Tag Archive | Planting shallots

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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A Cheap Fruitcage, Potatoes And A Flower Patch

This week, I have noticed that it has been slightly warmer in the afternoons and the weather forecasters are promising that it is going to warm up over the weekend.  I really hope it does, as up to now it feels like ‘Spring’ has been on hold.

The only positive thing about the colder weather, is the weeds haven’t started to grow vigorously yet, so I’m not using my hoe every week, as I did this time last year.

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The daffodils are flowering beautifully now.  This inspired me to do a bit of work on my flower patch.  Up until a few weeks ago, there was a swing next to my flower patch.  As my daughters don’t use the swing anymore, I moved it.  This week, I dug the grass up where it stood, so my flowers patch is now an ‘L’ shape and will look much better when I have finished planting it up.  I will be looking out for some cheap plants to buy now.

My flower patch, winter 2012

My flower patch, winter 2012

My flower patch today.

My flower patch today.

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This week I put my two fruit cages up, over my fruit bushes.  I love my ‘cheap’ fruit cages, as this is the third year I have used them and they work a treat.  They are made out of canes and old hand wash bottles.  I find hand wash bottles are ideal to use, as they are made out of a softer plastic that doesn’t become brittle over time.  I bought the nets from ebay three years ago, for approximately £40 for both cages, but this is far cheaper than buying a ready made fruit cage and I can easily take my cages down when the plants have stopped fruiting.  You can see my fruit cage below:

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This week I have also planted my second early potatoes.  The variety I like is ‘Marfona’, which produce a high yield of large potatoes, suitable for boiling, mashing and baking.  I love the first potatoes of the year, boiled and dressed with lots of butter.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it now.

I struggle to dig trenches and line it with manure, before I plant my potatoes, as it’s such hard work.  I have tried different ways to plant my potatoes, but the best way for me is to fork manure into the ground over the autumn / winter and then plant the potatoes with a bulb planter, dropping them in the hole and then covering them up with soil again.  I then earth them up as normal when they are about 10cm high:

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Afterwards I used my bulb planter again to plant some galdioli’s that I had bought form Wilkinson’s:

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In my polytunnel, the weeds are starting to grow now and so I gave it a good hoe.  I then planted out some lettuce that I had grown from seed in March.  The variety is ‘Webbs wonderful’ which my family really like.  I also sowed two rows of carrots and a row of radish.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will be warm enough at night, for the seeds to germinate.

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Another job I managed to do was dig over my wildflower patch ready to sow my wildflower seeds next month.  Just in case you haven’t seen the photo’s from my wildflower patch last year, you can see them here.

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Finally, I planted my shallots (over a month later than I normally plant them out due to the cold weather).  My shallots were growing in newspaper pots and they had all rooted well.  I planted the shallots together with the newspaper pots, making sure that none of the newspaper pots were showing above the ground.  If a newspaper pot is above the soil level, it acts like a wick and the plant dries out.

I am really pleased they are finally in the ground now.

My shallots finally planted

My shallots finally planted at my allotment

It has been another busy week at the allotment and I still have loads to do, but that’s what’s so wonderful about gardening, your work is never finished.

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Thank you for reading my blog today.

I’ll be back on Monday at 4pm.  Have a good weekend.