Keeping the cats out and the seed spuds in

The last few days haven’t been that warm but they’ve been nice enough to go out  and catch up on a few jobs in the garden. I know we mentioned we weren’t going to put in those pre-chitted spuds on Good Friday as per tradition but we cracked yesterday (Easter Sunday) and stuck in a couple of rows of maris pipers just down from the onion sets and broad beans just peeping through (pic above). Some comfrey leaves were put in the hole beforehand and some bamboo canes and rose prunings flung on the top to keep the cats off. More on how you sow seed potatoes from an older post here.

Typically a couple of hours after the spuds went in we heard that later this week it may get cold at night (below) so it might be out with the fleece or those old net curtains.

 Talking of protection there’s a couple of tomato plants under the tipped up terrarium (pic above) we found in the street a few years ago but if it does look like it’s going to be really cold we’ll be bringing them back indoors.A couple of rows of spinach and basil seed even went in (yes we’re well optimistic about the weather) under a homemade cold frame type affair made out of an old window and some old wood. It was really a ploy to get rid of a “bargain” obtained at B&Q the other day; a massive sack (125L) of multi-purpose compost for £6.50. As soon as we opened the bag we knew why it was so cheap, it honked to high heaven and it’s not something you want to be putting in pots indoors for certain. As the old saying goes “there’s no such thing as a free lunch (or a compost bargain).”

Songs to sow seeds to

Songs to sow seeds to-March

Here’s a nice collection of tunes to accompany your seed sowing this month. It’s an excellent mix tape from Chronixx and Federation Sound as mentioned on the great David Rodigan show the other week.

It features some well known chronixx tracks over some classic rhythm tracks like jah jah jahovah, king tubby meets the rockers uptown, cuss cuss, monkey man, joyride and much much more!

This month is a funny one for seed sowing as it’s still not warm enough to sow everything outdoors but you can give some carrots, beetroot, kale, broad beans, leeks, parsnips, spinach and turnips a go if it’s not too cold. I sowed a row each of beetroot, carrots, lettuce and spinach the other day, if they don’t work, they don’t work and it’s only a couple of rows of seeds wasted.

You can always start these indoors this month: aubergines, herbs including basil and the like, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, chilli peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes and what about starting a pot of salad leaves on the windowsill.

It’s still a bit early for spuds but in a couple of weeks time it will be and the gardening season will get underway and we won’t know what’s hit us!

STOP PRESS: Cheers to our mate Ciarán in Canada for sending us a pic of his advocado from seed (and some find looking sage in the background) that have grown all the way through their mild winter. How good is that? avocado

Herbman hustling

I tidied up the last of the autumn leaves after slipping on a wet pile of them by the front door the other day when popping out a bag into the dustbin and whacking my shin on the doorstep. When collecting leaves I use the old council workers trick of using two bits of hardboard to grab a big load and then put them into a black bin bag. Rather than chucking it in the dustbin, I’ve stuck it at the bottom of the garden and will forget about it until next year when they’ll have turned into some great leaf mould. Excellent stuff to add to your soil and all for free!

cabbage patches and allI took the netting off the pond today as most of the leaves are off the surrounding trees now and put it over the overwintering cabbages to stop those pigeons and birds from having a go at them. Notice the once big pile of prunings behind which is now a lot smaller, thanks to the incinerator! I’ve stuck a row of broad beans behind the cabbages to overwinter too.

Herby HancockLast weekend I treated myself to a few terracotta pots and saucers (about £1.50 for both from the local garden centre, Shannons) to stick on the kitchen windowsill and sowed some corriander and basil then covered them with a small plastic sarnie bag until they germinate. I also bought a lemon tyme plant off ebay for £1.99 and that’s up on there as well. Herbs, you can’t beat em!