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Chilli-head
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Latest topics
» Already April in the garden !
by Chilli-head 19th April 2019, 6:18 pm

» The Polytunnel
by FloBear 15th April 2019, 4:45 pm

» What are you harvesting today?
by FloBear 9th April 2019, 6:38 pm

» Welcome guest
by Dandelion 8th April 2019, 7:35 pm

» What arts and craft things have you been making lately?
by Dandelion 5th April 2019, 4:51 pm

» White goods repair
by Dandelion 28th March 2019, 11:51 am

» Springtime (?) in the March garden
by Dandelion 28th March 2019, 10:50 am

» "Reservoirs can make water shortages worse"
by Dandelion 24th March 2019, 6:08 pm

» Tall stool
by Ploshkin 23rd March 2019, 6:13 pm

» The frozen February garden
by Chilli-head 25th February 2019, 1:25 pm

» What have I done in the workshop today?
by FloBear 24th February 2019, 7:03 pm

» Green guilty pleasures and penance !
by Dandelion 15th February 2019, 6:11 pm

» Hornbeam avenue
by FloBear 15th February 2019, 5:00 pm

» The gardener's yearbook
by Chilli-head 4th February 2019, 1:24 pm

» Eco funeral options ...
by Dandelion 3rd February 2019, 5:17 pm

» Hungry Birds
by Ploshkin 1st February 2019, 1:01 pm

» First go at proper wine
by FloBear 30th January 2019, 6:36 pm

» January, welcome in a new gardening year
by FloBear 25th January 2019, 2:14 pm

» Seed swap anyone?
by FloBear 25th January 2019, 2:12 pm

» What are you preserving today?
by freebird 18th January 2019, 12:30 pm

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default The frozen February garden

Post by Chilli-head on 4th February 2019, 1:33 pm

I finally ventured out to sow early onions on Saturday.  I have had poor results with onions grown from seed, with the exception of Long Red Florence,  which has worked reasonably well multi-sown in modules.  I do like Italian red onions for Mediterranean cookery, but I'd like some other varieties too.  I wonder if my mistake is not getting them started early enough.  So, on Saturday I dug out my trusted tomes by John Seymour and Geoff Hamilton.  Both seemed to suggest mid to late winter sowing, in seed compost, then pricking out when the second leaf reaches 1/2" long into a more general purpose compost.  Decided to try that this year.

When I got to the greenhouse, I of course found I had hardly any seed compost in, so had to content myself with sowing a few lettuce for early baby leaf, and a trip to the garden centre.  Came home with a bag of frozen solid compost; I'll leave it to defrost a day or two I think !


Last edited by Chilli-head on 1st March 2019, 9:11 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Dandelion on 6th February 2019, 2:24 pm

Ha ha - I went out to buy compost at the weekend, as a first step towards planting some early tomatoes for the greenhouse. I sieved the soil on Sunday afternoon, and thought it was remarkably lumpy, until I realised that it was actually frozen into lumps. I left it to warm slightly in the shed - I must go and see if it has defrosted!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Dandelion on 7th February 2019, 2:56 pm

Plans for sowing early tomatoes are off - I heard this morning that I have to report at our local hospital early in March to have my second knee replacement. Our hospital does have quite a reputation for cancelling operations, but I will travel hopefully (and buy tomato plants later in the season!)

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 7th February 2019, 9:36 pm

New knees are harder to come by than tomato plants, Dandelion so I think you've made the right choice.
Ive actually done a bit of tidying up in the garden. I cut the old leaves off the hellebore as the flowers are looking good now and I've started cutting back the autumn flowering perennials. I think I'm going to try and get back into my trug-a-day routine. Keeping up with the weeding and tidying in my garden is quite daunting so I try to fill a large trug with weeds every day (weather permitting). I weed round the plants as and when they are coming up - hellebores and daffs at the moment. It will get to a point where the weeds just grow too fast but I can get a good start.
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Post by Dandelion on 8th February 2019, 3:27 pm

I like hellebore leaves in the compost heap at this time of the year, as there isn't much else at our place apart from kitchen scraps and chicken droppings, so it's pretty wet stuff, and the crunchy hellebore leaves add some air spaces and some carbon to all my nitrogen.

