Looking back I can see that I sowed the chilli seeds in January last year and we had already seen the first seedlings popping up by now and so it would make sense to say that in sowing the first of our seeds today, we are a tad behind. However, a more detailed study of last years growing season reminds me that whilst we had indeed sown the first chilli seeds back in mid January, once they had poked their heads above the compost, they opted not to spread out their roots very much, until the much warmer weather arrived some weeks later. In fact so slow was their growth, so reluctant were they to throw out more roots, develop more leaves and branches, that I began to wonder if the whole crop was destined to fail. Thankfully their slow start didn’t have too many repercussions later on in the season, as we had one of the best chilli harvests ever. 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
It has been 3 weeks since the Mudlets sowed the tomato, chilli and sweet pepper seeds and, for the most part, we have had a good number of seeds successfully germinate, resulting in a respectable quantity of seedlings standing tall across two propagators. The propagators have been housed on two windowsills during the day but have spent the night-time on the kitchen worktops, near to the Rayburn, to keep warm and help with germination. It has been bitterly cold most nights which is why I have been moving the propagators away from the windowsills – it is quite surprising just how much cold air window glass can generate, rather like a greenhouse in reverse I guess.
There are certain things in life that really shouldn’t be seen in public and on Good Friday, I was one of those things. I’ve never been one to worry about fashion at the best of times, believing that comfort is far more important, and this is especially true whilst working in the garden but Friday morning I drew the line and when Mud asked me if I’d mind standing on the front drive and keep an eye on his tools for a few moments (he was doing some work on Annie) whilst he was otherwise engaged, I put my foot down with a firm hand and refused point-blank. Continue reading
I spent an enjoyable if lengthy amount of Saturday, potting on the large quantities of chillies and tomato seedlings that have spent the last few weeks developing their root systems and putting on growth, in the seed trays they were originally sown in. In total I had 72 tomato seedlings across 5 varieties, 11 sweet peppers and 56 chillies across 4 varieties. Of course 72 tomato plants is a little excessive for a family of four, even with two tomato loving Mudlets’ who are happy to snack away on the red fruits as if they were sweets and no amount of chutney making could utilise the huge quantities of fruit that we could find ourselves harvesting come the summer. Continue reading
The wait between sowing seeds and seeing the first seedlings emerge, can be a tense one in my experience, especially if you are waiting for seeds with a very long germination period (chillies and parsnips for example). So it’s always something of a relief to spot the first spikes of green beginning to unfurl from beneath the compost. Continue reading
A little while ago I sorted through my seeds, throwing away the very out of date ones, seeing what I had left and making a list of what I needed to buy. Thankfully I’d managed to buy several packets of fresh seed, in various sales at the end of last summer and so I only had half a dozen packets to buy. My next job was to draw up a seed sowing timetable and for this I decided to utilise the calendar and Quick Note app on my phone. Continue reading
Although the grower me mourns the demise of my garden, as we move into Autumn, the artist me appreciates the glorious colours that arrive to lessen the blow, as we move towards winter. In the centre of a local village is a small triangle of green that is host to a lovingly tended flower bed, a wooden seat, flagpole and one tree ……. but what a tree! For most of the year it is lost amongst the greens of the trees across the road from it but come the autumn, it comes into its’ own and is a stand out feature as you walk towards it, clothed, as it is, in its’ autumn finery of fiery leaves. For a few brief weeks, the maple casts its’ neighbours into the shade. Continue reading
With the threat of rain forecast for today, I was a little concerned that some of the outdoor tomatoes which had been nearly ready for picking yesterday might split if I didn’t get them in, especially as we had already had some rain overnight. So I decided to pick what was ready when I went out to open up the greenhouses first thing this morning and I thought that I might just as well pick the chillies that were ready at the same time. Continue reading
Living in the North of England, I am always pleasantly surprised when certain crops which I half think shouldn’t be able to even grow, let alone fruit in our neck of the woods, do just that and deliver oodles and oodles of produce. Tomatoes are one of these, especially varieties which are badged as being able to be grown outside of the safety of the greenhouse. I think of tomatoes as needing hours and hours of gloriously hot, sunny weather and that’s just the ones in the greenhouses. Yet year on year I find that not only am I able to grow tomatoes successfully in the greenhouse but that plants situated outside in tubs or the beds, also do remarkably well and keep us well stocked with tasty red fruits for months.