Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

Growing from seed

A Call For Freedom?

We had a scary hour or so last night when I went out to put the ducks to bed and Puddles was missing. After thoroughly searching the garden and the house we extended the search to outside the perimeter of the garden fence. We had given up hope of ever finding him and Rob and Glenn were knocking on doors in the neighbouring streets. Adam and Glenn even drove down to the local canal and lake and came back empty handed. Adam had not long left in his car when suddenly he returned with a stranger in the passenger seat holding a very scared duck. Adam had spotted the chap carrying the duck and knocking on doors to find the owner. Just at that moment Rob and Glenn arrived home looking defeated and were overjoyed to see the wanderer returned safely home. Adam gave the puzzled stranger a lift home and we shall pay him a visit this morning with a present of a few eggs. Panic over.

duck duck2

This morning was warm and we went early to the plots. After watering all the seed beds I sowed a row of Nasturtiiums along the outside of the salad bed.

nasturtiumlobelia crystal palacecosmos

Next I sowed a bed of Lobelia Crystal Palace along the one edge of the flower bed. The seed was like fine dust and the instructions were to just place it on top of damp soil. It should be through in two weeks as should the Giant Cosmos I sowed at one end of the nursery bed after Rob had made it into a raised bed with some white blocks.

The sweet peas are now outside around a fine teepee Rob built from some Hawthorne poles. We built a protective wall around them with some orange plastic netting until they get established.

runner beansrunner bean white ladyrunner bean scarlet emporor

Back at home I have put the runner beans in 3″ pots to start them off before they go to the plot. About fifteen each of White Lady, Kelvedon Stringless and Scarlet Emporor.

Viola Freckles 2007

viola seedhead2viola freckles

Today I sowed eight seeds of Viola Freckles collected from a seed head which I had kept from last year. I also sowed Parsnip Gladiator seeds in cardboard tubes (16). These had already been sprouted on some wet kitchen towel. I had to bring the courgette and the aubergine pots in as it has been much too cold out in the greenhouse for them. I must remember next time to germinate them indoors or wait until later in the season to sow them.

 

Sunny Sunday

After all the rain we have had lately it was a welcome change to be working in the mild sunny weather we had today. We arrived at the plot early and before long the good weather had brought all the plot holders out to play. We moved the small Wilko greenhouse into the lean to and it fitted perfectly along one side of the back wall. I moved the Sweetpea seedlings in there. They are coming along nicely, only one pot yet to show anything. I will need to keep a close eye on them as they have to be pinched out to stop them going straggly. I moved some Cauliflower seedlings from under a cloche and sowed another tray of Cauliflower All Year Round and put both in the greenhouse. We also sowed thirty or so Leek Musselbrough seeds in a 7″ pot. We sowed a few more Broad Bean Aquadulce along the back of the trellis where the ones we sowed in October are about a foot tall now. They have flowers but we don’t expect them to fruit as they will probably be taken at the first frost. We will see.

leekspeascaulibroad beans

We also put in a row of Peas (Fortune) as an experiment alongside the carrot bin. I have put wire netting protection along but haven’t covered with any plastic or fleece as yet.

Rob finally screwed the brass plot number 8 to a stake and hammered it in at the top of our plot. We were given it by a nice lady on freecycle.

Keith confirmed again that we could go ahead and start planting on his old plot so we came back and made a detailed plan of where we are going to plant our seed potatoes. At present they are laid out on egg trays in the garage which is probably too warm but was the only space available. I shall be happy when we have signed on the dotted line and paid the rent on both the plots which should be in April. The chap who has the plot immediately above ours gave us two Celeriac and loads of Artichoke slips. My first feeling is that we will probably plant some of the Artichoke slips for the flowers rather than to eat and give some away. I roasted a few tonight but am not too keen. Haven’t tried the Celeriac yet. Exciting moment of the day. We noticed heads forming on the Broccoli in the brassica cage.

Still More Rain, Snowballs and Sprouts – 2006

sproutsWe visited the plot yesterday to put the chicken poo in the compost. It was very windy and wet. We harvested our first sprouts and were amazed at the toughness of the stalk. First a gentle tug then a mighty pull followed by a hacking with a knife all to no avail. Feeling great empathy with the old lady and the giant turnip we gave one last heave and at last it came up and Rob fetched a spade to slice the root from the stalk. Today I had the much easier job of cooking them along with a couple of snowball turnips and we both agreed that they were very tasty and would pass muster for Christmas dinner.