Saturday, 22 March 2008

Easter snows

It's been a quiet week. The shelves and windowsills are full of seed trays with seedlings growing on. The greenhouse on our allotment has its shelves full of seed trays too. Even the cold frame at home has some beans in it. I've added another shelf into the greenhouse and there's room for two more. They can be removed later so we can grow some bigger plants that do better in the greenhouse all year. Jean got some free seeds with Gardeners' World, including some peppers, which we should grow well in that warm space.

Easter is early this year - almost as early as it could possibly be. Unlike previous recent years, this year we have had a taste of winter with some frosts and a few storms. This Easter the cold north winds have blown in snow squalls. So far the snow has not really settled but the ground is quite cold, so really we're waiting for things to settle down and warm up.

Friday, 14 March 2008


The first leaves of parsnips have appeared. These are thought difficult to grow, so we spread the seed on wet newspaper in a seed tray with a clear lid. Nearly half of the seeds rooted and have been transferred to fibre pots. Now the first couple of leaves have sprouted above the compost so it looks as though the method works. It is a bit fiddly and time-consuming, but home grown parsnips next winter will be well and truly worth it.

Now we will sow the next batch in just the same way.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Out they go

The first of our broad beans have been planted out. We have lots of spare seeds - more are already growing - so we decided o see how they do. Other plots have broad beans out on them, but they have mostly over-wintered.

We took some more leeks up to the greenhouse and also our first batch of savoy cabbage too. The greenhouse is working well, so I want to make the most of it.

Our major success is the first showing of parsnips. They are notoriously poor at germinating so we have put some on a wet newspaper to force them to germinate. so far about a third have sprouted roots. We potted them into fibre pots with sandy compost so I'll be very pleased when their leaves break through, but things look good so far.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Bin there, done that

The council have delivered a new bin to us. It is a large wheelie bin for our garden rubbish, the sort of stuff that can composted. This stuff all goes to our allotment compost heap so this large bin is not much use to us. But then again ...

We have a large pile of pernicious weed roots at the allotment, left over from clearing the site last year. They are rotting down, but we're worried about putting them on the compost heap in case they don't rot completely - the heap might not get hot enough to kill them. They are mostly bindweed and nettle roots so we don't want to spread them. So in an ingenious exchange deal we take our garden cuttings to the allotment compost heap and take the weed roots home to the new bin, so the council can take them away. The council will compost them in a big facility that will get hot enough to kill them. We have filled the bin but the first collection is about a month away so we have to wait get rid of more. We could probably fill the bin many times over, so it could take a while to get rid of the nasty stuff.

Seeds are growing fast, well not the parsnips yet. Plants in the greenhouse are growing nicely and don't seem to have suffered in the frost at all. We seem to be off to a good start.