Tag Archives: zuchero

Winter Has Returned For A While

With temperatures close to zero overnight the last couple of nights and not rising above 10degC during the day with a cold N & NW wind, it has been quite worrying especially about the seedlings in the greenhouse. I do have enough heating in the greenhouse to keep it above freezing – I think…..(hope)

Outside, so far the cauliflower plants and mangetout peas seem to have survived as well. The second batch of mangetout was planted out over a week ago.

Manngetout peas after second batch planted

Mangetout peas and pigeon scarers! (you can see what magazine I subscribed to)

I now have three tomato plants in the greenhouse planted in a growbag and they seem to be ok. They are 2 zuchero and 1 gardeners delight.

Growbag tomatoes (still surviving after low temperatures!)

Meanwhile I have another eight or ten tomato seedlings close to being ready for growbags – so I hope it warms up pretty quick after this week!

Also in the greenhouse the kale seedlings are getting close tot he point that they really should be planted out as well as a bunch of flower seedlings.

Tomato, kale & cucumber seedlings in the greenhouse

The broad beans are in flower now, at least the couple of rows that I planted in the autumn, and I haven’t yet got round to ‘stringing’them to support them – although they aren’t actually very tall yet.

First rows of broad beans in flower

Amazingly, some carrot seedlings have now appeared! Though not a whole row – but still it encourages me to sow some more seed.

Half a row of carrot seedlings is better than none! (plus weeds)


The only notable development is that it looks as if a pair of magpies seem to be building a nest in one of the trees on one side of the garden. I may try and discourage them…

Also, I have seen frogs (and a toad in the greenhouse) active in the garden – plus a tiny frog which can only be from this years batch!

I have seen butterflies – comma and ‘small blue’, plus  an orange tip possibly (before this week!)


April and it’s Not Raining – at the moment

I’ve been able to get into the garden on and off over the last week or so there has been some progress.

Today, for instance I planted out the broad bean seedlings grown in the greenhouse – so the raised bed of beans is now full.

Broad bean bed – now full

I also planted potatoes into bed 7, just in front of the greenhouse. They are ‘King Edward’ main-crop. Only a dozen potatoes could be fitted in, and I have at least another dozen left, so I’ll probably try planting them in the bags I’ve used before, although they weren’t all that successful.

Potato bed after planting

Meanwhile the pigeons and/or slugs have found the cauliflower seedlings and most have been nibbled, and some quite badly damaged. So I’ve had to put mesh over the whole bed and I’ve spread some slug pellets around as well. Some of the plants are so damaged that I’ve put plastic bottle halves over the top to protect them and act like mini-greenhouses while they recover.

Cauliflower seedlings – and mesh cover plus protective ‘bottle covers’

Damages to cauliflower seedling

Inside the greenhouse the one ‘gardeners delight’ tomato has been re-potted into a 4 inch pot. Reminding me every day that I need to get some growbags… Also, the first cucumber to germinate is now in a much bigger pot and waiting for some decision as to where it should go – too likely for a frost to go outside certainly yet.

Gardeners Delight tomato seedling & Cucumber plant

More tomatoes have germinated so I now have enough in theory to fill my inside and outside growing points. In total there are two Pomodoro, two Zuchero, 4 ‘Rainbow Blend’ and 4 ‘Tumbling Tom’.

The Kale seedlings are just growing in their original pots for the time being before I can plant them outside.

Tomato seedlings (front) and Kale seedlings (behind)

The mangetout peas germinated in the greenhouse are now big enough to be planted so as of today they are outside the greenhouse hardening off.

Inside the house on the kitchen windows ledge I now have two more cucumber seeds germinate plus a second one in the greenhouse from the same pot as the re-potted one – so I may have too many cucumber plants now….

One disappointment – no sign at all of carrot seedlings in the container two rows were sown in several weeks ago – I think I need to sow some more……

Oh and I noticed that the blueberries and gooseberries are just coming into flower now.

Flower seeds and seedlings are doing well also.


Not much to say here although I did see a Goldfinch one day and I haven’t seen any of those for quite a while.

