Sowing & planting

Broad beans, spring onions, fertiliser, weeds and rain.  That was today’s agenda for the raised beds.  A bit of weeding in the onion patch revealed that the overwintering sets have done well under their protective mesh tunnel.  Once the weather improves they should bulk up and grow quickly.

Onions looking healthy under cover

Onions looking healthy under cover

Nearby I had broad beans to sow.  They’re my favourite vegetable so I try to give them the best chance of success.  For space reasons they needed to go into the same bed as the onions above, but onions and beans are poor companions and the beans’ growth would be restricted if they were too close.

Therefore I sowed the beans today in an L-shaped area, with a gap between which I’ll fill with something that likes both onions and beans (actually I match that description myself..)

L-shaped area for beans, away from the onions under their cloche

L-shaped area on the right for broad beans, just away from the onions under their cloche

A top dressing of fish, blood and bone mix finished the job off and today’s rain will have taken that nutrition down to the seeds.

Back indoors, several of the seedlings in the propagator had failed. I’m not entirely sure why but it’s likely to have been water-related. So I’ve sown some replacement chilli and sweet pepper seeds and hope they’ll catch up.

Chilli and sweet pepper seedlings growing well

Chilli and sweet pepper seedlings growing well

At the same time I sowed several types of cucumber: the gerkin-like Cornichon de Paris, Marketmore which has done well in the past, and a promising small variety called Grandal. The pack from Sutton’s Seeds was a little mean though, with only four seeds and one of those was just a broken half seed. In comparison the other suppliers’ packs had about twenty seeds each.

Ungenerous pack of cucumber seeds

Ungenerous pack of cucumber seeds

Still, I could never make use of all the cucumber plants I’ve sown; it’s really just insurance against failures. Two or three will be plenty come harvest season.  I’ll have an early taste of salad soon from sowing cress, which is so easy to grow and is a lovely addition to sandwiches.

Cress - will be ready in a week

Cress – will be ready in a week

Meanwhile there are two boxes of seed potatoes sprouting nicely in the cool of the utility room.  Days are still short at the moment but there’s been enough light to start the shoots off on these Maris Piper maincrops.

Potatoes sprouting in the daylight

Potatoes sprouting in the daylight

Another box of Charlotte second earlies isn’t far behind.  A few more weeks and they’ll be ready to go in the ground.  Then the growing season will be really under way.

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