Thursday, 25 March 2010

My Little Seedling

This morning my first courgette seedling appeared. I have been looking at the pots everyday wondering when something would happen (despite only sowing them a week ago!) and although yesterday there was no sign of anything - ping! as if by magic, today there is one big green seedling. And I am surprised how proud this has made me feel! Maybe it's the sheer size of it or maybe it is my previous chequered history with courgette growing.

 They were one of the first veggies I tried to grow - although as with the broccoli our lack of space at the time was my downfall - not to mention my over zealous sowing of 8 plants in the 1ft x 4ft space! It was also the summer of 2007 when it started to rain on the first bank holiday of May and didn't stop until September. So, despite everyone telling me how easy courgettes were to grow I ended up with rotten fruit on mildew covered plants which were so close together I faced an assault by their prickly hairy stems each time I went to harvest them. After this I became quite despondent and courgettes were firmly off my growing list! Then, last year my dad was given a couple of plants for our plot. Planted far apart with lots of space they thrived! Stars of the plot even! So this year I feel the need to prove to myself I can conquer the courgette! And today with my one seedling appearing I feel as if the path to success may lay ahead. This time my courgettes will get the best care and all the space they need!

I am growing courgette Gold Rush so I will let you know how I get on. I'd also be interested to hear what types other people recommend for successful growing.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Dreaming of Purple.

Today marks a day of achievement, reflection and anticipation in my life as a gardener. Three years ago, when we had just put our name down on the allotment wating list, I was eager to start growing veg. So when Mr Notebook suggested growing purple sprouting broccoli I was full of enthusiasm. So I set about preparing pots - yes that's right pots. I chuckle now at my naivety but I attempted to grow purple sprouting broccoli in pots - for no other reason than I knew no better. And not large planters, oh no, flower pots, about the size you might choose to grow herbs in! And as if that wasn't misguided enough, in each pot I optimistcally sowed 3 plants! I was delighted when my the seedlings appeared and they grew and grew - my how they grew! So inevetiably it became apparent that possibly my pots weren't going to be sufficient to hold these triffid-esque plants. We carefully replanted them into large planters, which seemed much more appropiate and left them out in the garden to thrive - or so we thought! And that is when I learnt a very valuable lesson about netting brassicas! Stipped bare of leaves within weeks the poor sad stems ended life on the compost heap instead of our plates - sprouting was a stage they were never to reach! The following year we were allocated an allotment but the plot was overgrown and so we had missed the season by the time it was cleared and dug and once again we faced a year of no homegrown purple sprouting. So today when I visited the plot to find stems of purple flower heads all over our rows of broccoli, excitment and anticipation were running high. Finally tonight - after 3 years of wistfully dreaming, we will get to eat homegrown broccoli - I hope it's worth the wait as my expectations are high!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

5 things that make it feel like spring

As I sat in the garden this morning, drinking my tea, spring was most definitely in the air. And I started to notice little things that I'd missed in the winter, things that just hadn't been there, things that awake the senses and make it feel like spring:

1. The sound of the birds singing their hearts out and taking it in turns like a fine tuned orchestra.

2. The smell of warm wood as the sun shines on the shed.

3. The sound of a small plane overhead.

4. The sound of an early bee flying past.

5. The warmth of the sun heating my wellies up.

In the garden this week...

Well the warm weather has certainly woken the garden up. This week green shoots and colour are appearing everywhere. Here are the stars of my garden this week:

Just in time for bloom day the very welcome bright yellow of tete-a-tetes has certainly cheered the whole place up. They are planted in our front garden and make me smile everytime I pass them. I hope they bring as much cheer to passers-by as they do to me! (or maybe I need to get out more!!)

These purple crocuses were a surprise find this week. You see I didn't knowingly plant them. Last summer my dad's neighbour was having a new driveway built which involved digging up some garden. My dad rescued some of the plants, of which I took some. There were clumps of earth all joined together with various roots and bulbs and I just stuck them into my garden in hope something would happen - and here it is! I love surprises like that!

And last, but by no means least, the chamelia is looking wonderful this week. After spending the last month watching the squirrel blatantly pull buds off and shamelessly sitting on the trellis peeling and eating them, I had wondered if any flowers would be left!
So whilst I enjoy all these little splashes of colour I eagerly await the daffodils, who are now forming buds so hopefully won't be long.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Starting to Sow

Well it's the start of a new season, and for me, also the start of my new blog. Welcome.
The burst of spring weather has finally made me jump into gear and sowing has commenced. This week I have sown broad beans (medes), sweet peas (old fashioned mix) & courgettes (gold rush F1). I am starting the broad beans off in pots this year as last year we had problems with legume seeds of all types disappearing from the ground at the allotment - resulting in lots of re-planting and late beans & peas - I guess the mice had a nice time though! ( I am sure they were the culprits...but this is an allotment not a restaurant!).

Also this week Mr Notebook has been sowing the cosmos seeds we collected off the deadheads last year - fingers crossed they will come up! As ever I wasn't quite organised and on discovering we had no seed labels it was a case of DIY with anything we could find!

So it's seed pots everywhere - every window sill is full and I am eagerly awaiting the first signs of little green shoots - I am so impatient!

I do love it at this time of year when the greenhouse suddenly starts to look more industrious. Unfortuately all the geraniums and pelagoniums we overwintered in there look very dead and so a big clear out is needed before my new seedlings start to appear. Lots of work ahead.