Tah Dah!!!! This Year’s Sowing Diary

Although the Monster has its own sowing diary page accessible through page link up above, now that we’ve completed most (if not all) of this year’s plan we thought we’d copy and paste and place  a copy of this year’s diary as a posting in its own right,

We literally began from scratch at our new plot in January, and since then we’ve been doing this

IMAG4891
Basil; this year’s basil filled Barrow Bug

February 1st 2017     Bedfordshire Champion onion seed

March 1st 2017   Bunyard’s Exhibition broad Beans

March 5th 2017  sowed Cosmos ‘Cosmonaut’

March 5th planted 4 of Lidl’s best bare root Redcurrant 

March 4th 2017 Planted Plum tree ‘Opal’, and Peach tree ‘Red Haven’ both from Lidl

March 10th 2017 Ailsa Craig onion seed

March 12th planted replacement rose bush: David Austin Rose, Young Lycidas

March 18th 2017 sowed Basil, Misto Mix and Classic Italian

March 19th 2017 broadcast green-manure mix; phacelia, red clover,

March 28th 2017 sowed dwarf sunflowers ‘Topoline’

April 8th broadcast poppy seeds and cornflower seeds  Greenfingers Day

April 21st 2017 sowed Giant Yellow sunflower seeds

April 22nd sowed Moss Curled parsley, and dill seed

April 23rd sowed Bright lights Chard, Fire-bird Spinach, Tuscan black Kale, Italian Giant leaf parsley and Tom Thumb mix nasturtiums

April 26th sowed Wild Rocket seed

April 29th sowed Celeriac ‘Monarch’ and ‘Akito’ ridge cucumbers. Mrs dirt-Digger planted out all of the cosmos, dwarf sunflowers and autumn beauties, plus some marigolds gifted from one of our new allotment neighbours…

April 30th sowed Parsnips ‘Tender and True’, Radish ‘mixed jewels’, Italian giant-leaf basil and mixed lettuce varieties. Also planted up and potted on some fennel seedlings and pepper seedlings gifted from an allotment neighbour.

May 1st sowed Pumpkins ‘Big Max’ & ‘Jack o’Lanterns’ purchased in Toronto in August last year; Beetroot ‘Solo’; planted up Shirley & Moneymaker tomato plants, pepper seedlings and sowed ‘Gold Rush’ courgettes. 

May 2nd sowed Grandpa Otts (ipomea; morning glories)

May 13th sowed Northern Blood Reds and White Lisbon spring onions (scallions)

June 1st  Longhorn Wax dwarf french beans plus successional sowings of lettuces and radishes

June 3rd Kale, Scotch Green dwarf

July 2nd Spring Cabbage, Durham early

July 5th  Swede,Tweed

et voilá.   All sowings for this year complete

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The Monster’s Redemption…

The Monster's Herbs....
The Monster’s herbs…

Finally, the deed is done; Spring crawls through a rotten stream of 120 crappy days in a row and May comes out the other side clean. Ok so it’s not exactly Abrahamic, and it’s certainly no Lukan prodigal nor even a Saul to Paul  experience; it’s not Shakespeare’s Leontes nor Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov; and hell it sure ain’t no Andy Dufresne, but make no mistake, after weeks (if not months) of delay and retardation the early days of May have reported for duty ushering in light winds with warm pulsing rain and in the process have managed to redeem not only this year’s spring, but have also compensated for the total lack of that season from last year’s annual cycle.
The year’s attempt to trudge winter’s tale into March, April and beyond is terminated, and where till now it could reasonably have been thought that winter was being extended interminably, from here on in any inclement hiccups must simply be classified intemperate spring days.
As warden Norton may have noted; Winter, upped and disappeared like a fart in the wind…

Phacelia & Rape
Phacelia & Rape

We spent quite a few short sleeved hours this weekend spot dropping the cosmos, alyssum and marigolds onto the Monster’s face with the scent of sun-cream wafting from neighbouring plots, a noticeable increase in the volume of activity from the ladies’ hives in the corner, and the sound of children giddily making the most of stray spray form those plot holders who’ve suddenly switched from using watering-cans to cultivate their plots and have resorted instead to the use of the summer hose-reels.
The sky was bright, the air was mild and the soil finally warm enough to allow us sow our French beans, which we duly did. We also scattered a ridge of curled parsley seed together with troughs of coriander and fennel seed. With these sown we are now left with only the winter kales, courgettes and cucumbers to sow at the end of the month, and once we a pop those few pumpkin seeds in the ground at the beginning of next month there will be little else sown in the annual schedule of plot 49.
Of course the odd successional tray of lettuce, basil and beets will be needed by mid-summer, but how quickly the Monster’s schedule is fore-shortened and for all the worrisome angst through the slow cold days of late March and April we are now most certainly heading to a consideration of summer with all the latent promise of that season.
We are harvesting the rhubarb, and the radishes and lettuces will be ready soon enough. The 5 gooseberry bushes have set fruit, as have the Ben Lomond’s, we’ve thinned the parsnip and beetroot to final spacing, and as said in the Monster’s previous outing we are weeding, especially in the onion beds. And lest we forget to remind you, we are weeding in the onion beds…
And to round off with an ol’ Redism of sorts, this time of year there are basically two options on The Monster in the Corner, you either get busy weeding, or you get busy weeding!!!

Broad Beans
Broad Beans

Two Days To Greenfingers Day

greenfingers 2 days left

Today being the last day of March means there are now only two days remaining till we celebrate the 1st ever International Greenfingers Day (Gardeners in their Garden Day).

It will be a day for celebrating gardeners in their gardens, everywhere; in every town and county of every country and continent. Gardeners are those who toil tirelessly at greening our world and filling our lives with seasonal colour, and though there are many great gardening shows and festivals celebrated across the globe each year, there was no one day set aside to acknowledge and celebrate those who actually work throughout the year at providing the splendour we all admire.
It’s not meant to be a day for big token displays. Here in the northern hemisphere it is being celebrated right at the beginning of things, while gardeners are busy with the day to day hands-on of spring sowing, and as such won’t mind getting hands dirty.
In southern climes it is falling at harvest, a time to perhaps to reflect on the garden’s bounty and also on what has been achieved in the last year, but here also some bulbs for next year’s blooms can be planted simply to mark the occasion of the day.
What is suggested is that all gardeners everywhere sow and/or plant some small token of trust in nature on this day, the first Saturday of April each year ( this year being Saturday 2nd April 2016) except when that day falls on April 1st, and then it will be celebrated on the 2nd Saturday of that year and on all such years when April 1st happens on a Saturday .

Perhaps you could buy yourself, or the gardener in your life a small packet of seed to sow on the day; then take a picture, a sowing selfie so to speak, and when nature has played her part and your hope blooms and the promise is fit to harvest in a number of months, take another picture, for posterity if nothing else.
It’s not a day for extravagant power tools and sit-on gifts. It’s not a day for new sheds, new BBQ’s and outdoor summer furniture settings. It’s a day to be marked by some form of sowing and planting on a personal scale: a day to plant a rose bush, or a potted fruit bush; a day to sow some summer salad leaves; a day for beetroot and summer turnip seeds, for cosmos and zinnia seeds, for sunflower and cornflower seeds, a day to sow some seed in the trust that nature will play her part so long as you play yours; a day to buy a small gift of seed to yourself or for someone else and perhaps help get them to grow their own; a day to celebrate all that gardeners do best in their gardens…
If you wish post a comment here on monster in the corner, or a copy of a picture so we may all share in your effort  on instagram       #internationalgreenfingersday

It is but the seed of an idea,..