1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

We plough the fields and scatter...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by Mangleworzle, Jan 5, 2020.

  1. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Well not quite yet, it's still at the poring over seed catalogues stage but I thought it might be interesting to have a grow-your-own thread and make a side opportunity for a Christmas present brag due to the collection of Japanese seeds that my son bought for me that I have to establish what they are and how to grow them.

    ...and if that @sbkrobson plays their cards right, there could be half a pack of aubergine seeds on their way through the post...

  2. littlejackhorner

    littlejackhorner Senior commenter

    Not quite the same but I got butterfly seed bombs for Christmas. I'm looking forward to using them and seeing the results.
    caress, Mangleworzle and sbkrobson like this.
  3. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    From the Eden Project?
  4. grumbleweed

    grumbleweed Star commenter

    I got a veg plant box containing things like red sprouts and purple carrots. I don't like sprouts but I'll give them a go.
    Too early for me to start yet but I have done the bed rota.
    needabreak and Mangleworzle like this.
  5. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Aha, indeed! And some...thank you for introducing me to Chiltern Seeds, I love them.
    The aubergines will not be started until that usual March/ April potathon, but
    I do in fact have my several types of potatoes already chitting on almost warm mats, broad beans in the ground and already showing, garlic is up, various bulbs already peering out, such a non winter-plenty of types of winter salad on the go. Chard and kale still going strong, and parsnips not yet all harvested. In the parsnip regard, I may be the only person who would actually like a week of frost.
    It is seldom we have such a placid Winter, and I have made the most and transplanted raspberries last week, many many of them, and retrieved the flacid stumpy rotting remains of my perennial flowers to regrow elsewhere.

    And the Christmas holidays have been forking poo. I've put poo all over the place. From local stables. Fork loads.

    I'm so glad of this thread. I love plants, I love the process, the aesthetics, the fulfillment.
    And hearing about others'.
  6. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You are going to have to post updates
    Jesmond12 likes this.
  7. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    My catalogue arrived after we spoke of it, so that was my Christmas reading sorted. Oddly enough the family weren't so fascinated with my reading out the descriptions of enticing herbs and veg I've never heard of and want to grow, weirdos.

    This is my first year with an allotment so I can grow far more, the garden veg plot will go over to flowers for cutting which Mrs. M. is looking forwards to (I'm also hoping to get her to do more of the gardening for that too).

    If you pm me your address, you can have half of the aubergine seeds.
    slingshotsally, install and sbkrobson like this.
  8. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I'm overwhelmed, I really am. How kind.
    I cannot convey the joy you are going to have with your allotment-you already have plant affinity, but with a whole plot you have unlimited catharsis on a plate.
    Is it far from home?
  9. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Make sure it's well cooked as it can be bitter.
    sbkrobson and Mangleworzle like this.
  10. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    No! That's one of the best things about it, I can push a laden wheelbarrow there in about 3 minutes.

    It was totally wild and overgrown this time last year, the community has already built up as we've cleared the larger area and then our own patches and had a couple of meetings down the pub, itself 30 seconds walk from the allotments.
    lexus300, oldsomeman and sbkrobson like this.
  11. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    This is my second year of allotmenteering. I too have been shovelling **** all over Christmas. We got it a bit late but have spread it around. A good frost would help it sink in and break it up. The raspberries canes are all pruned and sorted. We still have some kale to eat and some cabbages.
    I was looking at my seeds a couple of days ago and working out what I need to buy. I've never heard of Chiltern seeds but I will look into it.
    I am going to plant an asparagus bed this year and also have a go at growing cucamelons. Has anyone done these? They sound really tasty.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  12. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    She's that lazy?!
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Cucamelons, yes. Aplenty.
    Tips-they germinate quite quickly. Space them out properly when transplanting outdoors. Interplant with, for example, pak choi. Do not plant near brambles, which are a greater pull to available pollinators. Feed them copiously. Stake them unfeasibly high. They are excrutiatingly slow to start. Have faith. And when they finally get going in mid August they go like the clappers. They are in fact triffids you can eat.
    Give them tomato feed. Pick them regularly. Pick them small, otherwise they are not so nice.
    When you harvest them if you have too many, store them loosely in terracotta pots-they will never go mouldy that way.
    Finally-if you get the drainage correct, they send out underground tubers, which you can store for a head start and earlier crop next year.