The trail camera near the bird table didn’t show up anything out of the ordinary so it’s now been relocated to the bottom of the garden.

No squirrels! but mice in the greenhouse again!


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


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.

More Planting – and Some Preparation

Well the weather was reasonable around 8degC and dry so I felt compelled to get out in the garden and get on with something….

Firstly some work in the greenhouse – and a check on the mouse traps. I’ve been afflicted with mice for a couple of weeks – they eat most of my first sowing of broad beans – but a couple of traps seem to have sorted that problem out.

I have resown my broad beans – now they are all ‘The Sutton’ since the mice seem to have preferred the ‘Aguadulce’. I noticed this morning that one bean was just through – I guess one of the original sowing.

Also, while in the greenhouse I thought I would sow some tomatoes and peppers for germinating inside the house (my heated propagators are full of broad bean pots – not with heating, just because the covers keep any mice away). So some ‘Gardener’s Delight and ‘Zuchero’ tomatoes are in pots plus some Sweet pepper ‘Blockie’ and some chives (the garden clumps are looking a bit thin).

Then some work in the garden, I cleared one of the raised beds (no. 2) and added one of the bags of compost from last years growbags giving it a good fork over.  Then I put a couple of cloche tunnels over ready for – well I’m not sure yet.

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Cloches and broad beans beyond

Then cleared another bed (6) and half of one (it has some plants waiting for transplanting to the flower beds in one end). Still several beds to go but t’s a start.

I’ve put the cover over the rhubarb now as it was just starting to shoot – makes me think of rhubarb pie (and custard) mmmm.

Daffodils are mostly out now and the snowdrops are m mostly over flowering now. One or to other flowers are out such as some cyclamen!, pulmonaria and ‘elephants ears’ (Bergenia cordifolia)

Daffodils (this bed is undeplanted with  perennials

Daffodils (this bed is underplanted with perennials)

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

Pulmonaria of some sort I think

'Elephant Ears' -

‘Elephant Ears’ – Bergenia


Robins always in attendance when I’m gardening and anxious to get any grubs they can find. The blackbirds are also very busy but I haven’t seen any territorial disputes yet. Also, long tailed tits keep appearing on the feeders as well as the usual blue & great tits.

No more squirrels so far!

Tomato Seedlings Aplenty

As usual pretty much every tomato seed has germinated already meaning I already have more than enough! To make matters worse the current set doesn’t include and small types so I’ve just planted some ‘Tumbling Tom’ & ‘Zuchero’ seeds.

Meanwhile, most of the tomato seedlings (see previous post) are big enough to pot-on so all except the ‘Pomodoro’ are now in individual pots, currently in the lounge waiting to be settled enough to go into the greenhouse (see below).

Repotted tomato seedlings waiting to go into greenhouse

Repotted tomato seedlings waiting to go into greenhouse


'Pomodoro' seedlings waiting to be repotted

‘Pomodoro’ seedlings waiting to be repotted

The pepper seeds have been a disappointment though, of the two pots of pepper seed (one chilli, one sweet) only one seedling has appeared – a sweet pepper.

So I’ve planted some more seed now in hope that I can get a better result….

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse the flower seeds have all produced seedlings, though they can be left for a while before I need to pot them on. Also germinated are the ‘winter salad’ seeds in the container in the greenhouse, so hopefully in a couple of weeks or so there will be salad leaves to harvest.


‘Winter salad’ seedlings

The potatoes in the greenhouse are shooting but only reluctantly, they need to get a move on as they should be planted soon….

Potatoes - with small shoots

Potatoes – with small shoots

Outside, the strawberry plants are coming on, and I have some replacements for the ones that didn’t make it so there should be a bed full of plants and if the information is to be believed a progression of strawberries through the summer.

Strawberry plants - new ones bottom left

Strawberry plants – new ones bottom left

The one worrying thing is the absence of any sign of broad bean seedlings in the bed outside as yet. Just as insurance I’ve planted several pots of beans in the greenhouse and they usually produce ok, but I’ll have to keep a close eye on the situation.


