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The season begins: the February garden

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default The season begins: the February garden

Post by Chilli-head on 9th February 2015, 2:51 pm

And so we begin again !



Sowed the first seeds for 2015 yesterday (well, if you exclude the beans and garlic that are already in since autumn).  

Tomatoes:

Amish Paste
Amish Gold (seed swap)
Rose d Berne
Royale des Guineaux
Orange Banana
Red Pear

Peppers:

Doce de Espanha (bought in Portugal)
Palladio
Gypsy
Sweet Nardello

Chillies:

Anaheim (seed swap)
Ancho
Mulato
Pasilla
Bolivian Rainbow
Ohnivec
Early Jalapeno
Ecuadorin Devl's breath

I've used my usual seed mix of sieved and sterilised leaf mold, concreting sand (much cheaper than hortcultural, but nice and gritty) and vermiculite.  I paused to consider that, for all the dibbers I've turned on the pole lathe, I still personally favour the end of a Sharpie marker pen !  I cover them with a sprinkling of vermculite - some say that the bit of light that penetrates it can be a help, but it is also useful to know where the seed are, so if they are late coming up I can do an exploratory before discarding them.  They've just been given a sprinkle of water with a fine rose, then they can sit in the propagator at a toasty 21C - should be up in 10-20 days

Would you believe it, in the middle of this sowing session, my phone pinged with an arriving email - "Start your season now" from the RHS !  Creepy. Are they looking over my shoulder ?


Last edited by Chilli-head on 1st March 2015, 9:12 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post by Ploshkin on 12th February 2015, 10:56 am

First day for a fortnight or more yesterday without heavy frost so I managed to get a bit of weeding done in the raised beds. They always look tidy when weeded & because each bed has a definitive boundary it makes me feel as if I am getting somewhere.
I've still got a lot of carrots in the garden so decided to make a carrot cake - this one did the trick & plenty left for soup.
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Post by freebird on 12th February 2015, 11:54 am

Wow! I never do any good with carrots. I have a really good recipe for Spicy Carrot and Lentil soup, if you would like to try it. I've put a link to it here. It's my absolute favourite at the moment
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Post by FloBear on 12th February 2015, 1:36 pm

That's a whopper, Ploshkin! Funnily enough a local farmer was telling me just yesterday how he leaves his carrots in the ground until wanted and what huge things they grew into.
Have bookmarked recipe, freebird. Def. my sort of soup.
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Post by Chilli-head on 12th February 2015, 1:39 pm

I still have a few carrots, which is unusual for me. It is fortunate that the cold weather slows down slugs ! We do have carrot and lentil soup as a regular meal, but I can only imagine that making it spicy would help. I have to accomodate those who are not yet fully fledged chilli-heads, so I sprinkled my soup last night with a good pinch of ground prarie fire chillies. I forgot and rubbed my eyes later...
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Post by freebird on 12th February 2015, 1:50 pm

Actually, CH, it doesn't necessarily need the chilli, although I like it. What I wouldn't omit though, is the cumin seed. It gives the soup a much more interesting 'grown-up' flavour. I would consider experimenting with a little root ginger as well.
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Post by FloBear on 13th February 2015, 1:45 pm

Does mowing the grass for the first time qualify? I'm not an avided mowerer but this grass was new last Autumn and it's the first chance I've had when it has been dry and not too cold.
Thoughts have not yet turned to seeds and sowing.
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Post by Dandelion on 13th February 2015, 4:19 pm

Drat - you've reminded me that I had meant to mow the tiny wild patch by the pond, and now it's very wet from the stormy rain which is passing over. Will have to put it on my to-do list for the next dry day. I only really do it once a year to tidy it up, then it gets left for the next year.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by FloBear on 13th February 2015, 4:26 pm

Oops, sorry!
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Post by Chilli-head on 14th February 2015, 9:06 pm

I took what is pretty much the last chance to do some fruit tree pruning today. Last apple tree, and the quince. The quince usually loses a lot of leaves to rust, so I'm hoping that by opening it up a bit it will improve air flow and lessen the problem. I worked by Monty Don's description that a pigeon should be able to fly through it from any direction.

I got out the shredder and disposed of the accumulated pile of prunings onto the compost heap.

Final job was to rake off the trash from the asparagus plot and apply a mulch of well rotted manure. Hoping for a better year for asparagus this time, it has been a while since we had a good yield here.
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Post by FloBear on 15th February 2015, 9:35 am

That reminds me, Chilli head, that I need to do the first prune of my brand new trees. I was all set to do it then found the instructions confusing so left it and we had unsuitable weather. Must get on with it urgently now.
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Post by Chilli-head on 15th February 2015, 9:48 am

FloBear wrote:That reminds me, Chilli head, that I need to do the first prune of my brand new trees. I was all set to do it then found the instructions confusing so left it and we had unsuitable weather. Must get on with it urgently now.

