I've decided one of my salad challenges for this year is to grow as many lettuce varieties as I can, ready for the publication of my planned Factsheet* later on. The idea is to grow as many of the Tried and Trusted lettuce varieties last year's Salad Challengers helped compile, then provide a visual guide and as many lettuce facts as I can muster. So far I've found around half of those listed**. Then naturally whilst I was out searching - because such is the way with seeds - a number of other varieties found their way home too ;) A couple of weeks ago I sowed 22 varieties***. Just the simple act of sowing them has me intrigued. Why are some lettuce seeds black and others white****? They split into about half white to half black in my sample and as far as I can tell it's nothing to do with whether they're a type of cos, iceberg, or whatever. I sowed them indoors and popped them into a propagator on the windowsill. The soil's too cold outside for sowing
Your essential reads
From my door to your home, I hope this time is as merry and bright as it can be under the current circumstances. This year's wreath is foraged greenery on a straw base with ornaments saved from previous ones. It's bearing up remarkably well after nearly 3 weeks despite no moss or oasis base to keep the foliage moist. New-to-me greenery used in this way are the Clematis 'Winter Beauty' I pulled from the pergola, plus lots of fragrant rosemary from a friend's garden. I spent a lovely morning at my neighbours recently where we all managed to create something beautiful for our front doors in aid of Dorothy House , a cause dear to her heart as they looked after her late husband so well. Enjoy the turning of the year towards the lighter days again and I'll see you in 2022!
Veg Plotting 's Blooms Day would be incomplete without the occasional foray into Grow Your Own flowers, so I'm pleased to bring you my 'Just Add Cream' strawberry plants for this month's floral focus. This is a relatively new variety from Thompson & Morgan 's own breeding programme, who also provided me with a few plants to try in 2017. Naturally I've given them a tough time by forgetting them entirely deliberately growing them on in the smallest of trays for a year before I finally planted them out. I'm pleased to say they've passed this test with flying colours. I'm growing these at home instead of on the allotment where VP Gardens demands food plants look attractive as well as being productive. Apparently pink flowered strawberries have proved rather bland and unproductive in the past, but this variety is bucking those particular trends. It's an everbearer strawberry which means the crop is spread over many months in the su
Last year this rather exotic looking flower appeared on mine and several other allotments for the first time. Having been stumped (again) by Mr Allotment Warden as to its identity, I rushed home to find out what it was. It's salsify, aka the marvellous Jack Go To Bed At Noon - named as such because its flowers always close by midday. Here you can see both open and closed flowers - making it seem even more exotic and alien than in the first picture. I think this must be the cultivated version because the flower in my Francis Rose Wild Flower Key looks exactly the same in form, but is bright yellow in colour and called meadow salsify . Its other common name is Goatsbeard, which must be a nod to the fantastic dandelion-like clock which forms the seed head. With 'parachutes' like those shown above, who knows how far our plotted plants came from. I rather like the photographic dissection of the seedhead found in this link . Salsify is edible: its lateral shoots and fl
My wild and woolly front lawn has just got a little woollier with the surprise addition of the above beauty. I spotted a strange looking spike emerging a couple of weeks ago and hoped it was what it's turned out to be: a lovely, lovely orchid. This one's a pyramidal orchid ( Anacamptis pyrimidalis ), which according to the link likes a milder climate and chalk or limestone grasslands. It also goes on to say that it's developed a liking for the more artificial kind of environment - such as beside roads and canals - so perhaps a front lawn on a limey clay soil is just the kind of place it likes to be nowadays. I'm delighted it's chosen my front garden! I've asked NAH to refrain from mowing the lawn for a while to enable it to set seed, though he's keen to mow the 'meadow' now No Mow May has finished. Perhaps we now have the perfect compromise, leave the front lawn so there's taller herbiage there with a lower back lawn to offer the shorter grass
Firstly, thank you for reading Veg Plotting ! It's good to know you like the blog enough to subscribe. This month the service I use for emails and RSS feeds - Feedburner - is withdrawing the email facility, so I'm in the process of finding an alternative supplier and working through the (invisible to you) technical changes I need to do to keep everything working. Rest assured that the RSS feed - used to supply blog readers such as Feedly - remains unchanged. It's highly likely that the next email you receive will look different and from an email address which may arrive in your spam folder. It will also ask you to resubscribe to the email service. I'll blog again with more information and screenshots once I've worked everything out. In the meantime, comments are open below should you have any questions. Have a great weekend and I hope there's sunshine and good gardening wherever you are in the world.
The New Year is the traditional time to review the time just gone, and I can't think of a better way than by showing you some of my favourite photos from my Instagram account. They're a nice mix of seasonal scenes from local walks; little vignettes courtesy of VP Gardens ; plus a few from our times away in Dorset and Yorkshire. It's good to be reminded of some of the good times after what has been another trying year for us all. May 2022 be a much better one for you and yours x
The gloves NAH used to build the raised bed . The effects are L to R, top to bottom: Original photo, Warhol, HDR, Green tint, B&W, Posterize, Boost, Cross process and Sepia Welcome to Shows of Hands - my Chelsea Fringe project for 2014! As you can see I've been having a bit of a play around in Pic Monkey for my first contribution. You're welcome to join in between now and 8th June 2014. The idea behind this year's project is to highlight the tool most precious to a gardener: their hands. How do I take part? It's simple. All you need to do is take a photo of hand(s) in a gardening context and then share it via your blog or other social media (such as Twitter or Facebook), then make sure I know you've done so. I've set up Mr Linky below for your blog contributions. The Chelsea Fringe photo on the right sidebar links to this post, so you can easily find it again when you're ready to add your contribution. If you share your photo on Twitter,