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Archive for the ‘Seeds and Sources’ Category

This morning James and I took ourselves off to Morrisons bright and early to have a look at their bulb selection.

This year I have decided that rather than buy loads of plants to go in the pots on our patio, we will just buy lots of different types of bulbs instead, as if you bring the pots inside during the winter they can bloom again each summer.

We bought the following selection of bulbs:

Which came to about £15 in total as Morrisons were doing a 2 for £3 offer. We bought dahlias, gladioli, lupins and lots of lillies!

When we got home we set about potting up the bulbs:

The best way to pot bulbs up, I find, is to do the following:

1) Line the bottom of your pot with pebbles and stones, so that the bottom of the pot cannot be seen at all (this helps with drainage).

2)Fill the pot up with either shop bought or home-created compost (I.e from your compost bin!) and if you can, mix this with some of your regular garden soil.

3) Using your fingers or a little thin trowel, dib a hole in the soil to the depth that you need for your bulb (the instructions on the packet should explain this but if not, go for a depth of at least 7 centimetres). Drop the bulb in and cover with soil. You can often fit two or three bulbs in depending on the size of your pot and the spacing that they need (again, this will be on the bulb packet).

4) I am trying a new thing this year, which to cover the top  ofpots with a sprinkling of sawdust, just to protect them a little from any unexpected frosts.

In other news… James has started chitting some potatoes. This basically means laying out the seed potatoes on a layer of tissue or newspaper inside a cardboard box or egg box, storing them somewhere with plenty of light (ie a window sill or conservatory) and spraying them with water daily:

Once the seed potatoes have grown stalks which are about 4cm long, they are ready to be planted in the ground.

So we have had a very productive day today. The beds are now full of bulbs and our pots are too!

The next quest: find an old picnic bench that we can use as garden furniture!!!

 

 

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Simply seeds…

I know I said I wasnt going to go mad over how many different things I was going to grow from seed this year, but this week that idea seems to have flown out of the window.After we got the basil, sunflower and morning glory seeds from Marks and Spencer I went onto http://www.simplyseed.co.uk and ordered my sweetcorn seeds for this year. Unfortunately they were out of stock of the ‘Swift’ variety that we grew last year, so I chose some ‘Golden nugget’  seeds instead. As they only cost 95p and postage is £1 I thought I would have a look and see what else was available.

I found some Aubergine seeds, also priced at 95p and chose the ‘Black Beauty’ variety, which are the large, shiny black type of aubergine, as below.

I told myself that that would be it for this year, however today James and I popped to the garden centre down the road from our house to get James’ potato and onion seeds for his own vegetable patch that he made last year (see garden construction posts for more details!). He chose a bag of ‘Home Guard’  chitting potato seeds and also bought a couple of bags of lily bulbs to go into the pots on the patio. I meanwhile wandered off to peruse the seed display. BIG mistake. I ended up buying rocket, romano pepper and beetroot seeds, of all things!!! I have absolutely no idea where all of these different plants are going to go!!!

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New seeds!

Yeay! tonight me and the Mister went to Marks and Spencer to spend some christmas vouchers. Whilst we were waiting to pay, I spied some seed packets by the flower display.

I love seeds, and have decided that this year I am going to create a flower bed at the front of the house using packets of wildflower seeds only.  I picked up a packet of red giant sunflower seeds and a packet of blue and white ‘morning glory’, which I am pretty sure we already have in our garden, but they are so pretty that it wont hurt for them to mingle in amongst all of the other wildflowers.

I also chose a packet of Basil seeds, as James really wanted to grow this last year but we didnt get round to getting some seeds.

Marks and Spencer only seem to have a limited range of seeds (I spied poppies, spring onions, sunflowers, basil and cottage garden flowers) but at £1 a packet I think these are great value.

I think I am going to wait until the last frosts have passed in February and then I am going to start planting my seeds. I am going to plant one seed per pot, this avoids having to move them around as they get bigger, plus we should have our own compost ready for then, so I wont need to be buying bags of the stuff unlike last year!

I think this lunchtime I will make a purchase of some lovely F1 Swift sweetcorn seeds, as these worked brilliantly last year!

Once I begin the propagation (posh word for starting off the seeds in a conservatoryor greenhouse etc)  I will detail how I did it along with photographs of the process.

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Bulbs Bonkers!!

On my lunch hour today I had a little mosey into Focus Do it All in Newport. I was actually trying to find some outdoors lights (snooooooze) but I noticed that in the middle of the shop they had a big wooden stall selling bags of bulbs, 3 for £5!
I dont know why, but I hadnt really thought about planting bulbs in our garden, which is silly really as bulbs pop up without fail every year (hence, they are low maintenance in my eyes!) and they are mega cheap. Plus I get to actually plant them NOW, when I had all but given up hope of finding something to do in our garden!
SO, after running it past the Financial Director (James!) I purchased FOUR different types of Tulip, some ‘Sparaxis’ (harlequin variety – lovely star shaped flowers with multi coloured centres) and some hyacinth bulbs.
Tulips are one of my favourite types of flowers, and I am such a sucker for exotic sounding names, so I went for ‘Queen of the night’ (dark purpley black), Hollywood (frilly edged bright red), Little Beauty (a ‘botanical’ variety whatever that means – lovely red star shaped blooms with purple centres) and a bag of ‘mixed’ (basically traditional tulips in different colours)

I am going to spend my saturday morning planting these and I am SO excited about it. Bulbs are a great idea if you want some spring flowering plants and you want to feel like you are actually making some progress on your garden through the winter months. For spring flowering bulbs, plant in the ground between August and December for flowers the following spring.

 

Here is a photo of my purchases

 

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My lovely Uncle Trevor gave me a present yesterday. My Uncle loves a bargain and is such a rummager, he always finds me lovely pieces of cut glass, vintage brooches and plants that he never has room for in his own garden! This time he gave me a bag full of gardening books that he picked up at his local charity shop!

I ALWAYS find gardening books in flea markets, car boot sales and charity shops, which is funny really because the basic principles of gardening havent really evolved from say, the 70s and 80s, when a lot of these books were written, so gardening books dont really go out of date!

If you are looking for some gardening books, the local library is always a great (free) resource, but I would strongly recommend investigating your local charity shop or car boot sale as you can pick up some great bargains!

I cant wait to get stuck into these, I will put them on my gardening shelf!

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My Seed Tin!

A few months ago I created a ‘seed tin’, where I could store any packets of seeds for flowers or plants that I liked the look of in readiness for next year. This turned out to be quite dangerous as I have added to my seed collection quite excessively!

I now have seeds for two different types of tomatoes (super marmande and italian plum tomatoes), petit pois, giant sunflowers, pansies, chantenay carrots, red lettuce, red fiel poppies, a posh wildflower mix from Kew Gardens, larkspur and sweet williams! I intend to use the flower seeds to fill in the gaps in the beds and the vegetable seeds in one of our two vegetable beds!

I get my seeds from lots of different places  – garden centres, supermarkets and also from websites such as http://www.amazon.co.uk and http://www.simplyseeds.co.uk.

Here is a picture of my ever increasing seed collection….

The seed collection

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