Monday 3 June 2013

The Victory Garden - April - Spring Has Sprung

"April, April, Laugh thy girlish laughter;
Then, the moment after,Weep thy girlish tears."

Well without further delay it's time to fill you all in on Aprils progress The Victory Garden.
The country lane in Walthamstow of all places, which I walk down to get to the site. 
The countryside feel of this lane is deceptive as I am constantly embarrassing myself by Hello-ing at dog walkers, who look disgusted at me for speaking to them, "Don't you know this is Walthamstow we don't talk to strangers". Last week, I think I accidentally flirted with a chap by merely smiling and saying "Morning" he looked so delighted, winked at me and shouted back Fab Four, which it took me a while to decipher was in reference to the Beatles T-shirt I was wearing, I smiled and scurried off to catch my bus!
April and May have both been quite busy months in the garden, as I have tried to keep on top of all that needs to be done! The weather was just a tad more friendly, though still not what I had hoped, it was not so much 'Drip, drip, drop little April shower' as 'flip, flip, filp flipping cold', we had lots and lots of early morning frost which made me question my sanity when planting out.

So the main digging is pretty much done all that is left are areas that if I get time I will work over, but if not it's no great problem, the new task now is re-digging over the first section which the weeds are gradually reclaiming, and planting in my onions and legumes before the weeds attempt to return!

The last of my potatoes were planted at the beginning of April, they are all currently underground growing away (fingers crossed) in the second section and soon will  have poked its way out of the soil enough to be earthed up.

My chitted Potatoes, ready for planting - this odd weather seems to have slowed their chitting, they normally have much more shoot growth before planting
 My February planted broad beans finally were big enough to be planted out, I didn't realise just how many I seeds would germinate as I had enough for three 10 ft long rows!!

First two rows in, one to go!
They are now snuggled underneath, a pair of net curtains that Beau took exception to and ripped holes in, the blighter, at least they are not wasted! Also the fruit bushes are looking good considering being uprooted and pruned they are greening up nicely and have some fruit producing blossom at the ready.
Broad Beans nestling under a protective curtain --- Fruit bushes survived my butchery and are looking good!
Also, the onions which I'd planted in seed trays in March we ready to be moved from my cold-frame at home to the Allotment.
Now is the time to plant out onions raised under glass. Harden the plants off gradually and plant them out in rows 1 ft. apart, leaving 6 in. between each plant. See that each bulb is set just on top of the ground and press the soil firmly around its roots. Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide 1945 -April
He he, how wobbly are those rows! Proof if it were needed that I cannot plant (or stitch) in a straight line! :)
Planting my sets in trays worked a treat and so the onions were raring to go! They have now been planted in the first section, next to the shallots which are also doing well!!

So on to the seeds planted in April

Wartime Seed Varieties: Cheltenham Green Top, Covent Garden Select, Dell's Crimson,Volunteer, Detriot Improved Globe, Early Wonder Globe, Feltham Intermediate.
Sow globe crops in April, longer varieties in May. Drills should be 1-1/2 to 2 in. deep and at least 1 ft. apart. Sow seeds in small clusters 6 in. apart, to avoid waste, and thin the plants to one when three leaves have formed. A few strands of black cotton stretched above the rows will protect the seedlings from troublesome birds. Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide 1945 -April
'Boltardy" from the 99p Store
I've sewn one row so far of beetroot and in a few days I will plant another, row as I really love beetroot, it's great in salads, smoothies, cakes, and pickles, I think if I could grow just two things it would be sprouts and beetroot!

