Spring has sprung

Well its all go down the veggie plots at the moment.

Plot 28 is starting to take shape, with lots already planted, so far i have overwintering Onions and Garlic, beetroot, shallots, cauliflower, kale, Calabrese,French beans and onion, unfortunately I think i was a bit to soon putting my swede out and think the frost got them, but I live in hope. I also have a load of zebrunne onions to go out and 3 trays of other onions I’ve tried from seed.

Down the walled garden has been very different, I’ve gone totally no dig so I’ve been shifting tons and tons (around 20) of muck to make one huge bed, but finally I will be planting this week, I’m mostly using the walled garden for my sweetcorn and squashes this year as i need time to get it all sorted and exactly as i want it, I have 16 types of squash to try this year, I’m looking for the one that tastes and stores the best.

The veggie patch in the garden is doing great, so much going on and with the arrival of my pollytunnel its really taken off, I’m already using the spinach and my lettuce are flying along.

I’m really starting to get the hand of the successional sowing now, even if I did start sowing far to early this year, but I’ve only lost a few plugs so far so thumbs up for that.

Mental health – getting rid of the stigma

Really great read

Live Better

Mental health has been in the UK news a lot this
week, with many high profile people highlighting their own experiences or just outlining how important it is for us to talk about it. HRH Price Harry is one of these people and has talked openly about how he struggled for a few years after his mother’s death before taking advice and talking to a counsellor – which he said really helped. His brother, The Duke of Cambridge (HRH Prince William) has also highlighted the importance of talking about it – and issued a video with Lady Gaga.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are spearheading a charity (Heads Together) campaign to end stigma around mental health. Heads Together aims to change the national conversation on mental health and wellbeing, and it looks like they are making great progress.

It’s great to see all this publicity about…

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Keeping going through Winter

Well that’s is Christmas is over for another year and the hard slog starts all over again, time to burn off those extra calories and what  better way than pottering down the plot.

I’m pretty lucky with Plot 28, it’s not a huge plot to start with and since I’ve decided to go No dig it’s got even easier, hardly any weeds to deal with and minimal winter prep either apart from topping up the beds with some well rotted manure and last seasons compost, couldn’t be easier really.

So what do I do during these bleak colder days? I go and take the dying and dead leaves of my swede and cabbage, have a general tidy up and just tinker, I’ve all ready planned where I’m going to plant everything this coming year so no need to worry about that, I’ve also gone heavy on the over wintering plants this year planting garlic and onion both at Plot 28 and at home, this just keeps me coming down to have a check and see how things are going.

I have loads of pots of well rotted manure, no idea why but I was told I could take as much as I wanted so I did, most of them are now earmarked for a friends new plot once she works down the waiting list is 7 bags went to the next door plot holder to help her out and I’m sure I will find a home for the rest.

At home the green house is bursting at the rafters with things growing, I’ve got all my shallots about 180 all in modules from seed around 100 other onions and 80 onion sets in modules too, I’ve gone onion crazy. I’m also trying some very early beetroot see if I can grow it in the green house  

We also have some Chickens coming soon but they are on hold until DEFRA says it’s ok to start moving things again.

I hope you are all keeping active and keep enjoying your gardening 

Early onions, Zebrune Shallot

Whilst most people are planting there over wintering onion sets, I’ve decided to give me seed onions a early start.

Sticking with the good old Zebrune shallot seeds from Premier seeds direct, I use these guys for a lot of my  seeds now, they are very good and the seeds come well packed and quickly through the post.

So these could not be easier to sow, simply get your modules, I use the 20 module trays from Oaklands, just the right size to fit 2 in a tray and the are much more robust than the Wilko/B&Q one planting then break.

So fill the modules with your chosen compost, which ever you have about or you feel confident with, I’m currently using some half decent stuff from a local garden centre, once filled give it a bang to level out and fill any modules that are a bit low, then make a small depression about the depth of your finger nail, once again no science here, then just a light covering of compost just to cover and finish with a light  dampening, you don’t want  to soak it just dampen it as I’m always worried about the compost freezing, daft I know but it’s worked for me.

Once you’ve done that put in a label and your all sorted, I keep mine in my greenhouse it isn’t heated in anyway, but I will probably place in a fleece box if the weather is going to really get awful.

So get yourself some seeds and give it a go

Happy growing

Scratch that itch…

Well if you are anything like me you will be dying to start planting and sowing things again, well go and do it! 

I’m all about giving it a go and seeing if I can get things to grow that  little bit earlier of keep things going just a bit longer than everyone else, Currrently on Plot 28 I have the following growing;

Beetroot – been a great year for beet so much to harvest and I’m going to try another sowing in the next few days.

Spinach chard – I had this growing since March time and have done 4 different sowing to keep it fresh and aim off for the ones that bolt.

Spring onions – had a great season but I’ve lost out on my last sowing as they just haven’t got above 6 inch high and started to rot so out they came.

Swede – had a great harvest and the Mrs keeps the squash and swede soup coming, still have 8 in the ground to keep us going

Carrots – I only have 1 tub of carrots left now, so 3 meals worth, I did sow some 8 weeks ago but I’m not holding out hope for those but you never now.

