Archive for March, 2009

Video: Planting asparagus

If you’re thinking about planting asparagus crowns and haven’t done it before, this may help. And if you have done it before, you can tell me what I’m doing wrong…


A guide to planting asparagus from Soilman on Vimeo.

Posted on 31st March 2009
Under: Asparagus | 13 Comments »

Globe artichoke seedlings: Better late than never

Globe artichoke seedlingsIt’s, like, TOTAL excitement: The globe artichokes seedlings have finally germinated. After almost 3 weeks.

That’s not all. My new asparagus crowns have arrived. Which means I’ve GOT to get the bramble bed ready to receive them this weekend.

Which means I’ll need to get some compost. And dig it in. And pull out the remaining bramble roots. And perhaps make a movie about it. And… and…

* Nurse! The sedative! *

Posted on 27th March 2009
Under: Asparagus, Globe artichokes | 4 Comments »

Indoor gardening

Cymbidium King's LochThe weather turned nasty. So I’m stuck with indoor gardening again.

I have a week off work next week, which is exciting; I expect to finish the infamous bramble digging and mix in some good compost.

Well, that’s what I expect. In reality, I’ll probably achieve bugger-all. Except perhaps a few blisters.

Posted on 26th March 2009
Under: Flowers | 3 Comments »

The Presidential Vegetable Patch

Michelle Obama is growing vegetables on the White House lawn. I’m chuffed to bits; the President and the First Lady have noticed my efforts and duly followed. They can spot a trend setter when they see one.

At long last: Recognition.

Posted on 22nd March 2009
Under: Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

Emerging lilies

Emerging lilies Yes! Yes! Yes!

Here they come – the highlight of the summer. I’m addicted to the smell of lilies in bloom, and I grow a dozen varieties in pots and flower beds. Come July, the smell in my garden is strong enough to kill at 100 yards.

On a different note: Anyone know anything about globe artichokes? I sowed some seed a fortnight ago (in an unheated greenhouse), but it’s done nothing. And I mean nothing; I poked about in the compost and the seeds are still obstinately intact.

Is this normal? Will they only germinate in warmer weather? Or do I have dud seeds?

Posted on 21st March 2009
Under: Flowers | 7 Comments »

Digging brambles

Bramble roots More bramble roots

Took advantage of the sensational weather on Sunday to start digging my new land.

Almost immediately wished I hadn’t. God, in His infinite wisdom, has chosen to bless me with ground that’s heaving with bramble roots as thick as your thumb. And the ‘soil’ is basically compacted clay. The kind that forces you to sit on the spade handle to lever it up.

I collapsed, utterly shagged out, after just an hour. At this rate, I’ll be turning the last clod when the first ice crystals form on the innermost circle of Hell.

Posted on 17th March 2009
Under: Spring, Weeds | 20 Comments »

Planting potatoes: Orla and Ratte

Planting potatoes: Orla and RatteI’ve been planting First Early potatoes. Always an exciting time – it means Spring is minutes away.

This year it’s Orla (a trusty favourite – early, disease-resistant, tasty) and Ratte. OK, so Ratte is strictly a maincrop potato, but you can harvest it as a second early if you plant in March.

Lots of folks hereabouts dig trenches and lay old newspaper and grass clippings underneath the spuds. The idea is to help conserve moisture. Frankly, I can’t be arsed; life’s too short. So I stuff them in with a bulb planter.

It does the trick, because I always get a great crop. But then, I dig in shit loads (literally) of manure and compost over the winter.

Either you go with the swings or the roundabouts, I guess.

Posted on 15th March 2009
Under: Potatoes, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

I dig it my way

View from the shed on my allotmentIt’s not been pretty, and it’s only just done in time. But the allotment has been duly dug over and is ready to plant (give or take a bit of rubbish removal. Ahem).

Regrets? Well, never too few to mention. Wish I’d not planted so many bloody Jerusalem artichokes, and that I’d harvested them earlier. Plus it would have been nice to get all the digging done before the snow and frost.

But I’m largely happy. Roll on the summer.

Posted on 10th March 2009
Under: Spring | 9 Comments »

Planting onion sets for Spring!

How to plant onion sets

It’s here again: Spring. Official!

Well, not quite official… but March 8th is good enough for me.

Spring means planting onion sets and potatoes. So I made a start on the onions today by planting four rows. I bury them about 5″ apart, and deep enough so that only the very tip of the sets are just showing. Any shallower and the birds pull them up, meaning you have to do the whole wretched procedure all over again.

Still haven’t done anything about my new allotment extension. Neighbours report that the soil is seething with live bramble roots and is a bugger to dig. Which is comforting.

Posted on 8th March 2009
Under: Alliums, Spring | 13 Comments »

Liquid chicken manure: Yum, yum

Liquid chicken manureI love the smell of manure in the morning.

But, er, I may pass on this – chicken shit that’s liquefied after storage in a plastic bag for a year. Lovely.

Pongs a bit, no question. But it’s fantastic for getting your compost going. Once this has seeped in and done its bit, the heap will warm up and start working again after a long, cold winter.

Posted on 3rd March 2009
Under: Spring, Winter | 8 Comments »