Wartime Seed Varieties: Best of All Dwarf,Christmas Drumhead, Dwarf Green Curled, Early Summer, Emperor, Enfield Market Late Drumhead, Norwegian, Tender & True, Tom Thumb, January King, Nonpareil, Clucas' Early Market 218, Early Offenham, Flower Of Spring, Primo
The Ministry's cropping plan does not include cabbages for use in summer and early autumn, except as an alternative to runner beans in cold districts. If you have enough room, however, and you would like a choice of green vegetables in late summer, sow a row now in the seedbed (see page 3 of March Guide).
I don't actually remember what variety these are, as they were only in a foil lined sachet with cabbages written on but they are from my stash so would have been a few years old, they have germinated well

Wartime Seed VarietiesAll the Year Round, Feltham King, Lobjoit’s Green Cos, Arctic King, Stanstead Park, Hardy Winter White Cos, Webb's Wonderful, Tom Thumb, Black Seeded and Jumbo.

Continue to sow a short row (1/2 in. deep) every fortnight, to make sure of crops in succession. Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide 1945 -April
'Tom Thumb' 
I have now started planting my lettuce, I opted to put the first lot in a seed tray for transplanting, hopefully, when the get a little bigger, I will plant the next seeds direct. As well as growing 'Tom Thumb' which is a miniature lettuce I have also ordered some 'Little Gem' seeds which is a cos style lettuce (it's more sturdy and compact with white stems on the leaves) which I am hoping will ensure we get lots of fresh salads over the next few months

Wartime Seed Varieties: Alaska, Alderman, Blue Bird, Blue Prussian, Early Bird, Essex Star, Harrisons Glory, Kelvedon Wonder, Laxtons Supurb, Lincoln, Meteor, Onward, Pilot, Senator, Standard, Thomas Laxton, Timperly Wonder.
The March Guide (page 4) dealt with the sowing of peas. This is just to remind you to sow main crop peas in April. For late crops you can sow such varieties as Little Marvel and Onward as late as June. Unless your soil is in very good heart, a top dressing of super-phosphate––2 ounces per square yard––at blossom time helps the pods to swell. Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide 1945 -April
The first batch of plants went in at the beginning of May, it's been interesting to see how the varieties grow at different rates , both sets were planted on the same day but the Alderman have shot away! I have been planting A handful more seeds every 2 weeks, to hopefully get a succession of yummy scummy peas!

Wartime Seed Varieties: Long-Standing Summer, Round-Leafed Victoria & Prickly, King of Denmark, Monstrous Viroflay, Reliance, Blanchford's New Prickly, Giant Lettuce Leaved, Long Standing,The C.O.

Spinach may be sown both in spring (March to May) and late summer (August). Drills should be 1 in. deep and 15 in. apart. In autumn or early winter, spinach beet supplies leaves that take the place of spinach in autumn or early winter. It is also known as "Perpetual Spinach" and some people prefer it. The drills should be 18 in. apart. You can sow it in April and again in July. Ministry of Agriculture Allotment & Garden Guide 1945 -April

I did a bit of research on transplanting spinach and it seems the jury is out, some people swear by it and others swear it's a disaster, so we will see how mine works out! I have bought two types of spinach the above is a leaf beat type which is more of a salad crop called 'Reddy' I have also got some Medania seed which is a little more sturdy which I will plant directly in a few days time.

So that was April, in The Victory Garden, April and May truly seem to have flown by I can't believe that it will be June, on Saturday, where has the time gone!

Wendy x


  1. What a wonderful lot of vegetables you are growing. You must be very green fingered :-) Hope this beautiful weather continues so all your plants can get well established! X

  2. oh it's so thrilling! Your allotment looks amazing, I'm so glad the frosts seem to have now passed. I am too planning to get the last few seedlings into the ground.

  3. Aw, you are such a good gardener! You've inspired me to do more, I now have tomatoes and chillies in grow bags. It's going to be fab to see how your veggies grow.

  4. Ooo...Walthamstow is a bit posh! But your garden is looking so tidy and promising...I am sure you will have plenty of salads and veg to last you through autumn and winter! I love little gem lettuce...they are so cute and also have this natural slightly sweet flavour to them. Well done my lovely and I am sure it will be a proper victory garden....can't wait to see what it looks like when everything has grown! Have a lovely week!
    May xx