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

Runner beans and nasturtiums

Down the allotment at the weekend, there were tons of runner beans and giant courgettes.  I forgot to take photos but here are some of the runner bean flowersI’ve grown the red flowered ‘painted lady’ beans for years but these are ‘moonlight’, from a seed swap back in the spring. I also have sweet peas growing up the bean poles – a combination I particularly like Alongside these, a rogue squash was also climbing: The beans, courgettes and squashes are loving the warm wet summer, as are the nasturtiums which self seed all over the plot, making it  very beautiful … Continue reading Runner beans and nasturtiums

A stressful time of year

Today I had to dig up my awesome rainbow chard plants to make way for cucumbers and runner beans: Most of this sadly had to land in the compost bin, but I saved a big bucketful to live on for the next few days: We are subsisting almost entirely on rainbow chard and rhubarb at the moment which is probably not a good thing. Never-the-less I felt dreadful pulling these up when they still have some life in them. So I’ve planted out some tiny replacements in the wildlife area. These plants seem to be so robust that they might just … Continue reading A stressful time of year

Juggling rainbows

It’s May and should  be the time to get lots of things going in the garden but the last week has been too nippy for me to dare put very much outside or even out to the seed palace.  The tomatoes are taking over the windowsill inside and I haven’t yet sown any courgettes, marrows or runner beans. I could get going with digging my runner bean trench but the raised bed identified for the beans is still full of onions which are not quite ready to harvest. That’s the trouble with rotating vegetables round a few raised beds. However, … Continue reading Juggling rainbows

Seeds

The seed palace is now populated! I had a small window of time this morning to sow some seeds, resulting in two small trays of oriental salad and one of sweet peas: I also sowed some broad beans and spinach in the surprisingly warm ground. The sun is deceptive though and I have covered these with a cloche: Just to show that I don’t always, or even usually, rush out and buy new stuff, you will be pleased to know that this cloche is constructed from a twenty-five year old frame and has a cover from another defunct plastic seed … Continue reading Seeds

..it’s not just winning, it’s about taking part

..really.  It was the allotment annual show on Saturday.  I thought I’d better enter some of our plentiful produce, although I wasn’t expecting any prizes.  I entered: courgettes and runner beans, apples and rhubarb, raspberries, some not quite ripe yet tomatoes and a big vase of flowers. I knew the rules were all about perfection and submitting identical specimens. I had checked with the organisers whether unripe tomatoes would count – they said ‘no’ but thought I’d try anyway.  We could have entered our monstrous marrow, if only it hadn’t been carved, stuffed and eaten by musicians a few weeks … Continue reading ..it’s not just winning, it’s about taking part