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 pipersjust 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).”
Just because it’s coming up to autumn there’s no need to stop planting in the garden. The other evening I stuck in a couple of rows of the onion sets I got last weekend. They’ll overwinter well and hopefully give us some tasty onions come early summer next year.
They’re a piece of cake to sow, normal preparation of the ground as per and preferably there’s been no compost been put in the ground for a season or two (if there was, they’d make the ground hold moisture over the winter thus leaving the sets open to rotting which isn’t good). All you do is make a hole with a dibber (or the other end of a trowel) and carefully put the set in with the top just very slightly poking out (and the root end downward).
I also stuck some sticks and brambles on the top to stop our cats digging them up and also hopefully keep the birds and squirrels away. I plant mine closer together then the usual (about 4″ apart) so I can thin them out and use them as small onions when they’re ready.
Never mind what they say about “onions being cheap in the shops so don’t bother growing them” as home grown onions are a hundred times better than the ones in the supermarket. Grow your own as they’re cheap as chips to buy as sets!
Another great tune from Alborosie heard on this week’s David Rodigan show on BBC 1Xtra. Music to listen to while carrying 50 litres of Multi-purpose compost (with added John Innes), an assortment of terracotta pots and .5 kg of Radar onion sets back home from Shannon’s. I’ll now have to spend all afternoon relaxing in a Radox bath just like the adverts in the 80’s!