Tunnel Mkll

second tunnel on plot 8It was a beautiful day today and all the plot holders were out in force. We arrived late at 10.30am determined to complete the second tunnel and get the new brassica plants in before we came home. Things were going great and got even better when we were given two sturdy posts by the brothers to use as end strengtheners on the door end of the tunnel. We found a Cabbage White butterfly hiding in the netting and sent her on her way with a warning not to come back and lay her eggs in the new brassica plants. We still have the base boards to put in around the bottom edges but decided to put in the brassica plants as they were getting pot bound. I planted 18 Cauliflower All Year Round, 9 Cabbage Hispi and 9 Cabbage Savoy.

Tunnel one is doing its job and we have harvested some good stuff from there. Roy and Jan paid us a visit and went home with a few goodies including a bunch of carrots from the carrot bin, a cabbage, a courgette, a cauli, a swede and potatoes plus a jar of black currant jam we had taken for Keith but were too late as he is an early starter and had already left when we got there.

tomato sungold

Back at home we picked the first of the tomatoes. They were from the Sungold plant which has grown like mad and is now higher than the perimeter fence of the chicken run . We stood the tomato plants in tubs all around the chicken run, outside ofcourse, as last year we couldn’t get to the allotment every day and so couldn’t water regularly. Having them at home as been much easier.

Strawberry Time

strawberry

Here comes the sun and here come the strawberries. We had quite a poor crop last year but this year we have an abundance of fruit so if we can beat the slugs in the race to harvest we should have enough to eat, preserve and give away. yummy….

A disappointing time for Puddles and Jemima as not one of their clutch survived but we are just grateful that Puddles survived his illness and has proved his fertility to us as there were three fully formed ducklings in the eggs. Unfortunately none of them made it out which was heartbreaking for all of us. The chicks and growers are doing fine and are now all outside in their respective pens. Sadly we lost two of our big rescue girls within the space of five days so only one lonely girl now in the eglu. Tonight we plan to go down to the plots to plant more beans both runner and dwarf french and to water the plants that are under cover.

Full of Beans

white lady

Today I have sown more beans in pots to start off at home. Runner Bean White Lady, Climbing Bean Blauhilde, Black Bean Delinel and some unlabelled small white beans sent to me by a forum member last year.

thumbnailsweet-millions.jpg

Yesterday I potted on some Tomatoes Sweet Millions given to us by a friend along with a Cherry Belle and an Alicante.

Puddles also seems full of beans as he waits patiently for Jemima, who is sitting on a clutch of eggs, to produce his offspring.

The Heart Will Go On

It seems that the more that I have to write about the less time I have to write. We have had a few days of really warm dry weather and so the main task for everyone on the site has been watering in new plants. Both plots are looking tidy with plenty of planting and sowing going on. The ongoing battle with the weeds is in full flow and the compost bins are filling up fast.

lilacBack at home most of the plants that had been started in the house are now in the greenhouse in the garden or already in place at the plots. The window ledge in the computer room is still full with three Aubergine and four Pepper plants but the plastic greenhouse which was in here has gone and so has the broody box as the chicks have moved out into a pen in the garden so it is quite tidy by my standards. Outside in the garden the lilac is in full flower and looking beautiful.

 

On Sunday we sowed more Broad Bean Violetta and six rows of Dwarf Bean Borlotto on plot 18. I have sowed the French Beans, The Prince and Tender and True, in pots to get them started while we prepare the beds over on plot 8. I also have 16 Runner Bean Scarlet Emperor started in pots ready to finish the planting in the bean trench. The two Tomato Ildie are now in place in the lean to and two Tomato Roma are settled into the shell of the small plastic greenhouse in front of the shed. Eight Tomato Gardeners Delight are planted outside in front of the shed in the old nursery bed so I am hoping last nights cold hasn’t got to them. I have sown seeds of various flowers around the plots to brighten the place up and to attract bees and butterflies. here is a cool breeze this morning with a promise of rain tomorrow and we are planning to visit the plots this evening when Rob has had a rest after work.

On Saturday night we went to see Celine Dion at the NIA in Birmingham. The tickets were a Christmas present from Adam. The whole thing was an amazing experience.

Finally a special message for my Nephew Matthew who has had a brilliant report from school and an award for his work in Graphics. Well done Matt. We are all very proud of you.

100_4009.JPG

 

Well Done Misty

This morning I sowed seeds of Swede Best Of All in modules as last years crop sown direct was hopeless. I also sowed two 3″ pots with lettuce seeds Iceberg and All The Year Round. I did loads of potting on again and before I knew it the whole morning had disappeared. I seem to have less time now that I am retired than I did before.

