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

Monday, April 06, 2009

Bees are Buzzing!

There can be no doubt now that Spring has arrived in London! Seeds are popping up in the greenhouse and green things are growing at a rate of knots. I was so pleased to see a large number of honey bees on the blossom on my Victoria plum tree. The tree is absolutely smothered in blossom this year, let's hope that it doesn't all get frosted off like it did last year. I was delighted just to watch all these bees flying from one blossom to another. There are also a number of butterflies around too. I have seen more butterflies in the last 2 weeks than I saw the whole of last Summer.
The new potato in my greenhouse is putting on a growth spurt at the moment too. This one is International Kidney (Jersey Royal) saved from last year. I haven't had to buy any seed potato this year, I am going to see if my own saved tubers work just as well. This week I managed to sow all my potatoes in the open, International Kidney and Sarpo Axona. The latter is a main crop potato which is resistant to blight. We had such an awful Summer last year and I was hit badly by blight on the allotment.
The tomato plants are just romping away too. The greenhouse gets up to a fair temperature in these warm Spring days, I have taken the plants outside for a while to start hardening them off. Some have done much better than others. Star performers have to be Ildi and Great Wall of China. Unfortunately the Chocolate Cherry and Black Cherry tomatoes have been poor to germinate and still only small plants. Let's give them time and encouragement.
I build a tall wigwam of bamboo poles today, and planted out my Purple Podded Peas. You can see here that although they were started out in loo rolls as root trainers, the roots are well developed way below them. I have put loads of compost into the soil and they will be well away now.
I dug a big hole and filled it with loads of compost. Now all I need do is keep the slugs and the pigeons away!


At 9:28 PM, Blogger tina said...

A beautiful plum tree indeed. I too hope it does not get any damage from a surprise late freeze.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Dan said...

Very nice fruit tree blooms. I am growing black cherry and it seems to be taking ages to develop as well. The broad beans you sent have germinated and are now out in the coldframe. They germinated really well and thanks again for sending them.

At 9:45 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow! That blossom looks great, I hope you get a lot of plums.

I grew Sarpo Axona last year which did resist blight and the slugs but I didn't care for their floury texture.

At 11:14 PM, Anonymous easygardener said...

I agree with you about butterflies - it was uncanny last year - I hardly saw any at all. I've sown my peas in the ground so I'm hoping it stays dry to keep most of the slugs away.

At 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your plum tree is so beautiful!!!

At 2:51 AM, Blogger Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

The plum tree looks so pretty!
I've had one of the 4 great wall tomato seeds germinate. I hope more sprout, but at least one will be fine.

At 4:03 AM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

The pea transplants look great and the flowering plum tree is delicious to look at.

At 5:24 AM, Blogger Petunia's Gardener said...

Love the blossoms! Hope you are past the freezes. All of our flowing items are very late this year. Just getting the pea seeds planted tonight. Good luck with the slugs! I did use coffee grounds around peas last year when I had a nibbler. Seemed to help get them past the risky stage.

At 7:55 AM, Anonymous Deb said...

Everything's going great guns! Can I ask, is your greenhouse heated? I imagine it can get quite warm during the day with just the sun on it but your tom plants are huge! Or did you start them off in a heated propogator.

I've got a greenhouse, still doing the base, but it won't be connected to the electricity.

Deb at Carrots and Kids

At 8:50 AM, Blogger Kath said...

We HAVE posted very similar things haven't we? Mine is a damson though! Good luck with the toms!

At 8:51 AM, Blogger Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

That plum trre of yours is geeeorgeous and the bees seem to think so too. Very uplifting to see all that beautiful blossom at this time of year.

You've been quite busy I see, my potatoes will go in next week. I'm planting Catriona and it's a first for me. Wonder how they will do and taste.

BTW Spring has gone to puppy Tara's head and she is jumping for joy most days. It's great to have such a happy little doggy around.
Tara says a kind Woof to Buddy and you!

At 1:02 PM, Anonymous Garry - thisimprovedlife said...

Your tomatoes are certainly romping away. Ours are only a few inches tall at the moment. And I started them off early this year to get a longer growing season.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Matron said...

Deb - It is an unheated greenhouse but I have 3 electric heated propagators which meant I could start the tomato seeds off in February. I have found however, that even when I plant tomato seeds in April (and I have just planted a few more) they all seem to catch up in the end!

At 12:18 AM, Anonymous Karen said...

Hi again Matron - Can I ask for some hints on my first time with potatoes? What growing medium are you using, looks like straw plus ?? And what kind of container is that, just a bag or a bag inside some kind of frame? I tried searching your earlier posts but can't find a tutorial. I'm sure it's there, I'm just inept! Thanks! - Karen

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Matron said...

Karen - that's just an ordinary plastic compost bag. I use a mixture of garden compost and potting compost, then when the potatoes appear, you mulch them up to their necks with straw, compost or even shredded paper. This excludes the light and more potatoes will grow out of the stem. They are hungry feeders and must never dry out. Good luck!


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