In the Potting Shed

The weather was hardly charming on Saturday but I thought I’d best check everything was OK on the plot and especially the greenhouses with talk of a large storm coming in.

Well the site was pretty quiet, just the couple from the corner plot with their little girl. They’d had ten tonnes of topsoil delivered and were happily filling their deep beds, I must say just watching him makes me feel tired. I checked everything was as battened down as possible and then popped into the greenhouse to sow some broad beans into pots. They could go direct into the ground but I haven’t got the bed prepared so this buys me some time. I’d been given some Broad Bea Express seeds at the NVS and these were what I sowed. I also started some lettuce off in modules and then popped a couple of rows of carrots into the large greenhouse.

Last year I grew some carrots in there and they were excellent. Harvested small they are lovely just topped and tailed then steamed with a meal.

I finally got my seed order done. Yes, I know it should have been done months ago but I didn’t get round to it. This year I’ve gone completely over the top and ordered a pack of Carmen cucumber seeds amongst other things. Now according to my seed life chart, cucumbers should have a long shelf life so I can make them last a few years. They’re an all female variety with resistance to all known strains of powdery mildew, scab and leaf-spot. Fruits are bitter free and produced in abundance – 50-100 per plant. Ideal for organic gardeners At £7.99 for 5 seeds they really should be good.

Sunday was a funny day, started with bright sunshine as they radio warned about the worst winter storm for 20 years being on its way. Didn’t really seem possible but then it clouded up and we had intermittent hail showers throughout the afternoon.

I headed up to potting shed to do some serious sowing with my able assistant Mr Squeek who loves our shed. He spends hours staring underneath it at the frogs that live there. Not that he’s a clue what to do with them.

Back in October, I mentioned that my good friend Gloria in Canada had sent me some seeds and the tomatoes were sown into small pots. Normally I go for 3 or 4 varieties but this year I’ve sown 8 varieties.

First was the standard Gardener’s Delight, nothing too special but a consistent performer. Then it was the seeds Gloria sent:

Tomato Yellow Pear. An old variety, at least 200 years old, also known as Beam’s Yellow Pear that is a low acid, cherry type tomato supposed to be good in salads.

Tomato Green Zebra. A US variety (available in the UK) developed by Tom Wagner of Bakersfield, California and released in 1983. Apparently productive with a tangy taste.

Tomato Mortgage Lifter. A beefsteak type tomato that produces very large pink fruits. Another US variety that is available in the UK Apparently its creator sold plants to pay off his mortgage. Wish I could do that! It’s developer M C Byles had a radiator repair business that failed in the great depression and bred this strain from four others. Hence it’s also called Radiator Charlie.

Tomato Jaune Flamme. A French heirloom variety that has clusters of small tasty orange fruits apparently good for salads and for drying.

Tomato German Gold. aka Mammoth German Gold. As the second name suggests a large tomato from the 1890s. Gloria tells me these are 1-2lbs fruits bicoloured golden yellow with red striations throughout. She warns me to pick before fully ripe and finish them off inside as they have a tendency to fall off the plant and rot.

Tomato Carolina Gold Another Mennonite heirloom variety with a round and meaty fruit.

Tomato Teardrop aka German Red Strawberry Tomato large flavourful 1 lb fruit are shaped like a giant, red strawberry and another Mennonite heirloom.

We’ve still not sowed any garten perle or Sungold – 9 types of tomato this year!

I also sowed some habenero and cayenne peppers, along with some sweet peppers and aubergines. All of these are now in propagators in the lounge. Some people have house plants but Val takes it one further and erects racking in the lounge to germinate her flowery things so I reckon my stuff may as well go on too.

I sowed some Purple Graffiti and Mayflower cauliflowers, Topline Brussels sprouts, Romanesco and Kilaxy cabbage. The Kilaxy are a Suttons introduction I had from the NVS and are club root resistant. Although I don’t, thank goodness, have club root on the plot, the cabbages are good anyway.

The final sowings were the alliums. A seed tray of my favourite onion, Ailsa Craig and another with leek Musselburgh. Last year Larry moaned about the quality of the leek seedlings I gave him so this year I’ll have to do better and pot them up individually for him. They’re all in the greenhouse now.

Fingers crossed we don’t all blow away in the next 24 hours.


Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “In the Potting Shed
  1. easygardener says:

    I’m about to sow my tomatoes. Love growing them and would grow many more but blight confines them to the greenhouse now. I lost 12 outside ones last year, much the same the year before. Very annoying, but that’s gardening.

  2. John says:

    Last year was awful for blight – worst since 1800 and something. If you can shelter outdoor tomatoes from rain and just water them from the base, there’s a good chance you can avoid blight getting hold since it depends on moisture to get a hold.

  3. compostqueen says:

    I grow Mortgage Lifter! Just sown some for this year. Lovely big fat juicy jobs they are. One slice covers a piece of cheese on toast.

  4. John says:

    Fingers crossed my Mortgage Lifter do so well!

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