Tag Archives: nicotiana

More Sowin’ and Plantin’

The weather has been a bit variable with showers and some sunny periods so it’s been a bit of a lottery whether I’ve been able to do much in the garden.

However, have managed a few jobs in the flower and vegetable areas.

First, the flower beds – I’ve had a dozen or so osteospermum plants in pots over the winter and I finally managed to get them all planted scattered around the beds.

I took the risk and went to my local garden centre last week as well, always a dangerous thing to do as I inevitably come away with more than I intended. So it proved, though in a relatively restrained way. My objective was to get a couple of Clematis plants for a container that lives at the front of the house. Only one of the plants had survived the winter and that was a plant that was rather disappointing. So two I found two plants – a red flowering and a white flowering plants, both of which might have two flower flushes in the year. They are in the container now and growing well. The old Clematis has been taken out and planted next to the arch that divides the flower area from the vegetables – I needed another climber there so it will be useful.

However, I was distracted at the garden centre by seeing a Dicentra plant – now I’ve tried several times to get Dicentra to flourish in the garden but they only seem to last a couple of years at best – so we’ll see. It’s already planted and seems ok so far.

On the way to the cash desk I passed a stand with trays of brassicas and salad plant – and was intrigued by a tray of a dozen mixed type of cauliflower seedlings. I’ve never had too much success with brassicas in general but haven’t tried cauliflower seriously before so I bought the tray – and they nicely filled one of the raised beds. I think they are hanging on….

Cauliflower seedlings – the CDs are to scare off the pigeons!

The bed with the cloches over (2) is intended for salad cops and I planted a part row longways of ‘Leaf Salad’ (mixed lettuce) under one cloche and a similar row of Swiss Chard (Bright Lights) under the other cloche. I’ll hopefully add more of the rows in a month or so to extend the cropping. Once the cloches come off I should able to plant more salad crops. At least the cloches will keep the birds off for now.

No sign of any of the mangetout peas planted in bed 6 yet, and I’ve planted up a couple of pots in the greenhouse in one of the propagators with ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ peas as a backup.

In the propagators the flower seeds planted a couple of weeks ago (malop & cosmos) are germinating now and in the same propagator there are more tomato seedlings through (‘Jon Rainbow Blend’ & ‘Marmande’). Also in another propagator some Kale I Planted a couple of weeks ago are now just appearing.

Tomato seedlings and more

 

Kale – just coming through

Still on the kitchen windowsill are the pots of tomato seedlings (still only 3 seedlings – 2 Zuchero & 1 Gardeners Delight), peppers (none yet) and chives (most germinated). Also in a seed tray by a window is a half tray of Marigold and Nicotiana flowers for the flower beds. One cucumber seed has germinated as well on the windowsill.

Still a few overwintered perennials to plant out – mostly Doronicum and a few spring flowering plants as well but it’s beginning to get under control. The main plants to get into the ground are the broad bean seedlings – looking very much ready now.

Broad bean seedlings ready to go in

Just to show spring is here – here is a picture of one of the Kerria plant – it is actually in the veg area as well…

Kerria coming into full bloom

Wildlife

Nothing much different, the Robins still appear if \i’m doing any work on raised beds. The great tits, dunnocks etc. still visiting the feeders and fortunately no squirrels have appeared  – yet.

Pulling Up Stuff

It had to come – I have managed to get into the garden and clear some of the raised beds. So a couple of weeks ago I got rid of what was left of the broad beans, since then I’ve cleared out the mangetout bed, and taken up the three tomato plants growing in one bed. The garlic bed was cleared a few weeks ago (see below) and I have begun to harvest the potatoes – just 2 of the rows so far and we had some for dinner on Sunday.

The garlic bulbs hanging ready to use

The garlic bulbs hanging ready to use

First harvest of potatoes (though some had been cooked already before this picture)

First harvest of potatoes (though some had been cooked already before this picture)

The dwarf beans and climbing beans will be next (actually since writing this I’ve pulled up the dwarf beans, so that’s another bed done).

Where the mangetout peas were...

Where the mangetout peas were…

The tomato harvest is mostly over and we’ve had to prepare only one batch of tomato sauce, mostly based on the ‘pomodoro’ variety. Altogether though I don’t think it has been a brilliant year for the tomatoes but they haven’t overwhelmed us. Can’t say the same for the courgettes – still producing and I have four in the fridge and several more on the plants – and a few massive ones that escaped attention until they were too big just went straight to the compost. Dreadful I know but there isn’t too much that can be done with courgettes. Oh and I found one more cucumber (‘burpless’) today – though I suspect it is the last.

