On a beefsteak tip, perhaps?

The other day we spied what we think are possibly fruits of the beefsteak variety on the Thompson & Morgan trial seeds tomato and (a possible further clue it may be a beefsteak) looking at the sheet accompanying the seeds it does mention that the “plants need side-shooting and support”. We love a beefsteak tomato here, please be one.

Talking of tomatoes, we always side-shoot the plants but the other week we watched Bob Flowerdew on youtube where he was advocating not to pinch out all your tomato side-shoots as growing on two/three cordons ain’t a bad thing. Have at the link look below as he’s very funny, educational and we do love his barnet!

Also we’re now getting flowers (and the start of fruit) on the spaghetti squash. We got what we thought was another spaghetti squash at the bottom of the garden (lower of the two pics) but now comparing leaves we wonder if it’s something else like a courgette (zuchinni) that we may have sown earlier? Only time will tell!

Also another spinach experiment is on the go (we’ve had the seeds sown between the earthed up spuds and inside a circle of broad beans which both sadly didn’t work), we sowed a row at the bed at the bottom of the garden that gets limited sunlight, let’s see how they do. The sticks are to keep the cats off (going back to Bob Flowerdew, on another youtube in that series above he says he welcomes cats into his garden and encouraged them to do there “doing’s” in a dedicated toilet space complete with straw and catnip! We do like his unconventional style!) Updates on the trial seeds to follow.

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!

Keeping the cats out and the seed spuds in

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 pipers just 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).”

Songs to sow seeds to

Songs to sow seeds to-March

Here’s a nice collection of tunes to accompany your seed sowing this month. It’s an excellent mix tape from Chronixx and Federation Sound as mentioned on the great David Rodigan show the other week.

It features some well known chronixx tracks over some classic rhythm tracks like jah jah jahovah, king tubby meets the rockers uptown, cuss cuss, monkey man, joyride and much much more!

This month is a funny one for seed sowing as it’s still not warm enough to sow everything outdoors but you can give some carrots, beetroot, kale, broad beans, leeks, parsnips, spinach and turnips a go if it’s not too cold. I sowed a row each of beetroot, carrots, lettuce and spinach the other day, if they don’t work, they don’t work and it’s only a couple of rows of seeds wasted.

You can always start these indoors this month: aubergines, herbs including basil and the like, brussels sprouts, cauliflowers, chilli peppers, sweet peppers and tomatoes and what about starting a pot of salad leaves on the windowsill.

It’s still a bit early for spuds but in a couple of weeks time it will be and the gardening season will get underway and we won’t know what’s hit us!

STOP PRESS: Cheers to our mate Ciarán in Canada for sending us a pic of his advocado from seed (and some find looking sage in the background) that have grown all the way through their mild winter. How good is that? avocado