and they were still red underneath the thin papery outside layer. I have pulled four sticks of Rhubarb against advice I had read about leaving the plant alone for the first year. Lastly we brought home another lettuce and a few turnips that had shot up overnight it seemed to me.