Lettuce All The Year RoundLettuce IceburgSwede Best Of AllThis morning I sowed seeds of Swede Best Of All in modules as last years crop sown direct was hopeless. I also sowed two 3″ pots with lettuce seeds Iceberg and All The Year Round. I did loads of potting on again and before I knew it the whole morning had disappeared. I seem to have less time now that I am retired than I did before.

 

The chicks are due to hatch tomorrow and the incubator is due to arrive too. The weather is picking up and I am hoping for a bit of sunshine for the babies. Misty has been a very good broody as her sister Frosty was last year too. They are Silver Sussex and are well known to be good mothers. Her brood will be Bantam Wyandottes. Can’t wait.

Hey Big Spender – RCOM20 Incubator

imagesrcom.jpg

We finally decided to invest in an incubator and went for the RCOM20 from P&T Poultry. Our savings have taken as much of a battering as the allotment this week as we have also bought some plastic tubing and some netting to build a tunnel.

On Tuesday morning I checked on Pecker, who was initially sitting on three duck eggs and six Wyandotte eggs,  and she was down to three intact eggs.  I took the last three from her and popped them under Misty, our other sitting broody. The hatch is due next Tuesday 1st April. The first try we had this year was with some Silkie eggs and the broody ate them and then with what happened with Pecker’s clutch we decided not to risk any more eggs. I have sixteen eggs here now. They are a mix of Silkie and Pekin so we are hoping for more success with the incubator. We popped down to the plots today even though it was blowing a gale down there we managed to dig over a couple of beds ready for planting up.

maroc13027nc5pekin.jpg

 

How could we tire of hope?
– so much is in bud. Denise Levertov

Sunflower Giant

sunflower giantToday I sowed 6 Sunflower Giant seed, three to a 3″ pot. We had planned to try some sown directly at the plots but its so cold and windy down there at the moment. If these make decent strong plants I may sow them all at home. (update – all have germinated after just three days)

Meconopsis Grandis – Himalayan Blue Poppy 2008

I have bought a few plants in the past of the Himalayan Blue Poppy but never had one survive in my garden. I have been doing a bit of research on the internet and have been amazed at how many cultivars, I think thats the right word, there are of this beautiful flower. Not being too hopeful and not wanting to spend too much on seeds I ordered Meconopsis Grandis from Alan Romans and have today sown them in moist compost, covered the tray in a polythene bag and sat it on the computer box. The seed pack had been sitting in the fridge for two days. My research brought forth much conflicting advice about how to raise these plants from seed and after looking at the pictures I am determined to get hold of some Meconopsis Bobby Masterton and Meconopsis Mrs Jebb as they look truly wonderful.

Bobby Masterton

Here are a few bits of advice I found. Store seed in a sealed container in a domestic fridge. Commercial seeds sometimes appear to be less viable than home-collected seeds. The type of compost used for seed germination is not too critical. A peat-based one is most usually used. An important feature is for it to have high air porosity. The incorporation of a lot of grit enabling minimum root damage when pricking out is also preferable. Sow seed in Dec – Feb onto the surface of moist compost in trays or plastic pots. Water the pots from below and avoid seed disturbance. Either leave uncovered, but more usually growers cover the seed with several mm of fine grit or a little sieved compost. Keep in a light place, usually a cool greenhouse. Sometimes pots are placed on a heated bench (around 15C), or out-of-doors. Never allow surface to dry out, especially after germination has taken place. Germination takes two weeks to several months, sometimes occurring in the second year. Damping-off can be a problem. Prick out seedlings at the two or three leaf-stage. Avoid damaging the stem, by handling the leaves only. Transfer gently to the same light compost, avoiding compaction. Keep in a shady place until growth has resumed. Keep the plants growing actively, and repot before the pots become root-bound. It is important not to let the plants suffer a check in growth. Transfer to larger pots or into the garden when large enough. Depending on climate this is summer, late summer-autumn or the following spring. You can see why I am confused.

Impatiens F2 Colour Magic

ImpatiensThis morning I have sown 24 Busy Lizzie seeds in a modular propagation tray and they are now sitting on the window ledge. I have often bought these from the garden centre as small plants but have never grown them from seed. I haven’t seen this particular variety before. They were bought from Alan Romans at 50p for 85 seeds.

This compact variety is early flowering and very tolerant of shade. The flowers are large and come in a cheery mix of orange, pink, carmine, scarlet and white. Ideal for beds and borders or to brighten up a shady spot on the patio.