Chris's Weblog – City Chickens

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Easter Bank Holiday Monday – Sowing Seeds of Courgette and Squash

COVID-19 News Update

Deaths in UK hospitals rose to 11,329 – up by 717in 24 hours

Our Prime Minister has been thanking the NHS for saving lives for weeks. Today he has thanked them for saving his life as he has left the hospital following his own personal fight against COVID-19

Courgette Zephyr F1 Hybrid

As promised yesterday I have made a start on sowing the squash this morning .I have sown the last three seeds of the Courgette Zephyr, an F1 Hybrid variety purchased from thompson-morgan.com. I have grown these successfully before. I have placed three seeds in a 7″ pot of moist general purpose compost. These seeds are best sown vertically I have found. I have enclosed the pot in a polythene bag and put it on the window sill. They should germinate in about 7 days and hopefully be flowering in June for an Autumn harvest.

This distinctive variety produces attractive, creamy-yellow cylindrical fruits with an unusual pale green tip. The strong, bushy plants of Courgette Zephyr produce fruits with a firm texture and a delicious nutty flavour if harvested regularly when no more than 6″ long.

Butternut Squash Hunter F1

Next seeds to be sown are six Butternut Squash Hunter, an F1 hybrid bought from Premier Seeds Direct. These fruits are a family favourite and I have treated them the same way as the courgette seeds.

Bred specifically for the UK and Northern European climate this variety delivers outstanding crops over a variety of UK summer conditions. Ready for harvesting up to four weeks earlier than other hybrids with fruits averaging 1kg with very high yields per plant.

Saturday 16th May 2020 – Update on the Courgettes and Squash – Laura bravely went and begged an old tyre from next doors skip and we have made a little garden for the squash and courgettes. There is a group of seven plants and I have high hopes for them. The seeds grew into very healthy plants and they lived on the window ledge until today.

Fingers crossed that we have seen the last of the frost but I have built up a protective surround of plastic covered netting with polythene bubble wrap. My only worry is overcrowding. I am hoping that the plants head for the skies and cling onto the netting.

Doronicum Little Leo

This is another of the seedlings overwintered and just becoming ready to pot on. Five survivors have been put together in a ten inch pot.

Heart shaped foliage makes an attractive backdrop to the yellow flowers of this hardy perennial daisy. As the name suggests, Doronicum caucasicum ‘Little Leo’ is neat and compact compared to some of its taller relations making it perfect for the front of shaded borders. Leopard’s Bane, as it is commonly known, makes a pleasing cut flower and proves to be a magnet for pollinating insects in the garden. Height 12″.

doronicum-flower

Apparently this is the plant used to produce Arnica which from my limited medical knowledge is used to treat bruising.

Internal and external preparations made from the flowering heads of arnica have been used medicinally for hundreds of years so says Wiki.

Verbascum Southern Charm – Celsia

This hardy perennial, Verbascum,  was amongst the tiny seedlings, bought from T&M last year, that have been overwintering on the window ledge. All four seedlings look healthy with a good root system and I have transferred them into a 7″ pot. They will stay in the office until the last frost has passed. I believe that these flowers grow quite tall. I have never grown them before but on reading up about them I am looking forward to seeing them in the garden and hope that as they self seed that I will enjoy them for many years.

Verbascum Hybrida common name Mullein is a gorgeous flower in lovely shades of apricot, lilac, buttermilk and sugar pink.. It will grow to four foot. It is a short lived annual that self seeds well.

Foxglove Dalmation Mixed – Digitalis

Six out of six of the Foxglove seedlings made it through the Winter. I have potted them on into 7″ ceramic pots and the roots when I lifted them were huge.

Pot up digitalis plants and grow them on in frost free conditions for transplanting outdoors later on. When plants are well grown and all risk of frost has passed, acclimatise them to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 to 10 days, before planting them in borders and containers in sun or partial shade. Although foxgloves prefer a fertile, moist soil, they will happily tolerate almost any soil except those that are excessively dry or waterlogged.

297629_STANDARD___20131217_4.jpgFoxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea, is a common biennial garden plant that contains digitoxin, digoxin, and other cardiac glycosides.  These are chemicals that affect the heart.  Digitalis is poisonous; it can be fatal even in small doses. It was the original source of the drug called digitalis.

Digitalis ‘Dalmatian Mixed’ looks magnificent in cottage gardens and woodland borders but thanks to their uniform branching habit, these statuesque foxgloves make fabulous annual bedding too. These short lived perennials will happily seed about to create dramatic drifts and attract wildlife to their nectar rich flowers. Height 20″. Information from T&M.

Chionodoxa – Glory of the Snow

Chionodoxa

Chionodoxa bulbs are new to me and were part of a collection of Spring bulbs I bought from www.thompson-morgan.com . I am planting them in a large pot for now but maybe next year when we remake the rockery and pond I can use them there too.

One of the first bulbs to flower in the spring, Glory of the Snow, creates a carpet of colour, naturalising well beneath trees and shrubs. These flowers also make a hardy and low-maintenance addition to rock gardens and spring patio pots where they’ll return year after year. Height: 6″ Picture and information from www.thompson-morgan.com