Down on the Allotment

Matron grows vegetables and fruit in a Hampshire garden. I've been growing veggies since I was knee high to a grasshopper. Some traditional varieties and old favourites as well as new ideas. I share my garden with my allotment assistant Daisy the Labrador. On Twitter as @MatronsVeggies

Friday, June 30, 2006

A furry friend

Not strictly a veggie photo, but next to growing veggies this is what I love best! Found a furry friend when I went mushing huskies in Norway! Posted by Picasa

Back from Holiday

Just got back from 2 weeks away. What is the first thing that any gardener does when they get back home after a long absence? Stuff has grown! I think there was some rain a couple of days ago (well of course, it's Wimbledon!) but it is bone dry. I lost a couple of things in the greenhouse, it is difficult in such scorching hot weather to rely on others to water enough. Lost one of my Gardeners World chilli plants - the big one called "Joes Long" I only have 3 left now in a growbag.

Sweet potatoes are doing OK, they have bushed up quite a bit - though I was expecting them to ramble.

Thanks for encouraging comments to a new blogger, I love reading and comparing notes.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Going on holiday

Worried about the garden while I am on holiday. Have arranged for people to come in and water the greenhouse while we are away, but it is still a worry. If the weather gets hot these little plants need care and attention every day. Other people do not appreciate this. I am sounding neurotic! I have nursed my little children from when they were seeds! Doggy is also going into kennels for 2 weeks, how can I explain to him that it is not for ever? Will try to blog if I get a chance. Off to Norway to mush some huskies! See ya!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Planted out sweet potatoes

Here they are! Had some lovely rain last night too, but it is hot and humid, just the way they like it down in Mississippi. Posted by Picasa

Atlantic giant

Well here is my first Atlantic giant pumpkin! I have pinched the lead shoot out and will choose just one or two fruits to grow. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Spent today mulching crazy! Emptied the contents of my compost heap and scattered it all over and around my veggies. This is a technique to protect my soil from the fierce heat. Even after the last week of scorching heat, there is still a trace of dampness a few inches below the soil.

So, I used up all my compost - I made a trip down to Ealing Riding Stables in Gunnersbury Lane - and loaded up with a new lot of steaming gold! If you are near West London, and happen to have a fork and a few garden bags - you can help yourself to as much as you can load into your car. Oh happiness !

Monday, June 12, 2006


One of my favourite words is FECUNDITY. It sums up everything I love about growing food to eat. Just imagine walking through the fruit orchard at Wisley, and the trees are laden with stuff like this! This is why I grow my own.

I planted out my sweet potatoes today. They had a massive root system inside the pots already, very healthy and growing several new leaves every day. I snipped a cross in the black plastic and dug them into a hole. Scorching hot today, my thermometer was 90degrees in the shade. PHEW! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Sweet corn

I had planned to plant my sweet corn when I pulled up my broad beans. Broad beans have only just started to be picked - had my first feeding today! There is no taste like your own fresh picked broad beans - yum

Anyway, found a little square plot to plant out my sweet corn plants which were in danger of getting pot bound. These were a variety called "mini pop" I have not grown these before, the seeds were the same shape as popcorn, not the usual square shape. I am not sure if these will turn out to be mini corn - like the ones you put in stir fry, or if they will be pop corn, or ornamental - cannot see reference to them anywhere. Does anyone know them?

Sweet potatoes are thriving! I turned one out of its pot today to have a look at the root system. In only a week or so it has a very health root system and lots of new leaves. I think I will plant them out in the next couple of days, the soil has warmed right up now. It was 80degrees today, phew! The little I have read about the cultivation of sweet potato suggests that they are planted up on ridges - does anyone have suggestions?

Friday, June 09, 2006

My tomato hedge!

Finally, a picture of my tomato hedge! planted about 12" apart, have been pinching out side shoots but will allow it to spread now and will tie in to a framework of wires and bamboo poles. Varieties include, Harlequin, Sungold, Gardeners Delight, Alicante,Moneymaker, Marglobe, and my own variety named "Wisley" - actually a tomato liberated from an un-named trial last year. Its name was something like R548888nn/567 - so I re-named it! (see previous blog named Stolen from Heligan) Posted by Picasa

Sweet Potato plants

I've been out on the Allotment, taking photos of things to put on my blog! These sweet potatoes have rooted well, new shoots are appearing from the tip and from along the stem. I have been leaving them out during hot days to harden off, but still in the heated propagator to get them a start. This next hot weekend should be a good time to plant them out now the soil has been nicely warmed up. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Some Rhubarb

Here is a test picture of the rhubarb at the Kitchen Garden at Heligan.
If successful, I will go out and get some veggie pics for my blog. Cool ! Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

Still trying to post photos

Having problems getting a photo posted to my blog. Have downloaded something to help me, all looked good for a while, then nothing happened. Had a nice picture of some rhubarb to show you all. Don't give up on me!

Pheromone traps

Well, not just veggies-only; I have a few fruit trees and bushes too. Gooseberry "Invicta" has many marble sized fruit which will probably be ready to pick while I am away on holiday - doesn't that always happen? Loganberries are going crazy - hundreds of them all set from flowers and looking good. Amazing really as I only planted a new plant last Spring and it has just taken off. In fact all fruit bushes and trees look good so far. Awaits the June drop.

Last week I purchased a plum moth pheromone trap - to avoid those little maggots inside plums. Hung it up in a little plastic tent thingy, and placed a sticky tray inside, along with a pheromone capsule which gives off the pheromone of a female codling moth.... Mr moth goes towards it and inside thinking he is going to get lucky.... and sticks to the card. There are already about 20 dead moths inside. The pheromone plug is supposed to last 6 weeks when you open the next capsule and replace it with a fresh one. Those poor little sex-starved males... sounds familiar..

This Winter I planted two family fruit trees. Two year old trees with 3 different varieties grafted on to each. All looking good, lots of blossom set and loads of fruit growing. Sadly with a small tree, all the fruit has to be knocked off as it puts too much strain on the little chap trying to adjust to its new home. Nevertheless, I have cheated and allowed one apple to grow on each variety.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sweet Potatoes..

After taking delivery of my sweet potato slips about a week ago, they are perking up nicely. Potted them straigh away and kept their bottoms warm in the propagator. The ground has been prepared and covered in black plastic and has been warming up for several weeks now. Will plant them out in about a weeks' time.

My poor old courgettes are not looking too clever. Planted them outside about 2 weeks ago, they look quite sickly in fact. Perhaps the nights have been a bit colder than expected. Today I popped a couple of seeds in the soil right next to them as an insurance policy. They are the variety "Defender" the seed was new this year and they are quite resistant to mosaic virus.

My cut and come again rocket and spicy salad mix are in full flood. Snip them off in bunches with a pair of scissors each day - wonderful tasty, hot salad leaves. Great for successional planting.

I am going to download something called Picassa onto my computer, I am reliably informed this will enable me to post piccies onto my blog. Hmmmmm