Spring cabbage – these are doing really well and growing at a steady rate now

Lettuce – I still have Gem and Winter destiny in the ground and the scaffold netting is saving them from the frost so far

Overwinter onions and garlic – these are now in the ground and we will see how they go 
So what do I have in the green house at home;

Loads of flowers in pots of (deal at Wilko’s) 

90 onion sets

Lavender plants

Cut down and fleeced chilli plants
In the kitchen I have growing;

2 trays of chills – I’m trying for an early crop, 3 seeds of each type so only 15 seeds wasted if they don’t work out

1 tray of sweet peppers – once again going for an early crop, 10 seeds in so no great loss

So as you can see I’m all about looking forward and trying to keep growing and keeping busy, I’m shifting lots of manure to Plot 28 to keep the soil healthy and keep those worms moving.

I’ve also had failure this year  including;

Kale – my nemesis 

French beans – tried a late crop and never got above 2 ft tall

Spring onions – just didn’t mature

Spring cabbage – catapilar hell, 20 of the got battered

So as you can see I win some and loose some but surely that’s what it’s all about?

Happy growing

Kitchen Garden re visited

So 3 months ago I bid a sad fair well to the walled kitchen garden, it was a sad day today o see it go but due to changes I couldn’t keep it on.

However after a good meeting with the head Gardner I have been asked to take the whole walled garden on again for the next season.

Now the this garden is amazing, a proper old school walled garden with history going back to the 1700, it has established, Plum, fig and numerous apple trees, a lovely large green house and potting shed, unfortunatly in the last 3 months they have been left  in a bit of a state so I have some cleaning up to do.

I will be doing this in my normal manner which is “No dig” I have asked if the farm manager can dump 20 tons of horse manure for me on the plot, all I’ve had to do is put 4 posts in for the area I want covering, which has saved me so many man hours it’s crazy.

My plans for the plot are pretty simple for the next year, I will be using it to grow my squashes, beans and peas and sweet corn and no doubt I will fit a lot more in but I want to take it nice and steady and enjoy the plot rather than work work work.

I look forward to showing you around this beautiful old walled garden and sharing my experiences with you all

Happy growing

Winter Swede’s

So I know a lot of the die hards will be coughing and spluttering at this the mere fact that I’m going to even write this, but hey ho, if you don’t try you never know.

So late Swede’s will they work? I’m pretty sure they will even if I only get small ones it’s all good for the soup bowl

How I sow my Swede’s, I pretty much always does these the same way, I never have an issue with small tap roots as I’ve done Swede’s and turnips in modules before and had perfectly shaped Roots from them.

It’s very easy as is most of my gardening, I take a few of my saved toilet rolls and 3/4 fill the hem with compost

Then place 2 seeds in to each roll, I always use 2 seeds when doing late sowing just to give myself that extra chance.

Next and final step is easy, put them in a container and label and water!

I will keep the these in the green house until there around 1 cm tall and then put outside until there ready to plant out which should be around 8cm high.

Swede and turnip really are a great veggie to grow at any time of the year and so easy, they really do thrive in a no dig bed so get some growing and enjoy there great taste

Happy growing

Bargain Wilko bulbs

Well I’m not really someone who goes into growing flowers to be honest, I may grow the odd marigold now and then but their more a offering to the bugs than something to look pretty, well until a trip to Wilko’s that is.

I popped into to grab some end of season bargains, anyone who hasn’t been to a Wilko’s and looked at their gardening section really should especially when their selling everything off, you can get all next years seeds for £2 yes it really is that cheap.

So as I’m busily filling my basket I come across the bulb section which I normally bypass very quickly but I just couldn’t  this time, they where so cheap I treated myself to some Crocus, hyacinth and ranunculus, now not being a huge flower person and the fact  my garden is pretty much sorted now, I didn’t  just want to randomly plant these bulbs all over the gaff, so rightly or wrongly I’ve potted them up in 4 inch pots and they will live in my green house until they start to show some life, they may save me a few quid when looking at bedding plants etc earlier next year, as always we will see, I could of just wasted £3.

So as  I filled the pots half full placed in the bulb and filled up, I then labelled and watered, to simple? We will find out

Sunday harvests

So after a week of working in London and having to do the daily commute at 0556 in the morning and back at 2000 hrs its been a bit fi a busy week, thankfully today I’ve had the chance to get down plot 28 with the family and spend an hour or so sorting and pulling some veg.

Today we harvested Swede, spring onions, snowball Turnips and Lettuce (which I’m extremely proud off) also pulled more Beetroot which I’m going to use to make crisps, so i may do a little write up on that too.

Once again there was no weeding to do thanks to the “No dig” method that i use to grow my veggies which is always a nice thing, It really does amaze me more people don’t use this method.

So I’m going to try some late Swedes this year, just to see of they work. I will be doing the in toilet rolls again and see how they turn up.

Happy growing

Sunday clear up

Well it’s time to start the clear up after the tomatoes, courgettes and everything else I’ve grown in pots this year. 

So I started with the tomatoes and chopped them for composting and all the compost got bagged ready for the plot same with courgette and beetroot pots, it was good to see the amount of worms in the pots you can’t beat good manure with just a dash of compost!

I’m finally starting to get a harvest from my chilies even if they are tiny but very potent.

Found some over wintering shallots in Wilkos, so I’ve put them in one of my new garden boxes(more to come on that)

The plot is looking great, afraid to say the xmas spuds have been taken out by blight so they’ve been dealt with and looks like it will be shop bought this year.

I’ve harvested beetroot, spring onions, spinach chard, swede and snowball turnips, plus the lettuce is still growing great

Not a lot to do this coming week as work is taking over, however a big harvest next Sunday

Happy growing