Sunday, 22 February 2009

Spring is in the air!

As the weather was so mild on Saturday afternoon I started some work on my little veggie plot. Having a south facing garden it got quite warm and a hot cup of tea helped!

My mum gave me a cloche last year and this has now come in very handy. I had some leeks still growing and because I planted them a bit later, they are still quite small but seem to be growing better than I expected. It was my first attempt at growing them from seed so I may just have a late spring harvest! I planted some rows of Carrot (F1 Maestro) in-between the rows of leeks and have used the cloche to keep them protected. Hopefully I should get an earlier harvest of carrots and it might improve the leeks. I grew the carrots last year and they were very successful but I grew them too late and didn’t have very many!

I also planted 50 Shallots (Red Sun) as my shallots were more successful last year than my main onions, so I’ll give them a miss this year. They kept really well and I prefer them to cook whole in stews and casseroles in the slow cooker. I just hope the birds dont pull them all up today! I will have to make a bird scarer.

This is my second year at growing veg in my back garden and I am looking forward to growing something different this year. With that in mind I decided to have a go at growing beetroot and planted a few rows of seeds yesterday (Boltardy) and a couple of rows of Radish (Scarlet Globe) that I did grow last year and had an opened packet of seeds to use up. I have also started off two rows of Spring Onion White Lisbon in a trough by the garage wall as this area seems to do ok as it must be warm. Last year I bought the seedlings but decided to do everything from seed this year as it cuts down on the cost and its far more rewarding growing it all yourself.

Ann has kindly offered to start of my Celeriac this year and I havwe bought her a packet of seeds. She was very successful last year and gave me 4 seedlings which grew into lovely specimens. We even ate one at Nicola’s house for the gardening club Christmas drinks! So I should have a few more to look forward towards the end of the year.

Enjoy your garden if you are lucky to get out there today.

Sunday, 15 February 2009


I've been looking at growing potatoes this year in sacks in the garden but not sure if they are very good. To start me off I bought some Pink Fir Apple potatoes today, bargain in Wilkinsons only £1 for 5 but there were six in my bag! I will go back and get another potatoe variety next week. The Pink Fir Apple are now sitting in an empty egg box I saved for chitting. Maybe if anyone has any advice on growing potatoes in sacks/pots you could let me know. Last year I grew them in the veg plot but they took up too much space. A friend said you can grow them in grow bags but turned up the other way.

I also picked up some Red Sun shallots 50 for £1.25 which I thought was a good price. My shallots from last year were so much nicer than the ones you buy in the shops so I plan to grow more this year, maybe two varieties.

I still need to order the wood to extend the patch but will wait for better weather and I am also on the hunt for a long trough to put on the shingle as I thought it would look good filled up with carrots and onions or maybe dwarf runners and that reminds me I need to order the seeds!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Iwade Village Farmer's Market

The first famer’s market took place today and was a huge success. Hundreds of people flocked to see what fresh produce was on sale which included fresh organic bread, local meat, eggs, cakes, vegetables, plants and chutney & pickles to name but a few. Many people travelling from other areas including Medway, Maidstone and surrounding villages. And it snowed today and people were still walking around even in the sub zero temperatures. At one point the village hall was so full you couldn't see to the other side!

I had a stall with Derek White (thank you for putting up with me all day!) selling Bennett Opies produce (chutney, pickled onions and peaches in brandy). They are a local company in Sittingbourne and have been around since 1880. I had to prepare the peaches and pickled onions last night and loved cutting up the peaches as I got to drink the juice from all the jars! Well not all 12 jars but most of them. They sold out today at the farmer's market, no wonder as my sales pitch with drinking the juice must have done the trick (hic!)

A big thank you to Sasha Carrington-Dawkins, Lisa Older, Janet Gregory and PCSO Lindsay Woods for all the organising, it was hard work but really worth it. And to Lindsay for her support with providing advice and supplying stall holders with anti-counterfeit torches to check all the notes being headed over. And also to me for all the advertising in shops, newspapers, radio stations to name a few. It was great fun promoting such a great event. I just can't wait for the next one on March 1st.

Thank you also to the Featherbed Farm Shop for sponsoring this event and for all the people who took part and for everyone who attended to support this event.

If you missed this one don’t worry as the next farmers market will be held on Sunday 1st March and starts at 10am. If you are a local business and are interested in having a table, please speak to Sasha Carrington-Dawkins on 01795 554262. (nothing like advertising early!)