We have a gardening competition here at York Rise and, in past years, I've entered the Best Balcony category - not, I must say, because I believe my balcony is worthy of the title but because I feel the need to counter the entrants who buy swathes of bedding plants with which to impress the judges. I feel that the competition should be about more than just the ice cream at the end of the pier.
Last year I grew an eclectic, edible mix of herbs, lavender, peppers, tomatoes and a few flowers among the ivy and mesembryanthemum (it took me months to learn that name!). It didn't quite do it for the judges (they actually commented on the muted colours of my planting! - What's wrong with green?) so no rosettes for me.
This year, the battle continues and I'd already ordered some potatoes from Dobies ("The Keen Gardener's Choice") to grow in planters on the balcony, when the Gardening Guru pitched up with a few seed potatoes for us. This turned out to number about 120. So, my order to Dobies was cancelled as no longer needed and my money refunded. Spool forward a few days and my Postie hands me a large box labelled: 'Live Plants'. Ah. Let's open the box, shall we?
Oh, what joy! More potatoes! from Dobies!
I rang them to put them in the picture and they have generously donated them to the Veg Patch. For which, I thank you.
So… Voilà my bedroom chitters - Swift (floury), Charlotte (salad), Vivaldi (creamy, smooth, yum) :
And this is (half of) our greenhouse chitters:
… all labelled up so that we know what we're growing and when they'll be ready. (A process which made me feel tremendously organised and with the bonus that I've learned an awful lot about spuds.)
Dobies: Have been awarded Best Seed Supplier by Which? magazine and I found them to be very nice people to do business with - friendly, efficient, quick to answer the phone and a real person to speak to! Recommended. (The link under their name will take you through to their website which has a fantastic range of plants, seeds and special offers.)