Today I have sown some seeds of Rudbeckia bought from Alan Romans 50p for 50 seeds. I needed a bit of cheering up after the week we have had which I won’t go into but suffice it to say has been awful. My Mother always used to tell us to count our blessings so we will have to start totting up and cheering up.
It is easy enough to be pleasant when life flows by like a song
But the man worthwhile is one who will smile when everything goes dead wrong
By : Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1850-1919
Last year I grew Nasturtium along the edges of the salad bed. I sowed them directly into the ground and was overwhelmed by how vigorously they eventually grew. Unfortunately they stifled the smaller plants and moved over to cover the corn bed too. As the corn was high they survived and may even have benefitted from the moisture that was not lost because the Nasturtium shaded the ground between the corn plants. I saved loads of seed at the end of the season. This year I want to be a bit more in control and so have sown a tray indoors. I shall probably sow some seeds over in the hedge on plot 18 as it is all brambles and hawthorne at present not to mention a fair bit of rubble and bricks so I hope that they will mask it a little.
Sow directly March-May, flowers June-September. Nasturtiums flower abundantly in poor soil and transform hot, dry places into a blaze of colour. Flowers are edible, and ideal for use in salads.
This morning I have sown a tray of Aquilegia seeds in damp compost and covered in Vermiculie, sealed in polythene and placed in the window ledge. I am not sure of variety as they were given to me by my Sister-in-law Janice and were given to her by her Mother Joyce who had collected them from her garden. Apparently they take 25-35 days to germinate and we wont see any flowers from them until next Spring. It will be worth the wait though as they are perennials and once established should give us pleasure for many years. I intend to scatter a few seeds directly along the back border at home and see what I can get there. I have always admired these beautiful flowers but have never tried to grow them from seed before.
Aquilegia common names Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine is a genus of about 60-70 species of perennial plants that are found in meadows, woodlands, and at higher altitudes throughout the Northern Hemisphere, known for the spurred petals of their flowers.
The seedlings Derby Day and Greyhound are racing along and showing through the soil already after only three days. Yesterday I sowed two aubergine Black Beauty amd today two tomato Moneymaker (germinated 8 days) and six tomato Gardeners Delight (3 up after 7 days).
The first pot of sweet peas are already about two inches high, the second pot, left on top of moist compost to chit are already splitting and showing green, and today I put the third lot on some damp kitchen towel to chit. They are Sweet Pea Zorija Rose. (Update August 2008 – These have been beautiful this season with loads of flowers and a strong heady perfume)
Today I sowed fifteen seeds of Sweet Pea Blue Ripple bought from Alan Romans. I am trying the chitting method as described by TeeGee a forum member. (no sign of chitting so transferred to a pot – 3 only showing through on 1st Feb) Update August 2008 – Although there were few plants there are loads of flowers which are very pretty but with little or no perfume
All the King Edward potatoes are now in on plot 18 and the first earlies are showing lots of growth and have been earthed up. We are hoping we don’t have a frost. King Edward potatoes are a popular variety. They have white skin with pink colouration, cream to pale yellow flesh and a floury texture. They are a Main Crop variety and are excellent for baking, chipping, roasting and mashing. I have sown more seeds on the flower bed, Cornflowers, Columbine, Clarkia and Californian Poppy, Eschscholzia Californica, single orange, plus a small bed of mixed poppies in the main plot over by the sweet pea tepee.
We decided to risk it and planted the first of the runner beans, White Lady, as they were getting very leggy in the pots on the window ledge at home. I shall sow them later next year.
Joe gave us five small gooseberry bushes and Rob planted them on the main plot here and there. He also hoed the fruit cage and dug up a lot of the Alstromeria seedlings that had popped up like weeds everywhere. It goes against the grain to dig up healthy seedlings but they seem to be everywhere and I already have some very healthy plants in the flower bed.
Keith gave us five tomato plants that were surplus to his requirements and although we have plenty we found some room for them in the lean to. They are Shirley and Alicante. I potted on the White Aubergine, Mohican, four healthy looking plants, and the cucumber seedlings.
The sprouts, Bedford Fillbasket, are now in their final position. We got twenty good plants from the seeds we sowed in modules early in the year. The red ones in the nursery bed are looking good too. Rob has sown a row of Turnip, Snowball and a row of Beetroot, Boltardy. I have now put in about 120 pea shoots, started at home in the greenhouse, and another two rows of dwarf beans Borlotto.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rob planted fifteen potatoes British Queen on plot 17 while I just pottered about doing a bit of hoeing and weeding. British Queen is described as a superb flavoured mashing potato originating in Scotland. In Ireland it is known as “Queens”. It is fairly susceptible to blight but matures quite early. The flowers are white with yellow centres, and the haulms are fairly light. The texture is light and floury. Said to be the best mashing potato, fluffy and white with very good flavour. Also steams well, roasts well, bakes well. Bred by Archibald Findlay. 1894.
The brothers gave us six cauliflower plants and eight summer cabbages and we gave them six eggs each in return. We gave Mick Market’s wife Audrey six eggs and she gave us six primula plants.