Tag Archives: Astia

Polytunnel potting up

Finally, I am moving the chillies from their warm sitting place to the poly tunnel. I have potted up twelve pots into larger flower buckets. This is half of this years chilli cohort, with another two dozen pots to be positioned in the poly tunnel. Potted up today were Purple Haze cayennes-two plants, with a third waiting at home-jalepenos, hungarian hot wax, prairie fire, patio sizzle and sparkler. These are plants that have had something of a growth surge recently, and one of the purple haze plants has even started to form flowers. I have taken this as an indicator that these are now ready to move home and head to the poly tunnel. These are the final pots for the plants, and I don’t anticipate potting them on again.

You can see the you tube version here.

Squashes also need to be potted on, and I didn’t realise quite how many I had. I counted just over two dozen plants; luckily for me, I can share these with Mum. There are four marrows in there, which she will no doubt have designs on. Marrows are really not my thing, but Ma can work magic with them.  I have yet to sow pumpkins and butter nut squashes; to be honest, I might cheat in those cases. I can never get pumpkins or butter nut squashes to actually germinate. Seedlings tend to be okay and I can look after them from that stage onwards. There are a few patty pans and yellow scallops, these become the coolest of space ship courgettes. There are the standard green courgettes as well as other yellow ones.

The poly tunnel is now occupied with a number of different seedlings. Tomatoes and Sweetcorn  have been basking in sunshine for the last few days, and I have taken the decision to move them to the poly tunnel by way of a half way house. The Latah variety and a few others have already started to flower, so moving might be useful. The tomato cohort as a whole are probably not as tall as they could be-they were sown later than usual-and are starting to look a bit weary of their pots. The aim is to plug these into raised beds in the coming week if the weather remains fair. I just need to keep an eye on them in the poly tunnel, as I remember having a small panic last year in nearly cooking plants as the poly got rather too hot. There should be enough water in the gravel trays though, for the next couple of days if the temperatures remain; the vents are also open.

You can see the youtube version here.

It was world naked gardening day today, apparently. I can assure you that I fully clothed all the time.

Unseasonable, but to sow anyway

This rather erratic weather does nothing to improve an already low level of allotmenteering mojo. Already feeling as though I am behind, hearing the hail come down as you return from the allotment  is not exactly encouraging or inspiring. Today was pencilled in as the opportunity to take stock and sow an assortment of seeds. With the frost window in Birmingham open til the end of May, I made the decision to sow squashes. These grow quickly, require potting on if they become too large to soon and will eventually need hardening off before being plugged into the raised beds on the plot.

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The squashes that have been sown are largely summer squashes. We have traditional green courgettes and a marrow, as well as patty pan, yellow scallop, a round variety and another that is white a green but also a space ship sort. The seeds have been sown into pellets, and will sit inside to germinate. What I have yet to sow are winter squashes such as pumpkins and butternut squashes. I am likely to either cheat or sow the seeds in the coming week or so. There are seeds saved from a couple of winter squashes that I will look into sowing again. There has always been a pumpkin on the plot, the plot would not be the same without a bruno.  Whilst I am not a big fan of marrows, my mum is; so that is why I have sown some. I am likely to share the seeds sown with her, so they aren’t all for me!

Squashes have generally been quite straight forward. Sowing and growing Cucumbers on the other hand, has been somewhat of a challenge for.In the past, I have sown quite a few, but slowly, one by one, by April they will have keeled over in a cold snap. April has so far been fairly horrible in terms of weather, so I am somewhat glad to have made a late decision to sow cucumber seeds. Swing is a new variety, have not sown that before. Whereas I have previously sown marketmore and crystal lemon. The latter have cropped, and produce a lovely round and yellow fruit that does actually have a lemony taste to it.

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The previous sowing  of beans was something of a disaster. I think it was just too cold and damp in the poly tunnel; so I making a second sowing and keeping at home. The hope that this will encourage a better level of germination, seedlings will be more robust and once hardened off, these can be planted out on the the plot. The varieties sown are scarlet emperor runner bean; a favourite and previously a very good cropper. The climbing french bean variety is blue lake, and this has also been very abundant.

