This weekend was a weekend of contrasting weather. Saturday had blue sky, the sun was shining and it was fairly warmish. Sunday however, was grey, windy, rainy and cold. So guess which day I spent in the garden and which day I spent inside?
I had a wonderful time in the garden on Saturday. I weeded, harvested, sowed, planted, talked to the chickens a lot and I’m sure I swore a little at times (some times out of amazement, but others because I got stuck somewhere).
Let’s start with the harvesting. I’ve finally dug up the last of my carrots. Some had gone a little soft, but most of them were perfect. The first lot of last years carrots were multi legged, but the remainder were fairly straight. Some got carrot fly marks on them, but they’re easy to cut off. So generally a good carrot harvest last/this year. We had some with dinner on Saturday and the rest with Sunday’s dinner. I guess that means I’m gonna have to buy carrots like a normal person now….that is until this years carrots are ready to harvest. But that might be a while as I won’t be sowing them for another 4-6 weeks.
The chickens were playing in one of the brassica cages while I was out in the garden, so I threw in an old Romanesco plant which they thoroughly enjoyed. It’s like watching Piranahs round a piece of meat. They go in all guns blazing and have then stripped it in 10 minutes. So, back to the Romanesco. I harvested 3 heads which again we had for dinner Saturday, but I have 3 plants left where the heads are still a little small. These should be ready in about a weeks time, then I’ll move the brassica cage over and give the chickens a different area to scratch in.
I do love Romanesco, they’re so pretty and the pattern they create is so beautiful. If you’ve never grown them before maybe give them a go this year. They are a cross between broccoli and cauliflower but have a very delicate flavour.
Now on to the sowing of seeds. There’s a lot to get through so I hope you’re ready. I tend to do mine in groups, so all the flower seeds together, all the tomatoes….you get the idea.
So to start with it’s chillies and peppers. This year I’m sowing Hot Peppers “Cayenne Red“, Padron Peppers and finally Sweet Peppers “Rainbow Mixed”.
Which ever variety of Chillies or Sweet Peppers you’re growing this year, click HERE to see how I sow mine.
Next comes the Tomatoes. Now last year the outdoor tomatoes all caught blight so I was rather annoyed about that. The ones that I had grown in the greenhouses did well, but I’m going to try something different this year…I’ll keep you posted. All I’m going to say is that all the tomatoes, except one variety will be grown in the greenhouses, so hopefully I’ll get a good crop. These are the varieties I have this year. All the way from Spain, but here are links to buy them in the UK “Minibel” and “Supermanmande”, good old “Gardener’s Delight” and finally “Giant Tree”.
Which ever variety of Tomatoes you are growing this year, this is how I sow mine.
Next I sowed Celeriac “Prinz” and Broccoli “Bellaverde Sibsey”. These get sown in the same way as the Tomatoes and Peppers. I’ve grown Celeriac before, but not for several years. It needs to be sown early and takes its time, but is well worth it. It’s not a pretty vegetable, but its taste makes up for that. Broccoli is always a must in our garden. I’ve still got Sprouting Broccoli in my veg patch, it’ll be ready soon and then I’ll be picking nothing else for several months.
The first of the herbs can be started off now, so the first to be sown is Parsley “Italian Giant” and Rosemary. I don’t usually grow Rosemary from seed, but thought I’d give it a go. When sowing these seeds, the Parsley needs to be covered with a little compost, but the Rosemary doesn’t. Just sprinkle directly on moist compost and do not cover with any soil.
We now move on to the first of this years flowers. I’ve got loads of packets of flower seeds and this year I’m planning on sowing them all. I’ll only need a few for my garden as it’s nearly full, but there are lots of places where the others can find a home. The first place is the church yard as I’m part of a group that helps maintain it. We’re going to create some meadow areas and any spaces round the side of the church that need a little bit of TLC. The remaining plants will go to my various gardening client’s. Each time I go to them I’ll take a tray of plants with me. Hopefully all the plants will find a new home and will be very happy. So to start off with I’ve sown Cosmos “Candy Stripe”, Marigold “Fireball”, “Boy ‘O’ Boy Yellow” and “Crackerjack Mixed”.
Again these all need to be sown on moist compost and covered with a little more compost on top of the seeds.
So that was all the seeds that needed to be sown in trays. The next ones are sown in small pots instead.
It’s very easy to do these. Just fill a pot with multi purpose compost and gently pat it down. I tend to place the seeds on the compost before I push them in, just in case you get distracted mid way through and then forget where you got to. Make sure you space the seeds out evenly and don’t plant them together in the same hole. Push the seeds in about half an inch and then cover with a little more compost. The Sweet Peas which were sent to me from Lidcott Barn I sowed 3 or 4 per pot, the Cucumber “Louisa” I sowed 2 or 3 per pot, the Melon “Sugar Baby” I sowed 4 seeds per pot (I know this may seem like a lot, but the seeds are quite old, normally I’d only sow 2 seeds), and finally Broad Beans “Aqualdulce” 2 seeds per pot.
Once you’ve sown them water well from the top. I covered all the seeds with propagator lids, firstly to keep the heat in, and secondly to keep the mice that seem to continue to come in my greenhouses at night from eating them. Still can’t figure out how they’re getting in, little buggers.
In this video I’m sowing a different variety of Cucumbers and slightly later in the year, but hopefully it’ll give you some idea of what I mean.
Once everything was done in the greenhouse it was time to weed and fill in some empty spaces in my Fairy Garden and the flower bed next to the chickens. There weren’t many weeds, just those annoying ones that seem to grow, but are very easy to pull out. I filled in any spaces I found with a variety of plants that I have in my greenhouses. The primulas are starting to flower and soon there will be lots of colour back in the garden again.
I’ve still got a few that can go in the front garden, but I’ll do those this coming week. Crawling about on my hands and knees is always fun. I think I finished outside about 4.30 in the afternoon. So after I’d tidied up I went inside and put my pj bottoms on. I’d not been wearing my sexy waterproof waders so my tracksuit bottoms were a little muddy, can’t be sitting on the sofa with dirty knees.
It was wonderful to spend so much time outside again in the garden. It’s all starting again which is great. Lots more to do in the coming days, weeks and months. Off we go again!!
What a productive day! Can’t wait for the ground to thaw so I can start on the LONG outdoor job list!
I think the wind has finally calmed down here. We were very lucky and only lost one slate tile off the roof….can’t quite see where it came from though? Hope you can get out in your garden soon.