Monday 24 March 2014

More planting and Glass Mystery

Another beautiful spring weekend - but interrupted by sharp showers and hail, resulting in fabulous rainbows.

More planting:

Broad Beans. 30 beans in 3 rows straight in the ground. These are saved from last year (Masterpiece green longpod) when we had a bumper harvest.

Brussel sprouts. This year I went for a different variety - Evesham. These are supposed to mature earlier than the Bedford we have previously grown. Although the idea of a late variety brussels is to provide greens in midwinter when there's not much else, it's always touch and go whether there will be any ready for Christmas. Well gardening is all about experimentation and discovery!
I planted 40 little brown seeds in modules and placed them on the greenhouse bench with a sheet of perspex over for extra protection (there was a heavy frost last night).

Now here's a mystery. The modules were filled with soil from the garden before sowing and gently pressed in with a little extra fine soil on top. The perspex placed over. This afternoon I found a small piece of glass on top of one of the sections. It surely wasn't there last night! This happens all the time outside where piles of glass appear on the surface of the garden beds. People explain it by saying worms move the earth or the rain washes the soil from above. But no worms or rain in my brussel sprout modules!

Monday 17 March 2014


Got started with the seed-sowing this weekend:

Beetroot (Boltardy) 40 seeds sown in modules and will be kept in the small conservatory until big enough to plant out.
Broad Beans  Seeds saved from last year. 5 beans to a pot, 6 pots. They'll be planted out when big enough. I'll also be planting some straight into the soil.
Potatoes (Desiree) I bought some seed potatoes and the Desirees were already chitting when they arrived so I thought I'd get them in. The soil in the vegetable beds is warming up and moist - so they should get a good start. I've also got some saved from last year's harvest which I'll plant later inthe week.
Tomatoes (Alicante) Started these off in pots in the big conservatory. I generally have around 12 plants in the greenhouse.

Friday 14 March 2014

Leek Bed

The evenings are getting lighter and today was a lovely warm spring day so I was able to spend a pleasant hour and a half after work hours digging the "leek bed". The leek bed was originally a large greenhouse - which the previous owners took with them leaving a sizeable and well-dug bed surrounded by flag-stones. It's next to the smaller greenhouse which they left behind, so is ideal for salads, beetroots  - and leeks. Mum is very fond of leeks and likes to help with separating the small leeklets grown in the seed tray and hands them to me to drop each one into its own hole made in the soil with an old spade handle. This is pretty tedious work made easier when shared.

Well that's a way off yet. Actually we haven't been able to grow leeks for a few years because we suffered from the dreaded Alium Leaf Miner. Our leeks, onions and shallots were going rotten in the ground and eventually we discovered little white larvae and horrid brown pupae. These can live in the soil and emerge as moths to infest the nexy year's crop. So we decided to give the onion family a miss for a few years. We're going to try again this year.

Our leek bed kitchen garden during early summer

Monday 10 March 2014

Two-wheeled wheelbarrow

We live on a country lane so our small strip of front garden is directly onto the road. It's a great place on Sunday afternoon to pretend to be gardening - interrupted every 5 minutes by neighbours and walkers for a chat and setting the world to rights.

This afternoon I was clearing weeds from the gravel path and was hailed by a lady walking with her young son and dog. She admired our two-wheeled wheelbarrow and wanted to know where she could get one for her Dad.

My Mum & Dad bought one in Dorset and when we came up here to Froggarts Cottage we bought another because they are so useful.

A standard one-wheeled barrow is awkward to balance with a heavy load and with the standard two handles you need both hands to steer. Our barrows have two pneumatic tyres and a pram-style handle which you can push with one hand. They are also light enough to pick up over steps if necessary. They are made by Haemmerlin based in Walsall (wheelbarrow capital of the world apparently) but I haven't seen them in the shops. Amazon have a similar barrow - see below - which has a good review so may be worth a look (click on the picture for more).

Friday 7 March 2014

First week of Spring

The first week of March has been largely mild and sunny. There's been some heavy rain occasionally and one frosty morning, but otherwise very Spring-like. The snowdrops are in full bloom and visited by the bumble bees and there are other spring bulbs like crocuses popping up all over.

Our daffodils  are still a bit shy but over the other side of the village they are in full bloom (see