1st Week of March

I wish I could say that the first full week of March was as lovely as the end of February but sadly the weather has turned a little unsettled. With winds pushing 70mph at times it's not only been tough to do any work but difficult to even keep things held down! A brief respite in the wind did allow us to get up and do a little bit of work, the first lot of early spuds have been sown, I'll sow another row in a few weeks time so that they remain small and tasty through the short season. A session of seed sowing last week saw the first few cucumbers, courgette and some more tomatoes hit the compost and fill up our kitchen again, we've also sown a few more cabbages etc just in case of failures.

The Polytunnel very nearly gave up on us this last week, acting like a wind break it's taken a bit of a hammering! It's been redone now though with a much sturdier front frame!

The front of the tunnel bent out of shape! A new frame is holding it up now!

First Broad Beans starting to pop up

First Early Spuds in. (Charlotte)

Maximizing space, we plan on growing salad crops in the guttering 

French breakfast radishes!

False spring or an early start?

Over the last few days the weather has been superb, wall to wall sunshine and temperatures you'd expect in May rather than the last week of February. It's really hard not to be tempted by this sudden warmth, although I'd probably get away with an early sowing of Carrot, First-earlies or even Beetroot, we've raised a crop from all three planted in the last week of February but the past has taught be spring always likes to bite when you least expect it! The poly-tunnel is ticking along nicely and keeping me out of trouble at home as I can keep all the seedlings in there rather than the kitchen! The great thing about seedlings in the tunnel or greenhouse is there is far less chance of them going bananas, some of our earlier sowing indoors went off like a rocket and ended up leggy in 2 days, I'm currently trying to strengthen up the sprouts and broccoli with a daily tickle!

New Handmade sign courtesy of my wife!

Early potato bed prepared with a good dose of mushroom compost to be dug in with the tubers.

Leeks starting so show well in modules

Cauliflower seedlings planted on the 7th and doing really well with second set of leaves starting to set

Brussels Sprouts - I wasn't going to grow them after last years disaster but I love them too much! These ones are looking a little leggy as they were started off at home, hopefully they'll strengthen up

Greyhound Cabbage starting to show after 7 days

Cavolo Nero going really well this year, once the second set of leaves appear I'll separate the seedlings into larger pots for mid April transplanting

Rocket Appearing in one of the tunnel beds

Toasty and warm in the tunnel!

Planning is key

Having a plan for the year is essential, It helps us cram in so much! It's also useful for rotation, you'll be able to refer back to years past to make sure onions aren't planted on the same patch year after year, brasicas will need annual rotation to avoid build up of disease. You can see from my image below we try to use every little bit of space available! This is our plan for 2019, it only takes a few moments to knock up and will save so much time staring at open ground wondering where you're going to put the spuds!

New venture for 2019

I've decided it was time to start writing about what we get up to on our plot. My family always want to know what I'm up to so this is as much for them as it is for me!

It's so easy for us to grow loads of great tasting veg and then forget which variety it was I planted, this year I began to keep a diary of when I've sown seeds and what they were. My aim then is to share the info here for all to see, we've got lots of new gardeners on our site so I want to help out as much as I can. A lot of what we do is experimental and sometimes It's hard not to get drawn into pretty pictures on seed packets only to find they're not that good. Take rainbow chard for example, it looks awesome on the packet, we grew some as a test last year then found out we don't really like it!

This winter I've put much more thought into what we want to eat through the year, for me I love the idea of eating seasonally, it annoys me that we need to import french beans from Guatemala, why can't we wait until July to eat them? We'll be growing somewhere in the region on 45 plants this year and the more you pick them the more you get and they're perfect for freezing. As I build up my diary I'll add more and more posts! Each little test, trick or cheat I come to use this year I'll post up here to help out those who are completely new to this, like using your own urine as a fertilizer, who knew!

So far we've sown Tomatoes at home, in the poly-tunnel in cells and pots we have Peppers, Chillis, Cauliflower, Aubergine, Cavolo Nero, Savoy and Greyhound Cabbage and Sprouts. In the tunnel itself we're getting salads off early, Little Gem, Wild Rocket and Radishes.

The next few days will see us continuing to clear the new plot, time is running out fast though as I'll want the early puds in second week of March! 

      It might seem a long way off  now but there is nothing better than bringing this home for tea!