Monday, 27 March 2017

The taste of early potatoes.

I remember my father harvesting the first early potatoes. My mother cooked these potatoes immediately and baked them too. That taste, delicious!

My father used to grow ‘Eerstelingen’. That is why I planted 'Eerstelingen' last year too. But the taste of my 'Eerstelingen' was disappointing. Did he use another variety or is it just nostalgia?

This year I want to try a different potato. So on a rainy February day I arrive at the shop of Veekens zaden. It is over an hour driving by car, but to me a visit to the store is just a treat. In this garden shop I simply want to buy EVERYTHING!

The seed potatoes are kept in a cool place. On either side of a narrow passage crates containing the particular seed potatoes are piled up to the ceiling. All these potato varieties; I instantly feel the stress of having to choose!

After telling which particular potato flavour I like, I’m recommended the English potato Arran Pilot. One thing I know for sure, my father never grew that variety! Yet I take them home with me, together with many flowers and vegetables seeds.

The potatoes sprouted in the barn and after a month or so they are ready for planting. By way of experiment I plant the seed potatoes in plastic containers. I added about 10 cm of soil in each container. Then I planted one potato in every container. As soon as the leaves are above the surface, I will cover them with some soil again. So I – hopefully - will get a big harvest on a small spot.

A large potato harvest .....

Just writing about it makes my mouth watering!

In the shop, I want to buy everything!

These pots.....

And all these seeds I want to sow.....

Looks so inviting to me.

Potato sprout.

The containers with the potatoes.

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Thank you for your kind comments every week. I really enjoy reading them.

Monday, 20 March 2017

The first day of spring.

At my back door
a blackbird
sings of spring.

To miss nothing
of this spring day,
I quickly go out

The freshly mown grass,
like sun shine.

Finally spring.

Blackbird sings.


Blue spring sky.

Spring garden.

Spring flower.

Spring blossom

Hundreds of crosussus

The lawn mowed.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Laughing at Ria or Lia.

The other day I visited my parents in law. Despite her high age, my mother in law is still a keen gardener. For the two of us, a visit to a garden centre is a wonderful getaway.

It may be cold outside, but the sun is shining in the garden centre’s the greenhouse. In the garden centre it is plenty of spring! Like a magnet we are drawn to the tables with spring flowers. All those lovely violets, daffodils, grape hyacinths and hyacinths; we would like to buy them all!

Suddenly my attention is drawn to a small yellow flowering bulb. "Look Mum, this is the Lachenaria". Often, I have seen this bulb on television, but never could buy one. Immediately I put three Lachenaria’s in the shopping cart. Nice! My mother in law puts another three in there too. We will plant these together with some violets in her wicker basket.

Later that afternoon my mother in law asks: "What’s that name again of that yellow bulb?" "Lachenaria" I repeat.” "Lachenaria? (In Dutch: Laugh-at-Ria) That is easy to remember my mother in law said wittedly, because her name is Ria”. She makes a great word play!

But then back home again as I look on my computer to see how hardy the Lauchenaria is Google says: you meant: Lachenalia

Alas I made a mistake. It is Lachenalia, In Dutch: Laughing-to-Lia.

So much for the nice word play. I am wondering, shall I tell her or not?

Lachenalia for sale.

Together with crocus.......

.........on the garden table.

Solo Lachenalia.

In a vase.

Part from the garden of my mother in law.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

How gardening makes you happy. Step 3.

Dear garden girls,
This month we are first fertilizing the garden. Next we are pruning roses. That turns out to be a complicated matter. But I will try to keep it simple.


Maybe you own a HORSE, or know a cow FARMER. If so manure is easy accessible. But…. If you would like to use this manure for your garden it has to be well rotted for at least one season. Because if the manure is too fresh, it will burn your plants. So girls, now is the time to prepare a HEAP for next autumn!

For all the other gardeners there is no alternative other than to buy ready manure at your local garden centre. These stores have so many different types of manure. That makes choosing rather complex. What is best? It is almost as difficult as choosing mister right! In your example garden I always use dried cow manure pellets. Maybe you can start working with these. Even your local HARDWARE store will have those (Mr right too?).

HOW much do I have to use Hetty? The package itself will prescribe 10 kg for 100m2. I have to admit I NEVER weighed these pellets. I trust my gut feeling. So gloves on girls and scatter it all over the plot!

Your example garden


Rose before pruning
Rose after pruning

People will tell you pruning roses is complicated. Many books have been written about it. These will tell you about 'outward buds' for instance........What!! But DO NOT WORRY about those rose buds just BE HAPPY and grab your shears!

Gloves! -No roses without thorns-
Cut out all the brown parts. -These are already dead!-
Cut out all the thin branches. -That is nothing so they can go-
Cut back the thick branches to about 25 cm above the soil. -By doing so you get a lot of good flowers-
Give the rose a handful of (bio) rose fertilizer. -"Thank you," sais the rose, "I'm going to do my best"-

Just do not bother too much about pruning. Do what your HEART tells you to do. And remember just like your hair it will grow back again. After all gardening is about making you HAPPY and not frustrated!

And how to prune all the other shrubs Hetty? Just a simple old pruning tip:

Let it be a mantra for your future garden career!

Let me explain. Suppose you have a lilac. This shrub flowers in late April. If you were to prune the lilac now, you will cut off all the stems it needs to flower on. That won’t make you happy! Wait until after flowering and then prune the shrub into shape.

So PRUNE AFTER BLOOM and remember doing nothing is an option too. Who cares!

FINALLY I show you some pictures I received from the young enthusiastic balcony garden girl M.

Just seeing this makes me HAPPY.  Thanks M.

How gardening makes you happy step 1 
How gardening makes you happy step 2.

Next blog "Gardening makes you happy Step 4" will be on April 3th.

SHARE your gardening activities with your friends on FACEBOOK or twitter and let me know how you are doing!!


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