Do we still have to put our bins out during lockdown?

The last couple of days have been cold but a few quick trips down the garden have been in order for a nice bit of sanity from a self-isolating worldview. A big shout to our good friend Nancy B who a short while back, suggested we get a Clematis Montana for the back fence. It’s now woken up and is starting to show a few flowers. The plant will be getting some of that comfrey feed when it’s ready!

Thanks to Thompson & Morgan (and Shannon’s and all the other plant and seed sellers of the world who are working flat out keeping gardeners supplied!) for sending us an order which included some Peas (Jumbo) and Lettuce (Little Gem) that have gone in one of our “Blue Peter” style, cut-price budget cold frames.

Earlier this year we mentioned we were going the “rest” the back bed and fill it with some wild flower mix. That idea’s gone out of the window now as we stuck in a row of peas behind the spuds we put in the other week. Best laid plans and all that!

But the question on everyone’s lips here is something we heard a passer-by the other day say into his mobile whilst on his daily exercise regime “Do we still have to put our bins out during lockdown?”

Gardening bargain of the week!

Found in WH Smiths in Holborn today, the February issue of Kitchen Garden Magazine with 10 packs of FREE seeds! We know the packs you usually get with magazines are probably not as packed to the gills as the packets are down your local garden centre but these ain’t pretty bad! Some super stuff too: Tomato, Parsley, Radish, Leek, Parsnip, Cabbage, Beetroot, Lettuce, Carrot and Peppers. A bargain and an ‘arf!

The trials of tomatoes (and squash and lettuce)

The Thompson and Morgan seed trials are sadly coming near the end, I mean look at the beefsteak tomatoes (above) that are now ripening on the plant and the few we took off today next to an AA battery to give some idea of scale. Whoppers they are and we’ll certainly be wanting to grow them again.

The lettuce that was growing in the shade of the broad bean ring around the birch tree has survived and is looking great. It’s either one or a collection of a few!

And the spaghetti squash has stayed this colour and size for a few weeks now. We have now idea of what they’re supposed to look like when they ripen or when they’re ready but we suspect the time is very close!

Thanks again to Thompson and Morgan for getting us in on the trials and we reckon they’ve been a success our end. We’d had a lot of suprises (the sunflowers and nasturtiums) so we can’t complain! It’s been fun!

Back yard reportage 2

A big thanks again to Thompson & Morgan blog (have a look as it’s interesting stuff with tons of hints and tips!) for sending us some seeds to trial this year and this is how they’re doing in July! They are all watered on a daily basis and have a comfrey feed weekly.

The above is the spinach (in the front pot) which was started off on the kitchen windowsill and a couple of the seedlings were transferred outside but here’s the pot with two left in them. They haven’t gone to seed yet and are doing well!

The daft idea we had to stick a row of the lettuce and spinach in the area shaded by some broad beans (so they didn’t bolt) may have not been a good one but here’s what’s going on so far! We won’t even mention the idea of sowing lettuce in the gully between the earthed up potatoes as nothing has germinated there.

The spaghetti squash is coming on a treat and we reckon we may have put it in the wrong place but “Hey! it’s an experiment”. The other squash that had lots of space to run free has been decimated by the slugs so this is the only one at the moment!

And as the song goes “Where have all the zinnia’s gone?” We don’t know what we done wrong but there’s no sign of any zinnia’s yet. Damn! But the tomatoes and sunflowers seem to be doing well and we eagerly look forward to seeing what variety they morph into! Ta again T&M, there will be updates!

Live at the seed trials

Thanks a million to all at the Thompson & Morgan blog for sending us a lovely package a few weeks ago that contained some packs of yet-to-be-released 2020 seeds to trial in our garden. They came in a nice green wallet and the actual seeds (that were in sealed plain white metallic packs) were labelled simply “spinach 201902”, “squash 201904” etc as the proper names of the varieties are under wraps and will be given out later this year. We love that sort of thing here at Weeds. Very GCHQ. Walls have ears and all that!

Above is a bit of an experiment, we recently moved a small silver birch we originally found in the street a couple of years ago (post here) and around it we planted a ring of broad beans, don’t ask us why but it made sense at the time!

In the circle we thought we’d sow a row of the lettuce and spinach. Hopefully the shade will be just enough to keep the plants growing but not bolting (aka going to seed early) as spinach and lettuce do have a tendency to do so if the weather is too hot. It’s only an idea, let’s see how we get on.

We’ve already started off a fair few tomato varieties this year but we welcome another one with open arms especially one in a plain white envelope just called “tomato 201905”. We may have started them off too late (and we didn’t write down the date of the sowing sadly) but it seemed like they took their time to germinate on the kitchen windowsill (compared to the spaghetti squash that was planted on the same day). Out of the three tomatoes that have germinated so far, nearly all of the seedlings are nowhere near the centre of the pot. When/how did the seed move? There must be a scientific explanation, answers on a postcard please. We look forward to finding out what varieties these are. Will they be small cherry tomatoes or beefsteak ones the size of your hand?

The tropaeolum (nasturtium) was sowed directly outside in the Lewisham Council recycled bottle bin and has germinated like a treat. We’ll transplant a couple of these around the garden. We like the look of the darker leaves than the usual varieties of nasturtiums we usually put or self seed in our garden.

The spaghetti squash is something new to us and it will be great to see what they look like and actually taste like. The seed was germinated on the kitchen windowsill and went out in the garden just when it had two seed leaves on with the minimum amount of hardening off (one night under a cloche!) and it’s doing well!

Apart from spinach in a pot on the kitchen windowsill (above) there’s sunflowers in a seed tray, some lettuce sown (in the ridge) in between earthed up potatoes and zinnias (that we have never grown before but look interesting) sowed straight into the ground. We will keep you posted!

After the sun has gone

Last weekend was a corker when it came to sunshine as on Sunday the temperature in London reached 20 odd degrees. The lawn was cut and a good load of jobs were completed and we even gave the seedlings (tomatoes, brussels sprouts, peppers and walking onion) that are on their way indoors a bit of a break in the sun.

Very much influenced by (episode 4 of) Jane Perrone’s On The Ledge podcast combined with the fact that in our seed tray were a few dealer bags with a tiny amount of seeds in them (cress, peas, beetroot, lettuce, coriander, basil and more) that needed to be sown, we filled a large pot full of multi-purpose compost and threw them all in. Come a couple of weeks time we’ve have some micro-greens to accompany our dinner!Traditionally this week (Good Friday) is the time for putting seed potatoes in (so the late great Joe Maiden used to say on his radio show with Tim Crowther). We aren’t too sure if we’ll be doing ours as it’s still cold out and as someone once told us at a potato fair, as soon as it’s warm enough to put your hand in the ground for ten seconds without it feeling cold that’s when you should put your spuds in. Sounds like good advice!

And while you’re waiting for your ground to heat up here’s a nice bit of mix-up business from one Mr Andrew Weatherall on Rinse FM the other week (8.04.2017).