Weed and seed (potatoes)…

Well I was just going to look to see if the seed potatoes had arrived at the local Bricomarche and they had!  As they had the ones I wanted – home they went.  I grew these last year and was really pleased with the crop.  They’re an all rounder plus if you plant them close together you can lift them as earlies or you can plant them further apart and leave them longer. Last year I planted these like some French folk do – no earthing up – just plant them really deep.  Worked fine but this year I’m going to earth up as I’m hoping it will make it easier to lift the crop.

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Tonight I popped them into some old seed trays and put them in the basement to chit – these will go in the garden around the middle of March as long as the soil isn’t too wet.

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Got stuck into that weedy garlic this afternoon and gave it a good clear out.  Now you can see the garlic instead of masses of forget-me-nots seedlings.

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Finally, I started to nip away at the edge of the veggie plot.  I took off about 8 inches all the way along – if it’s not raining tomorrow I’ll repeat the process…I’ll have gained that extra metre in no time! Coming across lots of tree roots though so they’ll  have to be dealt with plus the soil is total rubbish in fact it looks more like sand than soil. Hens lucked out for some big fat worms so they were happy. Might start weeding along the back wall where the soft fruit is –  looks like a bit of a job though.

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Bit of a tidy up…

 

Weather is not too bad so made a start on the weeding.  I’ve been saying for years I must learn how to weed with a hoe as I always end up doing it by hand. Think I might be able to add another metre to the end of the veggie plot so I’d better get the edger out and start cutting away.

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If it’s OK tomorrow I’ll finish weeding the garlic which is smothered in weeds and maybe start with the edger.

Rooting around for roots

Friends for dinner last night so thought we’d have some veggies from the garden to go with the meat.  Last of the parsnips ‘White King’ – very variable in size but good flavour and swedes ‘ruby red’ I think.  These swedes didn’t get very big but the flavour when roasted was fab.  The bigger ones all went into the soup pot just kept the little ones for roasting.

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Just so you don’t think the veggies are hiding weeds that’s sticky catchfly waiting the be transplanted in spring. I started with a 69 centime plant from Aldi but it is so easy to grow from seed I’ve got it all over the garden – great plant just too bad you can’t eat it. With the roots finish that only leaves savoy cabbage, leeks, calabrese and kale.  The garlic will be in till summer and the spring cabbage looks months off eating the plants are still so small.

IMG_3366 This savoy ‘best of all’ cabbage has done pretty well you can see the outer leaves have been heavily munched but the heads started to form after the caterpillars had done their deed so no great hardship.  I’ve grown about 12 of these which is enough for the two of us.  I probably should have spaced them further apart – I’ve got six in a metre square which according to everything I’ve read is way too close together but I’m not sure I want football sized cabbages.

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Hmm calabrese jury  still out on this veggie.  Six weeks ago I would have said ‘no way’ not worth growing but it’s going up in my estimation. Once I harvested the tops it sprouted new so I’ve had two cuttings so far and another ready to harvest. Must get out today and weed that right hand bed it’s looking a right mess. The left one is ready for potatoes in March the four inches of  manure seems to be keeping the weeds in check well for the moment anyway.

 

Well that’s the easy bit done…

Took the camera and had a walk around the garden to see where I can squeeze more plants into come spring time.  Must admit the garden looks grim at the moment I’m hoping that logging progress will spur me on to greater things. Looks like I’ve got about as many packets of herbs and flower seeds as I’ve got veggie. Not sure I can really justify four varieties of calendula plus saved seed from last year.

IMG_3364The obvious place for veggies – the veggie plot! This is only 15M x 8M so a bit limited and I can’t enlarge  really given the walls and fruit trees to the side. I’ve used a free garden planner software to sort out the planting scheme for this area. I did the same last year and found it brought a bit realism to my initial planting plan which assumed an ever expanding plot where veggies reached maturity at just the right time for a second crop. All the usual suspects are to go in here. I’ve had to abandon sweet corn though – no room!

IMG_3345Screen shot of the garden planner below.  I find this so useful as it works out the number of plants per square metre. You can print it out as shown and also as a list of plants with sowing and harvesting times. It’s free for 30 days at Growveg.com  great if you want to cram in as much as you can! The fifth row shown below is what I intend on growing once the potatoes have been lifted – you’ll notice above the veggie plot only has four rows.

plannerSo with the veggie plot packed I’m looking for more growing places.  The recently created herb area should allow me to sow some chervil and maybe some garlic chives along with a little pennyroyal.  I only created this in September so it’s looking a little sparse as I hacked everything down before I transplanted into this area. The 36 sage cuttings along the back row all look like they’ve taken though and also the  rosemary behind them. This was eight foot high of brambles in August and I know some roots are still in there just waiting.

IMG_3344These island beds were created with the help of friends in August.  I’ve planted bulbs, seven trees and a few plants so these are ripe for some veggies, herb and flowers. This first one already has artichoke in which seems to be doing OK.  I’ve pencilled in two types of kale, okra, winter squash, coriander and fenugreek for here. Oh, and not forgetting some calendula and agastache honey bee blue.

IMG_3348Not much room in this second one as I’ve packed it with iris (currently looking dreadful)  but I’m thinking maybe more coriander and sweet rocket along with some calendula mezcla magnifica. I doubt if I’ll get any flowers from these iris this year but come 2015 they’ll be in full bloom and looking a lot better than they do now.

IMG_3350This third one is going to be a problem as it’s ponding in the middle so I’ll have to sort that out. I’m not sure if the group of lupins in the centre have made it or not. Looks like a couple of squashes might take their place if they fail to arrive in spring. I’ve got some restharrow and yellow toadflax that might make their way into this bed.  The little bed behind this is planted up with blueberries bushes a few more calendula plants in that one me thinks.

IMG_3352Oh la la …more work. This nettle patch is going to be replaced with Good King Henry, lovage,  parsley hamburg and a few wild flowers. With a bit of luck I might be able to salvage some of the perennial sunflowers that are in with the nettle. I think I need a gardener!

IMG_3355Finally, at the top of the garden I dug this asparagus trench last year then planted what looked like 20 dead pieces of string.  I was somewhat amazed when the fern like plants arrived.  I don’t think I’ll get a cutting this year but maybe in 2015 we can feast on tender green shoots.  It’s only about 7m long but I reckon once I’ve edged it again I can have tomatoes along the front and maybe more squashes at the back while allowing the asparagus room to grown in the middle. Like I said that’s the easy bit done, seeds bought, planning done…now just have to get everything to grow!

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More seeds – can you ever have too many?

Well, with all this fine weather there is no shortage of eggs from the hens so tonight it’s herb omelettes and onion and tomato salad. Just been out picking some flat leaf parsley and rocket – some of which is in flower – amazing I think for this time of the year.  As you can see I’ve got a bit of an egg glut but they’ll soon get used up.

IMG_3342After saying to myself “no more seeds ” I bought these at Noz (cheapie shop here in France).  At 48 centime a packet how could I resist!  I’ll have to sort out my seeds once my final lot arrive by post and get planning.  That’s if I can resist buying Gold Nugget Squash as recommended by anjafinne and incorporating that into the scheme for 2104.

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Finally, no not a giant Brussels sprout, just the first savoy cabbage. Well, they were doing nothing and all of a sudden they’ve woken up and started to form heads. Mind this looked much bigger before the caterpillar munched leaves were removed. I thought might as well start picking now rather than end up with a glut like the eggs!

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