Monday 25 February 2013

Buying seeds and potatoes

Time to check the seed store and buy new seeds needed for planting this year.

We always save bean seeds and have a good supply of Broad Beans and Runner Beans from last year's harvest. (We're using the Runner beans saved year on year from seeds that Mum bought in 1982.) However last year the French Beans just didn't get going. I tried saved seeds and two different purchased packets and they were all pretty  pathetic so I'll have to buy more this year (Blue Lake).

Also need to order potato tubers. We usually plant Sante and Pentland Javelin and a couple of other varieties to try out. The last few years I've managed to save some of our own - but last year's harvest was so poor we don't have much in store. I have kept some Desirees which didn't do too badly although they were all very small. They are already sprouting in their cardboard box. Back in November I planted a few Sante in big tubs in the greenhouse. They are only now beginning to break the surface of the soil so we won't be harvesting for a couple of months! This year I've decided to buy Sante, Orla and Setanta and plant the saved Desirees.

As well as potatoes I've ordered:
  • Marrows - green long bush which we harvest small and use for courgettes and let 3 or 4 grow to marrows for chutney.
  • Brussel sprouts (Bedford)
  • Lettuces (Tom Thumb)
  • Parsley (Moss curled)
  • Beetroot (Boltardy)
  • French Beans (Blue Lake)
We're still not planting onions, leeks and shallots because of the alium leaf miner. see December 2011 post "Know your onions and their predators ". They devastated our newly-purchased shallots last year.

Monday 18 February 2013

Dominant species?

Beautiful sunny weekend! Great to be out in the warm sun for a couple of hours without risking frostbite. Two little blue tits were playing in the last year's fennel stems not bothered by me working. A buzzard was soaring above with the inevitable couple of crows mocking it. Two collar doves have been cuddling up on a branch of the redwood for two whole days popping down to the bird table every so often for a quick snack.

There's so much to do - weeding, tidying, cutting back. The fallen leaves and old flower stems have gone soggy with all the rain we've had so it's a messy job. There's loads of couch grass which, with the wet soil, comes up by the yard. But despite my efforts there are hundreds more green shoots where I cleared last week. I can't help feeling that human beings are really not the top species on this planet. We slave away trying to impose our idea of  "tidy" and the couch grass and ground elder and bindweed just keep going without any apparent effort. "Lilies of the field" I suppose.

Sunday 10 February 2013

Tidying up the hellebores

The weather has been cold and wet. They have promised snow but at present it's grey and pouring with rain. Yesterday I had a quick hour in the garden before the rain set in and managed to tidy up the hellebores in the bed outside the kitchen window. I cut off the old leaves so we can see the flowers better and, in any case, the leaves are going brown and will die back soon on their own. There are little new leaves sprouting and lots of little seedlings which will flower in a couple of years.



Monday 4 February 2013

Snowdrops everywhere!

Beautiful sunny day but windy. The garden is emerging after the January snow and the snowdrops are everywhere.

Snowdrops in the border pushing through brown, fallen magnolia leaves
Snowdrops emerging through the fallen magnolia leaves
Snowdrops in the grass
Snowdrops in the grass