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Geoff Hodge Web Editor Peterborough

I've been a horticultural journalist for 20 years, a gardener for longer than I want to think about and a veg grower for 25 years.

  • Date Joined: 21 Nov 2006

Recent Comments

  • Massed seedlings

    Geoff Hodge on 28 Apr 2008 at 06:06 PM

    As predicted last week, this weekend involved plenty of pricking out and potting on. And, as far as the veg garden was involved, that was about the size of it.

    That’s the problem with any form of seed sowing – the seeds only take up a pot or tray when you sow them, but each plant needs its own cell in a cell tray or individual pot to grow on in and the room these take up can be phenomenal. Especially when the – ‘can’t bear to throw it out’ syndrome comes into play.
    The propagators were full of pots of germinating or germinated seeds and young seedlings – including I don’t know how many different cultivars of peppers and tomatoes, aubergines, melons, cucumbers, courgettes plus some flowering ornamentals (but we won’t mention them here!). So, there was only one thing for it – a strategy had to be thought up. The answer, in the end, was quite easy. *** out everything into individual pots and cell trays and move them into the lean-to frame. This was full of the shallots, onions and leeks plus broad beans and peas. There was only one thing to do – move the peas and beans out to harden off and ask girlfriend Clare to go get a tan at the allotment and plant out the allium crops. This she did with her allotment buddy Michelle and came back three hours later with very sore, red arms – sunburn in April!
    Having cleared out the propagators of the seedlings that needed pricking out, there was just one more thing to do this weekend – fill them up again with more pots and trays of seeds. Clare and I set up a production line in the conservatory and after a couple of hours had sown more peas, French and runner beans, an assortment of brassicas, three different squashes, sweet corn and leeks.
    We ran out of compost and trays so popped along to the garden centre where, as usual, unplanned purchases joined those things we’d gone for – a couple more cucumber plants and, despite the already burgeoning National Collection of Tomatoes that was growing at home, I was taken by three plants of tomato ‘Black Russian’.
    Luckily, we plan to swop some of the tomatoes with friends, so we won’t have to grow them all on and we always give some to Gino from the Pasta Shop – always a good idea to keep in with the local shopkeepers!
    Now this veg blog only contains a bit of the work I got up to – all my general gardening can be read on my own blog


  • Crazy weekend

    Geoff Hodge on 21 Apr 2008 at 09:10 AM

    Yet another forecast for a mixed bag of weather meant that this weekend I needed to get cracking early – just in case, just in case things turned really nasty and put the kybosh on my plans. As a result I was out in the garden by 8o’clock on both days.

    The weather wasn’t as bad as I’d expected – Saturday was great until about 5o’clock; Sunday started out dull, damp, dingy and wet, but by 11.15am(having gone indoors for American pancakes and The Archers) it had stopped raining and the rest of the day was fine


  • In & out

    Geoff Hodge on 16 Apr 2008 at 04:18 PM

    Because we’ve been away the last couple of weekends and haven’t managed to spend much time on the garden or on the allotment, jobs were beginning to pile up – and both my girlfriend Clare and I were beginning to get just a tad twitchy about the situation.

    So this weekend we were going to get on with things whatever the weather. Perhaps a touch too much bravado considering the forecast