Category Archives: Planting out

#NABLOPOMO: Spinach and Chard


Ma rather likes rescuing spinach and chard, and here we have it. The Spinach is rescued, and we have found some chard for her to plug in. It’s a  bit hard to resist, when she waves the tray at you, says your name and does that wide eyed thing that only mums do. She has been somewhat worried over the last few days, that the rain might bring the slugs and slimers out to kill the new plugs. For the moment, they are still there. My on concern, is that she planted them into open ground and this is going to make them very vulnerable on a plot where open ground isn’t necessarily a good place to be if you are a new plant.

I don’t mind spinach and chard myself, it’s a reliable crop that makes for interesting onion bhajis and pasta bakes. Along with cauliflowers and cabbages, spinach and chard make their way into the ‘Indian’ Food that ma cooks. The spinach that she has rescued, she tells me that it’s perpetual spinach. In her eyes, this is proper spinach. Mainly because it has large, broad leaves with quite a thin spine. This makes for me leaf, and less stalk. The other time of spinach that Ma is hoping to get onto the plot, is Mustard Greens. I need to look into getting the seeds what ma calls proper, proper indian saag. What she really wants, is that yellow flowered stuff that farmers sow on an industrial scale on their fields as a green manure.

Chard is a good substitute, and seems to also do well when left to it’s own devices. Not sure what variety we have here, but I do remember having both Vulcan Chard and also bright lights chard. The former, has lovely bright red stalks, with the latter having stalks that can be bright yellow at times. What I don’t have at the moment is Kale, but there are a few cabbages knocking around.

Tree-ly Delightful

With the school term ended, I had a mission today. To not only sow sunflowers for the Psychology Sunflower challenge but to also sink two additional fruit trees. These were a doyenne du Comice pear tree, and a Moorpark Apricot tree. I am still expecting a Czar plum tree.

The Moor Park Apricot, is an experiment, the same way at the Rochester peach tree. But the pear and plum are to help support the two other pear and plum trees. The plum tree has flowered and fruited before, but not since. The Pear tree however, has flowered but never fruited. I am not sure of any of my plot neighbours having a pear tree, so that is important as having another pear tree helps pollination. There are huge great big plum trees-been there a good fifty years-further down the allotment site.

In all honesty, I have been wondering how far bumble bees can fly from one flower to another. Do they fly in feet, metres, miles? In time there will be flowers to help them fly around easily.

The full list of fruit trees on the plot is as follows:

  • Worcester Pearmain
  • Rochester peach
  • Moor Park Apricot
  • Falstaff apple
  • Braeburn apple
  • Victoria plum
  • Doyenne du Comice pear
  • Concord pear
  • Sylvia Cherry
  • Czar plum-still expected

Caging cabbages



It’s not that the cabbages are wild rampant beasts. They are quite slow and docile creatures really. They do need some structural support though.

Today about 30 plug plants were plugged in. These were Duncan and sennen cabbages, as well as claret brocolli, and dwarf Curly kale. Each plug was plugged into a small hole with some lime. I had already scattered chicken poop pellets across the bed.

Watered, there was some scattering of blue pellets of doom. Then came the cage itself. A structure made of bamboo canes, lots of them, lashed together. With yogurt pots perched on top to support the netting. Netting was then draped across the top and secured with heavy bricks. Also had to reinforce the structural integrity of the cage built previously. Whilst a few gave succumbed to slimers. Most are doing well. There are however lots of weeds in there that will have to be hoed out. Thinking about removing the make shift fleece and adding netting across now that we have a supply. My only fear is weather damage. Heavy snow or rain could finish the lot.

Bathed in sunlight

Woke up early-for a Saturday-with the prime mission being to sink Gladiolus. The box of which, was nearly as big as me, there were certainly a couple of hundred them. Yes, I know that’s a lot, so a few were given away to plot neighbours. Have opted for a mix of colours, but there were some purple ones in there as I specifically wanted these. There were also some giant gladiolus too. It was nice to see that some of the corns sunk last year, are sending up shoots for this year. Last years crop was something of a fluke, so am hoping this year will be just as good.

This took up a great deal of time, though there were moments where I did get slightly bored and had to focus on something else for a few moments. This meant digging up docks that had somewhat pervaded the shallot bed. Pulling out and bashing clumps, whilst trying not to decapitate the purple stemmed shallots that actually looked  a bit on the small side.

The sinking of the gladiolus didn’t take too long, provided that there were these momentary pit stops with other tasks. Even fed the roses today. Have never done this before, usually just leave them to it. However, now that the ones on the plot are fairly established, thought it was worth a shot.

