Wednesday 27 April 2022

Little Gem Cos Lettuce & French Dwarf Beans


Sowing Little Gem Cos Lettuce. Photo taken before a covering of fine compost was dusted over and it was watered in from the top and bottom.

15 Vending machine cups filled with Clover peat based compost (Yarda, yarda, yarda, not good for the environment etc. but until I can find a comparable peat free compost as good at a comparable price I will continue to use Clover for as long as it can be sourced.) 

I read about warming the compost up and decided that the tray with 15 modules of Vending machine cups should perhaps spend the night in the living room in front of the radiator and warm up slightly, before the Voltage French (Dwarf) Beans from Marshalls get sown tomorrow. 

Extract from Marshalls web site

  • Attractive yellow pods
  • Sweet tasting
  • Easy grow and harvesting

With eye-catching yellow pods and a delicious taste, try planting French Bean Dwarf Voltage seeds for a rich and exciting crop in the summer. French beans are a staple of many British kitchen gardens and allotments, complimenting other crops well and being a reliable vegetable season after season.

This pack of French Bean Dwarf Voltage seeds contains around 160 seeds, giving you a plentiful return after sowing. We suggest planting seeds 2inches (5cm) deep in suitable module trays or pots, in potting compost that’s pre-watered and kept warm indoors in April to May. The seeds can usually be sown outdoors after May.

French Bean Dwarf Voltage offers attractive yellow pods that are vibrant and enjoy an upright plant habit. This makes them easier for harvesting, which you can expect to be between June and September, and that pods reach around 7inches (15cm0 in length.

Adults and children will enjoy the sweet taste of French Bean Dwarf Voltage each summer and as an easy-grow variety, all the family can get involved in helping them mature and reach the dinner plate.

Now there is no way I need 160 beans that come in the pack, so I have bagged up 15 beans / small 57mm x 57mm zip bag and offered them to the other plot holders on my site to play with and trial this year. 

5 tomatoes germinated over night on the window cill in the little bedroom, so defiantly a good move bringing them from the Space Saver Greenhouse indoors. 

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Sweetcorn Moonshine F1 Marshalls


Four number 15 cell Containerwise modules filled with compost and left in the sun to warm up before 44 Sweetcorn Moonshine F1 - Marshalls seeds sown and placed in the Space Saver Greenhouse with Propagator lids on.

Tomatoes sown a few days ago brought into the house as not germinating in the unheated greenhouse, and I suspect it's because of the low night time temperatures.

5 Vilmer tomatoes from the Joe Mills Grow With Me 2022 potted up into 127mm 5" pots.

2 Shorter Vilmer tomatoes on the shelf

3 Taller Vilmer tomatoes on the floor to the Space Saver Greenhouse.

More Melons Sown

Melon 'Mangomel' is a new type of melon that has undertones of mango when ripe! Large, creamy-yellow fruit is bursting with flavour and juice, plus they are delightfully aromatic. This is a ‘Western Shipper type’ x Early Charentais. And guess what? The fruit colour visibly changes from grey/green to a creamy yellow to tell you it's ripe and ready to enjoy! It tastes delicious eaten fresh or is an exotic addition with natural yoghurt.

Developed in the UK specifically for home gardeners, this is perhaps the first melon ever to be bred for this market. It will reliably produce 5 fruits per plant in an unheated greenhouse, 2-3 fruits in a sunny spot outdoors. If planted outdoors, the spread will be about 1.5 metres so will appreciate some trimming to encourage it. Fruit weight average 1kg.

Sow in a propagator on a windowsill or in pots or trays using a good quality, moist compost in a greenhouse at approximately 15°C (60°F). Cover seed with 1cm (½") compost. Germination 7-14 days. Transfer to 7.5cm (3") pots, grow on and plant on into grow bags or large pots. Train up strings and support fruits with nets. Water and feed regularly. If growing outside it is best to cover the soil with black membrane to keep the soil warm and use a cloche to cover the plant. Pollinate by inserting a male flower into female flower which has tiny fruit at the base.