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Sowing seeds is always somewhat therapeutic. I’ve now ran out of pellets, so the beans and cucumbers are being sunk into soil proper. I did give the compost a brief window to warm up, and then it was moisten with warm water. Otherwise there is an increased chance of rotting if everything is very cold and damp.

You can see the youtube version here.

There are a whole host of different seedlings that now require observation. The observation does happen to be carried out by mum, and is communicated to me along the lines of “Punam, shall I water your tomatoes, they look a bit sad.” Half of the time, she is right, but I do try and make sure that they aren’t over water. The tomatoes and chillies are actually still under fleece during the night time for now. There have been a few nights were where the temperatures were significantly under 10 degrees celsius. So I have been a little wary in leaving the seedlings exposed.

You can see the youtube version here.

tomatoflowering

When I hear the words “Punam, your tomatoes look a bit sad” I do tend to check, and see what Mum is suggesting. There are some varieties, such as ‘Cream Sausage’ that do look a little bit sad as they are quite feathery in appearance. These, I can look at double check that they are still with us. What you don’t expect, quite so soon, is a flower.  A bright yellow one at that. The label appears to have disappeared for the one in the picture, so I can’t determine what variety it is. The plant doesn’t look unhappy, but sending out a flower means that it is either too happy, or a bit stressed out. I will keep a closer eye on the plants and make a decision as to what to do next. It is most likely that it requires potting on, but I am going to hold fire with that for now. The plan is to plant the tomatoes in the open ground of the allotment. Last years experiment of having them all in the poly tunnel wasn’t very successful; and by and large, all the previous success has come from tomatoes being outside. Plants will need hardening off, and I hope that can be done in the coming month or so.

#NABLOMPOMO: Squash Sowing 2015

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I have been trying to wait, and now sow squashes. Mainly as the grow quickly, but also because we still get a frost until the end of May. So any seedlings would be fairly big by then, and would also have to be hardened off. In the past, some of the varieties that I have grown have been brilliant, others less so. I have also had the misfortune of some being eaten by slimers. This is why, I have sown a varied and large variety.

The Varieties as follows:

  • Ghost rider pumpkin
  • Marina Di Chioggia
  • Patty Pan
  • Yellow Scallop
  • Uchiki Kiri
  • Soleil
  • Sweet Dumpling
  • Astia Courgette
  • Honey Bear Squash
  • Cobnut
  • Striato Di Napoli
  • Tondo di Piacenza
  • Tiger Cross marrow
  • Bush baby marrow

There are loads, and normally, one, maybe two plants would be sufficient for a family. I have been known to give away courgettes to friends, family, colleagues, anyone who I knew didn’t mind fresh veg. There is the risk, that I will be over run. I am sure that they will be used, given to a good home, or meet their ends in a chutney of some kind.

Ghost rider pumpkins make an appearance, I have sown these previously, and also saved their seeds. Patty pan and yellow scallop were a really good variety that was sown a couple of years ago.

Yes, there are lots and lots.  I have sown one or two of each variety. Seeds have been put into the pellets-I know not all folks uses these, but I don’t like getting told of by the parents for having soil all over the house-on their edges. Apparently this stops them rotting, not so sure, so testing this. Covered with a propogator lid and left in a warm place. I have also sown some tongue of fire climbing beans. Think these are borlotti beans. As well as some experimental painted lady running beans. Ma has been champing at the bit to sow running beans directly, but I have been trying to dissuade not to sow directly as these get eaten by the clay so early.

All that remains to be seen now is whether any of these triffids germinate.

the Chilli Menagerie 2015: Window sill Shuffle

With the tomatoes thrown to their possible impending doom into the 4TB, there has been a window sill shuffle with the chllies. The larger chilli plants are serrano, cayenne, aji limo and hungarian hot wax. The habaneros bring up the rear in the second smaller batch. I have left the habaneros where they are, but others have moved to a cooler spot. Mainly because they are trying to escape their pots and I don’t really want to pot on too quickly. They get comfortable, and things start to go  a bit awry. I have found, through observation, that the cramped drier conditions foster a more positive outcome. Plus it is only nearly the end of March. I don’t want to plant these out into the Poly tunnel in bigger pots just yet.

