Gardening bargain of the week!

Found in WH Smiths in Holborn today, the February issue of Kitchen Garden Magazine with 10 packs of FREE seeds! We know the packs you usually get with magazines are probably not as packed to the gills as the packets are down your local garden centre but these ain’t pretty bad! Some super stuff too: Tomato, Parsley, Radish, Leek, Parsnip, Cabbage, Beetroot, Lettuce, Carrot and Peppers. A bargain and an ‘arf!

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!

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.

Seed trial update stardate 2.6.19

It’s only been a couple of weeks since the last post about the seeds on trial from Thompson and Morgan but there’s been some changes. The spinach plants in the pot on the windowsill (below) are doing well. We’ll transplant a couple of them in the garden so leaving a couple in the pot and see how they get on. There’s a couple of patches of T&M’s spinach outside that seem to be tolerating our London clay soil.

A sunflower in its very early stages plus one of the tomato plants were transplanted outside yesterday morning with no hardening off. The both of them seem to have survived the searing weather on their first day outside too, let’s see how they get on with the local slugs!

The lewisham recycling bin has the nasturtiums in and they’re making progress, we reckon we’ll be leaving possibly only one in the bin and move the other plants around the garden.

And finally the spaghetti squash is doing well, no slug damage as yet and putting on some growth. Let’s see what the weather brings. Give us a few weeks and we’ll keep you updated with this and the other trial plants in the garden. Ta T&M for the chance of giving the plants a go!

Good companions?

Wow! It clocked nearly 19 degrees here in London today and what a pleasure it was to be back out in the garden! The newly transplanted silver birch (originally found in a carrier bag in the street two years ago post here) is now surrounded by a circle of broad bean seedings (masterpiece green). Cleverly inspired companion planting or just plain daftness?

Weeds were taken out and beds tidied up with a hoe. The grass was cut, some seeds were sowed: a row of white borage and some night scented stock. Whether they’ll take as you never know what the weather will bring over the next few weeks but it’s worth a chance.

Thanks to our good friend Nancy B for recommending the lovely clematis montana to go against the grey fence (this fine specimen was bought from Shannon’s last year) which is now making a bit of a growth spurt complete with flower buds! There was plenty of splashing around of comfrey liquid around all of the garden too so all of the plants could get a spring feed before the gardening season properly kicks off.

And indoors there’s a few varieties of tomato seedlings on the kitchen windowsill suprisingly not as leggy as they’ll usually be if we’d have sowed them at xmas which is customarily for us here at Weeds. Here’s hoping they grow up strong!

The big question is though, will the sun be out tomorrow? And do remember to adjust those clocks tonight.

It’s a good year for the roses

greenhouse classics_VicThanks very much to Vic Godard for getting in touch and picking this week’s Greenhouse Classic. It’s a great number with a gardening theme called “And roses and roses” by Astrud Gilberto. Short, sweet and on a floribunda tip!

Also a big thanks to G. (Mrs Godard) for sending a few words and some pics from their garden.Vic godard_5“It’s been a funny year weather wise, the early heat and sun meant many annuals and perennials flowered early and have now gone to seed, whereas the dismal August means some, like the Mirabilis Jalapas (aka four o’clock flower) are only now coming into their own.Vic Godard_3The bumper tomato yield is still ongoing and it looks like there will be enough beans to freeze and last throughout the winter, and it’s the first year we’ve seen pink flowers on the beans.Vic Godard_2Vic Godard_1I planted some old gladioli bulbs that Vic’s dad Harry found all dried up and papery in a drawer and surprisingly as you can see they all took!” Mrs Godard

If you remember from last years post, Vic’s dad Harry grows everything from seed; vegetables, annuals and even palms, how great is that! Thanks to Vic, G and Harry too!

International gardening round-up

pumpkins in australiaThanks to a couple of good mates of ours for sending in some great gardening pics this week. First is from our good friend and musical collaborator Paul Greenstein formally of the East Dulwich parish now based in Melbourne, Australia of his (Jap or Kent) pumpkin harvest from only two plants, how good is that? Brilliant stuff Paul, hope you’ve got some good recipes to use them in!

phil H seedlingsAnd also to our fellow dub gardener Phil Harmony in Berlin for sending us pics of his tomato (from the free Heinz seed offer earlier this year) and peppers seedlings that he has on the go at the moment. Great stuff Phil, they’re looking good!