Spring, or do I mean summer?

Winter disappeared pretty quickly (no snow for us, although we did have a cold spell), but perhaps Summer has barged in knocking Spring out of the way.

We had a daffodil in flower for St. David’s Day, yay! and the daffs look great.

We now have a proper greenhouse up. Seeds have only just been sown in there, including aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, some lettuce, and herbs. Still awaiting some seeds on order (only ordered last week after the greenhouse was glazed…) – more aubergines, peppers….

Down the plot, carrots, cabbages, calabrese have been sown. All the seed potatoes have been planted, as have the garlic and onion sets (apart from the ones I bought today, more on that later). The broad beans and peas are coming up too, from an earlier sowing. We still have overwintered produce – leeks, cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli, to harvest, yay!

Today, I went to a seed and craft fair. It was a beautiful day in the historic town of Conwy. There was a small seed company (from Lancashire) with a stall. They were selling seed potatoes, onion sets, shallots, plants, and seeds. I bought a few packets of seeds, willing to give them another go. I haven’t really had all that much success with their seeds (Spinach Renegade, Winter Squash- Butternut Ponca, Basils – no germination, whereas other companies’ basils will germinate but often not got further than the first couple of leaves)., but have gone for different vegetables this time (their last chance). Seeds bought to try are Coriander Chechnya, Pepper Marconi Yellow, Basella Ceylon/Indian Spinach, Salsify, Soy Bean Envy, and Okra Clemson’s Spineless. Also bought Stuttgart Giant onion sets (the white ones – Ebenezer?, I bought from them last year were not spectacular).

However, I hope they will fare better than the advice I overheard them giving. “Only their Witkiem broad beans could be sown now” but they also had The Sutton and Bunyards Exhibition for sale too. On my seasonal seed plan pages (not recently updated with more recent acquisitions), The Sutton can be sown November, December, January, February, March, April, May, and June. Whereas Bunyards Exhibition can be sown February, March and April. And other ones sowable from March to May. Maybe I should stick with the Organic Gardening Catalogue, Simpson’s Seeds, and the big names available in garden centres to top up with.

Off to the greenhouse to sow more seeds…


The weather

It has been cold, but we haven’t had the snow that fell in other parts of the UK. We were on the allotment briefly last Wednesday (1st) and there was ice on the pond. We cracked the ice and removed it from around the edges. Some of the plants were stuck to the ice, or growing through the ice.

We went back to the plot on Friday (3rd) and new ice had formed on the pond. The piece below wasn’t the thickest bit of ice, which was 4cm thick.

The plot is looking good. We popped down on Sunday (5th) and the pond ice had almost all melted away. We had a lot of rain over the weekend. Even a lot of snow on the hills/mountains of Snowdonia has melted.

We harvested some parsnips (the ground had also thawed since last week), and a lovely savoy-type cabbage. The brassicas has been good this season. The leeks still look good too with only a few bolting. I’ll leave those to flower.

Is it Spring yet?

I have a daffodil in flower in the front garden, and a currant bush starting to open leaf buds. It does feel mild weather-wise but I fear we could have another cold snap. 

I have some more seedlings on the windowsill – onions, tomatoes and peppers, but not everything sown has germinated yet. Still, there is time… Patience is a virtue.

We have snow

Over the weekend, OH managed to dig most of the one plot that was in raised beds. The soil he said was a little heavy, but workable. Lots of worms. OH also took the opportunity to dig up the rest of the leeks – these weren’t very wide but inside, some had a thick stem. 

The 2nd plot has quite a bit of shade in the winter and the ground in the shade was solid – you could even see the frost on the soil. The part that wasn’t in the shade had some weeds growing already with flowers on (Scarlet pimpernel, dead nettle), so I took the oppportunity to do a spot of weeding. The roots come out a bit easier if the ground is wet. I put a thermometer into the ground – the soil temperature in the non-shade part was 2 degrees Celsius – I didn’t risk breaking the thermometer in the shaded solid soil. 

The second plot also is home to the overwintering garlic – I found a label which said Cristo. The garlic looks quite good – 2 inches or so stem. I also found a label for broad beans – The Sutton, but there was no sign of broad bean plants. 

There is a red cabbage, plus a couple of sprout plants (the tops look very cabbage-y) left. 

The two rosemary plants at the plot look good – one has flowers on. A last-year planted rosemary in the garden has gone brown and looks dead. 

Some spring bulbs have been waiting and waiting for ages to be planted – they finally went in yesterday – 2 different crocuses and 2 different daffodils (one packet my son had chosen). Probably not the best time to plant them, but it was then or never (there were still packets of bulbs gone to dust in the shed bought a couple of years ago)!

Overnight (Sunday/Monday), snow fell. It disappears quite quickly in my town (rarely settles), but the hills and mountains of Snowdonia had some – enough just about to go sledging! 

Haven’t finished doing the monthly seed plan. I will though (one day)!

Is it November already?

It is horrible outside. Inside, I should be dealing with a marrow – I quite fancy doing marrow & pineapple jam. I’ve already made various jams this year – pumpkin & orange, pumpkin & ginger, marrow & orange, as well as a pumpkin conserve, pumpkin chutney, pumpkin flour….  Any other suggestions for pumpkin jams? 

It has been a funny year. Pumpkins and marrows did well, after germination problems and slug/snail menaces. Not much else, apart from beetroot has done really really well. 

Son was writing labels for some of the seeds. Still haven’t sown the autumn broad beans & garlic – it is far too wet. Haven’t been down the allotment for a couple of weeks – probably sodden and with weeds growing still here and there. Although the mountains/hills have had some snow, I think we’ve only had a frost this week (pathetic courgette plant in garden is blackened – though it did give us 2 small courgettes that weren’t mollusced).

Still haven’t ordered new seeds. I guess we don’t need that much, having bought some things from T&M’s Open Day, and with all the seeds we’ve bought over the last year or two. Still, shall be looking forward to the HSL list.

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