Keep Calm and Pot On

I’m sitting here, looking out at a very rainy day, the May bank holiday hasn’t been the warm, gardening filled weekend I hoped it would be. I’m starting to get quite frustrated with the weather the past few weeks, I feel like I haven’t seen the sun in far too long and the garden is starting to suffer for it. I wouldn’t mind the rain so much if the temperature was good but it’s far below average for this time of year and on Friday night, it got down to One degree. So much for summer!

To fill the gardening void in my weekend, I’ve been looking for other things to spend my time on. On Friday, I began sprouting some chickpeas, I love chickpeas and couldn’t resist trying this out. Chickpeas are basically dormant seeds, which when kept moist, begin to sprout. I simply dampened a few sheets of kitchen towel and placed ย them on a seed tray and spread the chickpeas out on the wet towel. It reminded me of school, when we would grow cress and alfalfa sprouts on wet paper towels in the science lab. The chickpeas should sprout pretty quickly and I’m looking forward to trying them fresh as they are much nicer and contain higher nutrient content. Chickpeas are very low fat, high in fibre and vitamin C and are great for blood pressure, and of course, they’re very tasty. I’m going to make some ย homemade hummus and falafel with them when they’re ready so keep an eye out for the recipe.

Borlotti bean

I also had to spend an hour or two, potting on my chili and tomato plants which were fast outgrowing their small pots. I should really be moving my tomatoes outside by now but the weather is still a bit too nippy, I’m going to hold off for another week or two. Instead, I had to be content with potting them on and hoping I don’t somehow kill them in the process, I seem to have bad luck with the potting on process, especially with my tomatoes but thankfully I had no casualties. My borlotti beans are finally showing themselves, I think the cold weather had stunted their growth a bit, even though they were in the greenhouse, I’m going to waith until mid June to plant them on the plot just to be safe.

I visited the allotment breifly to plant my red cabbages and celery, I had to cover these up though as there was frost predicted. I used fleece to cover the cabbages and for my celery, I used old plastic bottles as cloches. I only had two of these to hand so I fashioned a homemade cloche from wire and plastic for the remainng plant, it looks a bit mad but it does the trick.

Homemade cloches

The one thing that seems to be thriving in the current weather is my early potatoes, I had to earth them up the other day as they were getting pretty large, I even noticed some flowers starting to form. Even if the bad wether ruins everything else, at least I’ll definitely have some spuds!

Dave earthing up the potatoes

My strawberry plants took a beating during the week and are looking very bad indeed, however, I noticed some new rhubarb growth, looks like the wind didn’t kill it completely and it’s coming back which is a great sign. All in all, it’s been a quiet week on the plot, hopefully, next week we’ll be getting our shed, the poor car is covered in muck from hauling the tools back and forth, it’ll be nice to have a place to store them on the plot, and of course to hide from the rain showers.

Potting on

Red Cabbage

New Rhubarb growth.

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11 thoughts on “Keep Calm and Pot On

  1. abraalani says:

    I know the feeling, I was feeling it a few weeks ago when the weather was stubbornly not changing! I want to try the chickpea trick myself now…are they just the seeds you can buy at the grocery store?
    I love your picture of the Borlotti bean – that stage is my favorite. Is it weird that I am a little creeped out by how seeds can grow like that? I’m creeped out and amazed, all at the same time. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I have a question about rhubarb for you, since it looks like you’ve had yours for a while (?). I just bought some rhubarb root, it’s about 6 inches by 6 inches. It’s putting up little shoots so far. Do you think this will produce rhubarb that I will be able to use in the coming months? Or do you think I should just leave it be until next spring?

    • fionadkelly says:

      I bought the chickpeas in a garden centre but as far as I know you can just sprout dried chickpeas you buy in the shop. I’d wait until next year to pick any rhubarb, this’ll let it establish a strong rooting system. I only planted mine a month ago so I’m not going to harvest any until next year.

  2. garden5 says:

    I’ve noticed that before with rhubarb – you plant out a nice healthy looking plant, then the leaves fall off and you think it’s dead. But they always come on again – a couple of mine in the garden took a year to come on again and I’d forgotten they were there, but the following Spring they suddenly charged up out of nowhere. It’s tough as old boots really, but it does seem to get a shock when it’s planted out – the two in the show plot are the same.

    I know the weather’s been cold – my spuds got hit by the frost the other night and are looking forlorn – but I think there is a subtle change in the seasons. The sun now is hot, when it’s out, and everything has taken a sudden charge in leafy growth this past week. I think this year is actually better than last, when we got no rain from mid-March til June and everything was pretty barren.

    BTW, red cabbage is another tough customer – it will be fine, don’t worry about frost. Actually last year I grew it (and then discovered none of us really like it) and even the cabbage butterflies steered clear of it. Apparently they only like the green stuff?!

    • fionadkelly says:

      Haha really? That’s good news for me, I only like red cabbage, not a fan of the green stuff, hopefully the butterflies will stay away from mine, one less thing to worry about! I guess I’m noticing the weather more than I used to, I never paid it much heed before but this year I’m obsessed with the forecast. I’m going to go to the plot tomorrow, regardless of weather and do some digging, only good thing is, with all the rain, I don’t have to worry too much about watering the plot ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. slowlylettinggo says:

    I can NOT believe how beautiful all of your plants are looking! Since we only have a small garden started theres no way I could plant all of the things you have! We finally were able to keep our dog out of our garden so I can resume planting this week! I do have a question for you though. We throw egg shells and veggie scraps and such in our garden and of course now theres quite a few ants in there… Bad?

    • fionadkelly says:

      Thanks! ๐Ÿ™‚ Are the eggshells in a compost bin or just on the soil? Ants won’t damage your plants but if you have a lot, they may try come into your house and that’s not good. I do know they hate garlic so if you make a spray with garlic and water it can deter them, other than that you could get ant killer or some ant traps which are better if you have a dog as the sprays are lethal to pets.

      • garden5 says:

        I have an issue with ants actually – they like to farm aphids on my plants. They save insect eggs over the winter, then install them on plants. When the aphids start to suck the nectar from the plants, the ants ‘milk’ the aphids to get the sugary secretions from them….yep, it’s really gross. And the plants start to suffer. I usually leave them alone until that happens and then war begins with kettles of hot water and ant powder and even cornmeal (the theory is they carry it to the nest, eat it, then it swells inside them and kills them). I swear they know I have it in for them too, as they bite me but no one else.

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