The Land Rover Owners Wife

Gardening by torchlight!

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Winter Squash and Pumkins with some chillies on the end.

Winter Squash and Pumkins with some chillies on the end.

The sun has been shining, the wind has gone and the temperature has been pleasantly warm. In short, the last two days has offered up perfect gardening weather and I was happy and willing to make the most of it.

A forest of tomato seedlings (with a couple of chillies in the mix)

A forest of tomato seedlings (with a couple of chillies in the mix)

Thursday, I spent an enjoyable couple of hours potting on most of the squash and pumpkin seedlings (the butternut squash seedlings weren’t quite big enough to handle) and reorganising the greenhouses. I needed space and so I moved the flower seedlings in to the small greenhouse, so they still had some protection but weren’t in my way, and then the cucumber plants moved down onto the now almost vacant bottom shelf, alongside the tubs of leeklings and two pots of Dill.

One of my friends had asked if I had any spare tomatoes and looked on perplexed as I start to laugh. “Oh just a few,” I told her.

The white leaves on the cucumbers are due to the cold but they are growing nicely now.

The white leaves on the cucumbers are due to the cold but they are growing nicely now.

With 30 tomato seedlings already relocated to the school poly tunnel, my greenhouse staging was still groaning under the weight of the remainder and so I happily handed over six which only freed up a small amount of space but every little helps. Another friend has asked for some Amish paste tomato seedlings, chillies and butternut squashes and they will be heading out shortly, so haven’t actually helped with the space issues yet but that’s another dozen or so plants I won’t have to find homes for long term which is a bonus.

All the bags have newly emerged foliage

All the bags have newly emerged foliage

A rejigging of the tomatoes and chillies soon freed up a little more space but by school pick up time that was already filled back up with my newly potted up winter squashes and pumpkins. A quick check of the weather app on my phone, showed that the night temperatures were only due to get as low as 7C, so there was no need for fleece but I did shut the greenhouse up (vent included) at that point, to give it chance to build the temperature back up in readiness for the cold night ahead. Outside in the potato bags, newly emerged foliage did need protecting however but I find upturned pots or tubs (depending on how much leaf is showing), carefully placed over the delicate leaves, offers sufficient protection but I didn’t need to do this until a little later and so I headed to school to collect the girls.

King Edward potato mounds

King Edward potato mounds

Yesterday afternoon I ambled back out to the vegetable garden with an egg box of nicely chitted King Edward seed potatoes in hand. As I made my way to the raised beds in which I planned to plant the tubers, my eyes were drawn to the dozens of tree seedlings which were popping up all over the beds! Large numbers of tree seedlings are an annual occurrence in my garden due to a huge tree in a neighbours garden. They are a nuisance to say the least and I spend hours pulling them out and I was frustrated to see that the beds in which I planned to plant my potatoes were covered in them! And the thing with these particular seeds (helicopters we used to call them as children) is that even if you clear the ones on top of the bed, dig down just a couple of centimeters and you’ll find more of the blighters sprouted and growing underground!!! Clearing them out is no easy task.

But I digress.

For every tree seedling you can see, there are two more underground

For every tree seedling you can see, there are two more underground

I cleared each of the raised beds in turn and then planted four tubers per large bed and two in the little half bed which meant that, in all, I have 14 King Edwards planted into the raised beds and I still have another 10 which I’ll be planting into potato bags in the next week or so, along with another dozen Duke of York. I can fit 3 tubers in each bag but that still means that I need to find room for another 7 potato bags. I think I need a bigger garden! Oh and can I have a larger greenhouse while we’re at it please?

With the potatoes sorted I checked my trusty weather app and it was forecasting temperatures of around 6-7C degrees again, so once again I decided that whilst I needed to cover the potato bags again, the seedlings in the greenhouses should be okay if I closed the vent and door now. So I did.

Makeshift but effective frost protection for the potatoes

Makeshift but effective frost protection for the potatoes

Fast forward to 10pm and I’m nicely relaxed, chatting with Eldest Mudlet via text, when I noticed the the live tile for the weather app was showing 6C degrees already! At 10pm? It seemed mighty early in the night for the temperature to have already reached the predicted night time low and so I opened the app and saw that the temperature was now forecast to get much lower. Far nearer to freezing than I was comfortable with and I was pretty sure my seedlings weren’t going to like it much either …..

…… which is why 10 o’clock last night, saw me down in the unlit, unheated greenhouse, covering my seedlings by torchlight. The things we do!

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