Sunday, 28 February 2010

Tomatoes and Rain

The two subjects in the title are not connected, but the rain has certainly stopped any playing outside today. It is bucketing down, the path is a river, and about 3 inches of water by the garage door. Thankfully the wind is not blowing it through the letter box.
I've decided I hate water, we have a leak (now 2!) I've been trying to fix in the airing cupboard. The water started coming through the ceiling, and in investigation we found the pipe to the heating pump was leaking. 1 tube of Plumbers Mait later, I've almost managed it, but I've got a few minor breakthroughs I'm hoping to plug today. The other option is to drain the system and get a plumber to sort it out.
Having just sat down again, I now realise the conservatory roof is leaking where the rain is so heavy. I've got a bowl under the drip, there isn't much else I can do.

Anyway, but to the matter in hand, tomatoes. The six I planted originally on 9/1 are getting their first flower buds. The burning on the leaves happens when they grow so far towards the light they are touching. It is not hot enough to burn me, but the leaves laying against it for a time does the damange. The Sunrise is going to be first flowering, it is now showing colour, but not opened. I will be keeping a close eye!

The purple jalapeno is almost in flower too, and I've moved 6 plants to take their chance on the window sill, although today that seems a bit unfar as it is so dull; they get better light in the cupboard, even if they are further away from the source than I'd like.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Electric propagator!

Well having planted even more chilli varieties yesterday, after filling my heated propagator with 12 new varieties on Thursday, I decided to have a look for a cheapish extra one today. Amazingly I found a real bargain at Wyevale, much better than B&Q and Homebase. The ones at B&Q were their own brand with a strangely curved base and lid, which severely limited the amount of growing space. At Wyevale they had Stewart ones on offer at £10 off (sounds better than £34.49), which was cheaper than the aforementioned stores. I picked the one with the prettiest box, and realised when I got home I had the themostatic control one, for the same price as the basic model! It is quite large, so I now have room for 12 more pots, and plenty of head room too. I hadn't intended to spend so much, but it looks a real Rolls Royce compared to the other ones I saw. Seed trays and pots were included too!
I've had to make space in the cupboard though, which makes access a bit more of a problem than before. The Golden Sunrise tomato buds are growing bigger, and the purple jalapeno is also looking good. I saw tomato and chilli plants the same size as my small ones for 60p today, so felt good about that.
I did get some bargain petunias, lobelia and fuschias from Wilkingsons too. (3 for £5 for the plug plants). I just need to find frost free space for them too. The petunias look a real bargain, they obviously planted 2 seeds per plug in case of germination failures, but looks as if they were good quality seeds, so 24 plants for the price of 12.

A week in the garden.

It's been a mixed bag with weather this week, so nice dry and dare I saw it, sunny days, mixed with storms sleet and hail. I've put my martock beans from Heywayne of the Grapevine forum into the cold greenhouse though. They are supposed to be hardy, so as soon as I saw a little shoot I popped them out. I only planted 6 to start, but I've got the other 8 under the kitchen table until the germinate, then out they can go too. I'll get them into the driveway garden opnce I can get the ground ready.
We've been eating leaves off the lettuce I grew under the lights. They can downstairs to the kitchen windowsill due to pressure of space, and it is cconvenient just to take a few leaves. They won't keep us in salad as such, but it lovely to have started eating something grown this year. I've just finished up the beetroots, and think I will try putting some seeds in modules to get them started off for this year's crop.
Besides the beans, I also put some peas to soak, and once they had shown signs of germination I put them into the rectangle plastic boxes the dishwasher tablets come in. They are not that deep, and I know peas do put their roots down, but I plan to put them into the allotment garden as soon as possible, maybe protected by fleece for a bit. The pigeons seem to be back in force, and have pecked my spring cabbage, althought the kale looks OK. The sprouts are still a bit small, but I'm going to start picking them next weekend anyway I think.
Andy severely pruned the mahonia tree on Wednesday at the allotment garden; it's now safe and I've got much more space to work. We took a whole car load of branches to the tip, but I've had a text from Chris saying it looks fantastic, so as long as he's happy I haven't wrecked his garden that's fine. I dug over half of it after the pruning session, the soil was damp but crumbly, not like mine at home which is still so wet a fork just ends up with lumps of clay attached. The broad beans look a bit the worse for wear, but I haven't lost many, and some are making new shoots from the base too, so fingers crossed for a good harvest. The garlic and onions look fine, and not that many weeds yet, mainly cleavers showing itself so far.
I dug up the rhubarb and found the middle of the rown was rotten, so I split it into 3 bits, and hopefully they will grow better. I am taking one piece to the allotment garden, hopefully today, but I can hear the rain beating on the windows as I type, even though the sun is out, so it might need to wait. I also tried moving the raspberry canes that were in the wrong place, but they didn't come up with much root so I don't know if they will take. It did talk about snow though, so I suppose rain is better, unless we were to get so much we get snowed in.
The snowdrops are well underway now, with 3 definite clumps established. The wild primroses are blooming away, cushions of pale yellow; a lovely sight. I need to winter wash the trees soon. It's an organic mix of oils that dissolves insect eggs, so sounds a good idea, what with the population of greenfly I had last year. I bought a sulphur candle for the greenhouse, so I feel that besides the clean(ish) glass, there shouldn't be any nasties lurking around. The peach and lemon trees are now inside; the lemon had one lemon left, in the centre where it was more protected from the cold and snow. I'm hopeful the tree will survive; I should take better care of it. The peach tree may have some flower buds on a couple of branches. I do hope so, and that I can get a peach to maturity. If I can, we can see if it's worthwhile keeping the tree. I did get some bordeaux mixture to treat it for peach leaf curl, because it is late coming undercover, and the spores of the fungus might already have attacked the unfurling leaves.
I better close this post now, the dreaded marking awaits due to some technical difficulties earlier in the week. I do want to post again later though!
Vicky's Ice Cream rose is also showing signs of the buds swelling, so that will need a quick prune. I easily gets too tall each year for the washing line anyway, so I have to take it down drastically each spring. It is a hybrid tea though, so hard pruning suits it.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

What's going on with my chillies and tomatoes?

Yesterday I potted on my 12 biggest chillies and the 6 most advanced tomato plants. They had out grown the 3in pots they were in, some with roots 3 inches out the bottom. (more to be added).
Tonight, when I was checking the plants I had to grap for my reading glasses, sure enough, the Golden Sunrise tomato, planted on 9th January, had tiny green flower buds showing. Now with decent sight, I saw my biggest chilli, a purple jalapeno, planted 26th Dec, is also showing flower buds!
Just to show I do have more going on, I decided to post some pics of the amaryllis. The large double one is now 3 years old (from buying). Last summer it stood in the bottom of the greenhouse and was treated like the tomatoes. It looks as if I've got some offshoots coming, as well as the 3 glorious flower spikes. Problem is, I can't remember the name of it. I've also had some lovely flowers on the hyacinths we bought through the Iwade Garden Club. The picture also shows a free gift, the Red Lion amaryllis.