Tuesday 29 March 2011

Happy Birthday to me

It was my birthday on Sunday, though at my age it tends to mean less and less! However, I had a good day and got a bit of time to sort out the polytunnel. I got the growing areas rotavated and raked level and then gave them a good soaking with the overhead irrigation system, then planted a shed load of onion sets in the two onion beds in the tunnel. Then I decided what crops were going where based on where I grew things over the last couple of seasons, and duly erected my cucumber framework, placed my tomato canes and put up my bean supports. When I got home, I had a delicios home made indian meal with Maggie and the girls and opened my pressies - including the extension cable and the compost I had asked them to get.
Then it was cake time - Maggie and Iona had made the cake, and Iona ( 9yo daughter) decorated it all by herself - quite brilliantly if you ask me

Back to work on Monday, pruning more trees but had to come home at lunchtime today (Tuesday) as Niamh (3yo daughter) is not well and I had to look after her as Maggie was otherwise occupied. So the two of us spent some time sowing seeds in the kitchen - we sowed some PSB, Spring Onions (5 per module to be planted out in clumps), some sweet peas, some broad beans (Niamh's favourite soup is broad bean soup), and a  whole heap of Cayenne Chillies. Niamh fell asleep so I took the opperchancity to do some work on my exhibition veggies - I sowed my Sweet Candle carrots in my stumpy box (cored out to a depth of 16"), cored and bored my parsnip barrel and filled it with the growing mix in anticipation of sowing in the near future (the seeds for this are currently chitting between two sheets of moist kitchen roll), planted out my Hative De Niort shallots into their raised bed along with some Setton onion sets, potted on some more of my Setton and Red Baron onion sets into 5 litre pots, and sowed my Cedrico tomato seeds which are now nestling up nice and cosy in the heated propagator in the greenhouse (that's what the extension lead was for !)
All in all not a bad couple of days.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

All systems go for Sunday

It's my birthday on Sunday (21 yet again) and I only want a couple of things (well. if you wanna split hairs I suppose you could say 7).
First off is a new extension lead - this is required to power my heated propogator in the greenhouse - last year I used two leads but one has a permanent job elsewhere and the remaining one isn't long enough on it's own.
Secondly is 6 bags of MP compost.
My seeds arrived from Medwyn's yesterday - Pea Show Perfection, Cucumber Carmen, Runner Bean Stenner (reselected), Dwarf French Bean The Prince and Tomato Cedrico. These are the ones that I ordered but on opening the package I discovered two additional packets -Parsnip Albion and Giant Marrow.

I gave Medwyn's a call and they said that I could just keep the extra seeds, so tomorrow I'll go and collect a blue barrel from my shed for the parsnips and I suppose that the Giant Marrow will go into my polytunnel, though I might have to rethink my planting plan, especially having had a look at Medwyn's photos of his!

Anyways, will start to chit both the parsnips and the Giant marrow tomorrow night as advised by Medwyns by placing the seeds between two sheets of moist kitchen roll - I have read various blogs where show growers do this with the parsnips but as I have never thought about Giant Marrows before, I didn't know this was advisable for them too.
My plan for Sunday is to sow the Cedrico (along with some chiliies and other toms) and get them into the heated propogator, and to sow the Sweet Candle carrots in my stumpy box which is now filled with settled sand and just needs boring out and filling with the growing medium, the ingredients of which are ready to be mixed.
I also need to get my Hative De Niort shallots planted out - again, the bed is prepared but time just doesn't seem to be on my side.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

Getting Ready

As mentioned in a previous post, my exhibition tatties are chitting away quite happily, the Hative De Niort shallots are sprouting away merrily in the greenhouse, the Setton and Red Baron onion sets are just starting to throw up some shoots, and I have ordered the seeds for the other veg I plan to put into a couple of local shows this year. The seed was all oredered from Medwyn Williams website and should be here anytime now. I have ordered the following;
Cucumber - Carmen
Tomato - Cedrico
Pea - Show Perfection
Carrot - Sweet Candle
Runner Bean - Stenner
Dwarf French Bean - The Prince

I will also grow Beetroot (Pablo) and Broad Beans (Bunyards Exhibition)

As well as this show veg I shall be growing a variety of other veg including cabbages, lettuces, kale, parsnips, chillies, sweet peppers, ying yang beans, standard carrots, chard, cauliflower, beetroot, scallions and leeks.

On the flower front, I will probably try some Decorative and some Pom Pom dahlias for the show and maybe some African Marigolds.

The gardening club (of which I am secretary) is having a class for members only this year and after last nights meeting, I have come home with yet another polypot and a ssed potato, variety Charlotte. The aim in this class is noit the perfect potato but who can grow the heaviest weight of potatoes in their polypot from one seed tuber.

It's my birthday in a fortnight and when the girls asked me what I would like, they were slightly bemused when I asked for 6 bags of compost!

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Crown lifting Norway Spruce

Just a few pics showing how I spend my Mondays and Tuesdays

Each tree is lifted to between 6 - 7 ft, and as you can see, the cyt branches are then spread round the base of the trees and the rows of young Nordmann Pine Christmas Trees which grow on either side of the "nursery" stock.

Saturday 5 March 2011

This week I have been mostly......

Monday & Tuesday - both these days are currently spent in a private forestry plantation crown lifting Norway Spruce to 6 - 7ft to let light into the Nordmann Fir Christmas trees, The crown lifting doesn't take long now that I am using  Stihl chainsaw with a 12" bar so that I can get into the trunks to cut the branches, but the cut branches are then laid out around the Nordmann Firs to both suppress weed growth and to feed the trees and this is what takes the time - only about 155 acres left to do!!
Wednesday at Scotsburn Walled Garden (subject of my other blog) I was weeding the two long herbaceous borders so that I will have more time when the growing season finally starts.
Thursday - Dug over the vegetable beds at Mounteagle Estate and started to rejuvenate the strawberry beds within the fruit cage.
Friday - Clearing the hay feed rings and manky hay from Seafield so that the grass fields can be harrowed and resown where necessary after a hard winter. Started putting sheep netting up along one field boundary to stop neighbouring sheep mixing especially with lambing due to start soon.
Saturday (today) - At Balloan Castle, finished digging over the final veg bed - doesn't sound much but it was left to it's own devices last year and was full of chickweed, dandelions, thistles and couch grass, so was hand dug and weeded as I went. That's all the veg beds done, the courtyard garden finished, the fruit cage done - getting 4 new blackcurrant bushes & 4 new redcurrant bushes to fill gaps in the cage.