I had to nip into town yesterday morning to get the road tax for Thomas, the pick up truck, which is due Friday. However, I’m going on another school trip with the Mudlets that day and anyway, experience has taught me that leaving the road tax to the last day of the month is a big mistake, as it invariably results in me having to waste a significant amount of time, waiting in a unbelievably long Post Office queue with all the other owners whose car tax is due.
For those of you unfamiliar with the British Road Tax system, each year drivers of vehicles registered on or after 1st January 1973 (1974 from April this year I believe) have to pay a tax, the exact amount of which is dependent on engine size for cars registered before 1st March 2001 and the official CO2 emissions of a vehicle for cars registered on or after 1st March 2001, for the privilege of driving said vehicle on UK roads. So having cleared that up …….
With the road tax sorted out I had a couple of other things to find and so I spent the next hour popping into various shops, to look for the items on my list. It was while looking for deep tea lights in Wilkinsons, I spotted that they had 2kg nets of seed potatoes in and forgetting all about the tea lights, I made a bee line for them and quickly took possession of a net of Albert Bartlette Rooster seed potatoes. King Edwards are my preferred variety for home growing and I will get a pack of them from the garden center, as all the ones I saw in town were quite small and feeble looking and generally speaking, bigger is considered better when talking about seed potatoes. Whilst the garden center will be more expensive, at least I’ll should get a bigger, better quality seed potato. The Roosters, on the other hand, were a decent size, looked healthy and strong and should, all being well, produce a good all round potato. This variety also makes a lovely roast potato which is a requirement of any potato taking up growing space in my garden and so I decided we’d give them a go as well.
I could hardly wait to get home and start chitting my potatoes and so whizzed through the remainder of my shopping, which included picking up the wood stain for the schools Foundation Area planters and headed home.
Almost before I had unpacked my bags, I had ripped the lid off a 12 egg cardboard egg box and carefully seated my potatoes in it. These are now sitting on the dining room window sill where they will be joined in due course by the King Edwards.There were 24 Rooster tubers in the net in total and I took the other 12, along with a pot of grow your own sweet peas which I’d found in the Wilkinsons’ childrens gardening section, to my friend Christine and presented these too her as a fun and much appreciated birthday gift.
Then yesterday evening, after tea, I decided to sow my first tub of leeks. I use empty laundry capsules plastic tubs for this job, as they are nice and deep and a couple of months ago Mud had come back from shopping with a large 40 capsule tub rather than the smaller 20 capsule tub we normally get.
“It was on offer,” he said but I wasn’t really paying attention, I was gleefully eying up the over sized plastic tub and wondering just how many seeds I could comfortably sow in it. Well the answer to that is 32.
I sow leek seeds individually, after first making rows of holes in the compost, using an old knitting needle (the one I don’t have the pair to Claire). I then carefully back fill the holes, water, cover and leave to germinate on a windowsill. The design of this particular tub means that it sits nicely on its’ lid thereby negating the need for a large and unwieldy plastic tray. This variety is ‘Jaune de Poiture‘ which is another that I got from the Real Seed Catalogue and it will probably be 14-21 days before I see any signs of life but that wont stop me checking every couple of hours from now until the first seedling emerges.
I’ll be sowing a second leek variety which is also from the Real Seed Catalogue, in the next few days but I need to retrieve and wash out some of last years tubs first.
Meanwhile, in my propagator, I now have 7 of the Ohnivec chillis and 5 of the ‘saved seed’ Cayenne Chillis through, as well as the ‘saved seed’ Patio Chilli and the two tomato varieties. The propagator itself is now uncovered and spends the day on the wide kitchen windowsill but overnight it sits on one of my kitchen sides to protect the seedlings from the chill given off by the window glass. This approach seems to be working and the tomatoes now have their first true leaves starting to form.
One last treat for last night was a gift from Christine, even though it was her birthday. She has a lovely little 6 drawer wooden cabinet which sits on her windowsill and is home to her seed packets. I have often admired this little cabinet and unbeknownst to me, she has been looking out for one so that she can give it to me as a present. Yesterday evening she found one in our local garden center and she dropped it in on her way home. A gift for me “because,” she said, “it’s the sort of thing we would like to own but would never buy for ourselves.”
Of course she’s right. I’ve wanted a little chest to store my seeds in ever since I first saw hers but I would never have purchased it for myself because there is always something more pressing that needs to be bought instead and so it would have remained just one of those things …. someday ….. maybe. Now my seeds are snug in their new, secure home and as an added bonus, this particular little cabinet has room on top for a few little plant pots and so it is now on my dining room windowsill with my Little Elf Chilli plants on top and it looks adorable and just right for our little cottage. A truly super gift that is and will be used, appreciated and treasured for years to come.