Saturday, 31 January 2009


I bought 5 blue hyacinth bulbs back in the autumn. They were treated for early flowering and I was hoping they would be out by Christmas. Unfortunately they weren't, but we have had a colder winter. I now have them in full bloom on the kitchen window sill. The perfume is heavenly, although can be a bit strong. Not bad for £2.50.
I am also pleased that one of my amaryllis is growing away nicely and there is a bud appearing. It is a bulb I bought last year whicc I grew on in the greenhouse in the summer before drying it off. I potted it up just before Christmas.
When I was out in the garden on Wednesday I notice the pesky cats had used my fan-trained cherry tree as a scratching post! They have shredded the bark at the front, about a 6 inch stretch, and some sap has oozed out. I have put a guard up now, and I'm looking into the need to treat it to stop infection.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Growing so far!

My carrots and onions started poking through after about a week, so I put the trays out into the greenhouse. The seedlings are looking good, but whether there will be enough light - I don't know. Since then I've put in some turnips and some spinach, again germinated under the kitchen table and put out once they began to show.
I'm trying hard to get some strawberries this year, so I also dug up 6 plants from the garden and planted them 3 to a trough. I cut off all the old leaves, and killed the slugs congregated in the hearts. Strawberries need a period of cold as a trigger before they will flower, so hopefully the very cold snap at the beginning of the month will have done the trick. I'm now considering what to try next, radishes and lettuce maybe, although at the Garden Club I got some pak choi from Nicola, which is supposed to grow all year round so maybe I'll sow that as well.
It is surprising how things are moving in the garden already. My snowdrops, some a present from a very dear friend who sadly decided she couldn't cope anymore a year ago yesterday, are flowering again. I brought them with me when I moved from Buckinghamshire over 10 years ago, and they have stayed with me though 3 more moves. All the other bulbs are poking their heads through too, and buds on the cherry, clematis, and blackcurrants, to name but a few are showing signs of swelling.
My tomatoes, the ones which were planted on 27th Dec, are growing well, even if it is hard to give them enough light. I think making a lightbox from the blue LED Christmas lights did help, but it is not big enough now I have transplanted them to 3 inch pots. The chilles are looking good too, and I have planted a lot of other varieties given to me by an Internet friend, Irie Jan.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Chilli and Tomato update

There's still no sign of the tigerella seeds germinating, so I think I'll have to sow these again. I have a fresh packet of seed, so I'll try those. The Numex Twilight have finally put in an appearance, but there are no more of the older seeds showing.
I transplanted the older chilli seedlings and some of the tomato seedlings as they had got a bit drawn. I think the bottom heat was not helping. I've planted them a bit deeper and will see how they go. It is still very early days for these seedlings.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Chllies and Tomatoes

Afer sowing these on the 27th Dec, the first seedlings were poking through by New Years Day. It will be a challenge to keep them going, especially as we are in the grip of a really cold spell. I have the propagator on the bedroom window sill, with tin foil to reflect the light back to the seedlings. It is supposed to stop them growing towards the light source, but I'm still having to turn them a couple of times a day.
Amazingly, the chillies that have germinated are the old seed that should have been sown by Sept 2007. The fresh seed is not through yet. I have 5 chilli plants, but I seemed to have mixed the labels again, so although I know they are all the old seeds, I won't know until they fruit (if they make it!), which is which.
The only tomato seeds still to show are Tigerella, which surprises me as they have always been very prompt in the past. Still I have plenty of time to make more sowings as most people don't get started until March.
For Christmas I was given a Patio Gro set, basically a frame which holds 12 troughs, 20x50x12 cm. Yesterday, when boredom set in because everyone was still asleep, I planted some Paris Market carrots in one, and some onion seeds in another. They are in the kitchen at the moment, until they germinate, then I plan to put them in the unheated greenhouse, covered with fleece. It is very early, so I might not be successful, but if I don't try I won't know.
In the greenhouse I have set up a tent like structure, with bubble polythene on the glass side, and fleece on the inside. I am hoping it will be enough to protect the plants that are overwintering.
The Yacon tubers I was saving to grow on had started to rot in the garage, so I trimmed them up, and plan to send them on to another who wants to give them a go. Hopefully they will have more luck than me.