Green Magpie


Latest posts by Green Magpie

Planting out courgette

Posted: 22/04/2017 at 20:26

I have just sown mine in pots,and they're on the kitchen windowsill .They won't go out until well into May. If you try to hurry them they just get knocked back by the cold. They'll be galloping away by June.


By the way, Michele, they're very easy to grow from seed, don't bother with plugs next time.

Sowing veg seed outside

Posted: 20/04/2017 at 09:55

Yes, I'd say all of those could be started off outdoors now. I have already sown carrots, chard, and salad leaves (as well as peas and broad beans).  Beets will go in very soon. No point in watering an empty bed, though; perhaps water lightly before sowing, and then afterwards. You only need to top layer of the soil damp for germination. Covering with fleece until the seeds are through can help by retaining heat and moisture.

When should I see growth appearing on soft fruits & apple I planted as bare-root last autumn?

Posted: 19/04/2017 at 21:04

I put some new raspberry canes in last autumn (some summer, some autumn). Most of them have some signs of growth, some of which have only appeared in the last week or so. I have left all the canes at about 8 inches tall, and so I tried slicing through the dormant ones; in all cases I could see greenness around the edge, so I think they're all OK. 


In other words, it's a bit early to panic yet - I am in south Devon and the canes are in a sheltered, sunny spot.

Climbing French Beans .

Posted: 17/04/2017 at 12:10

My climbing French beans always do well, but this is in south Devon and the veg beds are in a sheltered, sunny spot.  Weather could be the key.

Climbing French Beans .

Posted: 16/04/2017 at 22:40

I grow climbing French beans up a pair of wigwams with a cane running horizontally across the top. They climb up without much encouragement, as soon as they touch the cane. I have settled for Cobra, which crops well, and I save the seed from year to year.


Looking at my notes from previous years, I would advise holding back and sowing them quite late. I start mine indoors,  in modules, but I'm not even going to start them until May, aiming to put them out towards the end of the month.

Seed to buy

Posted: 16/04/2017 at 22:33

I have used many of the above, but also Moreveg and Simply Seed, which are good online suppliers, very good value.  Moreveg is good for smaller quantities of seeds, while Simply Seed has a huge range of varieties.

Raised bed root crops

Posted: 02/04/2017 at 08:29

I am not very good at parsnips so I'm not best placed to advise you. I do know that they can be very slow to germinate, and that seed doesn't store well from one year to another. In my experience they are a bit of a lottery: sometimes you try to dig some up, and one will be the size of your little finger while the next one is as heavy as the roast chicken it's supposed to accompany. I find they are a lot more inclined to fork into little rootlets than carrots are, which makes them hard to clean and prepare.


Last year I had to dig up a whole row of about 10 to get a single helping, they were so tiny. I thought I wouldn't bother with them again, but I'm having one more go. This is their last chance.

Raised bed root crops

Posted: 01/04/2017 at 23:21

I rotate my crops each year, and all the beds get a topping of compost except the carrot bed. As it's been composted in previous years, I don't think. a year without compost harms the. soil. If you wanted to help them on you could sprinkle some Growmore or blood, fish and bone  on the bed, but I don't think carrots are hungry feeders, they'll be fine with no extras. It's worth spending a bit of time forking over the bed, making sure that the soil is smooth, loose and stone-free for a good depth.


I grow super carrots in the raised beds. Parsnips are trickier and last year's were a disaster, but my carrots always do well. 

Cucumber & pumpkin seed sowing

Posted: 27/03/2017 at 22:33

I agree, leave it a few weeks yet, otherwise they'll be ready to go outdoors before outdoors is ready for them.

Chitting potatoes

Posted: 27/03/2017 at 22:31

My Charlotte never seem to chit much, but I plant them anyway, and they grow. Mine have gone in the ground this week, but with fleece over them to keep them a little warmer. I will take off the fleece once they are through, unless late frosts are expected.

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