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Monday 22 April 2013

What’s This?

Monday continued the spell of good April weather that we’ve had over the last week.

We’ve noticed some rather strange goings on in our newly sown seeds, especially the one’s sown and placed under the indoor grow light. At first I thought our seeds were germinating but rather strange for seeds there was nothing green about the shoots.

Our seeds are sown in peat free New Horizon Multi Purpose compost. We had decent results using this compost last year and if I remember correctly it got good reports in Beechgrove Garden trials. Early feeding of the young seedlings seemed to be the key for us. But this year we are getting these small fungi growing. You can see several in the picture above doing their best to hide among the vermiculite. They are very short lived perhaps around one day before the keel over and disappear.

This is how they emerge from the compost, before the cap opens like a tiny mushroom, then they keel over and die. They don’t seem to be having any detrimental effects on the seed germination so I’m not too worried about them. It would be good to know what they are and why they are growing.

There doesn’t appear to be any problems with these dahlia seedlings Bishop’s Children which were sown in the New Horizon compost on 09 April 2013. At the moment I see no reason to change to another make of compost.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Some Blossom

It was another decent day on Tuesday with some pleasant sunny periods but a cool breeze set in late in the afternoon.

On the plot some of our plums and greengages are at last showing signs of coming into blossom. Better late than no blossom at all.

Above is the blossom on our Victoria plum tree which looks like it’s going to be the last of the plums and gages to open. It does have lots of blossom so perhaps we might be in for a good crop.

Our greengage Reinne Claude is going to be the first into flower and it too has lots of blossom. Time will tell if this will turn into those deliciously sweet fruits by the end of summer.

Update on Trigger

I’m afraid the news on “Trig” isn’t good. He’s in intensive care waiting for expert opinion on his condition and the best course of treatment. An attempt over the weekend to convert him into bread was a major disaster. He simply refused to rise to the occasion despite being given a full 24 hours to demonstrate his abilities.  

So we can only dream about Trig producing something like this. I’m sure in time he will make a full recovery and go on to produce some wonderful sour dough bread.

I’m tempted to go back to square one and follow more closely the method used by Paul Hollywood rather than the method on the back of the packet of flour. Now to find some organic grapes.

Wednesday - Friday 24 - 26 April 2013

A Recovery of Sorts

The week has gradually got cooler since Wednesday. We didn’t have much sunshine on Wednesday or Thursday but neither did we have any rain. Friday was the brightest of the 3 days but without doubt it felt the coldest in a strong westerly wind

On the plot the other day I noticed that some of the winter brassicas devastated by the wood pigeons over winter might be making a bit of a recovery.

This is one of our cauliflowers “Aalsmeer”, pictured at the beginning of April, which should be producing some big white curds in the next few weeks. I almost cleared away these cauliflowers and cabbages following the pigeon attacks over winter but on the grounds that I’d got nothing to replace them with and as they were planted through weed control fabric then the bed wasn’t going to get full of weeds either so I decided not to bother. Since then we’ve harvested a couple of small savoys “Alaska” and now the cauliflowers might be staging a late recover.

The pigeons must have found tastier picking elsewhere and left our cauliflower to put on some nice new green leaves. After all it’s been through I don’t think it’s going to produce any prize winning cauliflowers but anything at this time of year is a real bonus. A few days of fine weather and we might just have something ready to harvest.

Saturday & Sunday 27 - 28 April 2013

Our First Redpoll

The weather over the weekend wasn’t anything special. It was windy most of the time with a few sunny spells and very short April showers.

The star attraction this weekend was most certainly a couple of redpolls visiting our niger seed feeder in the garden. Not only was it the first time they’ve visited it’s the first time I've ever seen a redpoll.

As we were busy decorating most of the weekend it was a lucky coincidence that we were having a coffee break when we spotted two unusual visitors on our feeder. Cameras were trained on the pair straight away and then it took a little Googling to check that they really were indeed redpolls.

I did manage to get some video included below but with a strong wind the little redpoll was swinging about on the feeder and getting its feathers ruffled in the process. They seemed to enjoy their niger seed so perhaps they might return for more?

Monday 29 April 2013

Have to Risk It Now

Monday was yet another windy day although we did have some sunny spells so out of the wind and in the sunshine it felt quite mild.

Despite holding off sowing seeds for as long as possible it’s now time for some of our plants to move out of the cosseted greenhouse environment and into the cold frame to start the hardening off process. Some of our onions made this move last week and today it was the turn of our broad beans “Witkeim Manita”. Broad beans are pretty hardy so I’m sure they’ll manage outside.

The plants look strong and healthy but now they’re outside they are more likely to fall victims to slugs and snails not to mention any damage from birds. The cold frame is netted so I’m hoping to have eliminated bird damage but you can never be 100% sure. Hopefully after hardening off for a week these broad beans will be planted out in the allotment. Then they really will be at the mercy of the elements.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Something New

Tuesday was a pleasant day with some sunny periods and for once the wind had dropped.

We always like to try something new and this year we are trying Sweet Potatoes “. These are normally grown from slips but we thought we would give Dobies new “super plug plants” a try even though these are more expensive than the traditional slips.

The plug plants arrived today and looked to be really healthy plants. These have been potted on into 4” pots to grow on in the greenhouse. It might well be that these will be potted up into large pots to spend the whole summer in the greenhouse as they enjoy warm conditions