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

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Gardening Calendar

I decided to plant some of my curcurbits today. These are all members of the pumpkin, squash, courgette and cucumber family. I have only just realised that the spooky thing is that it was on 18th April 2008 that I did the very same thing last year! I intend to plant them out towards the end of May when it will be certainly frost free and the ground will have warmed up some more.

Here I have planted some lovely 'Rouge Vif D'Etamps' pumpkin, Delicata squash, Yellow Straightneck squash and a 'Tiffany' all female F1 cucumber. I have left some spaces in the seed tray as I am hoping to receive some 'Queensland Blue' squash seeds from a fellow blogger in the next few days. I really love this seed-swapping lark with bloggers. If I have given seeds to someone it is such a thrill to know that they have grown them, and I really look forward to seeing pictures of them posted on other blogs.
I took a bit of a chance today in that I planted out just a few of my hardier tomato plants. It is still a bit early, but with some cloche protection I hope they will be OK. I have plenty of spares in the greenhouse still in case of disaster.
Which reminds me.... keeping free range chickens on the vegetable plot is not to be recommended. Whilst digging a big hole with a spade in which to plant my tomato, those two chickens just jumped into the hole to search for creepy crawlies and I nearly chopped one in half. Pesky critters!
Just a quick note on strawberry plant maintenance. They are growing well now, and earlier in the season I gave them a mulch and a feed of wood ash. It is important not to water strawberries at all until the fruit starts to swell. Strawberries have a very, very fine root system which hates being wet.
You can see here that the strawberry flowers are forming nicely and should be opening any day now.
And just look at these little gooseberries! Looks to be a very good year for soft fruit. I might just put those two chickens around my gooseberry plants just to scratch and peck for sawfly larvae.


At 7:22 PM, Blogger Sheila said...

it looks like you are of to a good start!

At 3:38 AM, Blogger Dan said...

I will be starting all the curcurbits soon as well. I am growing Delicata squash too, the vining one.

How long does it take for the broad beans to produce beans? They are a little over a month old now growing in peat pots in the cold frame. I will be planted them out in the soil soon. I'll post a photo of them when I get them in the dirt.

At 4:02 AM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

Did my cucurbit family seed starting today too! Cucumbers (2 varieties - one for pickling and one for salads), zucchini, pumpkins, and wintersquash (Buttercup). I will be planting my tomatoes out tomorrow (double dug the new bed they are going into today). They will have a protective cover over the entire bed until mid May at least. It's the only way I can get decent tomato production with our cool/damp climate. It's amazing how well they do with the protective covering - so I imagine your cloche will work very well for you too.

At 5:40 AM, Anonymous Karen said...

Hi Matron - just wasn't the same at SAGBUTT without you there. I saw your question about the Great Wall seedlings - alas, my mom's did not germinate. :( Well, except for one, but it's just a wee thing and doesn't seem to be progressing. Wonder if anyone else had any success? Maybe that was one ocean too many! What do you do with gooseberries, jam or ??

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Maggie Watson said...

And I was just about to water those strawberries today but they seemed to be doing ok....

thanks for the tip Matron - the strawberry guzzlers (age 2 & 6) will be most grateful.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Gary and Jen, and Ruby and Peter said...

All looking good !

You certainly are a busy bee!

Our allotment is taking shape, and wondered If I could cheekily ask for a second link:


Gary & co.

At 9:57 AM, Blogger schmut said...

my tomatoes were moved outdoors a week ago. not because it was time but I figured it was a 50/50 they'd die anyways. rather give them a chance at life outdoors than let them die indoors.
guess what? they're better than ever!

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Green thumb said...

Strawberries have always been an enigma for me. I would have loved to grow them but - may be because of the temperature - they grow on the hilly stretches in my country. It was interesting to see the strawberry plant.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger tina said...

It is looking great! Fresh veggies are so good. I find it quite interesting you are planting on the exact same date this year. This seems to happen frequently, though oftentimes we don't realize it. What does it say? The weather cycles are the same or our cycles on getting antsy to plant are the same? Hmmm.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Carrie said...

Oh we have lots of strawberry flowers too and tiny wee gooseberries - it's all very exciting. We have so many fruit bushes and trees on our plot, I can hardly wait!!

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Tira said...

All looks lovely and promising, and how great all the purple sage cuttings caught!


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