Monthly Archives: March 2011

Spring Has Sprung

Potato trenches

It’s March, my house (and greenhouse) is steadily filling with seed trays as things get underway (cucumbers and bell peppers added to the list since my last post, with the tomatoes to go in as soon as I have time)

On the allotment, it’s time (probably overdue!) for the first early potatoes to go in, now that I have enough ground for them. I’m taking the same approach as last year – dig some shallow trenches and plant the potatoes at the bottom. This makes earthing up a much simpler process of just filling the trenches back in, which makes up for the fact that you have to dig the damn trenches in the first place. A little more work now means an easier life later on.

My next project will have to be clearing the rest of the potato patch in time for the main crops to go in next month; I’m also very aware that it’s getting close to the stage where a whole lot of things need planting and sowing outside, and I’ve barely made a scratch in all the clearing I need to do over there.

It turns out I’m not the only one feeling the pressure; despite it being a week day, when I went over to the allotment this morning to put the potatoes in, there were more people around than I’ve ever seen. There were people working on at least 5 plots that I could see from my own, all enjoying the sunshine and trying to get things going.

Starting Sowing

Chilli Seeds

Well, with spring definitely around the corner it’s time to start getting things started. The initial batch of seeds are for things which will end up in the greenhouse, as they’ll be slightly less endangered if Nature decides to suddenly bring the snow back next month (it could happen…)

A couple of weeks ago, the first seeds – two varieties of chilli peppers – went into the heated propagator. The Dedo de Mocha sweet Aji have all germinated and grown tall, and have moved to an unheated propagator in preparation for being potted up, but there’s no sign of the other variety, Twilight. These came from a friend, and we were warned that they’re very slow germinators so for now, at least, all hope is not lost.

Today I sowed the next batch – our Long White cucumber, and Orange Bell sweet peppers. The remaining March sowings, the tomatoes, will go in after these have germinated, probably in another couple of weeks.

All our potatoes are now sat in the shed chitting, and the first earlies arejust itching to get into the ground. Now I just need to get over to the allotment and clear enough ground for them to go in!

Win Tickets to BBC Gardeners’ World Live at Birmingham NEC

I have no statistics to back me up but, anecdotally, it seems to me that an interest in gardening is on the increase, with more and more people enjoying the challenge and reward of growing their own, be it flowers, vegetable or fruit.

Where better to meet the experts, be inspired by show gardens, browse and shop for all kinds of gardening products, and find all the motivation you could ask for than at the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show? This summer’s show is at the NEC in Birmingham and runs from June 15th to 19th 2011.

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A London Gardener is very pleased to offer our readers the chance to win one of three pairs of tickets to the show. This is our first competition, and we think it’s a great one!

What can you do at the show?

  • Meet the presenters of BBC Gardener’s World – Monty Don, Alan Titchmarsh, Carol Klein, Joe Swift, Rachel de Thame – and the team behind the magazine including editor Adam Pasco
  • Attend some of the great line up of expert talks and Q&As sessions held in lecture theatres, show gardens and on stage throughout the show.
  • Glean ideas and inspiration, or simply appreciate the RHS Show Gardens
  • Meet professional specialist growers in the RHS Floral Marquee, ask them for their top tips and buy some new plants for your home and garden
  • Learn a new skill at one of the priority floristry master classes (extra £20 fee on top of entrance ticket)
  • Visit the CountryFile Magazine area and meet some of the presenters from the TV show, including John Craven, Simon King and Julia Bradbury
  • See how you can grow your own vegetables even in small spaces, by visiting the Edible Patches feature, new for 2011
  • Browse and shop along Plant Avenue
  • Find out more about the National Plant Societies, from their representatives at the show

And – how’s this for great value? Your ticket to BBC Gardeners’ World Live includes free entry (on the same day) to the BBC Good Food Show Summer

How to enter

  1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what you’d most like to visit at the show. Please ensure you leave your email address* in the field provided or in the body of your comment. Entries without any means of contacting the winner will not be included in the draw.
  2. Enter on twitter by tweeting the following:
    I’d love to win a pair of tickets to BBC Gardeners’ World Live from alondongardener.com #ALGComp1

Details

  • Each of the three prizes is a pair of entry tickets to the BBC Gardeners World Live show at the NEC in June 2011. The tickets are for general admission on any day excluding Saturday 18 June 2011 and include entry to the BBC Good Food Show Summer on the same date.
  • The prize cannot redeemed for cash.
  • Tickets are non refundable and non-exchangeable. Ticket terms and conditions apply.
  • The prize is provided by BBC Haymarket Exhibitions and will be delivered by A London Gardener.
  • The tickets can be delivered to UK residents only.
  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Monday 4th April 2011.
  • A winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • The winner will be notified by email or twitter by Wednesday 6th April and asked to provide a delivery address. If no response is received by Friday 8th April, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

*If you don’t have a secondary email address already and are nervous about sharing your main email address on the internet, why not set up a new free email account on hotmail, gmail or yahoo, that you can use to enter competitions like this?


We will also be offering three pairs of tickets to BBC Good Food Show Summer + BBC Gardener’s World Live on sister blog, Kavey Eats. Enter there too and increase your chances of winning!