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: The frozen February garden

Post by Chilli-head on 17th February 2019, 8:22 pm

We seem to have defosted this weekend, so I ventured to the allotment. Dug some leeks. Overall, it isn't looking too bad. Less weedy than usual, though the blackcurrants had a lot of chickweed around them so I cleared that, and dug out some of a compost heap to mulch them and my gooseberry. Whilst weeding I noticed that the council workers have strimmed through the plastic netting of the cage over my blackcurrants. They shouldn't really be anywhere near it, it is over 2m down from the top of my plot, but I know when the next door plot changed hands they took a bit of the top of that plot to use for vheicle turning space, and I suspect - because I usually only use the top bit of my plot as dropping off space for manure and woodchip - I am in danger of losing it if I don't re-assert my claim. I'll get a mountain of woodchip dropped there ASAP as a kind of spraint mark of my territory ! I also need to make a new gate, and need to renew some posts for the muntjac defences.

In the greenhouse this afternoon, sowed some lettuce in modules, some trays of baby leaf salad and peas for pea shoots. I've also sown onions in seed trays - I'm going to try pricking them out into small pots this year, they seem to run out of steam in modules, and I can't get them going early enough directly in the ground.

I set up a row of cloches in the garden veg patch, to warm the ground ready for my lettuce, when it is ready to plant out.
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Post by Dandelion on 18th February 2019, 7:10 pm

So now we can add council workers to the list of pests to look out for at the allotment!!

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by freebird on 20th February 2019, 10:20 am

That's a bugger, about your netting CH.

Got sowing envy, but really no point doing any here this year.
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Post by Chilli-head on 20th February 2019, 10:31 am

The netting is the fairly tough, about 20mm square mesh plastic stuff, I think I can probably patch it with an offcut and some small cable ties. To cure the problem of the council workers doing it again, I have ordered a truckload (and I mean that literally) of woodchip to be dropped off at the top of the plot. That should help to re-assert my possession of that area as part of my plot. I wanted to re-cover my paths with it as the grass is a pain to keep cutting, and unlike the woodchip doesn't help with the mud. I need to replace some fence posts and the gate anyway, so I'll enclose the top bit too I think.

Mrs C-H has suggested I take the unproductive blueberry bush to the allotment. The soil is not suitable for direct planting, but I was thinking I might make a large wooden planter out of old pallet wood (of which I have plenty), with a good slop of linseed oil as a "green" preservative. Could make a nice feature.
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Post by freebird on 20th February 2019, 12:48 pm

And maybe get it a companion. Perhaps it will start to be productive then.
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Post by Ploshkin on 23rd February 2019, 8:35 pm

I've had a bit of a start in the polytunnel today. I sowed carrots, spinach and broad beans and put in 10 tubers of Rocket. I also repotted the fig and a rapidly growing rosemary. I'm getting through a bit of weeding outside.
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Post by Chilli-head on 23rd February 2019, 9:35 pm

A lovely day for a spot of gardening. Time to sow tomatoes, peppers and the all important chillies. My onions are starting to emerge, and a good showing from the Greek cress.
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Post by Dandelion on 24th February 2019, 2:01 pm

I put some pots of peas in the greenhouse a week or so ago - with all the sun we've had I noticed just now that a shoot is about to break through. I'll be leaving them in my husband's care when I go into hospital (hopefully a week tomorrow), and he will be planting them out. We did put up an aluminium pea and bean support yesterday, which he gave me for Christmas 2017. Considering we both have a degree in 3D design, it took all our ingenuity to put together (not helped by the fact that I had stored the instructions in a box in the porch, not realising the roof was leaking just in that corner, so there is a lot of black mould on what still remains of the paper!!)

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by FloBear on 24th February 2019, 4:32 pm

Far from frozen, we had lunch outside today and I spent a couple of hours clearing a neglected area where an ornamental tree is going to go.
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th February 2019, 6:37 pm

Indeed. My woodchip arrived this morning, and I've been spreading it on the allotment paths. Until dark at 6pm. In a T-shirt. In February Shocked

My pea shoots are shooting, the Greek cress is looking good.
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Post by Chilli-head on 25th February 2019, 1:25 pm

As well as unseasonably warm - today is really fine here - it is also very dry. I would not normally be able to do anything much on the allotment in Feb, it would be a muddy mess. But this year, the soil is crumbly and works perfectly, not at all muddy. I do worry a bit about the water situation; Ladybower reservoir up near my parents was still low enough to see the normally flooded ruins in January. I've now got a water butt at the allotment, but they are soon empty in dry weather. Hopefully the mulch of shreddings around the fruit trees etc will help keep the soil a bit more moist.

None the less, I still ended up having to give the woodchip delivery truck a push to get back up from my plot. It was rear wheel drive, so OK when loaded, little weight on the back wheels when empty. Why is it that all those people who don't need 4WD vehicles have them, and the people who really need them don't ?
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