Small time harvesting

It’s gratifying that some harvesting can now take place and some of the early rushed efforts when we first moved in can begin to pay off. There may not be very much of everything but we will happily work our way through whatever we can get.

Everything was planted around the first week of June when we moved in to the new place so after about 10 weeks now it’s not probably not that surprising something has made it this far!

Harvesting beetroot, carrots and lettuce
Harvesting beetroot, carrots and lettuce


The most impressive by taste are the carrots which are the Nantes variety and while not overly large they are a reasonable size.

A few more rows of seeds have been planted at various stages over the last few weeks in the hope of getting a regular supply for a little while longer at least.


The beetroot was also very tasty with a more earthy (but not unpleasant) taste than our usual shop bought ones. Some  have been boiled for use with salad but last weekend I also tried roasting them (with some carrots) and they were delicious.

A second batch of seeds have been planted but I’m not sure that they are doing quite so well. Perhaps another row or two should be sown in the very near future just in case.


Unfortunately the lettuce suffers a little in comparison because it’s “just some green leaves”. However that would be unfair because there is nothing wrong with the taste which is just like lettuce should be.

Perhaps I’m influenced by the commonly held belief that home-grown produce always tastes so much better than the shop bought equivalent. I’m not sure that applies to Little Gem lettuces though…


One bit of bad news though is that the potatoes have been a huge disappointment and will probably not yield anything much. Due to the timing of our house move, they were left chitting in trays for 3 or 4 months which obviously didn’t give them the best start in life.

There’s always next year though so I’ll try again and keep my fingers crossed next year.

Weekend plans

Assuming that everything is still fine with the seeds I’ve planted and they haven’t completely dried out by the time I get home on Friday then I have a big weekend ahead of me.

Chitting time might be over

With luck I can possibly plant out the first batch of potatoes if the chitting has progressed far enough. I’ve had a cloche over the veg bed where they will get planted for the last couple of weeks so I think they’ll be okay, especially  if I put the cloche back on them after I’ve finished planting.

There isn’t a lot of room for vegetables this year so I’m only planting two small-ish rows of potatoes with the first row at the back of the bed so it doesn’t block the light from the second row when that gets going.

When I harvest this first row of potatoes (in June/July with luck) I plan to have some runner beans ready to put in their place. It makes sense to get the most out of the three small veg plots I have for this year.

More seedlings to consider

It is unlikely that my leek and carrot seedlings have progressed far enough to consider planting out even with the aid of a cloche. However I’m always the optimist so I’ll take a look and maybe risk a few so they get a head start.

The marigolds for companion planting might be a bit further ahead so there’s always the option to plant out some of those if I can’t fight the urge and absolutely must plant something this weekend!

Internet + Credit Card = another project

After an unsupervised moment on the internet earlier this week I am expecting delivery soon of a second water butt to put behind my garage. The plan is to use this  new water butt for watering the veg beds via a mechanical timer and an irrigation/watering kit which is also in the delivery.

I’ll get all the bits over time but the first task is obviously to get the new water butt in place and make the necessary changes to the guttering to collect any rainwater.

Not forgetting the chickens!

Of course there is also the rest of the garden which needs looking at sometime, perhaps a bit of lawn maintenance is also in order and not forgetting the most important part, a bit of chicken bonding. It’s been a while so I hope they remember me!

A weekend off but can I really spare the time?

This weekend will be a non-garden zone and will be devoted to other more pressing tasks such as an Open University assignment which must be submitted by Monday. With luck (and some hard work)  it should not  interfere with a trip to Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup match on Sunday.

I know that I should be grateful and really should make the most of this “free” weekend away from the garden. However I can’t seem to shake the feeling that I’m missing an opportunity to get a head start before spring really kicks in.

As usual there are plenty of other jobs that I could get on with like the front garden which needs a good tidy up and some sensible pruning on the bigger shrubs. I know that some of these still wouldn’t get dealt with even if I had been around this weekend but it’s the thought that counts.

I’m also fairly sure that I could plant out the first batch of seed potatoes that have been chitting away happily for the last few weeks. I’m sure they will survive one more week of chitting before I get to plant them out.

There is a lovely looking tray of marigold seedlings which were coming on nicely too. These are French Marigolds that are intended for my initial attempts at companion planting because they kill nematodes and deter whiteflies. I’m not too clear what a nematode is just yet or why I would want to kill it but I plan to find out soon! I’ve also noted from the previous link that I shouldn’t plant marigolds next to bean plants (although they don’t say why).

I’m also hoping that the cheap plastic mini greenhouse I bought recently will help to reduce water loss and give decent protection for the seedlings. I have also implemented a “semi-automatic watering system” while I am not around but I’m not sure that she will remember!

Maybe this delay will actually be of some benefit by stopping me planting things out too soon! I have to keep reminding myself that snow at Easter is not uncommon and being in the North East means that spring is slower to arrive than other parts of the country.


Chitting update

Little or no progress with chitting my seed potatoes

Currently there still seems to be very few signs of action on the chitting front which is a little disheartening but not entirely unexpected I suppose. I wish I could remember some details of the previous (and first) time I grew potatoes but that was some years ago and my memory isn’t what it used to be… I think!

This looks like a fairly respectable seed potato but it just doesn’t have any signs of activity yet. They have only been chitting for 2 weeks now so I can only assume the problem is with my impatience and not some bigger problem with the seed potatoes.

Of course the chiting arrangements in my garage (some egg boxes not too near the windows) might not be the best setup but I’m sure they worked well last time around which was a few years ago now.

Next weekend I had planned to start a second batch of seed potatoes on the chitting process so it would be nice to see some signs of activity by then.

It’s chitting time… or is it?

imageThe chitting of my seed potatoes started just over a week ago but as you can probably see there seemed to be no progress yet – I know it’s too soon and I’m an impatient fool but I can’t help checking and would look more frequently if I could!

I’m hoping I’m not too late with this given some of the advice I seen but at the same time even if I’m too early I’ve not found any reliable advice on what to  do in the event of a cold snap when I want to plant them out. Perhaps it will all even out in the end…

Many of the books I’ve seen talk about chitting in a fairly general way but don’t go any further than telling you to do it. For example, most  don’t cover when you might expect to see the first signs of activity which is fairly important for an impatient semi-beginner like me. There also seems to be very little information on how long the whole chitting  process should take but like most things in the garden it will just “take as long as it takes” and I noticed that no one offers advice on speeding it up.

The seed potatoes I’ve bought for this year are Charlotte (a second early or so I’m told) and very popular with home growers it appears. I have great hopes for them and I’m just hoping that my expectations are met in some small way when it comes to harvest time.

These  were bought on-line from the Marshalls website and the delivery arrived very promptly but I was not particularly impressed with the quality because I’ve had about a 10% loss due to mouldy or damaged tubers. Of course I have no idea whether this is a good result or if I’ve been sent a duff batch.

As it turns out this is not such a big problem because we don’t have a huge amount of space and will only spare 1 of the 3 veg beds for potatoes this year.  There  will only be a couple of rows with about 8 plants but by staggering the planting times I’m hoping to spread out the harvest with any luck rather than get a glut of new potatoes all at once.

I’ve tried to deal with all eventualities and will be chitting in two batches by starting a second batch about 3 weeks after the first. I’ve also put a small plastic cloche/cover on the intended veg bed to warm the soil and keep off any frosts. Presumably I could keep the cover on once I’ve planted them out if there is any remaining risk of a frost but nothing I’ve read mentions it.

Once there is something more to report I will post some pictures and I plan to document the slow progress all the way from chitting to plate!