Psychedelic shack

glam rockThis week on Gardening with Tim and Joe on BBC Radio Leeds there was a mention of a variety of Hydrangea called Glam Rock. How mad is that?

And as the blurb on a website that is selling said shrubs says, “they will burst into a psychedelic frenzy of multicoloured flower heads, that will create a real ‘wow factor’ in your garden.”

What next, a pansy called Punk Pathetique, a runner bean called Speed Garage or a perfumed rose called Mark E. Smith?

The long good Friday

Big up joe maiden!

A few weeks ago after listening to Joe Maiden on BBC Radio Leeds’ Gardening with Tim and Joe I took the risk and bunged in some of my seed spuds and now they’re well on their way (thanks Joe, you know your stuff!) But there’s a piece of fleece at the side just in case to stick over the plants if there’s any risk of frost as you can’t take anything for granted weatherwise.

leaf and spudTalking of spuds, Good Friday is traditionally the day to plant them, but I wasn’t around. As I was off work and the weather was great (and it was a root day from 1pm, man) I stuck the remainder of my well chitted seed potatoes in today.

In the hole

As per the RHS website I stuck them in five inches deep (with the chitted end upwards), twelve inches apart in two rows (two feet between each row). Also to aid growth I stuck some ripped up Comfrey leaves under them (I was given a root of Comfrey a couple of years ago by our good mate Scarlett and boy has it grown!) When the shoots start to show through on the spuds I’ll be earthing them up. Early spuds are good stuff and well easy to grow. If you haven’t got a garden, you can stick them in a plastic dustbin, builders sacks or even carrier bags!

Garlic, you're too wild!Also while “tipping around” the garden today I found a lone wild garlic not growing too wildly around by the pond but growing all the same!

Undercover Lover

Fleece on the bed _2014

There were a couple of frosts last week which got me wondering on Thursday morning about the spuds I sowed a few weeks back after listening to Joe Maiden on BBC Radio Leeds. He said at the time it’s worth putting a row in as you never know what the future weather will bring.

Spuds pop up their heads_2014

I put some fleece over the area Thursday night as there was supposedly going to be more frost but then in the morning thought that it might have been a case of “shutting the stable door after the horse had bolted.”

Today I lifted it up the fleece and saw that the spuds have sprouted, how good is that, that Joe Maiden talks a load of sense! Do listen to the BBC Leeds’ Gardening with Tim & Joe show as there’s some great advice on it.

Veg Bed March 2014

I stuck in some Carrots in the veg bed today and noticed there’s some Parsnips and Cabbages peeping through the soil after sowing them a month ago. The morale of this tale is, it’s well worth taking a risk with seeds, what have you got to lose?

Soldier, sailor, tinker, council gardener

cheap and cheerful coldframe

This week has been a lot better on the weather front. Last Sunday I “tipped around” in the back, stuck in the last of the seed potatoes (5″ deep just to avoid any future frosts!), weeding and generally tinkering around and also sowed indoors some different varieties of basil (cinnamon, lemon and also lime, great eh?). I also moved some cabbage and sweet pea seedlings off the kitchen windowsill into the mini cold frame which will start them off on the hardening off journey. I take the window frame off during the warmer days and put it over at night so they slowly will get accustomed to the outside climate.


Tonight I checked the bucket that the comfrey liquid has been fermenting in for the past few months at the bottom of the garden. I think it’s now time to bottle it up as there’s maggots in there now! That’s not right is it? Or are they like the maggot at the bottom of the Tequila bottle, I reckon I should stick them on the garden to see if they work wonders like the Tequila worm is supposed to (it’s never worked for me!).

Also was listening to the great podcast that is BBC Leeds’ “Gardening with Tim and Joe” and they mentioned they were recently featured in the top 5 gardening podcasts in The Guardian online.  That Joe Maiden certainly knows his onions (and his leeks, daffs, roses, rhubarb etc). Always worth a listen and top tips galore, all for a free download. Can’t be bad!

Emperor Tomato Ketchup

The garden seems to be going mad of late. The courgettes and the spuds are doing well and we’re seeing a bit of action on the climbing french beans and tomatoes.

I know it’s a bit late, but here’s a couple of tips when it comes to those tomato plants. If you’ve got the cordon type ones (not the bush or tumbling varieties) make sure that the side-shoots are pinched out regularly so all the goodness can go into the plant and the production of the actual fruit. I’ve a couple of plants in the raised bed that I have forgotten to do that are now going wild and a bit uncontrollable. Also when my plants get to about four or five trusses (the sets of flowers that later turn into fruit) I nip the tops out, so again the energy will go back into the plant (but keep an eye on the side shoots a while after you do this as they will tend to go mad). I do give them a regular water but not too much and a feed every ten days. I’ve had to buy some plant feed in, as my home-made attempts are still not ready yet.

The wormery (image above not to be viewed on a full stomach!) is cracking on and there’s a build up of nice looking compost at the bottom and the liquid in the bucket below is starting filling up too. All for recycling kitchen scraps, plant waste etc!

Also I have started to leave a combination of comfrey, nettle and borage leaves to rot in a small amount of water in a bucket at the bottom of the garden. It’s funny as sometimes it’s a bit like groundhog day. I go down there every now and again to have a check, lift up the slab of concrete that is acting as a lid on the stuff and have a sniff as I’m sure it’s supposed to pong a bit. A microsecond later the vile stench hits me… bang! When will I ever learn. If only the image below had a scratch and sniff and then you’ll know what I mean!

Also I heard a good potato tip on a podcast called “Gardening with Tim & Joe” from a show on BBC Radio Leeds. It can be a bit like 1970’s Radio 2 at times (“what’s the recipe today Jim?” etc) but there’s some great tips to be learnt there. The other week they were talking about harvesting potatoes. It was said you should go in once with a fork to pull up what you think are all the spuds, then go in another three times and you’ll get all the spuds you’d have missed previously. Good stuff!