Six on Saturday 23/02/2019

Starting off with a comment about weather again! Despite the weather forecast man talking about higher temperatures for this time of year and decent spells of sunshine, that doesn’t always apply when you live near the sea. We have had a few glorious days this week but Thursday and Friday have been overcast with a chill in the air and yesterday, Friday, being dull, dank and drizzly.

However, spring is definitely in the air and everything has come along leaps and bounds.

1. Crocuses (again)

I was beginning to wonder if these crocuses would ever flower, the leaves poked through weeks and weeks ago. All of a sudden with the help of sunshine there is a mass of yellow – such a wonderful springtime colour.

2. Sweet peas

I don’t sow sweet pea seeds in autumn. I don’t soak them overnight. I don’t chit them. These were sown into root trainers about 4-6 weeks ago. Whilst I had them in a propagator indoors until they sprouted, I then moved them outside on to my patio to give them good light. I cover them at night, and when we had a couple of below freezing nights I wrapped the propagator in bubble wrap. Not all the seeds came through, I put 3 seeds in each trainer, only 1 to 2 seeds germinated but I have about 30 plants so not bad. I do have some more on the go, sweet peas catch up very quickly.

3. Seeds

On the 16th, last Saturday, I had a seed sowing session. I am not a great fan of tomatoes and do question each year as to whether I should grow them, but I always grow some although not sure why. Perhaps it’s because it’s expected of you to have home grown tomatoes! I had a free packet of Tomato ‘Maskotka‘, a cherry tomato ideal for baskets. Already they are sprouting.

The top photo is Amaranthus Velvet Curtains’. I only want 3 plants for the cottage garden area on the allotment and had forgotten how quickly they germinate. They appeared in 4 days! I have thinned them out a bit and put them outside undercover so they don’t get too leggy. You can see from the photo they were on a windowsill and stretching towards the light.

4. Potatoes

I have 4 varieties of potatoes, Cara, International Kidney, Maris Piper and Charlotte sitting in egg boxes on my bedroom windowsill. I inspect them daily watching with glee the shoots appear.

5. Rhubarb

The rhubarb on my allotment is going great guns. As it’s inherited I don’t know what variety it is and the lady I took over wasn’t sure either. She did say she thought it might be Champagne. I have no idea how you could find out what it is, but daresay a rhubarb expert would take one look and say “Ah, that is a….”.

6. Making movies

Since taking on the allotment, I have become an avid watcher of YouTube channels by other, more experienced, allotment holders. Whilst I have a coup,e of books I am a visual learner and found them most useful. Some of you might know I write a blog and I thought it would be fun to set up my own YouTube channel and call it ‘A Diary of Plot 52a’. https://youtu.be/UJiF-dkRKng.

That has been a learning curve but fun, there is a lot more to go to hone it to be watchable. I have learned to hold my iPhone sideways so not to get black lines down the sides. I have learned how to make a little opening piece, trimming and fading. What I need to learn is to avoid wind. It is a very windy, open site and in the last video you can hardly hear what I’m saying, but it’s fun and we are never too old to learn new things.

I’m off to a family ending today so just get cracking and will read all the other contributions to Six on Saturday tomorrow. Meanwhile you can hop over to The Propagator’s blog and see what delights are there.

Six on Saturday 16-02-2019

It’s been dangerous weather this week. Positively spring like during the day with temperatures reaching 12°C (54°F) and then plummeting to below zero at night. I went up to the allotment at 08:30 Friday morning to await a delivery of manure, and the beds I had uncovered and dug over during the week had a dusting of frost, looking like icing sugar.

Whilst we are experiencing this wide range of temperature, if you are like me you are desperately resisting the desire to plant out! However, I have started to sow seeds (indoors) – peppers, leeks and garlic in cells. My next job, although I know a tad early, is to pot up my Dahlia tubers and keep them in a cold frame until the weather is warm enough to plant out in May.

Ok, after that little update, now for my Six on Saturday. I performed my gardening duties in my daughter and SiL’s garden on Friday and my Six this week is from there.

1. Crocus, crocus and more crocus (what is the plural for lots of crocus?)

I expect there will be lots of crocus on show this Saturday but they are a harbinger of spring and I think we all get a little (if not a lot!) excited when we see them. What is the plural of crocus, croci, crocuses? Both sound a bit ungainly and not quite right.

2. Wallflowers – (Erysimum)

The motley, smelly, half priced bare root wallflowers planted mid-October last year are looking very healthy and a few are even beginning to flower. The daffodils, planted at the same time in the gaps between the wallflowers are also coming up and I’m looking forward to a colourful display.

3. Euphorbia (Ascot Rainbow)

I planted this Euphorbia last summer, it flowered and then went very raggedy, probably because I didn’t prune it. Although a tough plant, I was dubious as to how it was going to get through the winter. It is looking beautiful with the prettiest pink tips that appear in the winter.

4. Hellebores

As with crocus photos, there is a wonderful selection of hellebore pics on gardening blogs at this time of year. I bought a selection of hellebores before the winter and although still small, they are flowering and the ‘Oriental’ is a fabulous dark mauve. They will seed and spread and look better every year.

5. Sweet Williams (Dianthus)

Described as a herbaceous biennial or short lived perennial, I certainly didn’t expect it to be still flowering despite freezing nights. Like the Euphorbia, I should have given it a good haircut last summer but left it to its own devices and it obviously is happy!

6. Spring pots

The collection of pots by the shed at the bottom of the garden are packed with bulbs and looking full of promise. This is where the white crocus (Photo 1 above) live with the pink hyacinths which are flowering. The brown pot of crocus at the back are a bit late, only showing leaves at the moment. More photos to come in a few weeks!

You can find more Six on Saturday’s on The Propagator Blog, please pay him a visit and see what everyone else has to show at the end of the second week of February.