Greenhouse tomatoes now a bit bare

Greenhouse tomatoes now a bit bare

The grapes I harvested have now been converted into grapes juice, very nice too, I had some with my meal this evening.

I’m now harvesting sweet peppers from the greenhouse, better crop this year we’ve already eaten on large pepper which had turned orange. The remainder aren’t quite as big and are only just starting to turn colour but are good enough to use. Meanwhile the chilli peppers are still turning red, and the variety doesn’t start green but a sort of greenish-white.

Sweet peppers - waiting to ripen

Sweet peppers – waiting to ripen

Chilli peppers (prairie fire) ready to ripen

Chilli peppers (prairie fire) ready to ripen

Chilli peppers - becoming ripe!

Chilli peppers – becoming ripe!

I’ve been finding a few raspberries and the odd strawberry to add to my breakfast cereal, but I don’t think there will be many more now.

I’ll have to do some planting soon though, mostly spring flowers pansies and suchlike as the tiny seedlings are now big enough. Also, the containers some of them will be planted in are now at the end of their flowering period so I’ll be emptying them soon.

Spring flower seedlings - ready to go in now

Spring flower seedlings – ready to go in now

Just to show that flowers are still hanging on in the garden, here are a couple of pics taken today:

Nicotiana

Nicotiana

Penstemon

Penstemon

Wildlife

Just birds to report – greenfinches still going through the sunflower seeds, and I can hear long-tailed tits quite often plus the odd house-sparrow on the seed feeder. Also while I’m in the garden I can hear robins complaining with their alarm call all the time from the hedge nearby.

Sunny – so bin gardenin’

Yes, temperatures over 12deg. and sunshine tempted me outdoors today. Even the greenhouse automatic skylights were open and the temperature inside was over 30deg. – I know as I was sowing seeds  in there!

Quite a few jobs done today. Firstly, dealing with things in the greenhouse, some of the flower seedlings out of the propagators (which I unplugged) which made room for a half-tray of gaillardia and tagetes (tray split down the middle). I have reasonable numbers of geraniums that have germinated, but in the tray of nicotiana seeds although many germinated a few have keeled over as I think the compost got too dry…

I also sowed some more sweet peppers in a small pot as well as some sunflowers (paquito & teddy bear) which are now on the kitchen window sill.

Some of the tomato seedlings – especially the ‘pomodoro’ are now big enough to consider planting on – I’m going to have to buy some growbags next week I think….

I finally got the remaining polyanthus and bellis seedlings planted out as well in containers and the front garden.

Big news – the first broad bean shoots have shown through in the raised bed! So we’ll see over the next few days how many have germinated and avoided being taken by birds etc.

First broad bean shoots!

First broad bean shoots!

Next to the bed with the broad beans is the ‘garlic’ bed – and they are coming along fine except for one which has gone missing in one corner….

Garlic growing well

Garlic growing well

I checked on the rhubarb- normally covered with an old water tub and it won’t be long before we can have a rhubarb pie hopefully.

Rhubarb coming on nicely

Rhubarb coming on nicely

The fruit bushes near to the rhubarb are low coming into leaf – here is a pic from one of the blackcurrant bushes:

Blackcurrant just coming into leaf

Blackcurrant just coming into leaf

The sweet pea seedlings delivered recently are now all planted in the garden as well.

The container for carrots has been ‘refreshed’ with some more compost with some plant food mixed in.

Carrot container (an old cod water tank supported well off the ground

Carrot container (an old cod water tank supported well off the ground)

I also had to do some hedge cutting and finished cutting up the Christmas tree to go into the garden ‘green’ bin along with the hedge cuttings.

Just to illustrate the spring time in the garden here is a picture of the primroses in flower in the ‘wild’ part of the garden.

Primroses in full flower

Primroses in full flower

Mind some of these have been in flower for at least 6 weeks!

Wildlife

The birds have definitely upped their feeding and I have seen a couple of house sparrows around feeding on seeds – we used to have a large population of house sparrows but they are a rarity now sadly. Long tailed tits have been around as well plus the usual great and blue tits. The blackbirds may have started to try and delineate their territories as I have seen some disputed breaking out on the lawn.

Other than that there were a few butterflies around during the sunny days – brimstone and a darker one that didn’t hang around long enough for me to identify it.