Rugoso di Cosenza Giallo - Suttons - 15 Seeds - £1.99

A first-class cantaloupe melon for growing in a greenhouse or cold frame. Cut open the large, oval, yellow fruit to reveal the sweet, creamy, mouth-watering flesh within!

  • Large, oval, yellow fruit
  • For greenhouse or cold frame
  • Sweet, creamy flesh

An incredibly refreshing summer treat. While it may need a glasshouse to perform in the UK it's definitely worth it. The flavour of this melon harvested from the plant when ripe is unlike anything from a supermarket that has spent weeks on a boat from the other side of the world.

Sow in a propagator on a windowsill or in a greenhouse at approximately 15-20ºC (60-68ºF) placing the seed on its edge and covering with 13mm (½") of compost. Transplant when large enough to handle into 75mm (3") pots, grow on and finally plant into the greenhouse border, grow bags or large pots, when risk of frost has passed. Restrict growth by pinching out shoots after they have formed 5 leaves. Water and feed regularly. Pollinate by inserting a male flower into female flower (the female flower has a swelling at the base). Sowing-Cropping: 20-22 weeks.

Sunday 24 April 2022

Ishikura Bunching Onions

A tray's worth of Ishikura Bunching onions sown this morning into vending machine cups. 

A vigorous growing salad variety, best suited for late summer into autumn harvests. ( If only I had read that before sowing a tray full ) There again I have the rest of the pack 

Delicious when young and takes on a more pungent flavour as the bulbs swell.  

Saturday 23 April 2022

Grow With Me 2022

It was getting time for the tomatoes to be potted up to larger pots, so I didn't water them from the bottom and allowed the soil to dry out a little and then transferred the Aztec tomatoes from the vending machine cups into 127mm or 5" pots. 

I've used the clover peat based compost and the plants were heavily watered from the top and the bottom and placed in the space saver greenhouse to recover. 

Friday 22 April 2022

More Spring Onions

When I could not find my Luffa seeds and wanted to buy some more, I could not resist getting some fresh onion seeds at 99p a pack from Premier Seeds Direct.

Onion Bunching Tokyo Long White Spring

Onion Bunching Tokyo Long White Spring. A sweet and mild non-bulbing Japanese type bunching onion producing reliable crops with long white shanks with stiff blue-green tops. Excellent for salads and garnishes. Suitable for summer and autumn harvests.

Cultivation Advice Onion Bunching Tokyo Long White Spring

Days to Germination: 10-14.

Days To Harvest: 60-120.

Planting Depth: 1/2″.

Spacing, Row: 12-18 inches.

Spacing, Plant: 2-3 inches.

Light: Full Sun or Partial Shade.

  • For the finest onions,
  • sow seed directly outdoors, depth 1/4 to 1/2 inch,
  • in full sun to partial shade and well drained soil
  • as soon as the ground can be worked in Spring.
  • Planting Space rows 12 inches apart.
  • Scatter seed in the row at the rate of 3 seeds per inch.
  • Seed can be started indoors 8-10 weeks before transplanting outdoors.
  • When transplanting, clip plants to three inches and plant 2 inches deep.
  • When seedlings are 3 inches high, thin to stand 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • Harvest young plants in 60 days or up to 120 days for mature plants.
  • Fertile, moist soil enriched with compost is best for onion production.

Onion Spring – North Holland Blood Red Redmate

An excellent dual purpose sweet onion that can be harvested young as a bunching onion or thinned and left to mature into a small bulbing onion. 

The base stem is an intense beautiful red with a mild salad onion flavor.

Cultivation advice Onion Spring – North Holland Blood Red Redmate

Days to Germination: 10-14
Days To Harvest: 60-120
Planting Depth: 1/2″
Spacing, Row: 12-18 inches
Spacing, Plant: 1-2 inches
Light: Full Sun or Partial Shade

  • For the finest onions, seed directly outdoors, depth 1/4 to 1/2 inch, in full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil as soon as the ground can be worked in spring.
  • Planting Space rows 12 inches apart. Scatter seed in the row at the rate of 3 seeds per inch.
  • When seedlings are 3 inches high, thin to stand 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • Harvest young plants in 60 days for bunching onions and up to 120 days for mature bulbing plants.
  • Fertile, moist soil enriched with compost is best for onion production.

