Tag Archives: marrow

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.

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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.

Bonanza Bountiful

The last month or so, has meant that a suspension of major play. Whilst an eye has been kept on the plot, and things watered; there has no been the windows of opportunity to have some major undertakings. This week, however, was a turning point. With the weather here in Blighty becoming brighter and more summery; the plot has seen a bloom of bounty occurring. There are of course weeds, that is to be expected. In some places though, the weeds are as thick as they are high. So this will form the basis of the much of the work done over the summer. I would not want to be in the same position as I was this time last year when the whole plot was carpeted top to bottom with weeds.

What we have seen, is a bounty and a booming one. The warmth and the light as caused something of a surge.

Potatoes and Cauliflowers makes for Aloo gobi. The cauliflowers were from Aunty tish, white excel. I believe. To date, we have had two healthy shaped and sized specimens. Mother was excited enough harvest and text me a picture. I was at a concert at the time!  That was the first. The second, was harvested for Aunty Indra. But it was not alone. No, it came with orla new potatos. We had already harvested a dozen or so, that Ma curried with some snowball turnips and ruby swedes. These were beautiful potatos, really very creamy and I found them to have a distinct salted flavour. As though they were ready salted crisps. There are kestral potatoes to take up, in the next stage of harvesting. All the potatoes in the raised beds are currently flowering. Well behind, are cara and sante potatoes. These are however, in open ground. Must harvest the third, and also have broccoli to come home too.

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Garlic and Shallots

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Been a busy day today, trying to get the various garlic and shallots up. Most of one bed has been cleared, but there is still a harvest remaining. There is quite a variance in the size of the different crops. The shallots are really quite small in their clumps, but a vast improvement on the crop from last year. Half a dozen clumps compared to three or for last year. The garlic, is the most interesting. Some of the beautiful pink bulbs are huge! Easily as big as my fist. There are also those that are tiny, no bigger than say a onion set. These are also the ones more difficult to dig out. I daresay, that this is weather variable, and a dependent on when they were sown. I have yet dig up any onions. A disappointment, as hundreds were sown. Garlic is now sat drying with the dry weather; the foliage will be chopped shortly.

Beans and peas are a sticky point. There are broadbeans, with their flowers following you around the plot as though they were eyes. But no beans and peas, in that there is one runner bean plant, and one pea. My fault, as I haven’t paid as close attention to them as I could have.

Courgettes and marrows are getting altogether exciting.

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Really must get around to harvesting them. The foliage is ever expanding, with leaves now being as big as dinner plates. The summer squashes are certainly doing well, though the like so patty pan and yellow scallop are somewhat behind. Have yet to see any sweet dumpling, or cobnut and any of the pumpkins.

Roses

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Chillies and peppers

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That would be Nigel, he is on a roll.

With Moolis and radishes, I have established, that I don’t like them. Dad likes radishes, so he had a few of those. The moolis, however, have been a challenger. And have bolted faster than a prized horse. Rather than chopping them down, have kept them for the seed pods. These can be curried or eaten as a snack.

Swedes and Turnips have been going well. Lots of foliage, and small half tennis ball sized fruits that Ma curried. Tasted quite nice these.

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There are loads of weeds, and cabbages to be sunk at some point. I am rather sick of lobbing caterpillars too. One of the broccoli plants was completely obliterated by the little critters. I will be constructing further raised beds. The level of success, is in my mind, a product of raised beds. A good part of today was spent collecting bags of grass to fill them with.

Things are most definitely looking up!

Yours in anticipation.

Horticultural Hobbit

Pinched and pulled

“I found a mooli!”

“Have you? Lovely.”

Well, mother, it’s a white icicle radish. But if you insist.

Mum pulled out a few sparkler radishes as well for herself and pops. Both of whom, have now decked that they don’t like the leaves. So these were composted.

The one key coup today.

Chard and spinach.

That was she wanted today. And no messing.

Mum harvested a fair bit of what looks like perpetual spinach and may have been Vulcan chard. The premise was to make it into pakoras-that’s onion bhajis, folks. But we really shouldn’t be eating more fried food.

And what was I doing whilst she cut that stuff down? Watering squashes. Striato di Napoli has a couple of babies, there may be a little jack baby, and baby bush marrow. Please to report that leaves are filling out nicely. Must keep feeding them.

Yours in anticipation

Horticultural Hobbit

Casting a clout

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The fleece is off! Not quite June, by 24 hours, but let’s go!

Mama H and I took a walk down, bits and pieces tucked under our arms. All of the squashes were uncovered as were the cucumbers, sweetcorn and the one tomato that was down there. Mama H huffed and puffed at me; taking off the fleece there. Whilst I was planting out broadband and dwarf French beans, Pops came by. As you do. With two big bags of grass clippings. These were then tucked around the potato foliage. Looking a big ugly, if I might add. Pops pottered around too. Surveying, it’s a Dad thing. I haven’t put the leeks out yet.

Avalon and sweet dumpling have taken a hit. Big leaves eaten. There are smaller, leaves starting to come through. The sweetcorn is 3×3 with yellow scallop and patty pans dotted in between. Looking a bit windburned actually. This years ghost rider has rallied, it looked a bit ropey last week. Womble-wonder which courgette that is-is looking a bit on the petite size; whilst Astia looks all right. Baby marrow is similar.

Cucumbers didn’t look too bad. A couple of crispy leaves. Four of the second sized tomatoes were planted out.

Planted out some Cherokee trail of tears. With the runner beans looking a bit scruffy; not sure if they will actually survive.

Cauliflowers and kale didn’t look too bad in their beds. Having raised beds is certainly making a difference. I’m not quite sure what Mama H is going to do with all her fenugreek and spinach. It does all look very green.

There was a moment of hilariousness. Mama H picked up a big fat black slug, and launched it; screaming at the top of her lungs that I had a big fat slug. It didn’t land far. I then picked it up after and I’m afraid to say; it was euthanised by being slung against a wooden fence. Don’t think it felt a thing.

Not a bad start, eh?

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Out for the count

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All of the Squashes were planted out today. As were cucumbers. A couple of these were looking a bit ropey as I did so. The ghost rider was the ropiest of the squash. These were planted, with a small pot sunk next to to them; in addition there was a layer of mulch around them. With the exception of two, all were plugged into raised beds. The incredible sweetcorn was planted 3×3 in the raised bet, interplanted by way of experiment with trailing squash.

Running beans were also plugged in; scarlet emperor, painted lady and a handful of enorma.

Lots planted out. All in the lap of the Gods.

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural hobbit

Burgeoning

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Have made something of a transition, in shuffling things around onto the window sill.

The cucumbers and the squashes have been brought home and placed into the four tier blowaway. I don’t think that in the time that I have had it; it has ever been this full. The contents is getting bigger and bigger; and need hardening off. Am bit fearful actually, for the cucumbers. Might throw a bit of fleece over things tonight as they have been sat in a semi warm classroom. If they don’t make it through the night, that will be a problem.

We almost have a block of sweetcorn. Just waiting on a few more to germinate for security. I witnessed yesterday. The leaves of the sweetcorn transpiring. I have clearly over watered them! It was a wow moment that you had to be there for.

Another batch of runners have been sown. As have loads of petite poise and kelevdon wonder pea. Handful of caulis have been sown too.

Will update further soon!

Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit