Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Frantically Paddling

No it's not a reference to the weather, but rather one to the serene swan gracefully sailing down the river, all the while it's feet going ten to the dozen frantically trying to keep it on course. So that's me the serene plot holder, frantically trying to find the time to get everything done.
My Sunningdale plot progressed a little further at the weekend with the installation of the wooden edging down 75% of the long edge, the digging of a 4ft wide strip down the entire length of the plot, and the planting of the first two rows of potatoes - one row of Maris Bard and one row of Charlotte. Only another 5ft strip and 2 more rows to go here then, that is of course ignoring the two rows on my father-in-law's plot and the two rows on the Bracknell plot.
I also managed to get about 2/3 of the onion main crop planted, 3 10' rows each of Sturon and Red Baron. Now all I've got to worry about are the brassicas and where to put the remainder, remembering I need 3 weeks between treating the Bracknell plot with Armillatox and any planting there.
In the greenhouse I'm faring almost as badly, a combination of lack of time, poor germination of old seed, and my little furry friends eating seed and digging up seedlings. As a result I've had to plant 2nd batches of Alicante, Moneymaker, Marketmore, World Beater, and Honey Dew melons. This is only possible due to the high temperature in the last week enabling me to clear the super-7 propagator. In addition I've planted the remainder of last years Sunflower seed and some more mint - maybe some of this will germinate and stay alive.
The Peas planted two? weeks ago are showing signs of germination, so I've sown 2 more lots, one of my heritage Duke of Albany, and the other of the new mangetout purchase Carouby De Mousanne. I'm now also going to have to start seriously thinking about sowing french and runner beans.
Lastly I've sown carrots, Early Nantes and Autumn King - one short 8' row of each, and 2 rows of parsnips in the garden veg plot. I can only hope I get some germination and the slugs don't eat them all. I don't have very much success with either of these crops.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

For the Record

Just a quick post in line with my new improved attempt at keeping better records.
Over the past week I've moved various things out of the propagator, last Monday (the 15th) the Veg Spaghetti cmae out with I think 100% germination, then on Saturday I removed the Sweet Heart (75% germination), Telegraph (75% germination), and Butternut (100%) germination although I think I may lose one of these.
In the available slots I've sown Turks Turban, Pepper (Nardelio - Heritage), and another variety of butternut squash. I must remember to find some space for the pumpkin seed I saved.
In root trainers I also sowed Purple Podded and Hurst Greenshaft peas. I was going to sow mangetout but discovered I'd run out then ran out of time today, after having to replace the nearside trackrod end ball joint on the car after it failed it's MOT. What is more interesting is that they apear to have chalked the draglink ball joint which has a split gater but there is nothing on the observation report about it. I'm now going to have to replace this before I submit the car for a retest.
With a fair wind and some decent weather I may be able to get the first of my potatoes in next weeked. I can't make up my mind whether to put my onions in or not at the same time.

Monday, March 08, 2010


Yes, this is a reference to the last post, and not recording what I've sown and when.
After the week of reasonably fine weather the plots have dried out but not to a substantial enough degree to consider serious digging. With all the immediate jobs sorted on the Sunningdale plot, I managed to get down the Bracknell plot on Saturday afternoon.
Expecting the over wintering onions to be buried under a sheet of weeds I pleasantly surprised to find the beds comfortably clean, although I recon I've lost about 30% over winter. Not having to weed the onions meant I was able to tackle a few other jobs, digging over the bottom corner bed and removing the couch grass and bind weed that had invaded it, pruning the raspberries, digging out the volounteer jerusalem artichokes, and stripping out the dead brassicas. I also managed to get about a third of this years potato bed dug over - all I've got to do now is coincide available time with the right weather and I can get the manure I need for the plot.
Sunday was principly taken up with a group craft day and battle practice, which at least proved I wasn't quite as unfit as I believed myself to be, or perhaps it just showed how unfit some of the rest of my group are...I'll leve you and them to make up your own minds.
What I did manage to find time to do was get in the greenhouse and fill the propagators, so here goes with the 11 varieites I managed to plant, melon: Honeydew and Sweet Heart, tomato: Super Roma, Alicante, Money Maker, and Tumbling Tom, squash: Butternut, pumpkin: Veg Spaghetti, courgette: Defender, cucumber: Telegraph and Marketmore.
I also rescued the brassica seedlings moving them from the propagating bench and onto the much cooler raised bed - it's getting surprisingly hot in their these days when the sun is out for any length of time; a fact that has not failed to escape the notice of my lilies which are doing their best to be in bloom by the end of April.