It’s been a productive and busy week, both outside and in the potting shed, polytunnel and greenhouses. After the slow start to the year, it feels great to be catching up on the many tasks that spring brings.
I started chitting my Swift F1 sweetcorn on Friday and by Monday they had germinated ready to pot on. Filled the pots and used my forefinger dibber to make the holes before popping in the seeds. By Friday some shoots had emerged and they’ll be planted next week.
Some in the centre bed of the polytunnel and some outside. Sweetcorn is difficult outside here but really does well in the polytunnel.
I’d lost some of my strawberries from the hanging baskets in the polytunnel over winter. My fault, I’d allowed them to get too dry. I had intended to replant some but wasn’t able to lift the baskets down with my back problems. Sadly for me, I just have to accept some limitations.
Purchased 10 plants of Flamenco from Gardener’s Dream on Ebay. They sent 13 decent plants so that’s two new baskets to replace the losses. They went in a mix of multi-purpose compost with some added perlite and slow release fertiliser.
Son-in-law Gary helped with the lifting down and re-hanging of the baskets. The older baskets were fed with S-Chelate 12 Star and they’ll all get monthly feeds through the season.
The small bed of Casablanca in the polytunnel are looking good, plenty of haulm but no tubers as yet. I reckon we’ll have our first new potatoes before the month is out. Good job too, we’ve not many maincrop left from last year. We’ve actually bought some potatoes this year having lost many to the rat problem.
Outside the second earlies planted on a bed of grass clippings are just showing through the soil and grass clippings mulch. Planted the last of the maincrops, the Sarpo Mira. They’re real thugs and went in at 18” spacing in two rows, 30” apart.
Aubergines and sweet peppers
We took a trip to the garden centre and I picked up 2 Black Beauty aubergines and 4 sweet peppers. The aubergines have gone into the quadgrow in the Eden greenhouse along with a Carmen cucumber from the same centre. The peppers into two chilligrows, leaving the centre pot empty.
I had a gherkin cucumber potted up but it became poorly. I think cucumber mosaic virus. Disposed of it. My grandson loves small cucumbers so I really wanted to grow one for him. Happily Dobies emailed an end of season clearance offer on grafted cucumber plants.
I’ve not grown grafted cucumbers so it will be interesting to see if they’re worth the extra cost. I’m doubtful but keeping an open mind. As soon as they arrived, potted up into 4” pots.
I finally started my parsnips. Late but they should be OK. Filled paper pots and dropped three seeds per pot covered with vermiculite. These are in the propagator at 18ºC for a week which is the perfect germination temperature.
I’ll plant the pots out although nothing will be showing, the seeds should have germinated. Once they emerge, remove the excess seedlings and they’re away.
I have a bought in courgette in a pot in the greenhouse but it’s not looking well. Not sure why but the bottom leaves are yellowing. Sowed some Atena and Defender in pots which are in the propagator at 21ºC
I only want a couple of plants but having spares in case of failure always makes sense.
Planted out a Black Krim in the greenhouse border. That’s the last of the cordon tomatoes on its way.
Sowed some Heartbreaker patio pots cherry tomatoes. Val says we may have too many but if nothing else, the chickens like them.
Sowed leeks in Bustaseed modules. A little later than I like but we’ll be OK. I’ve sowed two varieties, Lancelot for an autumn to winter crop and Northern Lights that should stand well through to next spring.
Swedes can be a difficult crop. They need space, not one to crowd. We don’t need to many so sowed Gowrie which are both mildew and club root resistant into biodegradable pots to germinate at 20ºC. When they start to emerge I’ll thin to one per pot and plant out.