    By which point, 'spect you wish you'd never asked...
  14. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    Blimey @sbkrobson i didn't realise they were that complicated!
    I like things that are easy to grow and don't need much faffing. Still, I might have a go. It's always interesting to grow something different.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  15. Duke of York

    Duke of York Star commenter

    I have a question for gardeners, you might like to think about. Around ten years ago, I attended the funeral of a friend at a crematorium in Maidstone. There was a bed of flowers next to the carpark of the like I'd never previously seen. It was a mass of different colours that blended to well that if you squinted, you might imagine you were looking at part of a Monet painting.

    It really was spectacular, but I doubt the flowers would have lasted long. The thing that made it was the sheer variety of colours close together that you might find in a natural setting. but never so closely entwined.

    I want to give the gardener on the estate I manage a bit of help. He does a brilliant job in maintaining the gardens, but now I'm getting people say "The gardens aren't as nice as hey were when we first moved it.

    The reality is that over the years, everything has grown and won't stop bleedin' growing, so although our gardener is working his socks off fighting to keep the growth at bay, he doesn't have the time to do the magic that makes the wow factor in a garden.

    The bottom line in this is that the gardener is doing a fantastic job in keeping the gardens tidy, but that's as much as he can do within the time constrainst of his contract. He doesn't have the time to devote to making the gardens pretty and it's unclear who ought to pay for the stock of plants needed to do it.

    The residents' association look for every opportunity they can find to have a moan, rather than do something productive; and they're currently maaking noises about whether our gardener needs to be replaced.

    In my view that would be insane. He works as hard as any gardener you could hope to have, but he needs a bit of help, which I think he might get with a few areas of the gardens having an exploion of colours similar to those I witnesses at the Maidstone crematorium.

    He'd be doing an hour's work to salvage his contract for next year and I can find the money for it in the gardening budget, but I have no idea what to ask for when it comes o the sort of seeds to ask him to sew.

    He knows quite a bit about plants, but he's far too shy to ask for the money to pay for them, so I need to direct him, but I don't know sod all about plants. Who among you knows wher I can buy the sort of seed mix I need to give him. or suggest a range of seeds I could shake up together to create the effect I've hopefully described?
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Ha, knew you'd wish you hadn't asked!
    No they really are not complicated, it just gets my geek, growing vegetables, I can't help it.
    Here, revised-
    plonk em in the ground
    stake em
    water em
    pick em
    eat em
    post photos of em here
    lexus300 and Bedlam3 like this.
  17. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You wouldn't have a photo of what you describe, would you?
    A beautiful display is not necessarily down to the right mix of seed.
    Often it may be to do with clever colour work, "hot" and "cold" mixes, "bright" or "pastel.
    It may also be down to how the plants are fed. Or how "sprawl" and "definition" are managed.
    But the one thing that stands out to me in your scenario is that the planting has not been managed by your gardener, and by that, I mean not what seeds, but how they are dispersed.
    Some things are guaranteed to look better-throwing seeds down in a triangular zone will always look better than in a rectangular one. Positioning shorter stems to the edge with always go better than otherwise. And "broadcast sowing" of multiple colours is never as random as implied-purple goes with yellow or white, red goes with orange. Perhaps your gardener is more of a lawn edger and path sweeper than a flower arranger and weed queller?

    Your best bet if you want a specific colour splurge without knowing your plants is to buy lots of ready potted bedding plants, which is how your originally admired display sounds to me. Simply ones that look nice to you. You can then position them in their pots until the whole thing pleases, and then plant them so. Buy in bulk, it's cheap, and have the gardener dead head throughout the season so you get your money's worth in prolonged blooms.

    Short answer-dahlias, rudbeckia, zinnia and blue geranium. No white. I imagine.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2020
    needabreak likes this.
  18. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Why not ask his advice as he knows the plants best suited to the aspect and soil type as well as how they blend in terms of colour, height, spread and associated needs, then you can buy the seeds that he suggests.

    If going for bedding plants as SK said, why not try plug plants they need potting on but are very cost effective, five years ago I got 10 fusia plugs for £1.99 I gave four away once established. I feed, water, deadhead and cut back the remainers as necessary and they still did well last summer, four in pots one in the ground and lost one due to a very hard frost a couple of years back, when I see similar plants for sale in summer they are £5-6 each, so they were a great investment.
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2020
    sbkrobson and nizebaby like this.
  19. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    My predecessor at our old finca here in Spain grew opium poppies, I suspect for medicinal rather than recreational purposes. The poppies gradually disappeared but I collected and kept the seeds. One of my New Year resolutions is to see if they will germinate.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  20. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    We grew cherry tomatoes and peppers last year - the tomatoes were lovely.

Share This Page