magic square project #1



Nothing to do with GYO or allotmenteering, but something similarly therapeutic. It’s still cold and damp outside, and there are puddles on the plot that could well come up to my ankles. Still keeping an eye on things, the experimental chillies are all mostly up. Three superhots have broken through the surface. So all is not lost with the horticulture. It was also a balmy 15 degrees in the poly today, I went for a walk to clear my head and retrieve some gravel trays. Still waiting for the replacment cover for the four tier blowaway. The experimental tomatos have been brought inside, yet to have anything germinate. No surprise there really.

Anyway, about those rectangles. I had found ma’s knitting needles and some of her oddments. And then didn’t look back. I was privileged to have been taught by my paternal grandmother how to knit as a child. I remember being knitting a great big pink magenta scarf. There were a lot of dropped stitches! Sadly, i was never taught how to cast on and off. Ma taught me to cast on, but I had to watch a video online how to cast off.

This was the simplest video I found and actually made sense to me.

I have also found a nice friendly wool shop, in trying to knit these rectangles. Other than cheap wool from a certain publishing outlet. Based in warwickshire The wool mountain was a really friendly shop where all crochet and knitting aficionados would be catered for. I am novice, I know all of two stiches and like stripes, but the lady there was really very helpful.

Each of the rectangles has seven stripes, and is approximately 10″ wide, so big enough. Shall see how this goes. The plan is to make some form of blanket.

Experimental Tomatoes

selection tray


For the last couple of days, I have been surpressing the urge to sow tomato seeds. This time last year, I had sunk some very, very early ones. Daresay that is what made me do it again. Last year, the early sowing keeled over due to a cold snap. We are experiencing a cold snap right now, actually. This time last year, the plot was under a foot of snow. I wouldn’t rule out that snow coming back, to be honest. Making this sowing very precarious.

Sunk today:

  • Gardeners delight
  • moneymaker
  • marmande
  • aisla craigh
  • black cherry
  • yellow stuffer

I don’t have any window sills, sadly, to sow them on. The experimental premise comes from them being positioned in the 4TB. Sown in a modularised tray in a gravel tray, covered by a propogator lid. With fleece for insulation, and reflective foil on the base of the tier.

This could take sometime, I realise that. That this could all go pear shaped, and I should really sown them inside. Hopefully, the tomato faery is reading, and will help nurture them. I could sow a handful inside, if I get the chance. These are babies that would be going into the poly tunnel along with the chillies and super hots. If the superhots decide to germiate.

In other news, we have a few experimental chilli babies coming through.

The next urges, are probably going to involved aubergines and melons. You have been warned 🙂

Sinking the Superhots

‘I’ll sow them in January’

It is now January. When did January get here. I’m not ready yet. I don’t even have any window sills. And no lights. Have never used grow lights.  I don’t want to have make any, don’t want to buy them. How am I going to grow these things, exactly?

I don’t have any compost.

Corner shop do.

I shall go get some compost then. I’ll walk, won’t be heavy. I’ll carry it back.

There are yoghurt pots in Dad’s shed. Go find them, a few of them might need a hole in the bottom. You won’t need many. Can’t fit that many in the propogator anyway. Look, how many are you thinking of sowing, and they all have to go in the Poly tunnel anyway. That’s if any of the seeds you sow, actually germinate. And you are only sowing, what, three? You have a very small sample. Not one of them might germinate.

Oh, go on then. Have a go.

Eight yoghurt pots, filled with multi-purpose compost. Is that cold or damp. Feels a bit of both. Hmm, don’t put any water in there, then. Fresh dirt under my fingernails.It has been too long.

All the seeds are lined up. Pops is wandering past. Takes one look at them, frowns, shakes his head then scarpers.

These are super hot chillies. They are irritating to the skin. You might want to put on some gloves. Sow each variety, one by one. Jab three holes into the dirt of each pot. Pencil. Equal distance apart. It is then really quite fiddly, putting a seed into each hole. Don’t drop them.

The varieties sunk:

  • Serrano
  • Orange Habanero
  • Chocolate Habanero
  • Dorset Naga
  • Bengle Naga
  • Fire
  • Scotch Bonnet  Yellow
  • Tobasco

Are all now sat in the heated prop; nice a warm,


In other news, there are two baby nigel seedlings sat in the window sill.

