Monthly Archives: April 2014

Bluebells and purple sprouting broccoli flowers

20140427-011701 am.jpg

Who knew they would look so beautiful together. The yellow flowers from my PSB are simply wonderful I had to bring them into the house to admire and naturally a little fistful of bluebells as I went past! Oh spring it’s so lovely to have you back again! X

Advertisements

Happy spring

20140420-074904 am.jpg

Whether it’s your Easter, or just a Sunday. I just wanted to say have a ‘happy day!’

Take time today to enjoy the flowers, plants, insects, animals and people you share this planet with.

This blog is now a year old, thank you for taking the time to share it with me.

Much love to you and yours.

Vix…xxx

Harvesting my bamboo

20140416-091516 pm.jpg

I grow bamboo in my garden, I love the sound of the wind through it’s leaves and the bright green stalks in the sunshine it’s a great plant to have – plus it’s extremely useful.

I harvest the canes to use in my allotment. The great thing about growing your own canes is they have so many more useful bumps and tiny branches than shop bought ones. Which obviously, is very handy for your climbing plants to grab hold of plus the green coloured stalks slowly fade to the familiar beige colour through the growing season, just making them more interesting to look at.

Maybe I take this ‘grow your own’ thing too far, but I wonder what the carbon foot print of the humble garden cane is? I could go out and buy some brittle canes from the garden centre, but it’s so much more fun to grow it yourself!

What’s even more interesting is they are so bendy when green, so you can fashion your own different shaped structures. But take care because they don’t half snap back into shape quick if they aren’t secured properly!

So now I’ve got my newly harvested green bamboo canes… Just need those peas and beans to get a move on! Happy gardening my friend! X

The spring juggle

20140416-080328 am.jpg

My poly tunnel is starting to fill up, trying to find a slot for a seed tray is slowing becoming impossible, I call it the spring juggle. Every inch is filled with a pot or tray – isn’t spring exciting?

Is it me or is there never enough room? Even if I owned the Eden project there wouldn’t be enough space.

April is one of the busiest months for me, sowing and pricking out becomes a full time job. So far I’ve sown (prepare for a huge list):

Soya bean
Runner bean
French bean
Peas
Courgette golden
Marrow
Squash patty green tint
Courgette all green bush
Courgette F1 Atena
Chard Brightlights
Kale Nero di Toscana
Kale scarlet
Kale curly scarlet
Kale dwarf green curled
Leek prize taker
Lettuce little Gem
Rocket
Quinoa
Kohl Rabi purple and white Vienna mix
Tomato gardeners delight
Tomato Tigerella
Sweet Pepper
Multicoloured corn
French marigolds
French lavender
Basil sweet genovese
Basil red Rubin
Coriander fine leaved
Tarragon Russian
Peppery salad
Purple sprouting broccoli
Sunflower velvet queen
Sunflower giant
Sweet pea giant wave
Cabbage primero F1
Calendula Officianalis
Beetroot perfect 3
Good King Henry
Angelica
Pumpkins
Musk melon F1 Emir
Lupin Russell mix
Stock
Tagetes lemon gem
Night scented stock
Nasturtium home mix
Morning glory Rosa Volant

(Told you it was a long list)

I keep records of when everything is sown, the temperatures, and a tick box for if it germinated. Then you can see where you are up to, and it’s lush to look back on in the winter when planning ahead!

Purple Sprouting Broccoli

20140410-071445 pm.jpg

It’s tastes and looks amazing! And now is the time to start sowing it for your bumper harvest next spring!

It’s easy to grow, and just gets on with it’s business throughout the year. But then next spring it will explode with amazing sprouting fab purple stalks.

I have never understood why the supermarkets charge so much for it, as it’s so easy to grow and just a few plants will give you such a tremendous harvest. Freshly picked, gently steamed it’s simply wonderful!

I have about 5 plants and today I harvested so much we had enough for our dinner, as did all of my neighbours (I’m very popular today!)

But that’s what it’s all about eating super fresh, no silly chemicals and sharing your harvests with your friends and family!

Happy spring to you!

Three new Black Currents for free- propagation using ‘layering’.

20140406-084132 am.jpg

Last spring I pegged down a low hanging branch from my black current, in the hopes of getting a new plant from it and it’s worked a treat!

Propagation using layering is as easy as pie, I do like to take cuttings but this method may take longer but works a treat and it’s so simple!

All you need to do is take a low hanging supple branch and either peg, bury or pop a heavy stone on top of it. I covered mine with about 7cm of soil and gave it a good water. You can see in the picture I’m pointing to the original branch that I layered, look at all those fab roots and the wonderful growth! Also be careful not to snap the branch as you bring it down to soil level.

Another point, ensure that it is able to respond to layering! Plants such as hybrid berries, some woody herbs, Hydrangea, Forsythia, honeysuckle, Wisteria – actually quite a lot, all respond nicely to this process. Then when it’s ready dig it up, cut it from it’s parent plant and either pot it up or find it a new home somewhere in your garden or allotment.

I have two plants from a Forsythia which was originally from my amazing Granddad Berty, who gave some to my Mum and then she did the same for me – it’s almost like a family tradition to pass it down! (The lovely thing is, when ever I look at it, especially when it’s in flower I think of my Granddad and his allotment and my Mum in her little veg plot).

It’s easy and gets great results, do it either now in spring or in autumn. And don’t be too impatient, just leave it to it and have a look the following spring or autumn. Although plants such as honeysuckle are loads quicker!

So new plants from old, that’s what it’s all about and it’s so simple… Happy gardening! X

Honeyberry

20140403-082311 pm.jpg

This is my Honeyberry, I bought it two years ago from a shop that was selling it off cheap. I felt so sorry for it I had to buy her and bring her home, (this happens to me a lot).

Honeyberry are actually a form of edible honeysuckle ‘Lonicera caerulea’ some people call them blue honeysuckle or edible honeysuckle. They originally come from Siberia, Northern China and Northern Japan. Like blueberries they are extremely high in antioxidants and vitamin C, but unlike blueberries they aren’t picky about their soil and will grow quite happily in most soil types. The berries make good jam or can be eaten fresh.

So far I have to say ‘she’ is a ‘tough old boot’. Last year whilst we were having work done on our house, the boys threw a load of top soil right on top of her in the raised bed. I didn’t fancy her chances, I thought she was gone. I finally found her whilst digging around with my hands carefully feeling for branches, which I gently brought to the surface as best as I could. Needless to say last year she didn’t do much of anything, a few leaves and certainly no flowers. But today whilst I was checking around the plot I spotted she was blooming away, Result!

I am painfully aware she doesn’t have another mate to pollinate with, maybe I will find another one another day, but for now I thought I would see if I could hand pollinate and just maybe this will fertilise the flowers. I have no clue on earth if this will work. But it’s a worthy experiment whilst I keep looking for another one to put nearby.

So in the spirit of experimental allotmenting I took my little paint brush and tickled all the flowers. Just maybe this will do the trick… Time will tell
!

20140406-091654 pm.jpg