Thursday, 12 March 2015

Seeds and seedlings galore

Posted by Rosie

This week the weather has been fabulous in Normandy and warm spring sunshine, no rain and only a couple of frosts early on, have meant that I have made great strides in the veg garden.  

My sneaky plan to stop the mice eating all my seeds seems to have paid off.  I have seedlings!  The broad beans I germinated in the house are now growing well and are hardening off outside before being planted out very soon (weather permitting):

Broad beans hardening off outside

The other seeds I sowed in the cold frame have remained out of reach to mice and are busy germinating safely.  

Seedlings growing

Mice apparently don't like nasturtiums.  Last year I was a bit late clearing the nasturtiums after they had flowered and set seed so now they are growing like weeds in amongst the onions.  Before weeding them out I potted up this lot, some of which will go in a window box for the gite and others I will either have for us or sell at a Boot Fair.  Oh how I like a free plant!
Potted up nasturtiums

I have also started off all my peppers and tomatoes ... which turned out to be rather a lot.  For anyone who is interested this is the list of what I have sown but if you are not, just skip down to the next picture!


Doux D'Espagne
Marconi Rosa
One other I can't read (oops)


Coeur de Boeuf
Yellow Poire
Green Zebra
Pomodoro Cherry
Golden Sunset
Noire Russe

Curcabits (that's everything in the cucumber/melon/courgette/pumpkin etc family)

Cucumber - Crystal Apple
Courgette verte non coureuse d'Italie
Courgette verte non coureuse des Maraîches
Courgette jaune non coureuse Sebring

Oh and these packets of round and flat white courgettes just sort of fell into my basket today when I was buying animal feed and onion/shallot sets this afternoon.  Honestly, they just fell in ... !

MORE seeds?

I've also got some seeds sown outside with 2 double rows of broad beans, 2 rows of parsnips and a row of early turnips.  Straggly rambling fruit bushes (tayberry, blackberry and loganberry) have all been pruned and tied back and I have the scars to prove it as one particularly errant tayberry whipped back across my nose!  I got it in the end though.

Thursday is market day at Condé-sur-Noireau.  I've not been to market for ages as my friend and partner in chicken/plant buying crime snapped her Achilles tendon and was unable to drive there, but she is now mobile again and so to market I will be going!  There is a strong possibility I may come home with vegetable seedlings!  Watch this space.

All this is, however, in stark contrast to 2 years ago when this is what we woke up to on March 12th 2013:

March 12th 2013

Deep snow, temperatures down to -10ºC and no power for 52 hours.  Let's hope winter hasn't anything like that left up her sleeve, although to be fair that was an extremely freak occurrence for March!  Whilst I sincerely hope we don't get a repetition of this, I do know that this gorgeous spring weather may not last so I have plenty of old blankets etc at the ready to cover the cold frame and seedlings in case the temperature does decide to tumble.

All in all then, a very fruitful week in the garden.  Have you been lucky enough to have spring gardening weather this week or are you still under winter's white mantle?  Pop over to Annie's How Does your Garden Grow linky and you'll see what other gardeners have been up to.

Simple Wanderlust


  1. I'm going to give nasturtiums a go to add to the mint which is also supposed to be a deterrent. I hope the nasturtiums are more effective. When the weather cools down a bit I'm hoping I might be able to get some seedlings in the ground too, nowhere near as much as you but I have some daikon seeds and I want to give them a go.

    1. I love the way you are heading to cooler weather and now you can start veg gardening again! We need summer for that. Good lick with the daikons - I have never tried to grow those.

  2. Amazing variety of tomatoes! I so look forward to growing tomatoes soon myself - store shop ones just don't compare. And here's to hoping lots more spring sunshine.

    1. You are so right - once you've tasted a freshly picked home-grown tomato nothing else gets anywhere near ... even those from the market.

  3. Wow it's all go there now - SO happy to see that the micies dinner plans have been scuppered! I have all sort of mental images of you sat in the poly tunnel stroking the seed packets with glee now :)

    Can't wait to see everything grow- the tomatoes especially - that's quite the list you have there. And now I am off to my pantry where I may or may not have the little jar of Tayberry jam from the gite... *mums the word*

    Thank you for joining in again lovely and the birthday wishes! x

    1. Enjoy the jam and remember I spilt blood for that! I can't wait for the tomatoes either. I have just chomped on a rather tasteless and very thick skinned one from the supermarket with almost zero flavour and I need MY tomatoes all the more now.

  4. hooray for sunshine!! you are such a pro at this

    1. Not sure about being a pro - I have my fair share of failures.

  5. Lovely to see all those seedlings and wow look at those broad beans - mine are just starting to germinate. I have nasturtiums usually self seeding all over my allotment so this year I think I will do as you do and dig them up to put in my window boxes at home.

    I've grown Roma tomatoes out of your list and usually do Gardener's Delight and San Marzano.

    1. If you really want a taste sensation I would recommend Noire Russe (probably called Black Russian in the UK) - they are FABULOUS. Of all of the tomatoes I am gorwing this year, the one I have liked the least is Yellow Poire (Yellow Pepper) but I am giving it another go as it is a gorgeous tomato to look at, like a tiny yellow pear and maybe the weather wasn't ideal to get the best taste when I grew it before.

  6. so many tomatoes i would want to sniff your poly tunnel, that sounds a bit odd doesnt it ?

    1. LOL - erm, slightly!! Would you believe that with all those tomatoes I actually don't really like the smell of the plant? I do however love the taste of home-grown tomatoes.

  7. I massively miss growing my own veg. It's one of those things that I have on my list to start doing again "one day". Yours look to be going fabulously, I hope you have a great growing year!x

  8. Wow, you are way ahead of me, I have one seed-tray of toms. Thanks for the tip about mice not liking nasturtiums I will give that a go.

  9. I definitely know the problem of seeds just falling into my basket! Things look to be coming along well. I love broad beans but I have been put off growing them for fear of black fly.

  10. Yay to the mouse banishment! hope it continues and you look very organised (although I don't know why I'm surprised by this :) )

  11. oh i cannot wait to have nasturtiums again! all your little seedlings make me anxious to get to planting!


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