With the warm and sunny weather continuing throughout this week and the seedlings in the propagators quickly outgrowing their nursery conditions, I made the decision to start moving the plants into the greenhouse and have been steadily potting them on, one tray at a time, and already the larger greenhouse is almost full. Mud has informed me more than once that we will no doubt find ourselves in the midst of another freezing cold spell in a day or two but, as Middle Mudlet was happy to point out, that’s what horticultural fleece is for and we have enough to provide protection for everything in the greenhouses. Continue reading
Middle Mudlet is really excited about having her own patch of garden to cultivate. She has her sights set on the young gardener platter at the local garden show in August and is nothing if not determined. For my part, if it gets her out of the house more than usual, I’ll be extremely happy. Continue reading
Sunshine and warmth has finally returned to Mudville (in the short term at least), so Middle Mudlet and I have made a start on getting the beds ready, potatoes planted and parsnip and carrot seeds sown. Continue reading
It’s been a while since I did a seed to seedling post because, knowing my soil and space limitations, I tend to grow pretty much the same sort of thing. This year however, we’re growing a variety new to Mudville, the Asparagus Pea, and so I’ll be plotting their progress throughout the year and hopefully we’ll have a wonderful new vegetable to try in a few months time. Continue reading
Variety: Asparagus Pea
Sown direct: 2nd April 2018
First Seedling: 8th April 2018
Germination: 6 days
Germination ratio: 2/10 Continue reading
Yesterday, the Mudlets were excited to see that in three of the four propagators we planted up last week, there are signs of life. Radish and mixed lettuce have appeared in the green propagator. Mangetout, climbing beans and a runners are popping up in one of the black propagators and mixed winter squash are peeking out in a second black propagator. Still no signs of life in the third black propagator which is home to pumpkins and another winter squash variety, or in Little Mudlets rose tin but Middle Mudlet has emerging seedlings in her tin of Gerbera. I don’t realistically expect the roses to appear for at lest another seven days, though, so all is well. Continue reading
…… but I’m not going to shout too loud because I don’t want Winter to hear and come to see what all the fuss is about. So in a quiet voice I will say that today has been a beautiful sunny and warm day, the sort of day that hints at the promise of things to come but gardeners view with a cautious expectation and excitement. That said, as yet we’re a few weeks away from being frost free, and Mud, in his inimitable Victor Meldrew fashion, keeps saying that all the weather models are predicting another bout of cold and there could even be snow at Easter, so I’ll be lucky to grow anything this year and is it really worth it? Continue reading
Not entirely sure when a seedling tree becomes a sapling but I like a bit of alliteration in my titles and so ‘Saplings and Seeds’ it is. We have no less than three Christmas Tree babies but oddly enough and to the fascination and wonder of the younger Mudlets, they look remarkably like tiny palm trees. Middle Mudlet has two trees from her pod, both of which are standing straight and proud, and Little Mudlet has one which appears to be a day or two behind Middle Mudlets’ in terms of germination and growth. Both girls are thrilled to pieces and can’t wait for the babies to be big enough to plant on, although they are in big pots already, so it may be that we end up carefully replacing some of the seed compost with fresh all purpose compost in a week or two. I’m going to ask the advice of another blogger who I’ve been following for a year or two and who just happens to live on a farm that, amongst other things, grows Christmas Trees. Continue reading
Okay, when I say ‘It’s growing season again’, I don’t mean that you’ve all done a ‘Rip Van Winkle’ and hibernated the rest of your Winter or Summer (depending on where abouts in the world you live) away. No, what I mean is that with the Christmas decorations fast becoming a dim and distant memory and January passing by at a quite alarming rate of knots, I now have the windowsill space to place propagators and the knowledge that officially, our Spring is, along with Greenhouse washing and bed preparation only a matter of weeks away (sorry Sarah) which means that, if I want to stand any chance of harvesting ripe tomatoes, chillis or sweet peppers by the end of the summer, I need to get the seeds sown now!
So, this morning I trundled down to the greenhouses and pulled out three propagator trays, lids and seed tray inners, the potting station and garden labels before, much to the dismay of the array of birds who have been spending vast swathes of time at the feeders, setting about washing and rinsing them outside, before stacking them in front of the Rayburn to dry.
We are growing 5 varieties of chilli this year, including an interesting looking ‘Hot Curry’ chilli which I’ve never grown before but then, to be honest, out of the others, I’ve only ever grown ‘Patio Sizzle’ before which is a hot little chilli in its’ own right. The remaining varieties are: a hot ‘Paper Lantern’; a very hot ‘Tobasco’; and a hot ‘Jalapeno’.
