Thursday, 31 March 2016

Potato Day

The temperatures are slowly picking up and with a fine day it's time to start potato planting.  Two sets of seed potatoes were ready to go in - Cara and Charlotte.  Cara is an old favourite, blight resistant (essential here) and fairly slug resistant too.  Unlike Cara, Charlotte is an early potato and it's some years since I've grown it. 

I'm not sure how the Charlotte will do, but hope we will have some nice early potatoes for salad.  I have dug the trenches across the slope to  prevent soil washing downhill in the rain.  I still have the Desiree to plant, but need to do a little more soil preparation before I do that.

In the foreground of this picture are some rhubarb plants - I split my older plants in January and most of the pieces have taken well.  I love rhubarb so having more plants is a must.
 Oh, and the woody stems at the back are artichokes.  They don't stay where I put them but wander about the plot so I leave the stems at the end of the year so I know where they are currently.  They actually started in the bed behind, moved next door briefly but vacated both those beds a year or two ago.  Weird!

Sunday, 20 March 2016


With a decrease in rain and an increase in sun, spring flowers are starting to appear.  These crocuses are at their best right now.
 So time to get gardening, starting with the bramble on the vegetable plot.  Brambles are the muggers of the plant world, they creep up from behind when you're not looking and suddenly you're surrounded.  While pruning the raspberries and loganberries, I've been removing brambles, this is just one pile of them.  A prickly hard job but long overdue.
 Earlier this year I split some rhubarb plants which had become a bit crowded.  Most of the pieces have taken well, with some leaves starting to show now.  I won't pick any of these stems this year, just leave them to grow on and settle in.
This plant is called Good King Henry and was a surprise arrival last year.  I had a plant of this years ago but it disappeared.  Last year I noticed it had germinated among the peas so I left it to grow on and today moved it to a new position.  It's an old salad plant, the young leaves are very  tasty and full of iron, minerals and vitamins so I hope to be harvesting the leaves for early salad.

Sunday, 13 March 2016


I planted a loganberry 10 years ago and it did nothing until a couple of years ago when it suddenly started to put out fruiting shoots.  Last year it produced a small quantity of fruit so I really need to tie it up properly so I get better quality fruit.  It is bordered on one side by a tree and surrounded by autumn fruiting raspberries so the plan is to get the shoots as high as possible against the wall, that way it will get the warmth from the wall and be above most of the raspberry growth while fruiting.

So today I started by cutting down most of the raspberries and wild brambles (a constant pain here, can't get rid of them) to make space.  It's impossible to get stakes into the ground due to old and current tree roots so I used bamboo to make a framework.  Then I cut out last year's fruited shoots and tied in the new shoots (it fruits on last year's growth) horizontally.  Looking forward to these fruits in the summer, they are very good stewed as they don't disintegrate like raspberries in the cooking but still have their sweetness.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Spring has sprung...

Finally the spring flowers are out,  these snowdrops and crocuses have recovered from the flood and their trip along the street in the floodwater,  while the narcissus are an equally cheerful sight.