Yesterday we had some well needed rain but the dullness in the sky didn’t help spirits indoors. It’s still a but cold today but the sun is peeking out every now and again and we’ve been doing the same but with a hoe, knocking off any weeds etc.
We’ve been noticing that the spuds are starting to show through now so whilst we had the hoe in our hands we started piling just a small amount of soil around the growing tips of the potatoes to protect them from a late frost. Later on in the growing season we’ll carry on with this mounding up (AKA “Earthing up” ) which prevents any of the spuds close to the surface going green. More on “Earthing up” here.
And the seed potatoes that are growing under the black membrane which was used for under the decking are coming through too (we won’t need to earth them up but a little bit of soil can be put over the growing tips as frost protection). And even though us lot in lockdown are a bit fed up with the rain, at least the garden and the fish are loving it! #pondsnotdead #lockdowngardening
We received a part of a seed order we forgotten about from Thompson & Morgan this morning. It was a favourite vegetable of ours beetroot and what was good about it was they’re of the seed tape variety. There’s no fiddling about with trying to sow the seeds thinly, spacing them out evenly or trying to keep them in a straight line, the tape does all that for you. We are getting used to this seed tape idea even though it’s been around for a while!
And the seed potatoes we planted straight outside rather than under the cold frames are starting to show through the black membrane that was used for putting under the decking. All we done is cut an X in it and plonked in the seed potato. The membrane will keep the weeds off and hopefully keep warmth in the ground. We covered the tips of the buds this evening with a bit of soil just in case a frost comes out of nowhere!
Talking of potatoes we’re in the process of tidying up the front garden that isn’t really doing that much. We may copy an idea of a neighbour of ours who the other year sowed some potatoes in his newly designed front garden as they are supposedly good for breaking up compacted soil we were once told at the council. It may be a while before Shannon’s is open again where we can pick up some shrubs so we might as well make use of the ground and grab some potatoes into the bargain!
We’re working from home for the foreseeable future and on Thursday lunchtime we went for a walk (in a social distancing style of course) to clear the mind. There were queues outside the doctors, pre-corona paranoia, not a soul on the streets nor a sausage in the shop. We popped into Shannon’s where it was well busy! We purchased a big bag of compost and some seed potatoes (below) whilst other people were getting herbs, tomato plants and all sort of good gear that’ll come in handy in the months to come.
God knows what’s going to happen when it comes to getting fresh veg in the near future so we may as well make a start now! We’re already overwintering some onions and garlic and now warming up the raised beds where we may stick the odd seed potato in this week and take a chance. We using all the stuff we’ve found in the street or in skips like the terrarium, the window frame, the odd jar and some plastic small cloches to do the job. We’ve got a few rows of seeds in already and we’re going to do more. Why not? You never know what the weather’s going to be like.
And this thing (below) covered with a jar is a courgette seed, talk about starting early! Keep safe and when loneliness hits you during the day working from home, don’t go down the local shops as you’ll be disappointed, walk out to the back garden and tip around with a hoe for half an hour. It works wonders!
We popped into Shannon’s yesterday morning for some seed potatoes and more seed compost. It was great even though it was well grey outside to see it busy with gardeners ready at the starting blocks for the new season.
There’s more seeds to start off this weekend and we can pat ourselves on the back that it’s March and we are now just starting to thinking about sowing some tomatoes as we usually do that in January and at this time of year have a mountain of leggy tomato plants on the kitchen windowsill (above pic from a few years ago in March!)
Things are starting to wake up outside now, look at that foxtail lily go (above pic, please ignore the penicillin growing on the inside of the terrarium cloche). And wherever you look in the Weeds HQ there’s always something gardening-related, I mean look at the dahlia tubers hiding under the bed, strange goings on indeed. It won’t be long now…
Weeds progress report March 2018: The seed trays on the windowsill in the front bedroom are doing well if not on the leggy side (nice article about correcting leggy seedlings here), containing heritage varieties from the Roots & Shoots event and some nice herb and veg seeds from Shannon’s. It’s early days yet but spring really does come around before you know it so it’s best to be prepared!
And the seed potatoes are chitting nicely (above). The hymn sheet-like list to the left corresponds to the seed tray next to it as we’ll probably forget what’s been sown. Roll on spring when we can sow those seeds in situ!
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.
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.
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?
Gardening’s great innit? Last week my wife pulled out the spuds from the plant that was growing in an old sack which gave us enough for a posh family tea (new potatoes, fish fingers and beans!) The seed potato cost me 5p from the Sydenham seedy sunday event earlier this year, a big bag of multipurpose peat-free compost was less than a fiver from Shannon’s and the sack was given to me free. All I had to do was water the plant and feed it every now and again with some diluted comfrey liquid. Cheap as chips, no pun intended!
After harvesting the potatoes I was left with the top of the plant, a rotting sack and a mound of used compost. No problem! The plant went on the compost heap, the sack put to use behind the pond to stop weeds growing and the compost reused again. I’ve filled some old plastic pots which were found in the street and split some pineapple and eau de cologne mints and giving them away to mates. Keeps the old circle going around as they say. I do love receiving seeds and stuff from me gardening mates so it’s nice to repay the favour sometimes!
Talking of Shannon’s I popped in there the weekend and got myself some more seed potatoes to stick in now so they’ll be ready for christmas unless they get blight but that depends on the weather, just like a lot things to do with gardening! Big up the ‘umble spud!