Tag Archives: patty pan

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.

Plot Plunder, winding down

“Oh, Punam, I went to the Plot, your grapes were flat again. Tomorrow we need to fix them.”

“Right, okay.”

“Oh, Punam, we didn’t see these. All of these marrows. We must have missed them.”

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And so started the conversation, and I suggested we take a walk and see what the deal was with the plot. This week has seen a return to work, and teaching has started. I was in something of a daze yesterday at six in the evening, having finished teaching; so a walk this afternoon was scheduled as being necessary after a day of training. I am hoping to do some volunteer work in the coming year, so a large proportion of my day had already been spoken for.

“Mum, there’s seven of them?”

That means chutney at some point this week.

We took a walk, and removed the last of the patty pan, sunburst courgettes. There are a few other yellow courgettes remaining; and soon they will slow down. Once all of the squashes have started to die a death; the aim is to take up the plants and compost them back into the ground. I know that I shouldn’t plant more plants than necessary, it is however difficult to not comply when your mum wants more than one plant. Yet we both get fed up of seeing frequently appearing squashes by this time of the year.

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The climbing and runner beans are also starting to slow down. The last of them-she says-are now waiting to be chopped up and frozen.I had forgotten just how much you end up with, if you sow quite a few plants. We have had a combination of blue lake and cobra climbing french beans, as well as borlotto beans, scarlet emperor and painted lady runner beans. These had been sown in two batches, as I had been convinced that the one tray simply wouldn’t be enough. I think mum is quietly fed up now of chopping and freezing them. She is still to get used to the colour of the borlotto beans, I think they add character to the wig wams.

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It has been a while since we have successful cropping of a butternut squash on the plot. The very first one was called Gladys, and this one would be gladys mark three. After all, even the ghost rider pumpkins are always called Bruno. I cannot remember now whether this is waltham or hunter. It is butternut squash nonetheless. There have been yellow butternut squash type thing harvested during the summer, more spherical in shape. Not too sure as to what will be done this with yet, but I am sure that it will be put to some good use.

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Newly arrived today is the box of over wintering garlic that will be waiting to be sunk. I think the latest that I have ever planted is the end of November, so I am aiming to do sow sooner than that. This will mean clearing raised beds of the assorted plants before plugging in. I don’t plan to sink into open ground as the heavy clay tends eat the cloves and I also find it harder to monitor weeds.

plant out day: Squashes and beans

With the end of May, being the closing of our frost window; today was plant out day. This was the result of plants being hardened off over the last week or so in quiet anticipation. Plus the plants were starting to get a bit too big to be stashed in the 4TB.

First thing first, three of the metre square beds had to be filled up, these were filled with well decayed farmyard manure. Then, sixteen squash plants, yes, sixteen, have been sunk. There’s half and half split, with some being plugged into raised beds, with the others being plugged into open ground. These were the seeds sown the second time around as the first batch had become cold and damp. Compared to what squashes have looked like at the same time in previous years, they are a bit smaller. I haven’t managed to sow and germinate pumpkins or butternut squashes, so this may be a jet episode.

Next came the beans. We had about thirty plants. These were the traditional scarlet emperor runner bean, as well as cobra and blue lake french climbing bean. All of these three varieties have in the past been very productive. I have another tray sat on the window sill germinating, so I may need to make some more wig wams at somepoint.

#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.

Patty pan spaceship thingies

 

Last year small pumpkins and patty pan courgettes were grown on the plot. Didn’t try this them this year. Firstly as the seeds failed, and second I wasn’t convinced about the small pumpkins and little gem squashes.

They all grew well, nestled amonst eight stalks of sweetcorn. The sweetcorn didn’t do so well. Grew tall, but the cobs weren’t that brilliant in the least.

So was I too quick to judge these squashes? I think I might try the space ship patty pan things again. Little gem didn’t quite have the flavour, and were beaten in the taste test by roasted sweet potatoes.

Will have to check the seed stasher and see what seeds i do have. The space ship shaped courgettes were certainly a good cropper. Except when you really don’t want to see another courgette.

Bollywood courgette chutney first draft 2014

Last year, I made a version of Pam the jam’s courgette chutney. The fact that it is very Bollywood was a key point. Today, I have attempted another version, but varied still in adding red sweet pepper.

Home grown onions and garlic as well as a patty pan were used in this. The courgette was salted before hand.

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Was simple enough to follow through. Does look a bit untidy though. I did note, that Thane Princes tip; of parting with a spoon and parting the sea to form a channel was a very good indicator to have in mind.

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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.

Sortee of squashes

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These are growing like triffids. Perhaps not as big as plants this time last year; but still have some time yet. I am aiming to have them planted out at the bank holiday weekend. Suggesting that they will need to be hardened off soon.