Six on Saturday – March 17th

So much for it getting closer to spring – they forecast snow for tomorrow, and we’ve already had some snowfall this morning (although it did melt as it hit the ground). Nevertheless it’s still Saturday, so here’s my plan(t)s for the allotment, plus a rogue 6th picture for my Six on Saturday.

  1. I’d been toying with the idea of digging up some of the older lavender plants on the allotment for a while. They haven’t been looking at their best for a while, and ended up as a mostly tangled knot of dead-looking wood. So here’s the first replacement plant for that bit…. Lemon Thyme. According to the plant label it grows to 45cm tall, so if it doesn’t look like it’ll work to replace the lavender, it might end up near the rhubarb to act as a bit of ground cover.

  2. This Oregano is also destined to replace the lavender. I’ve never actually used any of the herbs I grow in cookery – maybe this year it’s a good reason to find out how to use them, and what they would go best with!
  3. There’s also some (even older!) lavender behind the seat on the allotment, and that part of the plot tends to get overlooked most years. As an experiment, I bought these Hurst Green Shaft peas to plant there instead, to see if that works out any better.
  4. Last year I bought some White Lisbon spring onions, planted them in the raised bed, and they all got nobbled by something (slugs and snails maybe?)…. it shouldn’t have been the deer unless they managed to press down on the netting to make the onion tips poke through! But this year I’m determined to try them again, so this is a strip of spring onions from Homebase, which will be going into the newest raised bed with the chives (suitably spaced, so I don’t get in a muddle with what green growth is what!).
  5. Each year I think “I’ll grow sweet peas from seed next year” and I never do…. and this year is no exception! It’s earlier in the year than I’ve bought the plants before, but I was just attracted to the name and colour of this variety.
  6. Ok, I admit my 6th photo isn’t actually one in my garden at the moment. I spotted this Nolina Beaucarnea in Homebase yesterday, but there were no instructions on how to care for it. Rather than buy it then discover that it’s too picky to be a success, I thought I’d just take a photo, research it, then head back next week to buy it!
    Apparently it’s a Ponytail Palm (also known as Elephant’s Foot), and the bulb-like bit at the base actually stores water. It’s slow growing, but looking at photos of mature plants, I think it would fit well with my quirky houseplants, so we’re planning a return visit to the store soon in order to get one!


Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – March 10th

Last week’s snow has finally melted (although there’s still some on top of the hills), but the cold has been replaced by wet and windy weather…. so this is an indoor version of Six on Saturday.

  1. Back in 2001 (I think) a family friend let me have a couple of cacti. They really were a bit large to keep on the windowsill, but a small piece broke off it as it was being moved, so I put it into a pot. As it grew, and more pieces were accidentally knocked off, I added them to pots as well, and ended up with quite a few! The larger cacti in this pot already had roots when I planted them, but the smaller ones had no roots at all…. I’m hoping this will eventually be a mound of cacti, but I might have a few years to wait before the little ones catch up!
  2. I tend to go for more ‘structural’ plants than flowering ones. I’m not sure what type this particular plant is, but it looks a bit like a Yucca…. possibly?
  3. I had a Tradescantia “Wandering Jew” many years ago, but once it started wandering, the stems became so brittle they snapped far too easily. A relative spotted this plant at a garden centre and thought it might work on my windowsill, without realising it was a Tradescantia, albeit a non-wandering variety!
  4. On to something with a little more novelty value, and a succulent with a difference. This one has been painted with a glow-in-the-dark paint, although it either doesn’t get enough light (unlikely given that it’s by a south facing window), or it’s not quite dark enough at night for it to glow.
  5. Up next is the “Flapjack plant” (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora, according to a quick google search), which didn’t seem to like being on the windowsill (or was suffering from a lack of water!). I moved it onto the bookcase next to my dragon trees in the hope that it would prefer that location.
  6. And speaking of dragon trees, here’s the largest (and newest) dragon tree (Dracaena) to make its home on the top of the bookcase. I did have one for 17 years, but when I tried repotting it last year, I realised that half the roots were stuck in concrete-like soil at the bottom of the pot…. it didn’t approve of the repotting, so this is the replacement plant.

    I would’ve taken a photo of the trunk as well, but the plant was slightly too big for the decorative pot I had, so it’s perched half in the pot with some A4 paper wrapped around it to stop the soil falling out! ….anyone know of a decent place to get some decorative outer pots (with no holes in the base) for houseplants?


Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – March 3rd

This week’s Six on Saturday is a real mixed bag… blame it on the weather!

  1. I finally got the nails hammered into the new raised bed, filled it with multipurpose compost and grit sand, and rigged up a net across it to stop the deer from trying to eat everything. In trying to dig up the grass around the chives, I accidentally dug the chive plant up as well, so I went on and moved it into the new bed now.
  2. The herb bed is a lot tidier than it was – I cut back most of the dead wood on the sage, mint and fennel, and cleared a lot of the fallen leaves away too. If I leave them all on the soil, that patch turns into a boggy mess if we get a lot of rain.
  3. Ok, it doesn’t look great still, but this is the flower section after we cleared away a lot of the dead wood & weeds. The pot in the centre has a mint growing in it – the idea of the bottomless pot is to try and contain the roots a little, so it won’t take over the entire plot.
  4.  Bad weather stopped play on Thursday and Friday with snow falling most of the day both days. I don’t think the daffodils in the garden quite know what to make of it all.
  5. Remember the spare strawberries from last week’s 6 on Saturday? This is how they looked as of Friday morning this week…

    I’m hoping the snow will act as an insulating blanket, and they won’t be getting too cold under there! But all the strawberries on the allotment will be similarly covered, as they weren’t fleeced.
  6. But there was one thing in the garden that looked happy to be covered in a snow ‘duvet’ – the little mole gnome sitting on the wall!

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – Feb 24th

Apologies for no Six on Saturday last week, but hopefully this week will make up for it!

  1.  The broad beans seeds are in…. obviously no signs of growth yet, but they’re all cosied up, so hopefully it won’t be long before they start growing.
  2. Strawberry Snow White (still not planted out from last year)… 
    I’m not sure if these got caught by a frost, or if they’re meant to all now look like they’re browned off, but I might have to raise these pots up a little before the cold weather they’re forecasting for next week.
  3. Strawberry runners (spares from the allotment last year)…
    In contrast to the Snow White strawberries, these pots are at ground level and appear to be growing strongly. If they’re not needed to fill any gaps in the raised beds on the allotment, they’ll be donated to a local ‘pop-up garden’.
  4. Another plant still waiting to head to the allotment is the Rosemary…

    I’m planning on digging up some old lavender plants in the allotment flower section, and planting this Rosemary in amongst them – the herb section is possibly a little too shaded for it to thrive.
  5. Ok, I’m kind of cheating with 5 and 6, seeing as they’re both potatoes! First up we have some of the Second Earlies (Maris Peer … or possibly Maris Piper), which have some really strong growth… 
  6. …although the First Earlies (Pentland Javelin I think, going on the labels we added to the egg cartons) don’t seem to be progressing quite as quickly

Six on Saturday – Feb 10th

Is it really a week since the lasts Six on Saturday? This week hasn’t been overly productive…. blame the weather and family having colds!

  1.  First up is my herb patch… ok so the fennel needs cutting down, and the sage could do with the old leaves being removed. But there was Lemon Balm in there at one point… somewhere. 
  2. Next up is a sorry looking patch which is starting to get taken over by grass again (oops!). I did have a redcurrant growing here, but three plants later, not one has survived. So I thought I’d ask if anyone had any suggestions of fruit I could grow here (ideally something which doesn’t need support, and isn’t as close to the ground as strawberries)
  3. A couple of years ago I scattered a wildflower seed mix amongst my flower bed. The packet was very helpfully labelled “wildflower mix” so I had no idea what would be likely to grow. One of the plants was a teasel which has self-seeded each year since then. We leave the stems over winter, as sometimes birds like to eat the seeds… I’ve never seen a bird on the allotment, but you never know!
  4.  The rhubarb never really gets any attention. It was there when I took over the plot, and apart from being split a couple of years ago, it literally just gets ignored until it’s time to pick it. I have tried to keep the stinging nettles under control though, as otherwise it’s a nasty ‘surprise’ if you catch your hand as you’re trying to pick the rhubarb.
  5. Ok, so I admit it – I don’t have a photo for this one. But it wasn’t going to be overly exciting anyway (that’s my reasoning and I’m sticking to it!). But spurred on by mentions of everyone else having their seeds already sown, there are now lots of black plastic pots filled with compost, just ready for the broad bean seeds to go in.
  6. And finally, this particular bit of ground is ready for the potatoes. Of course the potatoes aren’t ready to go in yet, but the gardening books say to put manure on the ground the previous autumn in preparation… and this year we actually were organised enough to achieve it!



Six on Saturday – Feb 2nd

Having been an allotment holder for over 9 years now, I thought it was about time I started blogging about it! I spotted Six on Saturday on Twitter a couple of weeks ago, and thought that would be a good place to start.

    1. Raspberry Patch

      Ok, it’s not really the season to show the raspberry patch off in its best light, but this is an honest view of it! It needs a load of weeding, more manure, and the trellis needs a little repair. These are autumn-fruiting raspberries (they actually grow semi-wild across the base of the allotment site) so the trellis is there to deter the young deer from sitting in amongst the raspberries, rather than for the plants to grow up!

    2. Woodwork isn’t my ‘thing’ but rather than buying another raised bed, I wanted to try and make my own this year. It was meant to have notches cut in the ends so it’d just slide together, but a mishap with the angle I was cutting it, meant that some of those notches grew a little too big. So at the moment, it’s waiting for a dry couple of days, then it’ll have some nails hammered in. Once that’s done, it’s just a case of getting more compost into it, then rigging up a net to try and keep the deer off the plants.
    3. Last year I planted some broad bean seeds which were covered with fleece to protect them from any cold weather we might get. There’s not a particularly high success rate so far, but I have 5 or 6 plants growing.
    4. Under yet more fleece, I also have some cabbage plants. The fleece over these isn’t all that great, and possibly has been eaten away by the deer again, so this week, that’ll need replacing.
    5. I’ve grown strawberry plants ever year, although since they’ve been planted in a raised bed there’s been a much better success rate. These particular ones are “Just Add Cream” which has pink flowers instead of the usual white, and was a new addition to my allotment last autumn. It’ll be interesting to see how they compare to the ‘regular’ strawberry plants in the adjacent raised bed.
    6. And finally, we have one mess of a tangled blackberry! This was planted two or three years ago, and has never had a support of any kind. To stop it just trailing all over the ground, this year I’m aiming on getting some kind of support rigged up for it, which will hopefully result in a more successful crop too.