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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

In & out

Posted by 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!

Because there was so much to do and some jobs involved being in the potting shed, I managed to spend my time outside when it was sunny and indoors when it wasn’t. And boy wasn’t it at times! I managed to get on with plenty of indoor seed sowing dodging heavy showers, thunderstorms, hail and sleet – all in all, a nice mixed bag.

Indoors we got on with sowing more tomatoes, courgettes, sweet corn, cucumbers, peppers, aubergines, basil and even some melons.

I even got on with some outdoor sowing. The raised beds at home have been covered with polythene for a couple of months now, so the soil was nice and warm. I put in a row of mixed salad leaves, a cos lettuce mix, rocket 'Apollo’, carrot ‘Early Nantes 2’ and beetroot ‘Burpees Golden Globe’. As a near frost was forecast that night I’ve decided to keep the polythene on for a while – as well as keeping the soil and seedlings cosy it’s also good for keeping the local cat population away. I’ve learnt my lesson – in the past nicely sown rows have come up all over the place thanks to feline scratching. I also decided to put in a row of dwarf French bean ‘Fandango, covered with fleece, and a cell tray full of dwarf runner bean ‘Hestia’.

On Sunday we decided to risk a few hours at the allotment – there was the seed potatoes and garlic to put out of their misery, languishing at home desperate for some soil to get their feet into. What started off as a really nice morning, soon deteriorated into a day of heavy showers. Luckily, we can get the car onto the allotment, so we dodged the rain in the car, looking at a road map and wondering where in Norfolk we could go for a weekend away; once all the crops were well under way, of course!

In between the showers we planted what we had to, did some weeding, tidying up and feeding and then gave up when the next thunderstorm reared its ugly head.

By 7 o’clock Sunday evening we’d finished. Were thoroughly damp to say the least, but pleased that we’d more-or-less caught up with ourselves. We celebrated with a nice bottle of rosé.

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