Looking at my very sorry looking hanging baskets, I realised that a third of them were beyond the point of no return, with gaping holes in the bottom sections, where 6 or 7 years of continuous use had finally rusted out the wire mesh to which the moss was attached, to such an extent that the wire had crumbled away to nothing. Of the remaining ones, three were still useable and just needed relining with plastic but the jury was out on whether or not the last three would survive another season of watering, compost and heavy plants and, to be frank, I wasn’t about to entrust my precious tomatoes to them and so they were put aside for further consideration at a later date. Continue reading
“Can I go to Lewis’ for tea mum? Please? Please?” were Middle Mudlets’ first words to me, as she flew across the playground, at the end of school Thursday.
“Mum says it’s okay,” Lewis added, hot on her heels.
A glance towards said mum confirmed this arrangement was okay with her and, as she is actually a friend of mine, I didn’t have any misgivings about letting Middle Mudlet go on a visit. Frankly, after a week of year 6 SATs tests, she deserved a break and so after leaving her bag with me, she headed off with Lewis …….. Continue reading
The large greenhouse was quite literally bursting at the seams, the staging was groaning under the weight of plants and the beds were primed and ready for planting. All that was needed was the weather, warm, sunny days and frost free nights ….. oh and I needed to find the courage to remove my lovingly tended plants out of the relative safety of the greenhouse and transplant them into the soil, to run the gauntlet of pigeons, slugs and unpredictable weather. Continue reading
You may remember that about eight or nine days ago I wrote about the disaster I thought was happening in my seed trays. The seedlings weren’t doing very well, a few had keeled over and several were looking decidedly dodgy. I felt that this was probably a problem called damping off and that I had over-watered my trays, resulting in the facilitation of the damping off fungus which was impeding both the growth of my seedlings and the germination of some of the seeds, not to mention causing some of the seedlings to give up the ghost entirely and fall over. Continue reading
The tomato seed tray to be exact and if the cause is what I think it is, then it is entirely my own fault. The majority of the seedlings appeared between 5 and 7 days after sowing which is about normal in my experience and all seemed well. However, a week further on and we still have no first true leaves, one seedling collapsed with a tell tale brown stain at its’ base and a few of the others are starting to look a little under the weather. So what do I think is the matter with my seedlings? I believe they are suffering with a condition called damping off and as I said at the start, if they are then I have nobody to blamed but myself. Continue reading
You may recall from my last post, that when I sowed my second batch of Stupice tomato saved seeds the other day, I soaked them overnight in some damp kitchen towel to rehydrate them prior to sowing, instead of just sowing them direct into the compost which I did with the first batch. As I had re-hydrated far more seed than I actually needed for my seed tray, I decided that I would keep the left over seed on the damp kitchen towel to see if these would germinate, as this would potentially give me a clue as to what may be happening, out of sight, buried in the compost. The idea was that if nothing happened with the seeds on the kitchen towel and after a week or so there was no signs of life in the seed tray modules either, then I could safely assume that the seed was not viable. Continue reading
That’s the thing with saving your own seed, there are no guarantees that your efforts will result in viable seed but you have to give it a try. So far this year I’ve sown two saved seed tomato varieties and four chilli varieties. It is still too soon for the chilli seeds to have germinated but the same is not true for the tomatoes and the three varieties of shop bought packets of tomato seed, as well as the saved seed Amish Paste Tomato are all through and standing tall. Alas, this is not the case for the saved seed tomato variety, Stupice. Continue reading
Autumn was definitely in the air this morning. I knew by late afternoon yesterday that a drop of several degrees in night time temperatures was going to happen. I could just feel it. My thoughts and concerns as a gardener, turned to the temperature sensitive chilli plants that are still laden with peppers in the large greenhouse and the affect the drop in temperature would have on them. It has been getting steadily cooler over the last few weeks and the plants had, for the most part, coped well with this gradual change but a sudden drop of two or three degrees could be potentially disastrous.
As the year moves along at a steady pace and we merrily wend our way in to September, the garden is starting to look more than a little tired. All hopes of a giant pumpkin have been dashed with only one plant producing a small but perfectly formed specimen and a mental note has been made to revert back to tried and tested varieties of pumpkin and squash next year, as the disappointment of only three or four fruits across a dozen plants, for the second year running, is not a good feeling. That said and in spite of annual additions of manure or chicken manure pellets etc, I suspect that the beds all need a huge amount of enrichment after 5 or 6 years of use and so some investment in fresh topsoil, compost, manure and fish blood and bone will need to be made this autumn. Also, unlike last year when I tried the ‘no dig’ approach to soil enrichment, I will be digging in this autumn, to ensure that the nutrients will be available to the root systems of next years crops.
For three days I left the seeds to ferment, waiting for the seeds to separate off from the gunk and float to the bottom of the jar if good or to the top if bad. The instructions from the Real Seeds Catalogue page were very specific on the amount of time the seeds were to be left in the water: 3 days – no more no less. Another source reckoned that by now a horrible scum would have formed on top and that this needed to be carefully scooped off and disposed off. Well my seeds didn’t have any scum and all the seeds had pretty much sunk to the bottom of the jar, so I was not entirely sure that this stage of the seed saving had worked but I decided to carry on to the next stage anyway. I will be saving seeds from another outdoor grown tomato and it will be interesting to see if the reaction is any different.