|The Courtmoor Avenue plot, a few days before Christmas 2018.|
I also have to admit that my ever-increasing interest in fungi-spotting has also taken up a lot of my time, to the detriment of my gardening efforts, though to be fair there was not a lot that needed to be done in my garden these last three or four months.
|Flammulina velutipes - Velvet Shanks|
Now, with the Winter hopefully ending, I find my enthusiasm for gardening returning once more. Whether or not my blog will be resurrected in the same way remains to be seen, but at present my intention is to write a few posts (at longer intervals than previously), and see how it goes. So today, I offer an Update, a Situation Report...
My gardening year began at the end of January as it usually does, when I attended the Hampshire Potato Day event and bought my seed potatoes. This year I will revert to growing potatoes only in containers, and I will grow mostly First Earlies and Second Earlies. Ten days ago I sowed my chilli seeds. I habitually do this on or about Valentine's Day, a date that's easy to remember, and produces decent chilli plants for me year on year. I have also sown Broad Beans (in individual small pots, protected from the mice by clear plastic propagator-lids), and two types of Onions, sowing a pinch of seeds in each of 30 modules. I'll separate the plants when they are big enough to handle.
One of the biggest jobs of the gardening year for me is the emptying of the compost bins. It's hard work and can be very messy, so it's a job that sometimes gets put off and put off. The recent spell of warm sunny weather finally prompted me to get on with the task, and I'm pleased to report that all my raised beds have been topped-up with a very thick layer of rich organic matter. The birds will have a chance to peck this over before I need to sow or plant anything.
I have also reserved quite a lot of the compost for my potatoes, storing it in the big plastic tubs in which the spuds will be grown. I'll not be planting any potatoes for another 2 or 3 weeks at least, and then only if the weather doesn't go cold again.
Back in October I planted some garlic - "Mikulov Wight" - kindly supplied FOC for review purposes by Gerry from Growseed. This has grown steadily over the Winter and is looking quite promising. I covered the tubs with metal grilles (shelves from the mini-greenhouses) to stop foxes digging in them, and this seems to have been successful.
My Endives survived the Winter too. This was never intended; they were supposed to have been eaten during the Autumn, but I sowed them later than I should have done, and the Summer drought meant they grew a lot slower than usual (it's a miracle they didn't bolt!). Still, protected from frosts by my long cloches (and in the severest weather, by a couple of layers of fleece too) they look all right, even if not very big. Now that we have had some sunny and warm days I expect them to do one of two things: put on a growth spurt, or bolt. Hmmm, I wonder which it will be...
Surprisingly, I also have three Beetroot that might finally come to something:
They were sown in one of the big plastic tubs, as a follow-on crop after potatoes, but like the Endives, they never really got going - until now. Even if (as seems likely) the roots prove to be tough and woody, at least the plants are producing some new leaves, which can make a nice salad ingredient.
Another vegetable that I grew in the big tubs was Kaibroc, which produced a very creditable harvest over a very long season. It just seemed to keep on developing another batch of shoots every few weeks, and one pot with two plants in it never officially finished cropping. Now, the two very hacked-about plants have finally managed to set some flowers. I'm leaving these as a little snack for some of the early bees.
|Left: Beetroot. Right Front: Kaibroc. Right Rear: Watercress.|
So what now? I know this is tempting Fate, but this year I plan to be a bit more conservative with what I grow. I'm going to concentrate on staples like Runner Beans, Carrots, Chillis and Tomatoes, and try to resist growing any "Funnies". If all the dire warnings about shortages of fruit and veg after Brexit come true, I may end up being more than usually glad of the harvests from my garden!
So pleased to see your back blogging, will look forward to your next installment as and when you feel ready.ReplyDelete
It is good to see you back Mark.ReplyDelete
Last year wasn’t the best year to take on a new gardening project but it’s disappointing that you didn’t really feel that your efforts were appreciated as you worked hard in it.ReplyDelete
Welcome back! hopefully your 'mojo' will return now you only have your own garden to concentrate on.ReplyDelete
Nice to see you again.ReplyDelete
Ginny T. Is glad to see you back. Looking forward to your posts this gardening season.ReplyDelete
I am amazed at how much earlier spring comes to the UK than in my neck of the woods - we still have about two months until I can begin even the early spring gardening. Meanwhile I'm keeping busy starting seeds and dreaming of spring!ReplyDelete
Good to see you back Mark...we missed youReplyDelete
It's always kind of exciting to start planning and building the spring garden -- a new beginning! So glad you're getting your enthusiasm back! A reader from Texas who has always enjoyed your garden doings!ReplyDelete
Great to see you back Mark. I always enjoy reading about your garden doings.ReplyDelete
I look forward to reading your blog again this year :)ReplyDelete
great news. you always inspire me to keep growing in my garden.ReplyDelete
I too am looking forward to seeing your blog again. Last year in our new garden I concentrated mainly on putting in things to make it look a bit less bland and safe, and actually plants to enjoy. I did plant quite a few herbs and some garlic all of which seemed to enjoy the weather and we have only just had to buy garlic again (and it goes in most of our food!) This year I want to do more veg growing potatoes, beans and probably some salad veg.ReplyDelete
I so enjoy your blog - I garden (not like you) but you inspire me to garden more and do better - last year was just a horrible year for all of us. Glad you are back- Mary Ellen from Wisconsin (where it is still very. very cold)ReplyDelete
So nice that you are back mark, excited to read your posts as this year is my first attempt at food gardening after moving to North Pennines last October...my season is late and short...it's going to be interesting!ReplyDelete
I think the reason you disappointed with new trial last year is, you grown mostly same veg which you cant really eat many, few new try which are tricky with everyone. one new crop and went well is your squash . and cultivating pots and raisedbeds or edged beds is lot different to open ground. and tracking all on top can be tedious too. being with detached house owners did not add color to readers too .so its good decision.ReplyDelete