Archive | April, 2013

Roots ahoy…

30 Apr

It seems that life has conspired to keep me away from my plot this last week. Frustration at the weekend meant that my carefully laid plans for putting my other seedlings out were thwarted by lack of soil! Above all this has been the most irksome of issues with my attempts at green fingered-ness. Buying compost is both expensive and not ideal as a long term growing solution.

Due to the high nitrate of many composts they can do more harm then good, burning roots and leading to the death of plants; something I only found out after putting my courgettes into pure compost – they look ok now so hopefully I’m safe. I had hoped to buy the community compost mentioned in previous post but unfortunately when I arrived for a pick up they had sold out – more fool me for not calling before!

I will write more on my compost conundrum but firstly good news! Remember these! It may have taken them almost two months but they’ve finally gone and done it…roots!
Rooting lemongrass
I so nearly gave up on these babies and so pleased now I persevered, one already has a tiny shoot pushing up alongside. Potted and chilling in my kitchen.
Potted lemongrass

Moving on up…

22 Apr

Sunday dawned sunny and bright, after a week of fretting about their survival¬†it was time to give my courgettes a little more space. I’ve decided to devote the whole planter to these babies in the hope of a bumper crop, let’s hope it is big enough.

courgette planter

Whoomph, where did they come from? My Bolotti beans have sprung up in record time…
Borlotti bean seedlings

Sweet peas, beans and the nasturtiums are next. First a trip here to get some community compost.

Toughening up!

15 Apr

A quick update on my seedlings which have progressed at a ferocious rate. Fingers crossed our final frost has passed and it’s time to think about putting my seedlings outside. Now begins a period of hardening off, the process of leaving seedlings outside for a few hours each day in order to toughen them up and ensure they don’t die of shock when they are planted out. They are looking good and strong and by and large most have germinated, so far only two failures, one nasturtium and two courgettes have not appeared. I nearly gave up on my spicy globe basil and the chilli peppers, but after a stint on top of the boiler they have emerged.

Here they are on the balcony, in the sunshine!

hardening off seedlings

As you can see at the back of the photo is the salad box that I was so excited about. Unfortunately all that straining for the light left them very leggy and they soon started drooping. I’ve tried physically stroking them in order to promote strength of stem and hopefully with some time outside they will perk up….We shall see.

One potato, two potato…

12 Apr

Well, the time has finally arrived to move my fully chitted potatoes into their growing bags. They’ve achieved their 1cm of growth so now begins the process of getting them growing.
chitted potatoes
Unlike other plants they require a little more attention during planting; building up to a full sack of soil over the course of a few weeks. First a shallow bed for the potatoes, then as they grow above the soil you add more, repeating this process of exposing and covering until the bag is full. I am super excited about these two as neither variety, International Kidney or Winston are types I’ve tried. I’m planting the Winston first because I want them to be my main crop. Bring on the roasties!
potatoe growing bag

Sprout forth

10 Apr

DSCF0603I’ve mentioned before the wonder of the sprouts. Tiny seeds, just off the starting blocks of life. Delicious, moreish and seriously good for you. I thought I’d share with you one of my favourite sprout salads, which, after the couple of days needed to get the sprouts grown is super easy to construct. Here too the recipe for raw hummus, something that anyone who is a fan of those tubs you find on countless supermarket aisles, should try at least once. Nuttier, fresher and somehow an entirely different beast, delcious on crusty bread or dipped into with veg or fingers.
 

 
All the ingredients you need for a super scrummy sprout salad!
sprout salad ingredients
All the ingredients you need for the hummus
raw hummus ingredients
A perfect lunch for a sparkling spring day.
raw hummus and sprout salad

Boxing day!

8 Apr

No you haven’t read incorrectly, today I’ve had my very own boxing day. Finally the sun is shining and I’m free as a bird, meaning time for me and my pallet to get a little cosy. I’ve been scouting for pallets over the last couple of weeks in order to use their wood to make some planters and after reading various websites it was time to take the plunge. Luckily I had a willing accomplice which made the whole process a whole lot easier.¬†making planter from pallet

All the ingredients you need to make yourself a planter. Neon colourway not entirely necessary!

Getting the nails out was the trickiest part, first task levering the planks using a crowbar; removing the nails that are exposed by cutting them off .5cm away from the wood then bashing through with a hammer. Finally the building can commence. Here’s the first side, it amazes me that this pallet wood is so easy to pick up. It’s a brilliant source of wood and you only have to hit google to see the inspirational things people have made from them.
homemade planter side
I love the scorch marks that distinguish the pallet. I wonder where it has come from and what it has shipped?
pallet branding

And here it is… enjoying a cup of tea and some biscuits whilst admiring my creation.
planter made from pallet