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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

ladybird poppy seeds

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 16:16

The instructions on the packet said just to sow them direct. But a friend of mine bought seeds for these poppies last year, and told me that when she sowed some direct, they didn't appear (as for most of us here). So she sowed the rest in a seed tray and then planted them out when they'd germinated, and they were fine. I was too lazy to follow her advice, but if anyone hasn't sown theirs yet, it might be worth a try.

ladybird poppy seeds

Posted: 24/05/2014 at 14:01

Glad to hear it's not just me! No sign of my spotty poppies yet either. But then I'm not much good with annuals. I do know that poppy seeds stay viable for many years, so perhaps they'll spring into life one day when we're least expecting them.


Too early for beans?

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 11:03

My French beans have been out in the bed (in a warm, sunny spot) for over a week now and they are starting to get away quite nicely. On the other hand, in other years I have left them until late May to sow directly into the soil, and they did well that way too. If yours look ready, then put them out now rather than let them outgrow their pots or get too thin and lanky.

Sewing seeds

Posted: 23/05/2014 at 10:56

Some seeds should have been in earlier, but some will be fine if they go in now - French or runner beans, courgettes, cucumbers, and (yes) broccoli should soon catch up. And it's not too late for carrots, beetroot, parsnips, and salad leaves.  I wouldn't bother to sow tomatoes or peppers now, it's a bit late - better to buy a few plants and then you're much more likely to get a crop.


Posted: 20/05/2014 at 09:35

One of my tomato plants got damaged in transplanting from the seed tray to the pot several weeks ago. I pushed it back into the soil so that the fractured bit of stem was buried, and left it in a pot, out of doors. To my surprise it survived, so I have now moved it into a corner of the veg plot. Although smaller than the plants that were in the mini-greenhouse, it seems to have grown huge roots while in the pot, so I'll be interested to see how it fares. As Italophile says, they're tougher than they look.


Posted: 19/05/2014 at 18:31

My tomatoes are a bit feeble so far but they've gone out in the bed and I am hoping they'll come good, as they have done in previous years, when they get used to the soil and get a bit more sun. It's surprising how well they can do once they get going, so don't give up.

Mistaken identity

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 18:28

They certainly don't look like any peppers or chilis I've ever seen, and do look suspiciously like some sort of brassicas.

Veg patch set-up

Posted: 19/05/2014 at 08:44

Like you, we took over a large garden and wanted a veg plot. I don't know what your budget is, but we opted for raised beds surrounded by gravel (which obviously costs more to set up than just digging a bed).

I love my raised beds and find it keeps the veg and fruit area accessible in all weathers. I never dig it, just fork over lightly witha hand-fork. We have some beds with fixed crops (soft fruit, rhubarb, asparagus) and the rest of the space is used in rotation for all the other veg. Asparagus and carrots do particularly well in raised beds; brassicas don't do so well as they like firm soil.

Do remember to build yourself a big compost bay with two or more sections, as you'll be producing masses of useable waste in a big garden, and your veg will love the results.

Water cress

Posted: 18/05/2014 at 17:31

If watercress isn't feasible, try American Land Cress. Tastes very like watercress but grows in soil like any sensible vegetable would.

Clematis for a south facing border

Posted: 11/05/2014 at 14:43

I have a Wisely growing up a trellis, where it has given sterling service for about 8 years now. I cut it back each winter or early spring and protect it from snails when it starts to re-grow, and it's always a treat to see. One year it started to flower quite early and then mysteriously died back, but I just cut it back and it re-grew to flower again through to September. I think they're quite resilent plants.

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