Jennifer’s Garden Diary (10th April 2011)

Week ending 10th April 2011

Jennifer's Hen

Jennifer's Hen

One of my most treasured possessions is my seed tin, a half sized biscuit tin dating from the 1950’s, may be even the 1940’s?  I know I have had it a long time and that it would be very hard to find one now. Once upon a time biscuits were sold crisp and fresh from these tins so they were quite airtight, and now mine keeps seeds well. I do try not to buy too many seeds (don’t succeed) and so not let them go out of date, but the tin is always full.  It has spent these last few weeks on the kitchen table as I have been very busy sowing.
I have some good little plants of brassicas in trays, brussel sprouts and red and green cabbage and lettuce, and in cut down milk cartons, on a heated tray, courgettes and runner beans. Outside parsnips and peas are up and more have gone in. I find it very helpful to mix in some radish seeds, which come up so quickly, with the very slow germinating parsnips. Thus I can keep weeds down and the radishes are delicious in early salads.

I bought two tomato plants and they have grown quickly, the weather being so warm I have chanced one outside covering it with a plastic bell at night, the other is still on inside window sill. I have also bought two new pullets “point of lay” to replace hens taken by a fox.  I am looking forward to plenty of eggs all summer.

The early potatoes are up and I am harvesting delicious sprouting broccoli, both white and purple, I think the white tastes just a little bit better.  Swiss chard  is also recovering quickly from the winter and is ready to eat. The autumn sown broad beans are flowering so I am hoping they will be ready in time to bridge the “hungry gap”.

I know poly tunnels are wonderful, but I would like to encourage new gardeners who feel deprived without one. I do manage to have vegetables all the year, and it is possible. I do have some plastic bells and two plastic cloches, and lucky me, my old fashioned biscuit tin to keep my seeds safe and dry.