By Elly Kinross
We have been sowing and planting like mad! Our office is a bit of a jungle but we are really pleased with how the plants are coming on. We have been sowing and planting plants to be used both for Kids’ Club and for the new Fife Diet demonstration plot at Broomhill. I’ll be blogging over the summer with photos from the garden and reporting on what does well from this lot…
All the potatoes are now in the ground; we are growing some old favourites like Desiree and Pink fir Apple; we are also experimenting with some Ezra Blue.
Pumpkins and Squash
We discovered that our office underfloor heating is an excellent germinator for squash and pumpkins! The plants are still inside, getting bigger, ready to be planted out in May. The varieties we are growing this year are Butternut Squash, Cheyenne Bush Pumpkin and Boston Winter Squash.
The courgettes are just germinating and will also go out in May. The variety that we are growing this year is called Black Beauty, a new one for us so fingers crossed.
The French Beans have been planted out in their final growing place in the polytunnel now and are looking great. This year we are growing Blue and White and Cherokee Trail of Tears. Both of these varieties are being grown from seed produced during our crop trials last year and have proved the value of locally grown seed by thriving so well during a difficult spring.
As a result of the cold weather we have started the runner beans off in the tunnel. Usually I would direct sow them outdoors but we are giving them a head start this year.
The variety that we are growing are the trusty Czar. Grown many times, well loved and hugely abundant.
The tomatoes are still inside at the monment, they are getting bigger and will soon be moved to the polytunnel to be planted out.
Last year our tomatoes were our biggest disappointment. Especially as the children were looking forward to them so much. This year we are hedging our bets with lots of varieties including Red Brandy wine, Latah, Stupice and Grushovka. We are also going to use specialist organic tomato compost to grow them in.
The peas are all in the polytunnel and getting very tall but we are waiting for a nice warm and more importantly calm day to plant them out into the garden (we have been waiting a while!) This year we have chosen a tall climber for our podder called Champion of England (not very patriotic but they are meant to be good!), which we have heard fantastic things about and we are returning to an old favourite, Bijou, for our mangetout. Bijou is a wonderfully enormous and extremely tasty mangetout which the children loved picking and eating straight from the plant last year.
The broad beans are out in the garden and braving the weather. The varieties this year are old favourites Masterpiece Green Longpod and Aquadulce.
The cucumbers are still indoors and thriving. Once they are a bit larger we will plant them out in the polytunnel. Along with the sweetcorn these were the children’s favourite plants last year so we are hoping for the same success. The variety we are growing this year is Esmerelda.
This year as an experiment and as an indoor activity with the children on a very cold day we made little newspaper pots and planted the onion set in them. We left them in the polytunnel to get started and most of them have now sent out a green shoot. Next week at Kids’ Club we will plant out the onions (pots and all) into the soil.
This year we are growing Sutherland Kale, the plants are in the polytunnel waiting to get planted out in a few weeks. We also have some magnificent Greyhound Spring Cabbages we have grown over the winter in the polytunnel and have now hearted up nicely. These will be harvested and eaten over the next month or so making room in the polytunnel for the sweetcorn which we will buy in as small plants from the garden centre.
The final crops to get sown are the carrots and beetroots and some summer salads and herbs, all of which will be sown in the next couple of weeks. Almost all of our seeds have either been saved by ourselves or have come from Real Seeds.