Tag Archives: autumn king 2

My blue wall seems to be orange and purple!

My little sister emailed me yesterday and pointed out I had not posted anything for a while. I realise this is true but there is a reason. Every time I sat down to write something all I could think about was the awful weather, nothing is growing and how the garden is being eaten alive by slugs.

I am one of life’s positive people – irritatingly so sometimes. My glass is always half full etc etc etc but when midsummer night came and we were sitting in the dark with the fire on – normally we would be sitting outside until after 11pm – even I found it too hard to think of something positive.

Since then, the temperature has risen to a level that is still below average for this time of year but slightly warmer than the record breaking coldest June on record levels experienced recently. And there has been the odd sunny spell. It is still very wet, that combination of heat and damp that conspires against straight, shiny hair (ladies, you’ll know what I mean), but that is why scrunchies were invented.

So last night when I got home I wandered round the garden looking for something positive to tell you all and, despite recent adverse conditions, there is some good news.

My experiment growing early carrots and peas inside the greenhouse has paid off and I now have lots of the sweetest petit pois and Autumn King and Purple Haze carrots to eat. The spinach and pak choi are also ready for eating.

The tomatoes, lettuce, rocket, basil, coriander, peppers and chillies are all making progress, the aubergines are in the bed in the greenhouse and I have flowers on my melons (ok how many of you are hearing Kenneth Williams saying “ooh matron!”).

Outside, the brassicas are happy and there is beetroot, fennel, beans, peas and mangetout. The strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants should be ready for picking soon and the potato bags have already been filled up to cover the shaws.

On the flower front, I have still not finished planting all my seedlings, but most of what I have planted has been eaten by slugs.  I have turned my focus to the winter flowering pansies and perennial flowers for next year which are all germinating nicely inside.

Finally, my biggest surprise came when the flowers on my blue wall started to come out. I dedicated a trellis and the border in front of it to be only blue flowers to see if I could create a wall of blue flowers. For the climbers I picked blue sweet peas and a variety of morning glory called Grandpa Otts – a lovely royal blue flower. In the border I have planted blue and white anemones, white cosmos, silver dust, salvia, catnip (not that there is much left after Dennis has eaten it) and, when they are a bit bigger, my lavender that I have grown from seed.

Well the monring glory flowers have started to come out. What colour would you say this is?

In my book this is purple!

However, at least purple is closer in the colour spectrum to blue than this anemone!

My blue and white anemones appear to be orange!!!!!

But after the season we’ve had so far I am just delighted to have any flowers.

Happy gardening!

Carrots should be orange!

We have quite stoney ground so I have always grown carrots in a variety of deep pots. Today I planted my first batch of main crop carrots.

My method

Old square flower pots are ideal for carrots

I use these square-ish flower containers as they are deep enough for the carrots to grow and it can be moved around the garden.

I put crocs (bits of broken china, bricks and stones) in the bottom for drainage, fill with multi-purpose compost (or some of my own when it’s ready), add a thin layer of seed compost, water, sprinkle the carrot seeds over the surface then cover with a thin layer of seed compost.

 

I will keep them in the greenhouse until there is no more risk of frost and then I sit the pot up on blocks in a sunny spot in the garden.

I have always just sprinkled the seeds on top of watered compost and let them grow. You are supposed to thin them out but I have never bothered – just don’t sow too many seeds and they will all have plenty of room.

It is also suggested that you sow seeds every 2-3 weeks to provide a continual supply but I have found that as long as they are in the soil they will last for months. There is nothing better than nipping down to the bottom of the garden and pulling some carrots to have with dinner. I will probably plant another pot in 6-8 weeks and that should see me through to autumn.

Purple Haze and Autumn King 2

Last year I grew Purple Haze and Autumn King 2. I mixed the seeds and planted them together so it was always a surprise which colour came out of the pot. It is a good mixture and they look great on the plate.

I still have seeds for both varieties and will continue planting them until I run out.

Now I know that carrots were originally purple and it was the Dutch that changed the colour to orange.  I admire Jamie Oliver for trying to bring back traditional varieties of vegetables, in this case Purple Haze carrots. However, purple carrots MESS WITH MY HEAD and I’m not sure I will grow any more once the seeds have finished.

They look like carrots and taste like carrots but they are purple. Sometimes you just want some nice orange carroty loveliness covered in butter without confusing your brain. Life is too short and the novelty has definitely worn off.

Early Carrots

Early carrots planted in a rose container

This year I read that to get an early crop of carrots use a deep pot, such as a rose container, and bring seeds on in the greenhouse. Here are some I planted on 18 February.  I will let you know if they are ready to eat any earlier than the main crops planted today.

Interesting fact about carrots

If you are planning to grow carrots, keep them at least 18 inches above the ground. The reason? Apparently carrot root fly grubs cannot fly!

 

Keep them well watered during dry spells as this stops the roots from splitting.

Wait until the carrots are in the kitchen before tearing the tops off. The smell of bruised foliage attracts carrot fly.

To store them over winter, any soil should be removed and they should be kept in sand in a cool dark place.