Onion Snow Queen F1 BUNCHING (Spring)

An excellent early F1 hybrid Spring Onion producing uniform crops of fine long shanks with dark green leaves.  

Suitable for succession sowings from early spring through to autumn due to its excellent cold tolerance.

Cultivation advice Onion Snow Queen F1 BUNCHING (Spring)

Days to Germination: 10-14
Days To Harvest:  60-120
Planting Depth: 1/2″
Spacing, Row: 12-18 inches
Spacing, Plant: 1-2 inches
Light:  Full Sun or Partial Shade

  • For the finest onions, seed directly outdoors, depth 1/4 to 1/2 inch, in full sun to partial shade and well drained soil as soon as the ground can be worked in Spring.
  • Planting Space rows 12 inches apart.  Scatter seed in the row at the rate of 3 seeds per inch.
  • Seed can be started indoors 8-10 weeks before transplanting outdoors.  When transplanting, clip plants to three inches and plant 2 inches deep
  • When seedlings are 3 inches high, thin to stand 2 to 3 inches apart.
  • Harvest young plants in 60 days or up to 120 days for mature plants.
  • Fertile, moist soil enriched with compost is best for onion production.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

Burgundine Asparagus arrives

My Burgundine Asparagus crowns dispatched by Suttons on Good Friday finally arrived today. Second clear covid test, and I'm feeling so much better, that a dash to the allotment to get them in the ground late this afternoon / evening was in order.

First I needed to remove the glass panels off the square flower buckets and then remove the buckets from the path and the trench. The buckets have been holding up the sides of the trench.

The square flower buckets were stacked on the patio in front of the plot 1 shed and covered up with the glass panels to stop the contents getting wet again. The first early spuds are going in these as soon as possible.

Trench after the square flower buckets were removed.

Sieved earth used to make the mound and then the Burgundine" Asparagus crowns placed 200 & 400mm from the ends, then at equal spacing so the two rows are staggered. The paving blocks were used to measure the offsets from the ends of the row. 

Crowns carefully opened out like spiders sitting on the mound.

Sieved earth emptied on top of the mound.

Closer view of the sieved earth over the Burgundine Asparagus crowns. Watered in before the Equigrow Fertile Mulch was added.

First sack of Equigrow Fertile Mulch added to the trench.

Yep there are some Marestail showing in the gap between the two trenches, they need to be dug out next visit.

Equigrow Fertile much spread over and watered in.

Basil Brush Fox Proofing added after final watering.

Comfrey Bed coming alive and will soon dwarf the bluebells 

Monday 18 April 2022

Limnanthes Poached Eggs

The best thing about poached egg plants is they flower for such a long season and they attract hoverflies and ladybirds which love to feed on blackfly and aphids. 

So successful in quelling these invasive little insects which are ‘farmed’ and ‘milked’ by ants, that over the last few years since discovering them that I have not had to wash off the aphids with soapy water, which always seemed to have a detrimental effect on the runner beans.

Since using the Poached Egg Plants I've had wonderful crops each year. 

I've sown a few modules and will also direct sow in the runner bean beds. 

Sunday 17 April 2022

Grass Clippings

Bless my eldest Daughter Emma and her husband Andy, they took there grass cuttings down to the allotment and put layers with shredded paper in 3 of my Daleks. They also watered my Onions, Asparaghus, Raspberries and Radishes and other plants I have down there in pots.  

Saturday 16 April 2022

Covid & Sowing Tomatoes

My Daughter Kelly caught Covid and moved out and into her sisters place as they were away to try and isolate herself away from us on Friday, but I swiftly followed with the cold and flu type symptoms on Saturday and my good lady wife became positive on Sunday. 

