Nasturtiums

Nasturtiums are those lovely easy to grow mainly orange coloured flowers that  will proliferate in your garden.  At Mitzvahs and Marrows we feel the garden is just not a garden without nasturtiums.

Not only do nasturtiums come in all sorts of colours from pale cream to dark maroon, but the leaves are edible too and taste quite peppery and similar to watercress.  In fact you can also eat the flower petals (not that we have tried!), and the green seeds that form after flowering can be pickled too.

nasturtiums flowering away

nasturtiums flowering away

To sow nasturtiums you don’t need a great big plot of land or a large garden border, you can sow a few seeds in medium sized pots with multi-purpose compost and get a great result.  Of course you can sow nasturtium seeds directly in the borders if you wish.  Give the flowers something to climb up as they do have a tendency to take over!

colourful nasturtiums

colourful nasturtiums

Now nasturtiums can get attacked by black fly and greenfly.  In this case either remove the affected leaves (sometimes they congregate on only one or two leaves), or give them a squirt with old washing up water!

If you have any questions about growing nasturtiums please post your queries at the end of this post.

May Gardening Tasks

It seems as though this month is racing by and still you are wondering what to do in the garden, so here are the main gardening tasks to get going with in May.  And with this being Chelsea Flower Show week you have no excuse … not sure why, but you don’t 😉

  • If you have any containers make sure you keep them well watered.  Now the sun has come out your container plants will lose moisture more quickly than plants that are in the border.  Yes, I know it has been raining buckets lately but do not be fooled containers need extra care this time of year.
  • Keep on top of those weeds – remember if you get to a weed before it flowers you save yourself years of further weeding because it won’t get to spread.
  • (*Warning: Don’t eat your dinner whilst reading this point!) Also slugs and snails will be out in force attempting to do their worst to your plants and flowers.  If you prefer to be organic about it, instead of using slug pellets (though there are organic ones on the market) why not use porridge oats, or a no.9 boot? – just kidding!
  • At Mitzvahs and Marrows our potatoes are growing apace with plenty of green foliage on display.  This means it is time to earth up the potatoes so that the emerging tubers are not exposed to the air, plus hopefully you should get larger potatoes too.
  • It is probably best to avoid planting out tender plants though because there will still be a danger of frosts at night.  It is better to wait until next month so more on that in June.
  • It is a good time to sow beetroots seeds.  Prepare the earth by hoeing  until you have a nice fine tilth.  Use the hoe to make shallow lanes in which to sow your beetroot seeds.  Sow not too thinly because you can always thin out the weaker plants as the beetroots emerge.  Cover over with soil about 2cm deep and water in.  At Mitzvahs and Marrows we have sown ‘Boltardy’, ‘Monoruba’ & ‘Burpees Golden’ (which is yellow in colour as the name suggests).

Happy growing and from all of us at Mitzvahs and Marrows we would like to take the opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Shavuot!

Attack of the rogue potatoes

Yes, last month there was an attack by rogue potatoes on the Mitzvahs and Marrows allotment! 😯  Fear not we were able to vanquish these rogue potatoes and free up the vegetable beds from these invaders :mrgreen:

Seriously though, what do we mean by rogue potatoes?  In previous years at Mitzvahs and Marrows we had planted out potato crops.  However thinking we had harvested all the potatoes at the end of the season, yes there were some left in. This is quite common with potatoes and they do have a habit of over wintering and then turning up in the middle of your other crops the following year.

This does not have to be a big problem as long as you don’t leave the potatoes in situ as they will compete with your other crops (in our case leeks and onions) and can also damage any crop rotation you are trying to do.

So last week we all got togged up into our gardening gear and braving the lashing rain carefully dug up the rogue potatoes, replanted some into pots and saved others to give away to other groups at the Centre.

No potato was harmed in the making of this blog 😆