Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Peaty Perils...

Whilst the allocation of an allotment (what fantastic alliteration so early on in this post!) remedied one problem – that of having no space – it transpires that the Great Outdoors presents its very own set of difficulties.

I made a trip up to the allotment this weekend, only to discover that my raised beds had made some rather unwelcome bedfellows. This rear bed, next to the stream, is underneath a large tree (see shade issue referred to in the previous post) that is now haemorrhaging seeds faster than David Cameron is shedding popularity – certainly no mean feat. But politics aside, you can see I have a new problem to deal with, illustrated beautifully by the following picture:

Incidentally, if anyone is able to identify the type of seed (and even tree) from these pictures, I'd be most grateful – and very impressed!

Anyway; I digress. I set to, picking up these seeds by hand, as I didn't want to use the fine rake and risk upsetting the tiny, shallow-planted carrot seeds that have only been in the soil for a week.

After a laborious 20 minutes or so, the patch was clear, although my hands were covered in more pollen than a drone of bees. Although both the patch (and my yellow hands) were easily cleared up in a matter of minutes, this example has gone to show that gardening in the Great Outdoors is a whole different ball game to pottering about on a balcony.

I'm thinking of investing in some sort of fine-mesh cover to put over this bed whilst the tree continues shedding its seeds, although after clearing up the patch, it seems that the soil is lumpy, crumbly and nowhere near fine enough to accommodate such tiny, fragile seeds as carrots.

Am I being too precious? Are seeds designed to grow in hardy outdoor conditions like this, or should I start again using much finer soil or compost? Leave a comment here - or why not write on the London Vegetable Garden's official Facebook wall?


  1. I wouldn't sweat it I think your seeds once they don't dry out will do just fine, the greater foe is slugs if there are a lot about they can decimate a row of newly emerged carrot seedling so quickely, you'd be justified to think they never germinated.

    Those aren't seeds but the spent flowers of said tree, so won't cause any harm, the seeds will come later and if you aren't seeing a mass of tree seedlings popping up in and around your plot (ask previous owners if this is normally the case) they probably won't be a problem. I have a huge oak tree over the lower part of my garden and the acorns are thick like carpet in the autumn, most germinate but are easily removed from areas they are not wanted, as young seedlings trees are easy to get rid of.

    Looks like you ahving a lot of fun, plot on ;)

  2. I have the same covering on my recently dug dug tiny veg plot. The culprit is the silver birch tree in next doors garden. I don't think they will do any harm.

  3. Hi Kella and Lynda,

    Thanks for the reassuring comments! Having re-visited the allotment this weekend (May 3rd) the plot is covered again, but the seeds are still not showing - I belive I need to prepare the soil a bit better and start again.



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