Shallots, Onion Sets And Peas

I have seen one or two beautiful things this week and I thought I would share them with you.

The first thing is a sight I look forward to every Spring…the sight of the a Magnolia tree in flower.  This tree belongs to one of our neighbours and the photograph was taken from my daughters bedroom.  We have quite a small garden but we are very lucky not to be overlooked by other people’s houses.

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I also noticed this week that the Bergenia plant in my garden is flowering nicely too.  It seems to like the shade from our fence.

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And at my allotment the bees and butterflies are taking advantage of the sun when it is out:

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One thing I found this week shows how amazing plants can be…I found this self seeded Primrose growing next to our old shed door in a ‘crack’ in our wall and it is so pretty.  I couldn’t bring myself to disturb it, so I have left it there:

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Last weekend, Mr Thrift and I dismantled the old swing in our garden at home.  I must admit I did get a bit sentimental about it, as I have lots of lovely memories of my girls playing on it.  But time passes quickly and my 14 and 16 year olds just do not want it anymore and it’s also quite an embarressment for them when their friends come around.

You can see the swing at the bottom of our garden, in this old photograph below:

The swing wasn’t really good enough to pass on to someone else, so I decided to move it to my allotment.

Those who have been reading my blog for a while, may remember that I also used to have a swing for my girls at the allotment too.  Last year I also moved this over my path and I planted a Clematis to grow over it and I also grew some Sweet peas up the sides:

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  So I decided to do the same with the swing from my garden and I have put the swings together.  I am hoping that the plants will cover the top and create a sort of tunnel over the path to walk through:

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So this week I have given the swing a quick lick of brown paint and next week I will attach some chicken wire for plants to grow up….and then I need to decide what to grow over it to compliment the Clematis.

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Back in the middle of Febuary, I planted my shallots in modules to start them off early.  This week at my allotment I decided to plant them all out.

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I started by preparing the soil by raking in some Blood, Fish and Bone fertiliser over the area.  I then planted my shallots.

Please note, Blood, Fish and Bone is really best applied two weeks before you plant into it, but unfortunately I didn’t get around to it then.

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You can see from the photograph below that the roots on the the shallots are not too congested, but there is enough root structure to plant them:

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I then prepared the soil in another bed exactly the same and planted some onion sets.  Onion sets are planted so the ‘head and shoulders’ of the bulbs are poking out of the soil, but you must check them every few days as birds will sometimes pull them out of the ground thinking they are worms.  If this happens, you just need to pop them back in.

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We have had some lovely things to eat from the allotment this week.

I have been trying to use the kale up and I have really enjoyed eating this, as it’s one of my favourite vegetables:

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My youngest daughter was happy as we had our first purple sprouting broccoli of the year and this is her favourite vegetable:

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And we had a lovely little salad picked from the allotment this week, with red veined sorrel, mizuna, corn salad and the first chives of the year:

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At home I have been ‘pricking’ out the seedlings that I sowed last week (annual lavertera, dhalia’s, marigolds, cosmos etc):

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I am very glad I have a greenhouse:

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When I was in town a few weeks ago, I found some seed trays in the ‘pound shop’ that I thought I would give a try.  I must say they are really easy to fill with compost and to use but I’m not sure I would buy them again, because I don’t think I can reuse them as they look like they would be difficult to wash (though I will try).

  My friend gave me a stack of plastic trays a few years ago (the type that bedding plants come in) and I have washed them and re-used them time and time again.  In fact you can see some of them in the photos above as I find them great for putting my flower seedlings into.

The photographs below show the ‘Pound shop’ trays I bought:

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Finally, this week I have sown some dwarf peas.

I have tried different ways of sowing my peas, but over the years I have found it best to start them off in my greenhouse at home, in small lengths of guttering.  This way I get a better germination rate than I do when I sow them direct into the ground at my allotment.

I use small pieces of guttering (approximately 70cm in length) as I find the compost slides out easier from the smaller pieces than the long lengths of guttering.  I seal each end of the guttering with a piece of ‘Duct tape’, to stop the compost falling out:

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I fill the guttering with compost and sow my peas into it:

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My guttering will sit in my heated greenhouse until I just see them poking through the compost and then I will move them into my coldframe.

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Below is a picture of the peas when they germinated last year:

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When the peas are fully hardened off I plant them out, but I will show you how I do this another time.

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Well I think that’s enough for today, except I just wanted to show you one last thing.  The photo below shows the mixed salad leaves that I sowed on the 6th March.  I used an old grocers wooden box with an opened compost bag filled with compost and they are doing fine.  They sit in my greenhouse where the temperature falls no lower than 10C at night and they are growing well.  It just shows you can grow salad leaves in just about anything:

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I will be back on Monday at my usual time.

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27 thoughts on “Shallots, Onion Sets And Peas

    • It works well for peas as they are planted so close together, so I have never thought to use it for anything else….I not sure it would work for anything else either as the guttering isn’t really deep enough (the peas don’t stay in it very long so it doesn’t matter). Can you think of any other veg to plant this way?

  1. It’s sad how fast they grow isn’t it. I’m always having nostalgic moments over little things! Great use of the swings though, and at least this way you get to keep them. Your salads are doing brilliantly, I must get my act together and sow some more.

  2. This is a really inspiring post. I too love purple sprouting but last year didn’t grow any successfully. This years seedling have just emerged. The whole neighbourhood has magnolias and I always find myself thinking about the paint colour that has nothing in common with the lively flowers. Nice idea for the swing.

  3. i have a very little greenhouse,where i grow salad and radish. but my dream is a bigger greenhouse like yours.thanks for all the wonderful tips.
    i wish you a wonderful sunny weekend,
    love and hugs regina

  4. What a great idea for the swing. Far better than it going to scrap.
    You will certainly have had your money’s worth.
    Lovely post again.
    Best wishes,
    Angela ( Devon)

  5. What a creative idea for keeping an old but fondly remembered swing in use. I’ll reach ours out from behind the shed and install it on the allotment where I can watch my favourite climbers ramble over it, evoking memories of the dear man who made it and our children who played so happily on it. Thanks.

  6. That swing brought back memories of my grandfather making a swing for me (wooden seat with heavy duty rope hung from a tree). I still have the wooden seat. Can’t seem to throw it away! My girls swung on it too and so it is a sentimental item. Love how your garden is starting to grow already. Here in Northeast US, it’s still a bit too cold to start doing anything. Maybe next week if we’re lucky. Can’t stop saying how much I love your blog and what a wonderful gardener you are.

    • Hi Rachael and welcome. The spinach is perpetual spinach which is great as it is frost hardy (though I do like to give it some protection e.g a cloche) and it doesn’t bolt in hot summers which normal spinach does. The spring onions are winter hardy too and fatten up in early spring and are ready before the ones that are sown in spring time.

  7. I love the primrose happily in the corner there! And the use of the old swings is great! Stuff like this always looks so enchanting when someone with green fingers has their way with them.
    The allotment is looking terrific. I’m so happy to be able to see it.

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