Green Garden Gate Waddesdon

Gardening Blog

Day 14 at the allotment!

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The last couple of weeks have been very busy indeed, as you’ll have seen from the previous post, the plot had become overgrown with weeds. It took about a week of weeding to get to the point where I could start to dig over the beds, fortunately, a couple of the other plot holders offered to give me a helping hand by rotorvating the beds once the weeds were clear and the edges of the beds were defined (tomato plants as thank yous!) so I have planted all my chitted potatoes in the bed in front of the shed.

I’ll draw up a plan once I have it all planned out, but I have it in pencil at the moment. If I can find an old greenhouse from somewhere then I shall go with that, otherwise I shall try to fashion a polytunnel for the tender crops: tomatoes, aubergine, chillies etc.

If you’ve heard of native American Indian cultivating technique know as the three sisters, then you’ll know that sweetcorn, squash and beans make for good growing companions. I shall test this out on the bed next to the potatoes that  over the winter.

I have chatted quite a bit with other allotment holders about various crops, including some globe artichoke tubers I have been given,  I had a few spare so offered them around – no-one wanted them – apparently they are quite prolific. I am forewarned, but I shall probably grow some in a corner of the allotment as they are rather pretty, and see how they go.

I have started a new job in the last week and the weather has been a little rainy (ideal for breaking up the soil after rotorvating) and windy so really all I have done since is rake over the soil to break it down some more ready for planting.  In the next couple of days I shall plant out my onion sets, I have beans and peas to plant out too but I think I shall have to invest in organic slug pellets before then!

My sweetcorn are almost ready to plant out too but I shall have to wait for the soil to break down a little more. The same with a few other young plants.

This evening I was give a small amount of home brewing kit, specifically the containers, so already I am looking at where to buy hop seeds….

A lot is about to happen on the plot, it’s rather exciting!

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Weeds or wildflowers

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There are a few bee friendly wildflowers flowering in the lawn at the moment, some of which are edible, all of which are pretty. Some folk would be weeding them up, but I’m happy enough for the early bees and butterflies to have a feed. I’m slightly tempted to try making a salad if they grow a little more.

 

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Sunshine and seedlings!

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propagators

On sunny days I have been taking my seedlings outside, partially to let them make the most of the sun and partially to start the hardening off process. There was another visitor to the garden today; a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly, unfortunately by the time I’d popped into the house to find my phone to take a picture, it had gone.

I’ve started to get rather low on potting compost, so yesterday went to 4 or 5 different places in Aylesbury to find some organic compost and tomato feed, I was really surprised to not find any. The last place I bought some (Waddesdon Plant Centre) has since closed. In the end a trip to Haddenham Garden Centre did the job, finding 50 litre bags of multipurpose at £5.99 or on offer; 3 for 2 – bargain! It’s peat free too, even better, peat should be left in its natural habitat supporting our native wildlife.

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organic compost

We picked up some grow bags for the mini greenhouse too, which meant I had a perfect reason to get the greenhouse ship-shape and stop using it as storage!

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items previously stored in the greenhouse

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Grow bags in greenhouse

It’s a bit of a squeeze for the grow bags on the side, but I figure the tomato roots won’t mind what shape they grow into.

It gave me an opportunity to water everything and reorganise the pots that had been in the beds and inspect everything.

Here the pea and chard seedlings are starting to sprout:

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various pea varieties on left, centre to right, swiss chard, bright lights

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compostapots

The pots in the beds are going much slower than I hoped so I have decided to bring them into the greenhouse for now. The catnep is showing a couple of germinated seeds and the mallow is germinating. The wild primrose isn’t doing anything as yet.

This is how I have laid everything out until the tomatoes and cucumbers need to go in:

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full greenhouse

The broad beans aren’t doing anything, so hopefully some greenhouse time will give them a chance to get going. The coriander is just sprouting, the time in the greenhouse appears to have done it some good.

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These are the cucumber seedlings, just starting to get their first pair of true leaves, it’ll be time to pot them up soon! I tried leaving the lid off them the other day, they didn’t much like it, I think the small amount of wind we had was stripping them of their water as they went papery thin and a little droopy, fortunately another watering and quick replacement of the lid had them recovering in 20 minutes.IMG_9840

The same with tomato maskotka, the first true leaves are starting to grow so they’ll need potting in the next few days.IMG_9841

The Hungarian wax chilli plants are coming up nicely, they’ll stay in the propagator a while yet tho.IMG_9843

My mutant marigolds are doing as well as the regular ones, nothing to report there.IMG_9844

Lavendar seedlings are just starting to sprout – if you look ever so closely!IMG_9845I read the labels of some cat repellant in the garden centre the other day (not organic) but the active ingredient in quite a few was garlic… so that and the persistent acrobatics of the local felines has swung my decision to grow garlic! This bag has 3 massive bulbs in it, each clove of which should result in a bulb. These were 25% off too and they have a lovely pink skin which I rather like. I’m going to have to do a little research as they don’t actually tell you when to plant them.

