Aunt VVG’s adoptees

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Frauzauber, Lipstick and lemon drop.

You will have observed my chilli and pepper crisis. Namely, that they failed at one stage to germinate or keeled over.

Whilst I managed to nurture a few; grapevine Aunty VVG has kindly donated a few to keep me from losing my sanity; under the proviso that I keep her appraised of how they are going. I shall endeavour to do my best.

Sat on a sunny, warm window sill, they have been adopted and shall be observed carefully. I have no idea about any of this cohort; though I have heard of lemon drop but never sown it myself.

I know what you are thinking. Why does a girl need so many chillies and peppers?

Well, why not?

They are all going to end up in Mama H’s kitchen. If they manage to crop. Chillies-for my part-are hard to get growing. The one crop that was produced, could have been a sheer fluke.

I shall do my best to look after them.

Yours on anticipation

Horticultural Hobbit

Infrastructure

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Have planted enough onions, I think, to sink a small ship. I won’t be sowing any more. I forget now, the different varieties. But there are brown, white, red and white onions covering a good eighty per cent of the plot. This, is going to make things difficult later on, I think as I plant to sow dwarf French beans too. The reasoning was to sow DFB’s where ever there was any spare space. As you may have already read, the autumn and winter was wall to wall rain. This more or less killed all of the overwintering onions and shallots. Some of the garlic, was more hardier than expected and it has taken off beautifully. On observation, whilst it is nice to see, it does appear to be on the smaller, thinner side. This could be, the elements or the variety, it is difficult to categorically identify cause and effect. It did make me happy though! To see the garlic standing there proudly on sentry duty. With a long way to June, July and August, the crop has plenty of time to fatten up. Besides, looking at the top, means nothing as to what is happening down below.

With the one bed that is chocca full of allieums, to see the green foliage is heartening. In the dark dankness of the autumn and winter, there was great difficulty in seeing the woods for the trees when everything seemed to be decimated. One could very well end up with a field of onions. It worked for Chicago….

There must be hundreds and hundreds of onions on the plot. Might keep mama h busy for a while. Have yet to think about how to store them, or how to dry them. Answers on post card please.

Grapevines. Two very brown and sticky grapevines, planted in the depths of autumn. One of which is still standing. Neither, seems to have rooted. Very disappointed, these were supposed to grow and bisect the plot. 

Broadbeans, have died a death. Those gangly, green creatures from last week; have become blackened beings. Those that I could see, that is. They have disappeared completely. I did think that they were too good to be true. I did direct sow a few last week. But I guess I will be sowing some more indoors. Very very disappointing since they were held back for such a long time. I’m not sure as to whether these will be in paper pots or traditional modules. Just very disheartening really. One could scream and shout.

Runner beans are thought of as happy saviour. This morning, I have been trying to think of the infrastructure as the title of the blog suggests. A couple of wig wams have been put up. And several rows of bamboo cane, to which pea and bean netting will be slung. It’s not very clear in the picture, imagine walls of beans. That will mean lots of beans being sown, again a matter of luck. You do realise that I won’t actually be able to reach the top of the canes to hanf the netting. May need adult supervision and aid for that one. Won’t be expensive netting either, just the cheap quidland variety. If they don’t all fall down in the wind.

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Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Garlic Chives, Golden and common sage, oregano, Russian and French tarragon  plus another one that isn’t labelled. This have been sat in the four tier blowaway for months-which is why the sage and chives look a bit worse for wear-and I would like to put them out onto the plot at some stage. Rather than sink them into open ground, they may take up space in the raised beds. Whilst it is still very early, squashes will be carefully considered. As to which ones, and where. Theoretically, one or two could be planted per bed. With three beds containing potatoes, that leaves nine beds in which a couple could take up residence. There are quite a few varieties in the seed stasher. To this day, Bruno the Ghost rider and Claude the courgette are very flukey, and most likely beginners luck!

Posh roses seem to be doing okay. Growing leaves and buds. The poundland ones, look exceptionally sorry for themselves and are a fraction of the size of the posh roses. So the jury really is still out on them. 

