Self-kippering, a guide

fire binWait for weeks for the wind to be from the right direction on a dry day. Build a substantial fire, unwittingly using damp straw at the base. Light. Absent-mindedly stand downwind. Later on, count how many noses wrinkle in Waitrose as you waft by in search of cat litter…

gooseberry propagationMost of last year’s hedge trimmings are now a pile of ash, which will be scattered under the fruit bushes when cool, as long as Storm Katie doesn’t have any friends stopping by anytime soon. I have something of an embarrassment of riches in the fruit department. I stuck 20 goosegog prunings in the ground last autumn, and they all appear to have taken. I only want a few to have a go at training as standards. They are very vigorous, green, cooking gooseberries, variety unknown – if anyone in the London area would like some, drop me a comment below.

I still want to get a couple of dwarf buddleias for the hedge (it’s overly biased towards thorny, uncooperative vegetation) but I have also splashed out on a couple of echinaceas. This could be the slippery slope towards more flower enthusiasm.

shetland kaleBefore Storm Katie it looked like potato planting was approaching. The soil was drying out and I cleared the brassica bed in happy anticipation, including this glorious Shetland Kale, which tastes lovely and is stunningly beautiful. We’re going to be eating kale a lot over the next few days – possibly another reason, besides the kippering, to stand upwind… My plot’s back to bog now – I’ve even got what looks like pondweed in the puddles, they’ve been around so long. But that was All Katie Did, on our site there was remarkably little damage given the huge amount of noise all night, just an awful lot of water. Everywhere. I was expecting my greenhouse to be largely elsewhere – hats off to the palram people and their version of reinforced clingfilm! Those panels stand up to quite a battering!

I succumbed to cheaptree-itis in Wilcos this weekend in lieu of chocolate, and walked home along the river carrying a £10 7ft Charles Ross. I am a bit of a sucker for Orange Pippin-parented trees. And this one is dual purpose. I intend to plant it as a cordon at the back of #92.  It seems to have 2 leaders though and I’m not sure which to remove.

LRF MarchThe greenhouse is quite crowded at the moment – albeit with many temporary residents. Peas and beans will go out in a week or so, clearing a couple of shelves. Likewise the transplanted raspberries when they have had a little more recuperation time. My onions from seed are doing well – the Long Red Florence shallots in particular are flying along. They’ve been in the modules a while, so now they get food with their water as the compost must be exhausted.

Sowed: Magnolia Blossom Tendril pea, turnips, and the second shift of tomatoes – 100s&1000s, Blaby Special, Black Icicle, Black Cherry, Blush, Medovaya Kaplya, Principe Borghese (bush), Purple Ukraine, Sosulka Oranzheraya (Orange Icicle), Sweet Aperitif, Sunrise Bumblebee

All of the last tomato sowing are up and now sunning themselves in the growlight garden, bar Latah which is just showing through now and Rob Smith’s Trial ‘C’ tomato which hasn’t germinated at all so far. I am mystified.

3 replies

  1. I grow a couple of gooseberries as standards – I think they look good in that form, and it makes it much easier to pick the fruit.