With the weather being so nice I took the opportunity to get out of the house and into the fresh air and sow the tomatoes for this year, outside of the Joe Mills Grow With Me 2022 varieties, that are quite established.

Blight Resistant Tomatoes 

The world’s first blight resistant orange fruited variety. Plants are high yielding, producing a mass of brightly, rich orange toms.

Taste is sweet with a slight tangy flavour, making them perfect for summer salads. Indeterminate.

10 Seeds £2.80  

As well as its ability to shrug off even the worst blight, Crimson Crush will provide great yields of exceptionally fine tasting, large, round tomatoes (each weighing up to 200g). Bred for outdoor growing, it's the tomato that everyone should be planting this year. (Cordon variety - one stem grown by pinching off side-shoots as they appear, needs staking and tying in.)

Ideal for the home or the allotment

Please note: With regards to the nature of the blight resistance, plants can still show infection (up to 10-15%) of leaves, stems etc. without effecting fruit quality or yield. The plants having the resistance to be able to grow away from the attack.

The Crimson Plum is the first blight-resistant plum tomato from seed. Great for both indoor and outdoor growing, it is the ideal tomato variety to be grown outside in the UK. 

This remarkable fruit is ideal for pots, baskets or any containers, reaching heights of 150-200cm (59-79"); spread 40-50cm (16-20").

Support with a cane and remove side shoots regularly. Feed regularly with tomato food.

The Crimson Cherry is the first blight-resistant cherry sized tomato, making it the perfect variety to be grown outside in the UK. This remarkable tomato variety is ideal for small pots, baskets, or any containers, reaching heights of 151-200cm (59-79"); spread 41-50cm (16-20"). Extremely versatile, this tomato plant shows good resistance to Fusarium, Verticillium, and both early and late blight!
Crimson Cherry tomatoes are deliciously sweet (9 Brix). Its fruits have a satisfying 'tang' which makes you want more. These tomato plants will keep cropping until the first frosts outside and longer if grown in a greenhouse or tunnel.

Mini, Micro & Mini-Dwarf Varieties 

Hahms Gelbe Topftomate

Variety released by Reinhard Kraft, Germany. Golden yellow, cherry sized fruits.Good taste, juicy with an mild acid bite.

Determinate micro dwarf plants from around 1ft / 30 cm. Huge yields from small plants. Regular rugosa foliage.

Perfect pot variety, all year round.
I got the seeds from a seed circle. 

Micro Tom

Probably the smallest tomato plant ever! Micro can be grown in a 6" pot or window box, growing only 4-5" high, but still managing to produce dozens of tiny fruit. Suitable for people with no growing space, and an astonishing conversation piece. 

A small percentage of these seeds can occasionally revert to produce a larger plant, so please select the smallest, dwarfest seedlings and reject the larger ones. (Bush) Few seeds produced.

Cute, super short and perfectly formed – that just about sums up Micro Tom.

Released in 1989 by the University of Florida, this variety is often touted as the world’s tiniest tomato plant. The plants are about 8cm in height, and can be grown in window boxes, small troughs and pots. The plants fit inside the smallest of cold frames, and they are worth a try outdoors.

The small fruit turn red as they mature, and though the flavour isn’t the best, it is decent enough to give Micro Tom a try. Your kids will love them!

Determinate (miniature bush) growth habit.

This is a great little tomato in all senses of the word. Open pollinated, heritage (heirloom) variety. A true dwarf variety that will grow to around just 12" (30 cm) tall and produces masses of sweet and juicy cherry tomatoes - that are proper cherry tomato size!

In order to keep its dwarf habit, good light is essential. In low light levels the plants will grow larger and have a more lax habit. 

This is a determinate variety and best grown as a bush. 

There is no need to side-shoot though thinning excessive growth to allow light and air in can prove beneficial. 

A tiny dwarf variety that will happily live on a windowsill and fruit at no more than 12" or 300mm tall. 

This variety has been bred for growing in pots or window boxes. It is an ideal variety to grow on the patio. It has a compact habit producing medium sized fruits, which ripen very early in the season.

