Seeds and seedlings

After a week of rain and hail and overnight temperatures of 1 degree Celsius in the seed palace, is it possible that we have turned the corner into slightly warmer days? My tomato plants certainly hope so. These have gone out to the seed palace because I’ve run out of space on the windowsill. The reason I’ve run out of space is that the Costoluto Fiorentino seeds have continued germinating, multiplying all over the windowsill and needing little pots of their own. I think I now have ten of these little beauties. All being well, they will grow into monsters … Continue reading Seeds and seedlings

Broccoli Monsters

I’ve been growing runner beans for over twenty-five years and I thought I’d got the process down to perfection – info here on how I dig my runner bean trench. I try to make the most of my raised beds, so grow various other things alongside the runner beans, mainly sweet peas, which seem to grow happily beside the beans. Every year I also plant some small plants under the runner bean wigwam. Usually Swiss Chard or something like that which can grow quietly while the runner beans are developing and then come into their own when I take the … Continue reading Broccoli Monsters

Holidays: hills, wildlife, vegetables

I’ve been away for a short holiday, recharging the batteries in the English Lake District. Much as I love my garden, it was nice to get out into the wide open, climb some hills, row on a lake, look at 5000 years of history, spend some time with family, watch the wildlife and go for a very quick cold water swim: From top left: sunset over Derwent Water, a grasshopper settling on my leg, halfway up a mountain, Castlerigg Stone Circle, a very fluffy caterpillar, a lone duck, waiting for me to join it for a coldwater swim, yet more … Continue reading Holidays: hills, wildlife, vegetables

Late summer promise

It poured with rain in the night and I wandered round the garden this morning to see what was happening in the vegetable beds, accompanied by my furry assistant. I had a sense that the season was turning. The potatoes and soft fruit are nearly finished and I was beginning to worry if anything would take their place. A closer look showed the promise of late summer joys. So here’s what I found for today’s #SixOnSaturday. First, in my runner bean bed, where the sweet peas have been blooming for a few weeks, the runner beans are beginning to form … Continue reading Late summer promise

A little domestic wildness

It’s June so it’s time for #30DaysWild , the campaign run by the Wildlife Trusts to get everyone to spot a little bit of wildness every day in June. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and most years I treasure the chance to stop for a few minutes before or after work or over lunch to notice the wildness in the city around me. This year it’s a little different, with the wildness restricted to my daily walks or my own garden. Working from home, I can nip out with a cup of coffee or over lunch … Continue reading A little domestic wildness

Garden joys

Two months ago I started my main seed sowing of the season: tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, peas and some flowers. I said I was ‘sowing seeds of hope‘. I didn’t know then that we would still all be in lockdown two months later, but I looked forward to a summer of vegetables. Today, I’ve sowed some more seeds but mainly I’ve been planting things out in the garden and being thankful for all that grows there. I posted six of my favourite flowers for #SixOnSaturday on Twitter Clockwise from top left: The roses are starting to come out in the garden, … Continue reading Garden joys

Six from the allotment

I made it along to the allotment last week, for the first time in a while. We’ve been trying to social distance there and my allotment partner had been doing all the work this spring. I had a day off from working from home so made a trip to the allotment to do my share, complete with gloves and hand sanitizer for dealing with the gate. Here’s what was happening there. There was a friendly robin, sitting in the apple tree and hopping round my feet. It was excited by all the digging, finding food in the freshly dug soil. … Continue reading Six from the allotment

Digging the runner bean trench

Last summer I planted phacelia in one of my raised beds as a ‘green manure’. It has been growing slowly over the winter, providing a shady place for cats in this strange sunny spring : .. and just about to burst in flower. The problem is that I need that bed to grow runner beans which I sowed in paper tubes last week so the cats and flowers may just have to move somewhere else. The phacelia flowers are lovely though and the bees like them so I made a start on digging the trench for the runner beans, leaving … Continue reading Digging the runner bean trench

Harvest

Today was a big harvest day at the allotment. There’s a real nip in the air and temperatures of two degrees forecast for next week. So we decided to harvest all the allotment tomatoes before they succumb to the cold. They are still very green but abundant and luscious nevertheless. We picked about 3 kilos, mostly San Marzano. We also harvested the squashes, a ton of runner beans, potatoes, apples and some more raspberriesThere’s still lots to come,  including more runner beans and sweet peas The Christmas sprouts are coming along nicely: Otherwise the plot is beginning to settle down … Continue reading Harvest

Competition time: flowers v vegetables

I’ve always though of myself as a vegetable grower rather than a flower grower. So it is with some irony that I seem to keep winning the flower prizes at the annual allotment show: I was rather pleased with this prize though. I do love my sweet peas but I only grow them because they can grow up alongside the runner beans, as I explained in a previous post But we also won a prize for a vase of annual flowers: What the judges didn’t know was that they were really vegetables – can you spot the radish flowers? Here … Continue reading Competition time: flowers v vegetables