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Daffodils and bees

 

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Daffodil and snowdrop fruiting body

The daffodils have been out a little while now and the snowdrops have most definitely gone.

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We had a few bees visit the garden whilst I was there today, a honey bee got caught in the mini-greenhouse and needed extraction. He was a little peeved by the time I found him so I had to be careful not to upset him further. There were a couple of bumble bees in the garden too

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bumble bee near the apple tree

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bumble bee exploring a hidey hole in the grass

I sowed beetroot ‘boltady’ and aubergine ‘black beauty’ today so we shall see how long those take to germinate.  My nasturtium seedlings were getting rather big and needed thinning so I re-potted four of the five seedlings and they are now in the greenhouse. I am hoping they are ok there as I haven’t fully hardened them off yet. I’ll transplant them into beds as the risk of frost disappears.

Yesterday evening I sowed courgette and coriander seeds from a friend in the pots they came in so fingers crossed they are happy.

I am debating whether to grow garlic at the moment; I use a lot in cooking and so it’ll be interesting to see what flavour I could get out of the garden.

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Mutant marigolds and new tomato seedlings

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A close look at the marigold seedlings show that a couple of them are tricotyledon (three leaves) rather than the usual dicotyledon (two leaves) a bit of a rarity as it’s a recessive gene trait. See the one in the bottom left of the above picture.

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I see on the internet (and everything you read on the internet is true) that tomatoes have a 1 in 40,000 chance of being tricotyledon, but it appears it’s a little more common with marigolds as I have two in my tray of 23 seedlings.

I’m not sure if this gives these plants any advantage, or if the supporting root system is bigger as well resulting in faster growing or bigger plants but it will be interesting to watch them grow compared to their neighbours.

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One another note there’s a tray full of tomato seedlings; Golden Sunrise and Black Russian, sown 5 days ago, that started sprouting only yesterday. This is 5 days after sowing, it really does amaze me how quick some of these seedlings grow:

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Recipe and lots more seedlings

First blog recipe published! Check out: Gardener’s puy and French bean salad one of my current favourites and one I hope to make from my produce soon.

Please do let me know if there’s anything in your garden growing you’d like recipe ideas for, or submit for inclusion your own favourite recipe from your garden produce!

There are now 9 maskotka seedlings and two cucumber, plus nasturtium marjoram, thyme, dill and basil are all happily sprouting away – very exciting!

Surprisingly, there’s also a marigold sprouting and it was only sown 3 days ago, exciting times!

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Peas, flip-flops and Common Frog

This morning I had to break the ice in the bird bath, proving that it’s still a little too cold overnight for a lot of my seedlings, I’ve those that like the warm inside in propagators or terracotta pots in the case of my herbs, but today I have sown a few outdoor seeds in propagators ready to sit in the greenhouse.

I decided to plant seedlings indoors rather than catching a chill outdoors, but still had one or two jobs in the cold!

When I am working I obviously stick my wellies on but I have to say a little trip to open up the greenhouse and check on things I often wear my bright red flip-flops bought in Asia. I happen to keep them handy near the door at the moment and every time I put them on it does remind me of crossing a threshold when living in Asia, sliding them on or off in one movement often without stopping, each end every time I smile.

IMG_9767Another reminder of Asia; I stumbled across a large frog in the garden, turns out she is a Common Frog, and a welcome sign the garden is doing well, I hope she eats as many slugs as she finds!

IMG_9771A quick internet search suggests that my coriander seed now residing in the greenhouse should really have gone outdoors in April so that may be why it’s not sprouting yet. Ah well, it either grows or it doesn’t. I’ve sown quite a few sweet peas, pea ‘Lincoln’, sugar snap, pea early onwards in propagators in the greenhouse, unfortunately it’s too early for beans just yet. Wild strawberry seeds are also in a propagator, as is swiss chard. I am a little naughty in planting the chard just yet, it’s a few weeks early, but I had some spare cells in the tray and a few seeds to risk. And I am impatient.

I took a chance and sowed night-scented stock seeds directly into the front of the flower beds, mainly because if a flower isn’t going to be edible or medicinal the it need to smell good. everything that needs it had a water and the empty beds had some organic fertiliser added.

Indoors, next to the maskotka and the cucumber I added some peppers I forgot yesterday; Hungarian Wax, they have the curious characteristic in that they are sweet when young and get fiery when left on the plant. In another propagator there are a few lavender seeds and some french marigolds, again, a little early but I had the room and there are more seeds if they don’t take. I’m growing these to act as a companion plant for the tomatoes, cucumber and peppers.

I’ve completed my seeding for the next few weeks, so now the hardest part happens…. waiting!