Six on Saturday: Plan, plan and then cross fingers

Things are definitely on the move in the garden.  The bulbs are poking up their first leaves and here in London some of the perennials are beginning to stir.  Storm Eric poured in yesterday and is blowing itself out today.  The sun is shining and optimism is rising.

One

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There was a brief lull in the weather this week.  The snow disappeared and the ground wasn’t too wet so the opportunity was taken to plant out the asparagus crowns.  I dug out the trench, created the ‘w’ shaped profile and elegantly draped the crowns across the top.  The trench was then back-filled to just cover the crowns and over the coming weeks as the crowns send out shoots there will  be more back filling to ensure the crowns are well buried.  A scattering of fish bone and blood also went into the mix.  I opted for one long trench and I think I have space for a border of companion plants. Recommendations are to plant tomatoes and basil in an attempt to fend off asparagus beetle.  I am growing tomatoes from seed this year and I’m sure I will have some spare plants.  The extras can go by the side of the asparagus as a first barrier.  I’m happy to sow a few basil seeds as well.  That’s the first plan.  We’ll see if it works.

Two

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The potatoes have been bought and chitting is underway.  The second plan is where to put the potatoes this year.  My veg plot has a three year rotation plot.  (I don’t grow brassicas).  Potatoes are followed by onions followed by root crops.  The lay out of the veg plot gives me two larger beds and then three thinner strips.  There is also one medium sized raised bed.  I have to decide if  I use the raised bed for half the potatoes and one of the larger smaller strips for the remainder.  You may be a little confused by now – as I am.  I have a few weeks to sort this all out.

Three

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Beans will also have to fit into the plan and this year I am forgoing the climbing bean ‘Blue Lake’ in favour of a dwarf french bean.  The simple reason is I don’t enjoy untangling the beans and twine from the wig wam at the end of the season.  I also reasoned that the dwarf beans would fit very nicely into one of the thin strips.  A long term plan is to combine two of the thin strips, but that’s on the wish list.

Four

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My final purchase of sweet peas seeds has been made.  Let’s see how ‘Iris’ and ‘Gwendoline’ get on with ‘April in Paris’.  The first batch of sweet peas was sown last weekend.  These will be sown in a week or two.

Five

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Onion choices have also been made.  Sturon, Red Baron and Longor shallots.  I am going to start off the onions in modules this year ready to transplant as the weather becomes warmer.  A first time of trying this for me so fingers crossed here too.

Six

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The first flower on the Bergenia cordifolia ‘Purpurea’  has appeared.  It is nestled under a Mahonia in the front garden.  Yes, Spring is on its way.

 

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23 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Plan, plan and then cross fingers

  1. I always learn something. I never “chitted” my potatoes, but I did cut them into chunks and let the cut edged dry out before I planted them when the ground warmed. o you plant your potatoes whole?

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  2. My potatoes are at the same stage here. What is the variety? Mine are chitting for a week and I’m still waiting about a month if possible before planting.
    The onions ans garlic have started already. I planted them in large boxes to force them and they will be out soon ( Sturon was my last year choice : good harvest)

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    • It was a busy week for me last week so I am only just catching up with comments. My potatoes are Belle de Fontenay – which I tried last year but the potato crop was low – weather – so I am trying this one again. Then I’ve gone back to Pink Fir Apple, one of my regular favourites. I’m trying King Edward this year as the supermarkets here are only selling them in 2Kg bags which they stuff with all the small potatoes that are so fiddly to peel. Lastly I have Ratte and Arran Pilot.

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  3. I have started onion sets in modules the last couple of years and I’m sure it helps a lot. They need to start early and the soil is wet and cold. Having said which I’m only growing from seed this year because they seem to keep better.

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  4. I grow the dwarf french bean and I’ve not been disappointed by the results. Even though you may have a touch of procrastination over what to plant where. At least you have a plan. In my rush to accept the other half’s help to dig over the bed and some friends giving me a selcetion of more cabbages, cauli’s and brococoli that i had room for, they were planted anyway. It now means my tomatoes and peppers will ALL need to be planted in pots and I’ll need to set up another watering system

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  5. You are well ahead in your veg growing plans, I feel very lazy now! I always have the same problem about laying out veg beds and how to split them. I start the season always thinking that it should look pretty as well as productive and then end up ramming things into any available spaces!

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  6. ‘Blue Lake’? I have not heard that in a while. It was the standard bean that I grew on the fences. I hate fences so, and covered them when I could. The bean patch was bare in winter, but it was worth letting it go bare to have a good place for beans in summer. The problem was that growing them in the same spot without rotation meant that the soil needed to be tossed about and mixed in between. Every few years, the beans grew so pathetically, that something else would be grown in their spot for the following year. It was amazing how quickly the soil recovered, . . . how much the alternative vegetable liked the soil that was not good for beans, . . . and how many years the beans could grow there once the soil was replenished.

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      • You know, my tomatoes actually complain more than the beans do, if not rotated. They really dislike growing in the same spot that tomatoes grew in the previous year. I do it every once in a while, thinking that they will not notice; but I am always reminded why it should not be done here.

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