Thursday 23 April 2020

Your delivery, Madam?

We live and learn. Nearly all of our “sales” so far have been the result of advice provided by us and based on a knowledge of the “customer’s” requirements. The Garden Codger will continue to report what plants are available, but we would like to stress that advice is also on offer. Just let us know your requirements and we will do our best to help – even delivering to the door wherever possible

Sowing and reaping
As it tells us in the Bible: if you don’t sow, you won’t reap.  We have now done six weeks of lockdown (we started a week early). Trying to think ahead I rummaged through every seed packet in the shed and sowed every seed I came across in the greenhouse. The result? A lot of seedlings! And, I am pleased to say, lots and lots of tomato seedlings. Most people like tomatoes and, hopefully, this will be the year you try growing your own.  It is not difficult. You do not need much space. In fact, you do not even need a garden. A porch or a balcony will do the trick – proved it gets sun for a good part of the day. There are two ways to grow tomatoes. The best way for a novice is to start with a potted bush tomato. Looking at that first:

Bush tomatoes
As the name suggests, the bush tomato grows in a bush shape and does not require any pruning. You just let it grow! Place the pot in a sunny spot and keep it watered. After flowering, tiny green tomatoes will form in trusses. At this stage you start feeding – a couple of times a week. Buy liquid feed, dilute, and apply. You can obtain tomato feed at most supermarkets. Unless you are growing on an industrial scale, one bottle is enough for the season. I find the Wilko version cheap and does the job fine. 
[Tip: although the directions will focus on tomatoes you can use this feed on almost anything you want to grow]

Cordon (or vine) tomatoes
These require more work – and probably give more interest, too. By pinching out the side shoots the aim is to produce a single stem that grows up and up – as much as a couple of metres. The technique of pinching-out can be learned by looking at videos on the internet. By the way, I recommend those produced by Charles Dowding, see:

Although cordon tomatoes are normally grown in a greenhouse, most summers are warm enough to get good, but later, results growing outside. In or out, the long stem, or vine, needs strong support. Again, YouTube abounds with information. Seasoned growers will want to know what varieties will be available from this quarter so look again tomorrow. I find that tomatoes growers have strong preferences!

Almost forgot to say: for amatuer growers, the fruit of cordon tomato plants tend to be bigger.  Usually, bush tomatoes are bred to produce bite-size, sweet fruit.  The cherry tomatoes that are much in favour

Long season variety - cropping April to October
Rhubarb and Custard
We have just picked and eaten our first rhubarb of the season. Although we can’t supply the custard, we have a couple of nice rhubarb plants potted up and ready to go at Garden Codger’s Nursery.  Get in touch in the usual way if you are interested. And, don’t forget, we’ll do our best to provide any other plants you need.  I've just had a request for a Rudbeckia and I thought they were all gone - but managed to find one.  So, it's worth asking. See the photo below

All for now from the Gardening Codger

PS - I have only just spotted a problem with the dating of these blogs.  I'm actually publishing on Friday 24th yet the date displayed is Thursday 23rd.  Need to sort that - another weekend gone!

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