And lay the seed tape on the ground

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!

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?”

Spaghetti squash in the (kitchen) area

It’s still been a bit wet and windy here so there hasn’t be that much garden-related to write about. Apart from yesterday, when we finally put the spaghetti squash we grew on the Thompson & Morgan seed trials last year in the oven with a bit of olive oil and salt.

The squash has been sitting on the kitchen windowsill since harvesting last autumn so perhaps we should have had it when it was a bit fresher. After the 40 minutes on about 200 degrees centigrade and a ruffle with a fork this is what it looked like. As for taste, it put us in mind of sauerkraut which ain’t a bad thing in our book. Next time when we grow them we’ll eat them straight away! Well worth trying though.

And there was a massive blow to music in general last week when we heard of the passing of the great Andrew Weatherall. We’re still in shock here, but the story in Time Out here about him still being on google street view brought a smile to our sad faces. R.I.P. Andrew Weatherall.

Another page in your (gardening) diary

This afternoon we put in another couple of rows of onions and garlic which we got from Shannon’s the other week so they can happily overwinter (or they’ll only sit in our seed tin until next spring). In the bed (above) where once stood a greenhouse many moons ago and where now the Thompson & Morgan trial sunflower and tomatoes are still hanging on, we put in one row each of Autumn Champion (white) and Electric Red onions.

And near to the house we put in an extra row of Marco garlic that’ll get a good bit of the sun because of the position of the bed. To the left of the picture can just be seen the newly bit of lawn we sowed around the August Bank Holiday. A few weeks previously we took up all of the 1970’s crazy paving that was doing nothing but attracting weeds in between its cracks. With all this late gardening action we can’t wait to see the results next year. Roll on next spring!

And the final result just in…

Okay, so something got to it before we did (pesky squirrels!) and it is looking a bit bruised but the excellent beefsteak Thompson & Morgan trial tomato is a winner. This specimen is next to a 50 pence piece and weighs 500 grams, that’s half a kilogram! You would be mad not to try these next year. The plant required minimum fuss, some support, regular water and a weekly comfrey feed. What a tom!

More trials

Here’s a quick visual update on the Thompson & Morgan seed trials. The tomatoes are looking more like beefsteak ones every day and look at the size of them!

The sunflowers are also doing well too! We love the surprises we’ve had with the trials and it shouldn’t be too long now before we’re informed about the actuals names/varieties of the plants. We’re still waiting on the spaghetti squash to ripen and we’ve a couple of lettuces on the way too. We love the trails we do!

What a difference a few days make

We know it’s only been a few days since the last pics of the Thompson & Morgan seed trials have been posted, but look what’s happened in that short time. The tomatoes have moved on a bit and all of the plants are doing well. We keep them regularly watered and feed comfrey liquid to them on a weekly basis and those fruits are now starting to swell!

And yes we’ve had problems with cheeky daytime slugs and the spaghetti squash (see post here) but for some reason they’ve missed this one!

And as for the sunflower, there’s more buds forming! It’s a value for money plant if you’re going to be buying some when they are released next year. Our specimens may be a bit on the small side but we’re not complaining! More power to the (vertically challenged) sunflower!

And thanks to whosampled: