Vermiculite Experiment 

I hastily planted some courgette seeds a couple of weeks ago, not realised just how early it was and forgetting how rapidly they grow. In just a few days they germinated and shot up as very tall and leggy seedlings. 

There was a long and interesting discussion on my Instagram post on what to do with my leggy seedlings and also I’m the benefits of using vermiculite. I realised that like tomatoes, courgettes actually produce roots from the main stem. This means my seedlings (if I plant them deep enough) could put out enough re-growth to create a strong and healthy plants.

I had a few options on what I could do next. Either continue to grow them regardless of their weak appearance, sow some more a few weeks later, or use the opportunity to experiment.

I picked up Aldi’s vermiculite (10lr for £3.49) and potted up two seedlings in a compost and vermiculite mix and the other two just compost. I predict that the two with vermiculite will retain more water and hopefully produce a stronger root system! I’ve never used vermiculite before, so this will be a useful experiment to see how the seedlings will benefit. 

Chitting the Gladiators

It’s a bit of an experiment but I started to chit my parsnip seeds last week since they take a long time to germinate. It’s been almost a week now and they’re no signs of them showing any signs of life yet!

I have two large half drums from a water butt to use for growing my carrot and parsnips this year so we’ll see how that goes! I had limited success with them last year as I started too late and didn’t prepare the soil well enough. By growing in big containers I plan to sieve all the compost and add a load of sand to give it the right conditions it needs to hopefully give me some Gladiator parsnips!

New Season | Introduction

It’s been a freakishly mild, wet winter – in fact the warmest since records began in 1659! This explains the confused flowers and trees that don’t know if its winter or Spring. We’ve had daffodils flowering together with snowdrops and crocuses as early as February, and even the cherry blossom is in bloom despite the late cold snap.

I’m excited for a new growing season, which will be my second year at St. Ann’s Allotments in Nottingham, UK. So decided to start this blog to keep track of my progress, log observations, share useful tips and the mistakes I’ve learnt from, as a beginner gardener. I’m also a photographer, so expect to see lots of photograph of people I’ve met, the seedlings sprouting, and gallery posts of my plot – 152a where I’ll be growing all kinds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and shrubs.

I feel very lucky to have my allotment at the renowned site at St. Ann’s because it’s thought to be the biggest and oldest in all of Europe. It’s an incredibly beautiful space, with around 500 plots set over 75 acres of land, over a hill that’s right in the city centre – not that you would believe it. The Grade II listed site holds a lot of history and hidden treasures that I look forward to sharing.

How are things on my allotment now? Well it’s not very pretty as I’ve got a lots of odd-jobs to be done and wooden debris to remove. What’s kept me busy is all the digging! Not just turning over the soil, but preparing new areas from ground that was not preciously used. I’m going to have a lot more growing space than I did last year – since it was my first year I was busy clearing all the debris and weeds. But I’m feeling pretty organised and keen to get growing!

Plot 152a | 27th February 2016.