I took part in a spot of garden retail therapy on Monday, rather than the other option of sitting at home scoffing my face, watching rubbish bank holiday TV. It really wasn’t a hard decision, I had Christmas gift money burning a hole in my pocket and I desperately needed new wellies. My current pair have seen better days and thanks to a hard stint at my new allotment plot last year they finally split around the sole, carrying out their dastardly threat.
Clutching a new pair of welly boots I browsed the rest of the shop at my own leisure, eventually making my way over to the seed racks. I felt like a kid in a sweet shop gazing at row upon row of brightly coloured seed packets. Admiring the selection of heritage seeds I made a purchase of ‘Selma Zebra’ climbing beans, they look really interesting plus I’ve never grown them before. Each year I like to grow at least one new crop or a few different varieties of favourites, I find it difficult to stop selecting seeds to buy because there are many choices (each one is justified of course) but I have to be realistic. Growing space limitations can lead to interesting arguments with myself, no doubt I amuse the other shoppers who stop to watch me reason with an invisible person in the seed aisle.
Other seeds I managed to convince myself to buy were Thompson & Morgan mangetout ‘Shiraz’ (being a red wine drinker this was an easy-peasy argument to win), also a type of woodland/alpine strawberry made it into the shopping basket because the tiny strawberries are carried high above the foliage on upright stalks, making picking a breeze. Then somehow during my seed selecting I decided I was going to beat the current 884lb Atlantic pumpkin record. I’m still puzzled at how I won that argument and I absolutely hope I don’t beat the record or get anywhere near it. What would I do with a monster pumpkin that size anyway? Oh and some pretty looking squash managed to win me over along with ‘Petit Pois’ peas, ‘Twinkle’ early peas and a variety of tomato that I’ve never tried before. Gosh that is rather a lot of new things to try.
I think that’s it…….
Just a quickie update on the vegetable garden, sowing, seedlings and digging. We are still sowing like the clappers, all the seeds are germinating well so far, still waiting on the courgettes to make an appearance but so far so good.
Tomatoes and chillies have been sown and the tomatoes have already started to sprout. Runner beans will be started off in small pots this weekend, I don’t want to get caught out with a late frost or risk having the seed beans munched in the soil like last year.
The sprouts and cauliflower seedlings are doing very well outside in the mini greenhouse, some of the seedlings have their first set of true leaves. I have started off a second sowing of broad beans, the other plants are outside and doing well, even in the frost. We did lose some of the taller plants, but, I think that was my fault for allowing them to go too stringy before planting them out. We had to start the broad beans indoors because none of the vegetable beds were ready for planting.
The sweet corn seedlings are really doing well on the sunny windowsill, they will be planted out as soon as the risk of frost is over. The onion sets are coming along great as well as the garlic. No major dramas so far.
The vegetable garden is coming along slowly but we are getting there. We are still having a hell of a battle with nettles on the second half of the plot. Our very friendly neighbour asked us why we don’t just spray the blighter’s and be done with it, I politely answered that we want to be as organic as we can, otherwise what is the point? We may as well not bother trying to grow our own if we are going to pump the soil full with nasty stuff. He probably thinks we are barmy of course and cannot see the point in us out there, every spare hour we can grab, digging like crazy people possessed.
Anyhoo, we now have 5 lovely vegetable beds all fed with lovely well-rotted manure and organic compost, ready to nurture our seedlings and sowings. Oh, that reminds me, must get the carrots, beets, peas and parsnips in soon!
I love sowing seeds and waiting for them to germinate, be it vegetable or flowers it doesn’t matter, I find the waiting equally as rewarding. The sign of life within the soil, a little green seedling looking for the light. I’ve had a bash at sowing sweet corn, all the seeds germinated and the young seedlings are looking nice and healthy so far. I cannot wait to plant these out once the danger of frost is over. The height, the flowers, the crop that these seedlings hopefully will bring is very exciting to say the least. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Sweet corn is wind pollinated, planting in blocks rather than rows will increase the chances of successful pollination.
Other sowings this week have been tomatoes, courgettes and chillies, now cooking away in the propagator. Our chillies did reasonably well last year, although they refused to redden until brought inside. Sprouts and cauliflower are doing well in the outside mini greenhouse. Runner beans are next on the list for sowing as well as peas, beets, carrots and parsnips.
So far I have resisted buying in vegetable seedlings whilst browsing around mums local (and very reasonable) nursery. Who knows, it could all go boobies up and I may need to rush back there after all.