Sunday, 14 April 2019

Mowing, forking, weeding.....

   Plenty of weeding, forking and grass mowing done and to do! I have joined up three of my herb beds to make one continuous bed. I will sow some flower seed, comos and marigold, along with woad. Should make a pretty picture! A friend has provided me a rhubarb root that will add to my now two year old crowns grown from seed. I have transplanted Great Lake lettuce to an outside bed under cloches. I have grand hopes for these! Ha! In the poly tunnel I have transplanted some tomato seedlings to pots and I notice today that I have a few more that I can do. Tomato seed germination has been very poor this year.
   Today (14th April) we had the Champeau Easter egg hunt! Not all the eggs were found so that is a surprise waiting for me when I am out forking and weeding! Next week will see me sowing more seed probably in the outside beds. It is about four weeks to the end of the risk of frosts so it is worth a gamble for the first sowing of french beans.
For the Easter egg hunt 140219

Great Lakes before transplanting

Saturday, 6 April 2019

April showers

  Well the weather stayed fine for a few days. The cherry trees have finally blossomed and I reckon they are late this year. The warm weather did not help my transplanted parsnips though. It has taken three attempts to get a reasonable row. Once the weather became cooler I had more success. Here is hoping that my resowed row of parsnip seed do something. I fear it will depend on whether or not the chickens leave them alone or not! With the continued good weather lots of forking and weeding done. The Egyptian onion bed now looks a lot better! In the onion beds the sets are growing well and I can now see defined rows of  growing onions. Finally got around to lighting my bonfire, probably the last one and of course more grass mowing! Lots of work done in the poly tunnel. The poly tunnel fleece cloche is now set up and populated with a variety of sown seeds and transplanted tomatoes. This year I am growing a variety of squash seeds given to me in exchange for some Egyptian onion sets. Varieties sown are American Tonda, Kuri, Long Island cheese and my own Waltham butternut. Just for fun I have also sown some Sankt Martin pumpkins which hopefully will do for Halloween. Cucumbers, Wautoma (always a favourite) and Marketmore also sown. Tomatoes Noire Crimee and Poitron transplanted to pots. Despite all I am getting an increased number of tomato seedlings but I still sowed another couple of seed trays as a backup. With to such a long season here sowing tomato seed late should not matter too much. 
   On the animal front all is ok. Mrs. Buffy and chick are fine, hens are laying well. Sheep are enjoying the spring and the new grass. We have a set of hens eggs in our incubator and await to see what appears in a couple of weeks. 
   So its hope for good weather, a little rain and there will be plenty to do!
Great Lakes lettuce seedlings


Thursday, 28 March 2019

Ssssshh!

    It has not rained all week. Ok, that has done it. Anyway no rain means time to get busy! Priority was to get the potatoes in. Earlie's, second earlie's and main crop. Mission 
accomplished! All seed potatoes planted despite the efforts of the chickens to dig them up once sown! Varieties - a popular french early variety, ANOE, second early my favourite, Belle de Fontenay and main crop, another favourite of mine, DESIREE. My tomato seed germination so far is proving to be very poor. Typical. As for cabbage? I am off to the market to buy plants.
Digging potato trenches
   The parsnip seed have done nothing so I have resown. The seed must be good because another person I gave some to have had success in germinating them! Also transplanted some self seeded parsnip seedlings in more of an experiment than any hope of them taking.  I have sown the first lot of mang tout. That annual chore of grass cutting has started. First crop of the year....18Jour radish! Pulled a few from the poly tunnel. Last year more out of a casual hope that any feeling of sucess I took some rosemary cuttings. Of course, sods law, they all took! I have,oh twenty four, very healthly looking rosemary cuttings. Transplanted four to one of the herb beds and four to pots to give away.
   On the animal front there has been a change of the guard with the chickens. Poor old Bonaparte got way laid by my daughters cat and was out of action for a couple of hours. I thought I had lost him but he recovered, however, in the time he was out of circulation Mr. Chick made his move and is now top coq. I found them fighting the next day, neck feathers up and really going for it but Mr. Chick was not giving his ground and now Bonaparte is the outcast. Sheep are being sheep enjoying the spring sunshine and newly growing grass.
  So at last it is  go go go and I need to get on before everything overtakes me which it will do if I do not persist!


Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Need the rain to stop

   Ok has the weather improved? Barely, however, I sit here looking out of the window and what do I see? SUNSHINE! Forecast is good over the next few days so here is hoping to getting most of the spuds in! Unfortunately I pulled a back muscle but it is on the mend.
   I have transplanted Great Lakes lettuce to individual modules as I have with Bedfordshire Champion onions. The tomatoes are starting to show and I expect a flood of newly germinated tomato seedlings in the next few days! First lot of Batavia Blonde lettuce plants bought from the local market (Aigurande) and transplanted into a poly tunnel bed. I looked to see when I did this last year and I was within a day! Ha! Radish in the poly tunnel thinned out and some winter savoy type cabbage sown into modules. No sign of my summer cabbage germinating yet. 
   The sheep are acting like spring lambs. They are running about, prancing and head butting each other. The chick is still with us and Mrs Buffy is being an attentive mum. The chickens are doing just fine.
   Right I need to get on! Hi Ho Silver! 

Egyptian walking onions 

Foreground broad beans background garlic

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Well, almost

   The good start made last week did not last that long. Wind, rain and then days of wind and drizzle was enough to discourage one from doing anything very much outside. Tomato seeds sown in seed trays (all gathered last year) varieties Crimee Noire, Jens Orange, Gardeners Delight, Andine Cornue, Potiron Ecarlate.
Tomato seed on the window ledge
   Also sown Golden Acre and Precoce de Louviers cabbage in modules really with fingers crossed as I do not have that much success with brassicas sown from seed. Moss curled parsley sown in pots last years surviving plants now starting to struggle.
   I did cut some daffodil's and put them up in a vase on the mantle piece. My wife always enjoyed the first daffodil's of the  year.

Left Great Lakes lettuce Right Bedfordshire Championship onions
   The chick is surviving and Mrs. Buffy is proving to be a module mum. Sheep are being sheep and the chickens continue to lay well. Once more they are being annoying in the garden scratching at any disturbed soil. My nice beds end up virtually flat!
   Here is hoping for some better weather to enable me to get on more.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Pace is quickening...

   The pace is now starting to really pick up. It has been a busy week. Lots of forking and weeding done with the onion set and shallot beds made ready and planted! Lots and lots of onion sets! Ha! This year I have planted a french onion set, variety Jaune Paille des Vertus as something different to the usual. The other variety I have planted is Sturon. They did quite well last year and I thought worth any other go. I found a packed of Bedfordshire Champion onion seed in my seed tin so I have also sown those in a seed tray. Nothing venture nothing gained! Also the first lot of lettuce seed sown in a seed tray, variety Great Lakes. Soon be time to buy lettuce plants from the local market. A row of variety Touchon carrots sown and I must remember to sow more in couple of weeks! The early planting in the poly tunnel usually works well. More tidying up done and I have had a bonfire. I have cleared brambles from around the bee hive. I do not know if the bees have survived the winter as it is still generally to cold for them. The asparagus bed has been weeded and some compost added. I also fenced it off to stop the chickens from scratching up the newly disturbed soil looking for worms!
   On the animal front some good news. Our Buff Orpington hen has successfully hatched out an Ixworth chick. She had seven eggs, one was broken and one chick so far. Hoping for a couple more. Hens are laying well, sheep are being sheep! 
   The seed potatoes are in egg trays chitin away! I bought a new variety as a early potato, a french variety called Anoe. Also bought the usual Desiree and I went back to a favourite, Belle de Fontenay.
   First mow of the year done. Not a complete garden but about a third that was just getting too long.
  Plenty to do. More seed sowing over the next week I should think and always there is tidying up.

Mrs Buffy and her Ixworth chick


Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Perfect! Just perfect!

   I just love this time of year. The change from winter to spring to summer. It is just lovely. The air is cool, the sun is warm on your back but not to hot to stop one from working in the garden. So it is crack on time! The ground is just about perfect for weeding and forking. The forecast is for a couple of weeks of fine weather so here is hoping that I can get on top of things. There is generally a frost in the morning but by mid-day it is time to get out there and get busy!
   So having waxed lyrical what have I been up to? Trying to get ahead of the weeds  that is what! Weeding and forking. My little chicken friend has been keeping me company and has been virtually under my fork gobbling up the worms as soon as I turn over the soil. She is not afraid at all! Beds are now all but ready for the planting of onion and shallot sets. Still have not bought those but I will this week. It is a must!
    Look who came to visit....