Tag Archives: chard

#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.

#NaBloPoMo: Tidying up on the plot

With the growing season over, the plot takes on a whole new appearance. The colour and foliage has all but gone. What does remain, is the hardier spinach and chard like creatures, and of course the weeds that were missed from the first time they were spotted.

The plan was therefore to go down to the plot and start weeding and digging. I did the weeding, and some digging but not as much digging as I would like. The plot is clay, or in this weather, heavy clay. It is solid, sticky, and squelchy. The red wellington boots were covered and caked in the stuff.

I concentrated on the one bed on project othello, the second half of the plot.There are seven beds on project othello, two of which are currently occupied by cabbages. The aim is to fill a few of the others with soft fruit.

Welcome to Hobbitland
Welcome to Hobbitland

Project othello is on the right hand side of this diagram, and the bed in question has already got mint and a rochester peach tree in it. This particular bed had been full of gladiolus, tomatoes and courgettes, so was in need of a tidy up. There were quite a few clumps of grass that had sprouted across it. These were all pulled up, which was made easier by the soil being wet.

The chard is still going, as is the perpetual spinach. Neither of these likes the warmth or direct. The chard in question is bright lights and vulcan chard. Bright lights does as it suggests, lots of yellow stalks. Vulcan chard, is the red one,and always reminds me of Spock. It doesn’t bleed green, I checked. It does however make nice pasta sauce and onion bhajis.

Over the summer, the roses were in full bloom. And they are still going, some of them at least. Even those hacked down and dead headed, have new blooms coming through.

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.


Parental Supervision: Gardening with our adults

I did say that I would request adult supervision. In having already put in situ the canes that needed to be strung up with netting; I asked Pops to come and help. The reason being, that I couldn’t possibly reach the top of them, and I really wanted to put up string. Whilst Pops could have grumbled, he didn’t. He came down the plot, and was rather warmly welcomed by the many folks that were down there today. Since the sun had come out, it really had brought people out to play in the dirt.

It was one of many missions today, to get the nets strung up. As you can see from the gallery, it took some doing. Mama H and Pops are some team. Pops even had the idea of the bamboo cane across the top to form the Rugby Style goal posts. My original idea, in hindsight, did make for some weak integrity. Mama H, cut up the string so that it could all be lashed together. Between us, we got one and bit a frame sorted, before I ran out of stringy netting. Off, then, pootled the parents. I was left to my own devices.

I had taken with me, some green barrier fencing. Yet another plan today was to plant peas. That didn’t happen. I stood there, thinking, well, I don’t have any pea netting. But I did! The barrier fencing. Surely, that will do for runners too? Surely.

With that epiphany, I cut the fencing to various lengths to finish the job. In addition, it now bisects the plot too. That was where I plan to put the peas. I will get to those eventually, they keep looking at me.

Whilst there was a lot of infrastructure to play with, there was also some sowing and transplanting to do. The herbs, that have spent the best part of five months in the four tier blow away, were transplanted. Did rather look a bit sorry for themselves, but hopefully they will perk up a bit. A direct sowing of broadbeans was. This time, it was bunyards exhibition and some more suttons dwarf. These are to replace the ones that were eaten by the frost two weeks ago. The clay has got increasingly dry and concrete again. But there are things growing!

Then Mama H came back again. Just as I opened up my seed tin-another plan-and actually made me jump. The bag I had opened, was the Fenugreek, a clarion call for Mother’s arrival, I tell you. The methi was handed over. And off she went. Sowing the stuff, as well as some turnips, perpetual spinach, nero de toscana, green and yellow mustard too. I had already sunk some strawberries that Mama H has now unceremoniously kicked out of her garden. Fun was had, with the parents. Now to decide whether I direct sown the beans, or modularise

Yours in anticipation,


Horticultural Hobbit