Post-frost therapy

There was a frost here Wednesday morning (as we’re sure we saw a white veil over the local cars on the way to work) and hopefully that’ll be it now, even though it’s still a bit parkie outside today.We’re not taking any chances here for a few days at least, the tomato plants that were outside in the upside down terrarium are now in the back room (that might have to be hardened off a little before they go out) and there’s still fleece over the Easter Sunday sown spuds. And then there’s the brassicas, runner beans and peppers that want to go out, finger’s crossed it won’t be too long now…And if you have lost a plant or two in the recent frosts here’s a tune for you…

It’s a corker from the great Mongo’s Hi-Fi (which we’ve featured a few times here at Weeds) with Johnny “Move Out Of Babylon” Clarke called “Rain keeps falling” which comes back with a lovely dub as well. The 7″ single is a special record store day release and you can get it here and if you fancy the download go here. Tune!

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).

It’s never too early for “earlies”

It’s definitely that time again! I popped into Shannon’s today as I had a day off work and procured a small pack of first early seed potatoes, Pentland Javelin. Just like the last couple of years I’ve stuck my seed spuds in an egg box with the blunt end of the tuber upwards (the end that has the “eyes”) to give them a head start come the spring (aka “chitting”).Chitting 2015The process of “chitting” encourages the seeds to sprout before planting them outside. We’re not talking the long pale shoots that you see when potatoes have sprouted after being stored in the dark, but ones that are short and sturdy.

The important thing with “chitting” spuds is to make sure the container is in a cool position with natural light and where’s there’s no risk of frost. I’ve stuck mine next to the propagator on the floor in the back room by the patio doors.

A couple of years ago we were emailed a great tip from Shirley Calgary who said “Actually you do not need the whole potato – I have cut the potatoes in 2 or 3 pieces as long as you have a sprouted or sprouting eye you are all set.” Great stuff!

More on chitting here.propogator a week onAs for the propagator (post here), the seeds I put in last week have started to come through. How good is that? I know it’s early and I’ll be left with leggy tomato and pepper plants on the kitchen windowsill in the spring but why change a habit of a lifetime?

(Early) spud we like

spuds in JuneHere’s the first harvest of the spuds I planted “well early” under that terrarium thing I found in the street last year. As far as I can remember, these were “Swift” and the seed potatoes were from Shannons, chitted in an old egg box, planted under protection and tonight served with some Salmon. It’s good this gardening lark innit? Don’t worry that tinge of green (green spuds are not good!) on the little one in the left hand corner was cut off before eating!

Early B – History of Jamaica – Moa Anbessa

This is a warning…

I’ve just heard on the local weather forecast that we might have possible frosts later this week so it’s out with the horticultural fleece, net curtains, cloches and jam jars to stick over those tender seedlings that are in the garden for some protection! I’ve a couple of tomatoes plants and some spuds I’ve put in early that’ll be getting covered up over the next few nights.

There’s a whole lotta chittin’ going on

chitting time in 2014

Here’s the state of play, spud-wise last weekend on the “earlies” I got from Shannon’s a few weeks ago. Those “chits” are looking good, the tray is in front of the back window and the room’s kept cool so there’s none of those spindly long pale shoots you see on well past-it potatoes that’ve been in the cupboard for a month. The great Bob Flowerdew mentioned on GQT the other week that chitting is a good thing to do and gives the plant a bit of a head start. Talking of which, I’ve just found the following tip on Bob’s website in the section what to do in March: “For a really green lawn, pee in the watering can, dilute well and apply often.” Good one Bob but I don’t think me neighbours would appreciate that one!