Middle Mudlet helped me choose the Tomato varieties for this year. We settled on three and we haven’t grown any of them before either. One ‘Craigella’ produces a salad sized tomato, we have a mix of baby plum tomatoes called ‘Rainbow Mix’ and a cherry variety called ‘Sweet Baby’.
The final vegetable seeds for sowing today are two varieties of sweet pepper. I’ve never had much success growing sweet peppers but we use loads of them in cooking, the Mudlets like taking them to school to use for a mid morning snack and they are not exactly cheap to buy and, more often than not, are not in the best of condition well before their ‘use by’ or ‘best before’ dates. So we’re giving them another go but this year, as well as the usual ‘Worldbeater’ variety which produces what I would call a standard looking and sized sweet pepper, we’re also going to try and grow a smaller variety called ‘Mini Red’.
I mentioned back in the Summer/Autumn, that Middle Mudlet had asked for her own patch of garden this year and so she has helped me choose the seeds for this season:
- Winter squash ‘High Sugar Mix’ which is a favourite of mine and contains a mix of four sweet dumpling squash varieties which are ‘Harlequin’, ‘Celebration’, ‘Table Star’ and ‘Sweet Lightning’. The thing about this mix is that you have no idea whatsoever which seeds you have until the fruits start to develop but it is really exciting to see them start to grow, and their different colours add a bit more interest to the vegetable patch;
- Butternut ‘Butterfly’ which was one of the few things I tried to grow last year but to no avail. These are the left over seeds and as this was a gift from one of the Mudlets, I am going to try again this year and, with the beds manured and mulched to within an inch of their lives last Autumn, I’m hoping for a bit more success this year;
- One of Middle Mudlets choices was the Winter Squash ‘Honey Bear’ and I’m sure her decision had nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that the teddy bear she has had from being a newborn is also called Honey Bear. This squash has a dark green skin with a bright orange flesh;
- She also chose the ‘Atlantic Giant’ pumpkin seeds and we are really looking forward to seeing how these do and if we can actually grow a giant pumpkin for Halloween; and
- We also have the smaller pumpkin ‘Baby Bear’ which is described as a culinary pumpkin.
- The runner bean ‘Enorma’ will grace the back fence this year;
- Climbing bean ‘Blauhilde’ was another of Middle Mudlet choices having been drawn to the thought of purple bean pods decorating the garden;
- She also fell for the unusual looking ‘Asparagus’ pea which is a variety I had never heard off before, never mind seen, eaten or grown. It looks amazing on the packet and I’m as excited as she is to see if we can grow them and find out what they taste like; and
- One of the mainstays of our garden is ‘Oregon Sugar Pod’ mangetout which is a prolific and tasty favourite of us all. The Mudlets often have these as snacks for school and can get quite impatient waiting for the first pods to reach munching size.
- Carrot ‘Cosmic Purple’ which was the one seed that Middle Mudlet really, really wanted to grow:
- Another of Middle Mudlets choices is cabbage ‘Minicole’. We don’t usually grow cabbage due to the space required but this is variety can be grown quite close together and can stand ready for cutting for up to four months and so I was happy to give it a go:
- We were both intrigued by the ‘Little Warpath’ lettuce which is described on the packet as the smallest iceberg;
- ‘Mixed Salad Leaves’ are another mainstay of our growing season and so will be sown along with the icebergs and both varieties will be sown at regular intervals to ensure a ready supply of salad leaves;
- Middle Mudlet chose these ‘French breakfast’ radish seeds to try as well. Radish is a crop I’ve never been able to master and have read and followed the advice of numerous bloggers and magazines, all to no avail. Fingers crossed that 2018 will prove to be the year that we crack radish growing; and
- A growing season in Mudville is never complete without sunflowers and we have the ‘Giant Single’ variety for this year.
We still need to get parsnip seeds for this year and another variety of carrot, as well as the green beans but other than that we’re good to go, having bought a bag of approximately 26 King Edward seed potatoes a couple of weeks ago. With the propagators washed and dried, it’s time to get the first of this years seeds sown and then the waiting game for the first sight of seedlings begins.
It’s safe to say that I really don’t like shopping and doing the usual big shop is my idea of hell on earth but I do it because it has to be done. My preferred way to shop is to leave Mud at home with the Mudlets and to set off on my own with my very detailed list safely tucked away in my purse. This way I can concentrate on finding the best deals without feeling the pressure of a stressed husband and bored children, who are all desperately wanting to flee the scene for the relative peace of Mudville. Continue reading