Soggy Stuff

There has been a momentary pause in precipitation, and sunshine has broken out. Time enough, to go down to the plot and make a survey of what is standing. And with the sheer volume of water, standing is about right. The puddles seem a lot deeper than they were last week. Very cold, with the wind whispering on the plot. Though it was a balmy 12 degrees in the poly tunnel. Did peek in there, nothing has germinated in there. Which is not altogether surprising, given how low temperatures have dropped.

There is no new news on the experimental chillies that were sown. Though the mini cloches are perspiring as it were, quite happily. There are no visible signs of any chilli babies. This can of course take some time. Super hots have yet to be sown, simply as I haven’t got around to getting some compost. They will hopefully be sown into yoghurt pots and placed into a heated prop.

Baby leeks sown at the start  of the autumn term. Not doing to badly, are sat in the wendy house. Have been largely ignored, and don’t seem to have suffered. They are of course quite hardy. I remains to be seen how many of these will be come pencil thick and then make it through transplanting.

Baby onions have not been as successful as one would have hoped. Whilst there are lots sown in the plot, sets have to survive the torrential downpours. These seeds were sunk at the same time as the leeks. Very disappointing to see so few babies. Guess there is still some time remaining to sow some more directly into the modules.

Leaf mold is always an interesting experiment. These are sat at the back of the plot, and left to their own devices. Last year, a whole builders bag was used to fill a raised bed used for squashes. The plan is to use these in the raised beds. Whilst the resulting soil doesn’t necessarily have a great deal of nutritional value, it will fill the beds nicely. This is a certainly cheaper than buying lots of compost.

A small bed of leeks that started off their lives in my classroom. Not many survivors, but better than nothing. Am hoping that the leek babies you see above will do some what better than these. These were actually freebies, so in having something rather than  nothing is always a bonus.

The netted cabbages that are becoming very lacy; as though they were net curtains. Very disappointing, and there are valuable lessons to be learned here. There are slim chances that some of them will be salvageable. Sad, in that we like cabbages. Just have to take additional care and put in place further precautions.

A raised bed of assorted spinach, chard and some kale. There were stalks of nero di toscana in there as well. The problem with this entire bed, like the cabbages, is the sheer volume of holes that get made by  slimers. I suspect that this bed will remain occupied for sometime, and that there will have to be applications of the blue pellets of doom.


Motion Picture: Start of 2014 Part three

The final instalment of the three videos that I took. It has taken this long to put them up, due to technical gremlins. Still learning how to make the blog better. Guess I will have to learn better! Perhaps have shorter clips, rather than the longer, detailed David Atttenborough type observations.

At the moment, there are slight high winds, lashing gales and lots of dark clouds of grey. The weather systems are doing something of a fandago over the British Islands, and cannnot make up their minds to desist or not. More weeks of poor weather may well be on the cards.

This was actually the first video, the two previous videos then followed it. A bit of hotch potch then, as I wanted to make sure I had described a fair bit. It is grim, grey, and not very bright. So a snapshot of the current state of play. Not very inspiring, but it is a case of trying to imaging what could be. 2013 was a good year as far as experimenting and making observations goes. I struggle to look through such grey and dank times, though I know that could be positives. The leaps and bounds made last year, were above and beyond anything that I firstly planned or second imagined. There is still lots to do.



Motion Picture: Start of 2014 Part two

Yet more wandering around. Talking into a ‘phone, whilst wandering around in wellington boots is a rather challenging experience. Not only do you have to watch where you put your feet, but you also have to keep talking and talking some form of sense.

This particular section is concerned with the first half of the plot. The bottom part, which is probably the most challenging part, if I was to be honest. Which is why I tend to blather on about it. There is a marked difference between the two sections of the plot. With the lower half, being effectively flooded when it rains.


Motion picture: start of 2014 part one

Off I went today to the plot today, with the aim that I would do a spot of filming. The main reason for this, was having seen lots of clips here and there about plot endeavours and experiences.  So this could go very wrong, and is not exactly bafta or oscar winning. It’s an experiment. Yet another one! Not helped by having to faff with uploading, and then taking a long time for it to do so. Honestly, technology.

One makes no apology for the very accent. It helps put it all into context. Don’t laugh. No sniggering, I mean it!

Bear with me, I hope. There are three general clips that I want to put up, but the technology means I can’t dish it all out at once. Might get one more out today. If not, then next week.