Pot on after first true leaves appear. At about the time of last frost, set out into grow bags. Do not allow the plants to get too cold. Plants need staking but there is no need to remove the side shoots.

Other Tomatoes 

Indeterminate variety best grown in the greenhouse. it produces long, cascading trusses, each with up to 40 tasty sweet, bright red cherry tomatoes that rival the sweetness of Sungold.

The long trusses are impressive when loaded with glossy red fruit, and this variety has the flavour to match with a 10% Brix rating for sweetness.

Harvesting time will depend on sowing time and growing conditions, Fruits when mature weigh about 20 grams.

These 'Burlesque' tomatoes are certainly big and beautiful! They produce an abundance of large (400g) beefsteak tomatoes with a sweet and tangy taste (Brix 6%). These whopping tomatoes are perfect to grow in a greenhouse or outside further South as they are also blight tolerant! The flavoursome fruits grow in masses and should yield 40-50 tomatoes per plant during peak season.

These tomatoes are thick in size with a thin layer of skin, but don't fret because these fruits certainly won't crack or burst! The meaty, juicy and tender flesh of this Cordon variety is scrumptious when served in a sandwich, or on a home baked pizza with mozzarella cheese and basil.

Sow March/April for greenhouse growing (or April for outdoor growing) in a propagator on a windowsill or pots or trays in a greenhouse at 18-21C using a good quality compost. Cover seeds with 6mm compost (Germination 7-14 days). Transplant seedlings singly into 7.5cm pots. Grow on, finally planting into large pots, or direct into a greenhouse border; or outdoors 45cm apart when the risk of frost has passed. Support with a cane and remove side shoots regularly. Feed regularly with tomato food.

Produces world beating extra large fruits up to a huge 700g - 1kg in size. The fruits have good flavour and one can be sliced to feed a family of four!!

Best grown in a greenhouse.

Harvesting time will depend on sowing time and growing conditions.

Thursday 14 April 2022


Quite by accident, just thumbing through Facebook posts I have found the most amazing web site which is a one stop source for everything related to growing and enjoying strawberry plants, strawberries and everything related to them.

I have a bit if a checkered history with strawberries and have had real problems growing them in the past, perhaps with the help of this resource, I may be able to turn that around! 

Wednesday 13 April 2022

Sowing Update


Eight days on from Sowing Spring Onions on the 5th August, here's how they are doing under the propagator lid, they have been out in the unheated greenhouse for the last 3 days after I saw that germination was happening. The lid will stay on for a few days more until I see more activity happening in some of the cups and then the lid can stay off. Another batch will be sown in a weeks time. 

6 of the 11 Cauliflower Andromeda sown on the 7th April, just six days ago are showing their heads above the soil. The propagator lid is on at the moment once a few more plants surface I will take the propagators lid off. At 11am today being overcast and cloudy the temperature in the unheated green house is between 19.2 and 21.7C with the door cracked open a little. 16C at the moment but anticipated to be 18C outside at 3pm when the sun breaks through. 

Four Brodie Brussels Sprouts showing at the moment also sown on the 7th April with the Cauliflower. 

The first batch of Brassica that survived the mini fools spring heat wave and were potted on into vending machine cups on the 9th April appear to be happy in their new larger pots. 

The grass in the back garden that was trimmed yesterday was gone over with the lawn mower today, and the contents emptied into a 40L Tuff Tub or Flexi Tub or Flexible Rubble Container, or whatever other pet name you have for these very useful items that every allotment owner should have. 

I took the Tuff Tub down to the allotment and added to the active Dalek watered in then added a 10 Litre of shredded compressed paper into the Dalek and also watered that in.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Parsnips Away. . . .

That's about 300 ish Suttons F1 Warrior Parsnips on damp kitchen towel in Chinese takeaway containers now under the stairs in the dark which will be checked daily.

As the seeds germinate they will be transferred into waiting loo rolls filled with sieved soil, before being put into this years parsnip bed.

Going for the full 105 hole planting membrane this year if possible.

I also managed to trim the grass in the back garden today before it started to rain.