Then I caught side of the tomatoes. Dare I sink these? Well, at home there were the climbing french beans and the squashes. Ma wanted her window sill back, so the squashes have come out. They’ve had a day or two in the sun, not exactly hardened off, but the weather is relatively mild at the moment. This is way earlier than I have ever thrown them out. And once more, not in raised beds. Blue pellets of doom have been scattered, along with experimental cabbage collars to even more preventative. I don’t hold out much hope here.

The climbing french beans had to be sunk. Cobra and blue lake, were sunk with a bulb planter; whilst clinging to their paper pots. The running beans, are somewhat pitiful looking. Enorma, has failed me once again. There are some additional sowings of scarlet emperor somewhere, that will be planted out at some point.

I had to go, before the sun got to my head. Plus I was hungry by two, and had been floating around a very long time.

Poly tunnel planting

I went this morning with the intention of planting more gladiolus. I actually ended up planting things in the poly tunnel.

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Aunty tish has shared some sweet potatoes. So these are the very things ever to be planted in the poly tunnel.

There was also some aubergines and sweet peppers sat in a box.

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They were looking a bit sad, but reasonably sized.

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And have now been sunk directly into the ground. We have black beauty, dancer, diamond and tres hative de barbentane aubergines. As well as California wonder sweet pepper and Nigel the outdoor chilli. Have been watered in, and around the base I have put sand and the little blue pellets of doom. All of which were then covered with fleece.

There is hot patio sizzle, hot thai, and pretty purple in pots still in another transparent box. These are heavily slug damaged at the moment; and I’m going to wait til they get a bit more leafier again.

Sinking The Bard: William Shakespeare 2000

Having celebrated my 30th birthday last week, a dear friend of mine has given me a rather apt birthday present.

Meet William Shakespeare 2000.

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Since it was his anniversary yesterday, it’s rather fitting that he arrived today.

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He is now sat on the very threshold of Project othello, next to the falstaff apple tree.

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There are two blooms nestled in there ready to explode. Rather looking forward to it 🙂

Family trees of the fruity kind

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On the eve of my thirtieth birthday, I have taken receipt of planted some family fruit trees. These are Braeburn apple, apple Worcester pearmaine, as well as Rochester peach and Sylvia cherry tree. Ma has always wanted a cherry tree!

All of them are British grown and two years old. Suggesting that they may produce something or nothing this year. Think a couple of them did actually have buds forming. There is now a spine of seven fruit trees down the entire plot. Making the plot somewhat quintessentially English with there also be roses. I do wonder about the Peach tree, can’t say I’ve ever come across a Birmingham peach tree or a Birmingham grown peach. So here’s hoping!

The sinking feeling

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It has been rather stressful of late, and time spent on the plot has been something of a premium. Today, I planned to get a couple of jobs done.

First thing to be done was to sink Rose Climbing Danse De Feu and rose Climbing Golden Showers beneath the arch that mama H and had constructed during the summer. This would act as the gateway to project othello. I have high hopes for this, as the other roses did so well.

Then there was the sinking of tulips. My second favourite flower after roses. Approximately 210 were sunk today. I got somewhat inpatient with the bulb planter and trowel. Ended up making small trenches with the magic spade. Probably not the best way, but a lot got sunk at once. Sunk today were Darwin, purple collection and everlast.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural hobbit.

Feeling a bit brassica

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Looking ahead to the winter, today some winter brassicas were planted out. Ma got very excited yesterday when they arrived, and they have to be planted out ASAP. I had a vague idea where to plant them and how. In the one bed, that hasn’t done very well or very much. Also this area, has in past flooded quite a bit too. Of course, many will tell you about having to net them. Well, these are part netted, part fleeced. I do have veggie mesh on the other cabbages.
Stupidly, have left gaps in those and so flutterbies have got in. As well as that, slugs! I swear they are psychic. Only just planted things, collared them, added pellets. Whoosh. Big fat thing was there as though it had ESP. Was promptly lobbed. It was not pleasant.

Anyway, the cabbages, caulis and broccoli have been sunk. As to whether they last, well that’s another thing.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit.

Sunk: classroom cabbages

Finally! I became bored of seeing them sat on the pathway.

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These are the sole survivors of the classroom experiment; and they were looking decidedly sorry for themselves. Have sunk them today and netted them. Must make a return visit however, to attach cabbage collars to them. Have never had any successful cabbages, so would like to have some. There is netting and also the blue pellets of doom. Though a few of them have been filligreed by slimers all ready.

And to cheer you up:

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Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit