Tuesday, 20 October 2020

In My Seed Box For 2021 - Celery

Celery is one vegetable that I have tried to grow in the past but have never had a great deal of success with. The average life expectancy for Celery Seed is 8 to 12 years, It looks like I ditched the celery seeds I did have in zippy bags, thinking I would not try growing them again when I had one plot. 

Now I have two plots and some free seeds off a magazine looks like it's game on for 2021.  and I do have some old seed in zippy bags.  






Unopened Packs

Golden Self Blanching - 1,000 Seeds - £1.45 - King Seeds free with Kitchen Garden -  Sow By 2022 

The stalks of Golden Self Blanching are more yellow-green and not such a strong flavour as Giant White but a lot less work. This variety is ready from about August onwards, and as the name would suggest is a self blanching variety.

Celery is a popular salad vegetable with its crips sweet stalks, but is equally as delicious if braised or chopped in casseroles.

WHEN TO SOW

  • Jan
 
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WHEN TO SOW

February to April

WHERE TO SOW

Sow the fine seed thinly in pots or trays under glass at 18°C. Sow the seeds on the top of moist seed sowing compost and lightly cover to their own depth.

WHAT TO DO NEXT

As soon as seedlings are large enough to handle, prick off into trays 5cm (2") apart. When seedlings are 6-7cm (3-4") tall, gradually harden off before planting out 20cm (9") apart once all risk of frost has passed. Water well throughout the growing season .

MATURITY

August to November

HANDY TIP

Celery requires very regular watering throughout the summer. Weak foliar feeding is beneficial.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

High in sodium & potassium traditionally used as diuretic.

Monday, 19 October 2020

In My Seed Box For 2021 - Cauliflower

The life expectancy of cauliflower seed if kept in ideal conditions is 5 - 8 years. The saved to sow by date on most packs is only 2 years, I found one pack that was 3 years, Thus seeds should be viable but with a reducing germination rate each year for an additional 3 - 5 years beyond what it says on the pack.   

My History with Cauliflower is somewhat checkered, early on I had some really fantastic results but over the past years not so good. In my seed box for 2021 are 

Zippy Bags

All Year Round - Suttons - Sow By 6/2016
Gypsy - Thomson and Morgan - Sow by 12/2017

Packs 

White Step F1    - Thompson & Morgan - 30 Seeds - £3.49 - Sow By 2020
Winter Aalsmeer - Thompson & Morgan - 50 Seeds - £2.49 - Sow By 2020

All Year Round   - Thompson & Morgan - 150 Seeds - £2.49 - Sow By 2021
Amsterdam F1    - Mr Fothergill's            - 25 Seeds - £ Mag - Sow by 2022

Sunset F1           - Marshalls                   - 15 Seeds - £            Sow by 2022


Sowing Times vary for each variety

                                Indoors      Outside     Plant Out     Harvest 
All Year Round    - Feb - May   Mar-Jun                        Jun - Sep 
Amsterdam F1    - Mar - May     June          June          Oct - Jan
Sunset F1           
- Feb - Apr    Apr - May                       Aug - Oct 
White Step F1     -                    May - June                    Aug - Nov
Winter Aalsmeer -                    My - Mid Jun                  April


Winter Aalsmeer
Sow Cauliflower seed from April to June. Direct sow outdoors into a well prepared seedbed, for transplanting to their final positions later on. Sow at a depth of 1cm (1/2") and distance of 30cm (12") between rows. Cauliflower plants can be transplanted to their final positions approximately 5 weeks from sowing.
Alternatively sow Cauliflower seed indoors at a depth of 1cm (1/2") in trays of free-draining, seed sowing compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 21C (70F) until after germination which takes 4 -7 days. Transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3") pots and grow Cauliflower plants on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and plants are large enough to be transplanted outdoors.
Gradually acclimatise Cauliflower plants to outdoor conditions over 7 - 10 days before planting in a sheltered position on firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Apply lime to acid soils to reduce the acidity and lessen the risk of clubroot. Plant cauliflowers at a distance of 25cm (10") between plants each way for 'baby heads', and 60cm (24") apart for larger heads. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.
All The Year Round  
Sow Cauliflower seed from March to June. Direct sow outdoors into a well prepared seedbed, for transplanting to their final positions later on. Sow at a depth of 1cm (1/2") and distance of 30cm (12") between rows. Cauliflower plants can be transplanted to their final positions approximately 5 weeks from sowing.
Alternatively sow Cauliflower seed indoors at a depth of 1cm (1/2") in trays of free-draining, seed sowing compost and cover with a sprinkling of vermiculite. Place in a propagator or seal container inside a plastic bag at a temperature of 21C (70F) until after germination which takes 4 -7 days. Transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3") pots and grow Cauliflower plants on in cooler conditions until all risk of frost has passed and plants are large enough to be transplanted outdoors.
Gradually acclimatise Cauliflower plants to outdoor conditions over 7 - 10 days before planting in a sheltered position on firm, rich fertile, well drained soil in full sun. Prepare the soil in early spring by adding plenty of well rotted farmyard manure to the soil to improve its structure and fertility. Apply lime to acid soils to reduce the acidity and lessen the risk of clubroot. Plant cauliflowers at a distance of 25cm (10") between plants each way for 'baby heads', and 60cm (24") apart for larger heads. Cover with a protective netting or fleece to prevent attack from birds and insects. Water the plants thoroughly after planting.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

So Much Foliage So Little Squash

With my daughter not going out this morning I was able to get to the allotment. First thing as it was 8:00 and not much background noise from the occupants of the newly constructed flats to the side of my plot, I made a video for Sean James Cameron of the gardening podcast as he has been light on videos the last few weeks.  This time of year it's only the die-hards that are still working their plots and putting the beds to sleep for the Winter, or getting in over wintering produce. 


I then set about clearing the foliage from the two beds of Winter Squash, one Mashed Potato and the Other Baked Potato. To my surprise I found another Baked Potato squash hiding below the foliage.  I cut up the green material as much as I can as over the years I have found that if you give the works and other critters smaller bits to work on they do a much better and faster job of making good quality compost for you.


The butternut squash had taken over three beds and the paths in between, it had tried to escape down the access path and onto plot 2 and I have to say I was expecting a huge harvest. I was in for a surprise!


This was the sum total of the squash I harvested today!


Lots of small underdeveloped squash had started to grow but it looks as if the energy of the plants and there were five of them went into growing vegetation and invading the neighbouring paths and beds.  



All is not lost, I have cleared all the paths around the beds, but I ran out of time and I still need to go and cut up and feed the foliage on the beds to the next hungry Dalek. 

Bottom line; Not a lot of produce, but at least I got a load of greens for my composting efforts.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Planning & Scheming


A swift visit to the allotment this morning between 7:30 to 10:00 to drop off composting materials and to finish sorting out the Plot 1A shed. I also managed to give it a coat of paint touching up the weathered section and painting all round. 

I finally realised that the OS drawing is inaccurate and the plot is not as long as I thought it was and I have now corrected the error and put in the fruit beds and the Square Foot Gardening beds and tried setting out the planting plan for this year and the start of a whole new crop rotation system. 

This is bound to get tweaked between now and next season a little, but it's a starter for 10.


Plot 1 


Plot 1A

Friday, 16 October 2020

In My Seed Box for 2020 - Carrots

 


My planned year of the carrots in 2019 didn't happen. I bought far too many carrot varieties in the Wyevale 50p seed sale in 2017 but who can blame me when I'm getting £34.21 of carrot seeds for £6 or putting it another way 12 packs for the RRP of 2 it's a no brainer.

I could not resist the four packs of Carter Seeds from Poundland that were being sold off at 10p a pack, so I have added them to the list below. If packs of seeds are kept in ideal conditions then the life expectancy is 3 to 5 years. 

As planned last year, looking at the information from the packs below I will be sowing 7 row per bed at 300mm centres in the following order, based on their sow & harvest dates.

1st Bed

Amsterdam 2 (Solo)          - Jan   Rainbow                           - Apr  
Amsterdam 3                    - Jan   Silvano F1                         - Apr
Early Nantes 2                  - Jan   Flyaway                            - May
Early Nantes 2 Frubund    - Feb   
Romance F1                     - Feb
Autumn King 2                  - Mar
Charisma F1                     - Mar
Chartenay Red Cored       - Mar

2nd Bed

Early Nantes 5                  - Mar
Nandor F1*                        - Mar
Nigel F1 Hybrid                 - Mar
Paris Market – Atlas          - Mar
Royal Chantenay 3           - Mar
St Valery                           - Mar
Sugarsnaps 54 F1             - Mar


Review Of Seed Stocks in Zippy Bags

None 

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By / 2020

Amsterdam 2 (Solo)    - 1500 seeds - £2.19 - Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2020
Baby Chantenay (Cascade F1) 350 seeds - £2.80 - Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2020
Early Nantes2                - 500 Seeds - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2020
Early Nantes 2 Frubund - 500 Seeds - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2020
Flyaway                          - 400 Seeds - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2020
Nandor F1 Hybrid          - 350 Seeds - £2.69 - Kew Urban Garden  Collection - Sow By 12/2019
Nigel F1                         - 500 Seeds - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2020
Rainbow                        - 300 Seeds - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2020
Romance F1                  - 400 Seeds - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2020
Sugarsnaps 54 F1         - 500 Seeds - £2.80 - Mr Fothergills - Sow By2019

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2021

Amsterdam 3   - 400 seeds - 10p Poundland Carters Tested Seeds - Sow by 7/2021
Autumn King 2 - 400 Seeds - 10p Poundland Carters Tested Seeds - Sow by 7/2021
Charisma F1    - 300 Seeds -                                               Mashalls - Sow by 9/2021 
Early Nantes 2 - 500 Seeds -                           Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2021
Early Nantes 5 - 400 Seeds - 10p Poundland Carters Tested Seeds - Sow by 7/2021
Nantes 5        - 2000 Seeds - £1.75 - Mr Fothergill's                          - Sow By 2021 
Rondo              - 400 Seeds - 10p Poundland Carters Tested Seeds - Sow by 7/2021
Silvano F1       - 500 Seeds -                                               Mashalls - Sow by 9/2021 

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets Sow By 2022

Chartenay Red Cored  3   - 1.300 seeds - Kings Seeds Kitchen Garden - Sow by 9/2022
Paris Market 5 - Atlas        -    750 seeds - Kings Seeds Kitchen garden - Sow by 7/2022

Alphabetical Listing
                                            Sowing            Harvest
Amsterdam 2 (Solo)          - Jan – July         Apr - Oct
Amsterdam 3                     - Jan – July         Apr - Oct
Autumn King 2                   - Mar – Jul         Jun - Nov
Cascade F1                       - Feb – Jul          Jun - Nov
Charisma F1                      - Mar - Aug         Jul - Oct 
Chartenay Red Cored        - Mar – Jun        May – Oct
Chartenay Red Cored 3     - Apr – July        Jun – Nov
Early Scarlet Horn              - Feb – Jun        May - Sep
Early Nantes 2                   - Jan – July        Jul - Dec
Early Nantes 2 Frubund     - Feb – Oct        Apr - Nov
Early Nantes 5                   - Mar – Jul         May – Oct
Flyaway                             - May – Jun        Aug - Oct
Jitka F1                              - Mar – Jul         Jun - Nov
Nandor F1*                        - Mar – Jul         Jun - Oct
Nairobi                               - Jan – Jun         Jul - Nov
Nantes 2 – Frubund           - Feb – Oct         Apr - Nov
Nantes 5                             - Mar – Jul         May - Oct
Nigel F1 Hybrid                  - Mar – Jun         Jul - Dec
Paris Market - Atlas*          - Mar – July        Jun - Oct
Rainbow                             - Apr – Jun         Jul - Oct - Thompson & Morgan
Rainbow Mix                      - Mar – Jun           Jun – Sep - Marshalls
Romance F1                       Feb – May          Jun - Sep
Rondo
Royal Chantenay 3           - Mar – Jun           Jun – Oct
Silvano F1                         - Apr  May          Sep - Mar
St Valery                           - Mar – Jul           Jun – Nov
Sugarsnaps 54 F1             - Mar – Jul            Jun - Nov - Mr Fothergills
Sugarsnaps 54 F1             - Apr – Jun            Aug - Mar - Unwins

*  Short ideal for starting in loo rolls

Sow Date Listing for Varieties In My Seed Box

                                        Sowing

Amsterdam 2 (Solo)         - Jan
Amsterdam 3                    - Jan
Early Nantes 2                   -Jan
Early Nantes 2 Frubund   - Feb
Romance F1                    - Feb
Autumn King 2                 - Mar
Chartenay Red Cored      - Mar
Early Nantes 5                 - Mar
Jitka F1                            - Mar
Nandor F1                        - Mar
Nigel F1 Hybrid                - Mar
Paris Market – Atlas         - Mar
Rainbow Mix                    - Mar - Marshalls
Royal Chantenay 3          - Mar
St Valery                          - Mar
Sugarsnaps 54 F1           - Mar
Rainbow                           - Apr - Thompson & Morgan
Sugarsnaps 54 F1            - Apr
Chartenay Red Cored 3   - Apr - kings Seeds
Flyaway                            - May