I am fighting a constant war with the raised beds, in terms of making sure there is material in them. There are two builders bags that contain leaf mold, and this will be used to add to the some of the beds. Then, hopefully, as I’ve been saying for months;  a layer of compost will be put onto the top. Today, I had half a lie in so didn’t muster of up the gusto to get it. Plus, as I look out the window; precipitation has arrived. As is expected with April. With having workable raised beds, it will feel as though there is progress and after a long time. Not sure that root veg will like it in there; what with the layers of leaf mold, garden waste and compost; can just imagine wonky carrots. Which aren’t a problem, per se! Would love to sow lots and lots of carrots. Not going to happen with the open ground, the clay is not best when a fine tilth is required. There is a bag of sand on hand, if I fancy digging that in somewhere.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Tomato tantrum

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Prior to the Easter Holiday, I had very conscientiously pricked not and moved on the many different baby tomato seeds. This was a very precarious process, and a few didn’t make the transfer. The babies that did, did pick up and make great strides.

Then came the holidays. And I made a huge mistake. I drenched them before I left, left a lot of water in the tray. But didn’t bank on the up and down classroom climate.

Coming back after the fortnight holiday, I returned to carnage. All were keeled over, many were crispy and curled too. Cue panicked dash to water them. Sadly, not many pepped up. The three that you see in the picture were the only survivors. Woefully demoralising, as I don’t seem to have much luck with tomatoes. I will be resowing as soon as I can, thankfully I do have some time still.

I have no idea what varieties the survivors are, there were both bush and cordon varieties. The purple colour the babies turned was rather pretty.

Have had a rummage in the seedbox and will be resowing.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Game on

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Today. The sun came out. And I had a little wander.

Today was the day where having languished for weeks, potatoes and broad beans were planted and transplanted. The broadies, may however be a casualty. They were all very gangly looking, with some starting to flop over and being root bound. So Aquadulce Claudia broadbeans were transplanted. With another-fava de orto-being sown direct. It will interesting to see which one of these two groups will come off.

The major mission today was to get the potatoes sunk. And what a variety we have:
Kestrel
Cara,
Sante,
Orla
Lady Balfour
Maris piper
King Edward

The king eds have a bed to themselves; with cara and Sante being risked in open ground. This wasn’t what I wanted, but with only a few beds full of poo and space at a premium; this couldn’t be avoided. This would the poop that was gathered some time ago. I realised too late that there was no tato fertiliser. Will have to identify at which point they will come up. Even drew a diagram to make sure I know what is where.

With the autumn sown onions more or less being eaten by rain and clay; endeavours were add today to sow spring sowing onions. Many Red Baron were sunk, as well as half a bag of golden ball. I was defeated but the other half of the bag and a bag of mixed red, white and brown sets.

Most of what I wanted to achieve today has been done so. As ever, beds do need to be topped up. The next task will be to sow DFB’s into paper pots at the end of the month.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Pottering with pots

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It is meant to Spring. Yet, we have the white stuff again.

With the Easter break, I had anticipated transplanting beans and planting potatoes. That will not be happening due to the inclement weather. A third and final sowing of chillis and peppers has been made. But this will a window sill venture, as I am now fed up a little of the heated propogater. There were however ten baby seedlings that have survived from the first sowing. Covered and sat on a sunny warm window sill, it will be interesting to see if anything germinates. There are eleven different varieties. Nigel’s outdoor chilli-seeds were kindly donated by a GYO magazine grape-as well as interestingly named mammoth sweet peppers. One that I am trying again, is sweet mini red peppers. I have never had any success with those at all. There are quite a few rainbow chillies actually. One variety that is a brightly coloured variety, another one is purple rainbow variety

All in all, 57 seeds were sown into small yogurt pots with a hole in the bottom. I have sown three to a pot, which yes is quite a few. My defence is that in the past, I have had nice crops from chillies in cramped conditions. Less so, with sparsely grown ones.

Tomatos don’t half whiff. They really do. It’s an altogether distinctive smell. They are still sat there, occasionally going a bit purple. But mostly growing quite happily. I couldn’t tell you the varieties, I didn’t label them. Having pricked them out of a module tray, I wasn’t sure they’d work. Seem to be okay for the moment.

Leeks are getting further wiry, not yet pencil thick. But looking reasonably well. They do tend to keel over a little though, when dehydrated.

Will remain pottering.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Blizzards in Blighty…Again!

‘March comes in like a lion, and out like a lamb.’

I can believe that!

With the snow departing the East Coast of America, it has now arrived on our shores. We had experienced a dry patch, that segued by a bit of damp; has become yet another snowy patch.

With the Channel Islands all but shut, Middle England has experienced some snow flurries and the odd blizzard. The sense of spring arriving has been quickly displaced, the radiators have been switched on again. Mr.Sunshine has temporarily gone on holiday.

This probably means damp squidgy clay, the stuff that sticks to your wellingtons. Not easy to dig over or play with generally. The bulbs are probably more than a bit confused.

I do hope it leaves like a lamb. There will be potatoes to plant, beans too.

Here’s hoping,

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Waiting in the windows

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As the weather turns on its head, there are still many things lurking with intent on the window sills.

The broadbeans are still there, getting taller. Purely as the weather is having a tantrum. Watered daily, they are being monitored closely. I intend to make further sowings later, after the Easter holidays. By which time further paper pots will be made. Allowing sowings of dwarf French beans and runner beans to be sown.

The tomatoes are sat there too, having grown leggy in modules. Being transplanted, they sulked and they pouted. They remain in that state.

The Lyon 2 prize winner leeks are still standing. Just. These are also being watered, in their up, down, shake it all about state.

In other news, desert the cactus is flowering. Beautiful red bloom.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural hobbit

Potential

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Having not set foot onto the plot during half term week, I did so today with a heavy heart. Chiding myself, that I hadn’t been. I had to smile, when I arrived there. One of the lotment neighbours, had very kindly and with my permission, dug a trench. I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I? I fully understand that, and I will. That combined with the relatively dry weather, has resulted in puddles disappearing. There is no standing water. A huge relief, after 6 months of having to tread the stuff. A glimmer in the darkness, really.

Further inspection observed that spring bulbs are coming up. I forget not which varieties. There were hundreds sunk in the autumn. I am quite tempted to sink more, as the majority seem to have been eaten by the clay. In addition, the posh roses are starting to look a little alive. The one above is a pascalli. Most of the posh roses seem to be in a similar condition. With one planting looking a bit battered. The Poundland plants don’t seem to be as chirpy. One or two perhaps have buds forming.

The overwintering garlic, whilst still standing, doesn’t half look so miserable. It may well have a check with the bad weather; but it still has some time to endure before summer.

As ever, I still need to put compost into the beds. That I will do piece meal over the next few weeks. Doesn’t seem so daunting as it did before. Am further tempted to lay down newspaper and cardboard to then plant through it.

Chillis are still being pampered on a classroom windowsill. As are tomatos. There was a broadbean crisis.

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What horror and shock I experienced in my return to work after a week away. Alas they had to be doused in water.

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Very heavily doused in water; with some of the tops snipped off. Dehydration and lack of heat had toppled them. But they are now recovering.

Here’s to potential,

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Beans, Broadly speaking

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Taken last week, the above images indicate the progress of aqua dulce Claudia and Suttons dwarf beans. My one concern is that by the time I return back to them after the holidays; they will have keeled over. I did make sure that they were watered before I left. Some of them are quite tall, whereas others are still quite small and nestled in the paper pots.

I had not expected for them to have grown so quickly; I had expected them to take some time before needing to garden them off and then transplant. Once they have graduated from the window sill, I will then sow dwarf French beans in paper pots. Beyond that, it will then be runner beans.

As far as dwarf French beans go, I have some traditional green ones, some purple podded beans, as well as borlotto beans. An additional variety; yellow dwarf beans are being considered still.

A visit was made to the plot yesterday, and standing water remains. Will need to carefully consider having to draw channels in the edges to ensure that the water flows away. The battle between the Poundland and posh roses continues. On observation, there are buds on both. So it remains to be seen, which one will be more successful.

Spring Garlic was sown, just as the frost descended. As well some shallots, but not all the stash that remains in dad’s shed. These I will save for when a few of the beds are filled, in addition to the potatoes that lie in wait.

Still all to play for,

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

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