Archive for March, 2013


Today I …


Helped assemble orders for the Incredible Edibles vegetable plant sale tomorrow here in Portland. I also got to do a little ‘early’ shopping and bought some Leeks, Chives, Parsley, Rouge d’Hiver Lettuce and Kale. Very lovely to see all these nice leafy green vegetables at this time of year.


Planting Elephant Garlic

elephant garlic

I’m busy in the garden this week. I just planted my Elephant Garlic. I decided to grow this type as I already have some ‘normal’ Garlic growing in the front garden that I planted back in November. The kitchen garden wasn’t ready back then and so I put it in in the only space I had available.

This is a little later than I would usually plant Garlic but this way I get an early crop from the Autumn sow cloves and a later one from the Elephant Garlic.


Planting Out Broadbeans


I planted out my Broadbeans (Fava Beans) this week. I had started them off from seed about three or four weeks ago in these biodegradable pots. I just popped the whole thing in the ground and tucked them in. Nice and easy.

The roots were just about popping out from the bottom of the pots so it was a timely re-plant.

I do like the vibrant green of the Broadbean seedling. It’s a great foil to the cold and wet grey days we’ve been having here. And it feels good to get that much of the garden ‘planted up’. The variety is Windsor.

Although, the size of yeild compared to the ground space they use up is quite low, that doesn’t matter because Broadbeans are a great early cropping plant. Soon enough they will be gone and composted to make room for a later crop like sweetcorn, Tomatoes, or Pumpkin. They definitely earn their keep in my garden.


Black Krim Tomato Seedlings


I just love the way that these seedlings have burgundy coloured undersides to their leaves. It gives them a very dramatic look even at this early stage. You can’t really see here but they are just starting to produce their true leaves which are very dark green. Behind them I have some Borage seedlings.

The variety is Black Krim. They are beefsteak Tomatoes that I plan to grow inside the greenhouse with lots of support.

Once they hit the two true-leaf stage I’ll repot them into 2 inch pots and grow them on until planting time. I’m really interested to see how my Tomato-growing efforts go this year. I suspect that while I may not have any issues with blight, regular watering might be an issue instead. There’s always an issue – it doesn’t matter where you live.


Not Onion Sets but Starts


I ordered some red onion (variety Red Zeppelin) from Johnny’s seeds and expected to receive some onion sets (the miniature onion type) but these came instead. They are dormant starts.

As I understand it they are plants started from seed, grown during the winter then uprooted when the weather gets cold. The soil is knocked off and they are kept in cold storage like this until Jan/Feb when people like me buy them and plant them in their gardens. So in effect they are onion seedlings that have been grown for me.

It’s interesting. I’ve never grown onions like this before so I’ll be watching closely to see what difference they make. I have bought some conventional sets just to make me feel safe. I fear change, really I do!


Friends of Trees


Here in Portland there is a group called Friends of Trees. If you want to plant some trees in your garden or on the parking strip outside your garden they will help you choose the right tree, help you get a great deal and send a crew of lovely people to help you plant the tree in the correct way.


Today our new Gingko trees (male so they are not stinky when in fruit) arrived in style and were planted on the parking strip outside our house. They arrived by bike and trailer (of course!)…


… they were unloaded and planted by a great bunch of happy diggers. We are delighted with our new trees and hope they will live a long and prosperous life and give joy to everyone as they turn a beautiful golden yellow in the Autumn.



Successional Peas


It’s time to start my Peas. I sowed these a few weeks ago in the greenhouse and they’ve grown beautifully. They are Green Arrow and should grow into sturdy bushes about 60cm (23 inches) high. I cut some pea sticks from a tree in the front garden for them to grow up.

I used to grow Peas in lengths of guttering which works fine for small areas. But I found that I increasingly wanted to grow more and more Peas and the lengths of guttering simply didn’t hold enough Peas for me.

So in the last few years I have started a few Peas off under cover (either a coldframe, under fleece or this year in the greenhouse) and then I have dug a wide trench and put the sprouted Peas at one end. I then sowed the rest of the trench with seed successionally over the next few weeks. This should result in a nice wide area for Peas that produce pods gradually from one end. That’s the theory anyway.

I planted these out yesterday and of course last night we had a fairly hard frost. The Peas were fine! They really are hardy little plant.