What trees are you growing, and how are you planing to shape them ? I am having a go at training some apples and pears into espaliers this year - first attempt. It is never as simple as the books make it sound !
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Post by Dandelion on 15th February 2015, 1:33 pm

FloBear wrote:Oops, sorry!
That was a good 'drat'!! Will try to sort it while we're on half term, weather allowing

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by FloBear on 15th February 2015, 1:48 pm

I think I realised that Dandelion but was apologising for making you think of extra chores!
Chilli head posting about tree pruning had the same effect on me.

I've got *two pears and a gage* on very dwarf rootstocks in very large pots. Main reason for that is that I haven't got anywhere yet that I want to site them permanently and have spent several years dithering so thought 'just get some'!!!
I just want a basic tree shape but it's the bit about cutting main shoots on the pear that I'm worried about. Will get on to the company and ask for clarification.

*Doyenne du Comice, Mertons' Pride and Ouillins Gage* known respectively as The Duchess, Mrs Merton and Wee Wille Embarassed
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Post by Chilli-head on 15th February 2015, 7:49 pm

No germination yet in the propagators.

In between jobs I went over to the lotty today.  Cut down the silver birch that was shading my plot,  and logged it up.  Took some hardwood cuttings of blackcurrant and raspberries.   Struggled home with a wheelbarrow full of logs - daren't leave them unguarded,  or they will walk !
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Post by Dandelion on 16th February 2015, 5:34 pm

I can see us having to cut down our Rowan tree this year, as the bark is splitting badly. Have researched the causes, and as the exposed wood smells clean and fresh I assume the splits have been caused by the extremes of weather over the last couple of years rather than fungus. I think I'll leave it for a month or two and see what it does, but it does look rather terminal.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 17th February 2015, 9:55 am

I don't know enough about rowan trees to know if that is terminal, or normal !

But - excitement - my first tomatoes have emerged this morning. A couple of orange banana and a Royale des Guineaux. Hopefully more will follow quickly.
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Post by Dandelion on 18th February 2015, 4:46 pm

Chilli-head wrote:I don't know enough about rowan trees to know if that is terminal, or normal !


We've been in this house for 12 years, and the rowan was here (fully grown) when we came. This is the first time I've seen anything like this, and it is significant: vertical splits about a foot long, and in one place the bark is hanging off in one large piece like the pages from a book. I had heard that once the bark had come off in one piece which completely ringed the trunk, that it was usually curtains for the tree. I'll give it this year though, to see whether it'll pull through.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Dandelion on 18th February 2015, 4:51 pm

AS it's been such a lovely sunny day I spent a bit of time on the raised beds. I had grown green manure in one bed, and chopped it up and dug it in a couple of weeks ago. BUt as the green manure had become rather woody, it shows no signs of rotting down, bahving itself and disappearing, so I have raked the toughest bits out to compost instead. I then turned my attention to the strawberry bed, which on closer inspeaction has been more or less completely ruined by a cat or cats. The plants have been dug around, and most are barely alive, and are combined with copious amounts of droppings. As we live in a strawberry growing county, I've given up, composted the stumps and will grow something else there and buy some berries locally when it's time. A keen gardener never despairs when there's space in a bed...
The last thing I did before coming in was to stretch netting over the empty beds to deter the local cats!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Chilli-head on 18th February 2015, 4:59 pm

Green manure. I've never had much success with it. I think my problem is that I am to tight to turn a bed over to green manure when it could be growing something productive. Which means that green manures get sown too late and fail. Still, I have plenty of weeds to dig in, if they count ?

More tomatoes up today. It is 10 days now, so they are on schedule according to the packet. No sign of chillies yet, but they can take more like 21 days.

Don't talk to me about cats. I've had a break from them and their befoulment for a few years as the neighbour on one side has a cat that is too old to have the energy to get over the fence, and the one on the other side died. But they have just bought another kitten, so I expect I'll be back to chasing them off. I knew I should have bought one of Simon's Jagdterrier puppies. That would have seen them off Twisted Evil
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Post by freebird on 18th February 2015, 5:16 pm

Trouble with dogs seeing off cats, CH, is that they trample indiscriminately on your prized plants. Personally, I think I would rather use other, less invasive cat deterrents.
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Post by Ploshkin on 18th February 2015, 6:39 pm

I had to eject a cow and calf from my garden this morning!
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Post by Dandelion on 18th February 2015, 8:35 pm

Oh dear Ploshkin - was there much left of your garden??

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Ploshkin on 22nd February 2015, 9:07 pm

This weekend I have waded, squelched and generally frozen in my garden. Too horrible to do anything more productive.
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Post by gunners71uk on 22nd February 2015, 9:20 pm

think i go to bed and dream about spring i was thinking of setting betroot in modules to start some off early do they transplant ok ?

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