Germination 10 - 21 days

Rows  250 - 300 apart

An interesting thread re the different sowing times for Sugarsnaps 54 F1 and Varieties that will over winter on the Grow Your Own Grapevine Carrot Confusion

Other cold tolerant varieties are Eskimo (T&M) and Marion (Marshalls),

Thursday, 15 October 2020

The Janet & John Generation


It's no wonder the Janet & John generation love gardening!


Wednesday, 14 October 2020

In My Seed Box For 2021 - Cabbages & Spring Greens

 


In the past I have tried to find different varieties that had different sow grow and harvest times so that I could try grow and harvest for as long as possible. Plans for 2020 didn't pan out due to shielding my wife against Covid-19 so lets try and make the magic happen in 2021. Cabbage Seeds if kept in ideal conditions last 4 - 7 years. 

Unopened Packs 

Cabbage Ball                          - Mr Fothergill's              - 500 Seeds - £1-65 - Sow By 2018
Winter Jewel F1                      - Thompson & Morgan  -  40 Seeds - £2-99 - Sow By 12/2018
Golden Acre/ Primo (II)          Mr Fothergill's              - 500 Seeds - £1-65 - Sow By 2018
Spring Greens Greensleeves  Mr Fothergill's            -   50 Seeds - £3-25 - Sow By 2019
Dutchman F1 Heart                Mr Fothergill's             -   30 Seeds - £3-25 - Sow By 2019
Savoy King F1                        - Mr Fothergill's             -   50 Seeds  - £3-25 - Sow By 2019
Greyhound                             - Thompson & Morgan  -  200 Seeds - £1-49 - Sow By 12/2019

Opened Zippy Bags

Durham Early                        - Premier Seeds Direct   -   3grms     - Sow By 2020
Tundra F1                              - Marshalls                     - 100 Seeds - Sow By 09/2019
Primo 2                                  - Marshalls                     - 500 Seeds - Sow By 09/2018


To be grown in 2021


Going through my extensive cabbage seed collection and looking for something that looks like it may provide the Spring Greens that SWMBO loves, I finally had a search and found a couple of varieties that are sold as Spring Greens. I purchased a pack of Spring Green Seeds - Greensleeves from Marshalls for £1.99 incl. P&P

SOW OUTDOORS: April-May or July-August. Sow thinly ½in (1cm) deep in a seed bed or clean module trays of firm pre watered compost. Keep soil moist at all times.

PLANT OUT: 6in (15cm) apart, in rows 12in (30cm) apart when plant has 3-4 true leaves.

HARVEST: October-November or April-May

Protect from Cabbage White Butterfly with netting.

Looking at the sowing instructions in particular the spacing and rows, I thought about the planting membrane sheets that I already have and decided to create a new one specifically for the Spring Greens in 2020

So the idea is to give a 300mm exclusion zone around the perimeter so that hopefully it keeps the spring greens away from the netted hoops that will go over the bed. working on the basis of 150mm centres and 300mm between rows, I decided to stagger alternate rows so there is a little more space between plants but they are still dense enough to assist in growing as spring greens.   


I've also bought a pack of Cabbage Durham Early Spring Green Seeds for £1.39 incl. P&P from Premier Seeds Direct for an Autumn sowing.

This variety is a well-known and very reliable compact spring cabbage producing dark green pointed firm heads of medium size, good flavour and texture. Suited for high density growing for spring greens harvesting from Feb onwards and Apr for fully mature heads. Autumn sowing variety.



Cultivation Advice Cabbage Durham Early Spring Greens


  • Sow between Mid-July and Sep thinly in trays or directly to seed drills using 2-3 seeds every 12 in.
  • Planting depth 1/8 inch. When seedlings are 1 inch tall thin to one plant every 12-18 inches or plant out tray seedlings to growing location.
  • Best sown / located in full sun where no cabbage was grown the year before.
  • Keep weed free and protect against pests, especially pigeons over-winter.
  • Harvest alternative plants from Feb as spring greens and mature heads from early Apr.




The Greensleeves Spring Green seeds are the right candidates for trying again in my AGRALAN Compact Plug Plant Trainer.