Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a courtyard garden. Which edibles will tolerate less than ideal growing conditions. Discovering how veggies can grow in partial shade.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

The season is underway!

Well, it is March already and many seed packets do state that you can plant in March! A bit too early to plant these potatoes outside, but I will plant a couple of them in a container in the greenhouse to force an earlier crop. These seed potatoes are 'International Kidney' or Jersey Royals if I lived on Jersey! They are seed potatoes which I saved myself last year. I put aside any new potatoes which had grown near the surface and were slightly green. They are perfectly alright for seed, and because they are an early new potato I had lifted them earlier in the season before any late Summer blight had hit. You can see that they are happily chitting away in an eggbox near a window in the shed. I thought I would give something a try this year. So much hype about Goji berries in the press at the moment - supposed to be one of these wonderfoods filled with vitamins and antioxidants. Whatever the truth is, I thought I'd try planting some of the seeds. These little berries are filled with small seeds. I bought these dried berries in a Chinese shop, they were labelled as 'dried red medlar' but the latin name Lycium Barbarum confirmed that these are goji berries. Has anyone tried to grow these from seed?
Many many thanks goes to gintoino from jardim com gatos who replied to my request for dog beans - well here they are! I am currently studying to be a dog behaviourist - and I am thrilled to be able to grow these in my garden!
I am always having failures growing carrots in my garden. I think my London clay soil is too rich and too wet for carrots which either do not germinate at all, or which fork very badly. That said, I thought I would try these round carrots and see what happens. These are labelled 'Paris Market 5' - Sown in a sandy compost in a pot in the greenhouse for starters.


At 7:00 PM, Blogger Eco Gites of Lenault said...

I'm growing goji berries but not from seed. I was given a coupl eof plants last year which I potted on and I shall plant them out very soon. I wonder what germination rate you will get with the dried berries?

Rosie x

At 9:05 PM, Anonymous Karen said...

Hi Matron, hope you do see the blue in our sky later this month, but never any guarantees - it's supposed to snow here today!?! Craziness. Love your goji berry project, I have seen plants for sale but only for $30 US, which seems like too much. Hope it works to plant the berry/seeds! Good luck too with the potted round carrots. I too have clay soil and they aren't happy there, so I may try pots this year too.

At 9:17 PM, Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

My, you have been busy. It is really looking like spring there. It has been snowing on & off today, here. I guess a trip to Costa Rica is worth being behind in the seed front. Yes, it is! But now I need to get busy.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger RHIANNON said...

Watchout I think Joe Swift tried to grow Gogi berries last year on GW then he discovered that there were disease problems for potatoes and tomatoes if you did.

At 10:15 PM, Blogger EB said...

Yes, we're on clay and can't grow carrots either. I wish we could, I love them, but I'm not going to try them this year. I'll be interested to know how yours in containers get on.

At 4:00 AM, Anonymous blossom said...

I'm always amazed that people grow plants from seeds - right from the beginning. Wow ... I will always find a baby plant and start from there. But I'm trying seedlings this year. I hope I'll see some progress soon. Good luck to you. And me.

At 5:47 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Your seed potatoes have kept very well since last season, you could almost mistake them for being freshly dug.

Never tried growing goji berries but have looked at the seed in herb catalogues. I'll look forward to watching them progress.

Thats great that you found your dog beans, they look very nice. Great coloration.

At 9:09 AM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

J Swift's problem was actually that some of the imported Gojiberry plants were already potentially diseased. I think your other crops will be fine.

My son, enterprising bloke, has successfully grown gojis from seeds extracted from shop bought berries. This was last year and he has strong plants, but too young to fruit yet. Good luck with it - I love free plants!

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Veg Heaven - Yes I think you are right, it was the imported plants that were diseased. I just wonder how long the fruit has been dried and whether they have been sulphured to keep their colour. If they work I will have loads of spare plants... will have to give them away at the church bazaar again!

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Crazy Emma said...

Wow, i've never seen those round carrots before! Good luck with growing them.
Our potatoes are also sitting in the cupboard chitting and we'll plant them out when they've finished messing with our plot!

At 4:50 PM, Blogger primrozie said...

I never heard of the gojis, but they sound interesting.

I'm planning on potatoes this year. I haven't grown them in quite a while. We have a potato farm nearby but have to buy a minimum of 50lbs. We went halves with a neighbor some years.

I've had a lot of success with the chanteney variety of carrot in my heavy soil. Since I've grown them in a raised bed they are even better.

I like the small carrots. Little finger too.

At 7:55 PM, Blogger twiggypeasticks said...

Hello there
just found you via louise @ home is Where the Heart Is. I've got some potatoes chitting away on the kitchen wondow ledge and planted some cucumber seeds also on window ledge today. It's the first time I've attempted potatoes, so will be interesting. We tried growing carrots up here in windy West Yorks last year to no avail.
Happy gardening, great blog
Twiggy x

At 12:38 PM, Blogger Carrie said...

Our spuds are doing well too - rather exciting. We're keeping to tradition and planting them on St Paddy's Day. Fingers crossed they do well - they were excellent last year (maris piper) and we got the greenry cut down just as the blight was hitting the plots, phew!

At 4:41 PM, Blogger David A Rusling said...

I'm trying Paris Market too - they take longer to sprout than Detroit (my usual ones). Mine are in a heated greenhouse...

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous CL2009 said...

I thought pots were traditionally planted on Good Friday?

Have you actually tasted goji berries? I thought they were disgusting. Appparently, they are not used in sweet cooking in China, but in savoury brews. I had some plants and they were so vigorous they were taking over the plot. After the fuss Joe Swift made of them, I decided to dig them up and reclaim some much needed space (and I had actually tasted some so I didn't think I was missing out!!)

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Soilman said...

Matron, I have a top tip for carrots on crap soil: make a drill about 2" deep, then fill it with compost... and sow the carrot seed into that.

Really works!

At 11:20 PM, Anonymous Liz said...

I've never had any joy with carrots outside either - the only success has been in a raised bed in the greenhouse. Watch off starting them in a pot though - the seedlings hate being moved!

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Transition Housewife said...

Hi Matron,

My husand was given a packet of Goji berry seeds when he bought some dried goji berries from a health food shop - I'd asked him to get some dried berries to that I could get the seeds and try to grow them. So now we get to eat the berries instead.

I agree with CL2009, definately something for savory dishes. In a hot chilli they were fine!!

Apparently the seeds are really easy to grow. I started mine off a few days ago. Fingers crossed.

At 9:57 PM, Blogger UpToMyElbows said...

Hi Matron, Glad you found the Dog beans, I've been keeping a look out for some up here but not seen any yet... will have to keep searching.
Our soil can be quite bad up here so I'm planting carrots into pre-filled compost holes, hopefully they'll do ok.
Oh and my dog's name is Willow she's feeling a bit out of sorts at the moment (just having her first season).


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