Look no bean seedlings!

Just as a contrast here is a picture of some of the daffodils in the garden:




Nothing to report beyond the birds consuming seed at an increasing rate.


Got Some Seedlings!

Finally stirred myself into some greenhouse action this week and the end of last week. Mainly because temperatures and weather outside was cold & windy but inside the greenhouse it reached over 20Deg! So it was reasonably comfortable to sit in the greenhouse and get some seeds sown – mind as soon as the sun was hidden by clouds the temperature would drop fairly rapidly…

Anyway, I planted some tomato and pepper seeds last weekend – the tomatoes were:

Pomodoro, Zuchero, Ailsa Craig & Giulietta.

All varieties I grew last year. I still need to sow some of the small ‘cherry’ style tomato seeds – they will be next. The pots were put on the kitchen windowsill (covered) to germinate – which meant I could keep a close eye on their progress as well.

Here we are on Friday and already there are seedlings (see below)

Tomato Seedlings

Tomato Seedlings

As usual embarrassingly, most of the seeds have germinated! Like so many gardeners I find it hard to discard tomato seedlings, so there will be plenty of plants again this year… However, no sign of the peppers (some chilli & some sweet) yet.

Yesterday I moved on to some flower seeds – prompted by the fact that I’d been tempted into buying some the day before. So half-trays of marigold, geranium and nicotiana are now in the heated propagators in the greenhouse (no more room on kitchen windowsill. I also bought some dahlia tubers on an impulse, so they are now in a tray of moist compost in the greenhouse waiting to shoot.

While I’m talking about flowers, I’ve also managed to get the majority of the ‘spring’ flowers I bought at the end of last year (pansies, bellis etc.) into various containers. It’s all a bit embarrassing really, I bought them with the best of intentions last autumn but the mild winter has meant that plants that should have died off just kept going, so the containers I was going to put them in weren’t available – still there are only a few left now.

Also, more or less as an experiment, I sowed some ‘winter salad’ seeds in a container in the greenhouse last weekend – no sign of anything yet though.

The broad beans show no sign as yet but the garlic continues to grow well with shoots about 6″ high now.

Elsewhere, most daffodils in the garden are in flower now and some of the perennial flowers show signs of growing so spring is springing – although we have wintry weather today and tomorrow with light snow this morning (much more north of here) and possibly tomorrow as well.


Not really much to say, the birds are pretty active on the feeders and the number of blackbirds in the garden seems to have increased – no sign of territorial fights yet. A squirrel has been halfway down the garden, but hasn’t approached the bird feeders yet – at least not while I’ve been watching so it is safe for now….

Rainy Day Update

Today has been a bit frustrating – every time I tried to do something outside that would take more than a few minute a shower would come along and interrupt play.

So – I spent some time in the greenhouse and sowed some more things. In particular, more dwarf and climbing beans as well as some more mangetout peas. I note that the maincrop peas (Hurst Greenshaft) I planted direct are coming through – but only a few of them. I’ve never really had too much success with peas planted direct into the ground, which is why I prefer to start them off in pots – I sowed some more maincrop peas into pots a week or so ago so hopefully they will be a bit more successful

I was driven into the greenhouse in any case as yet another delivery of flowers turned up today (that I don’t remember ordering…) in this case some Lamium (variegated dead-nettle) ‘Mega Purple’ which is destined for some areas that are shady and dry to act as ground cover – they came as plugs so just needed putting in some compost in a reasonable sized pot.

I also repotted a couple of sweet pepper seedlings (Gourmet) still in their original pot into individual pots.

Yesterday I filled one of the growbags I bought on week which I’d moved into the greenhouse and watered ready with three tomato plants – an ailsa craig, a marmande and a zuchero. Still plenty left though….

Also the other day I rapidly planted two rows of potatoes in the raised bed which has potatoes already coming through – one of charlotte and one of maris piper. There are still a few of each left so may just put them into the bags I’ve used before if I can’t find anywhere else.

Just to rub it in – the weather is now sunny and when I started typing this it was pouring down – April showers in May!