The wendy house also needs tidying before I do that too. That is the wendy house blow, when the one side did actually do up. Ah yes, I need to repair the door. I am not buying another cover. Why is it, that I always take the one door of it’s hinges? I have done the same with the 4TB….meh.

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Squash re-sown

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I’ve been looking at these for a few days; wondering why they weren’t growing. So I had a check today. Turns out, it’s all a bit cold and damp. The one thing that has germinated is the crimson sweet watermelon. Have rummaged in the seed box and resown. Only one or two were summer squashes. Rest were winter squashes.

On the other hand:

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These are the first cohort. We has assorted squashes and cukes in there.

Space Invaders

Is it a plane, is it a bird, no it’s a funny shaped courgette!

To most people, a courgette is a courgette. A nondescript vegetable, shiny, straight and available from your local supermarket. Alas, they have clearly never grown their own veg. I must admit, that I too started off with a straight, relatively typical courgette. The courgette Astia, simple, straight forward and green. Then, I moved onto yellow ones, rounds ones, stripy ones, as you are aware of. Only recently, was I aware of another creature. Yellow Scallop and patty pan. You can argue that these are the one and the same. They may well be, I’m covering my bases here, with synonyms and semantics.

There have been daily explorations of the Esther Bucklee bed. Trying to find down these curiously shaped creatures. These are housed, between the Incredible Sweetcorn, all eight plants of them. I have three of these, I think, and a sweet dumpling, in the confines of a raised bed. This bed is one metre squared, and foray into two out of three sisters. The bed is heaving, you’d think I was growing triffids. This is exactly, what it looks like. A mass of green leaves, the size of dinner plates. Vines making an escaping, with eight long, willow corn plants, standing above a parapet. When the wind blows, the bed appears to be dancing and shaking it’s thing.

As you can see, the courgette is tiny. I almost missed it, but espied the small alien saucer like shape; and had to inspect it further. Not quite sure what I will do with them. As it stands, there are two courgettes in the kitchen. Despite having chutneyed two yesterday.

In other news, have harvested some curly kale and nero di toscano for dinner.

Yours in anticipation,

 

Horticultural Hobbit

My Courgette, is your Zucchini

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=541734569209356&set=a.201843363198480.48643.186302798085870&type=1&theater

Here we have the first batch of summer squashes. We have Striato Di Napoli-those would be the stripy ones, astia would be the uniform green ones, and summer ball which is the yellow one that looks a lot like a tennis ball. Is in fact the same size as one, so was harvested.

Striato Di Napoli is the product of seeds from Real Seeds, and I am honestly quite impressed by them. In a week, we have what four or five of them. Yes, I know that the the Astia look a bit tiny. I think with the last week or so, it has decided that it wants to produce babies. Only it was caught a bit off guard by the weather, and has only produce what would be termed baby courgettes. They’ve all been taken off, so that the one or two that remain on the plant might get bigger. I have know Astia to produce courgettes that are like truncheons.

Having never had yellow courgettes, we have one of two. This is summer ball, one ball is producing little babies as we speak. Beautiful round tennis ball thing, that was almost jumping off the plant. Mama H been huffing and puffing, that she’s not going to curry it. Of course she will, will not be left by its lonesome.

Now, I spoke previously about truncheons. Well, not one of these things, summer ball aside, is straight. Their beauty lies in their wonky-ness.

Today, was Mama H’s day of birth, so that mean bhajis. She’s just had some, made from the caulis, spinach and spuds from the plot. Were most definitely enjoyed. We have waiting on the plot, a bush baby marrow. It’s currently look at us, but mother is trying to work out when to cook it.

Yours in Anticipation

Horticultural Hobbit