Tag Archives: Mr Middleton

Mr Middleton’s Gardening Calendar 1939

Some weeks ago l had an email from Jane Newman who had been reading my blog. She told me she had found an old calendar of Mr Middleton in a charity shop and, since reading my blog, thought it fitting to send it on to me. I asked her to send it to a friend who was visiting France and they could bring it out with them. I had to wait a few weeks but it was passed onto me last night. I was amazed to find, not only the exceptional condition it was in, but that it was still in its original box! I shall be referring to it a lot over the coming months as each page covers a week and is packed with gardening advice. So, Thank You Jane for your kindness and generosity. You have restored my faith in human nature.


Posted by on April 3, 2010 in April


Tags: ,

Planting Early Potatoes

March-3rd Week

2. Plant Early Potatoes.- Begin planting early potatoes wherever possible. In the south and parts of the midlands doubtless some can be got in now. They should be well sprouted and have the number of sprouts reduced to two, unless you prefer a larger number of small potatoes. Unhealthy tubers should be destroyed. Do not plant any that are suffering from dry rot, as they merely decay in the soil. By planting now, new potatoes can be obtained really early.

With the soil being so warm and dry l decided to plant out some early potatoes under cover. Rain was forecast today but never arrived, however, tomorrow looks awful and l couldn’t waste this opportunity.

I started by adding a good load of leaf mould and a sprinkling of organic fertilizer into the soil.

I then covered the whole bed with black plastic and, through slots cut in the plastic, l planted Belle de Fontenay and Nicola varieties.

The whole bed was then covered with perforated clear plastic pegged and strung down. I have used this method many times in the past and it is fool proof! By May we will be digging up the first new spuds. I know Mr Middleton didn’t have access to these methods but he would probably have brought a few on under glass cloches. Same idea just different materials.

Does anyone have any other ideas for bringing on some early potatoes?


Posted by on March 18, 2010 in March, The garden, Uncategorized


Tags: , , , , , ,

Still making mistakes!

January 3rd Week. First sowing of tomatoes.


I decided to to sow my tomato seeds in a plug tray along with some chilli seeds. I love chilli but doubt if these were being used yet on the tables in the 1940’s. Still, l very carefully thinly sowed my seeds into little plugs thinking l can then just pop those out once they had germinated and plant on in bigger pots. Good idea as it saves trying to separate each seedling which can be quite time consuming. I put the whole tray in a heated propagator and waited. Each day l looked and then after about 5 days l saw the chillis emerging. Great. Come on you tomatoes! But no, they didn’t want to play which reulted in the chillis romping away and going leggy. They had to come out! I now have a tray of rather weak, leggy chilli seedlings and not a trace of tomatoes. Had l sowed them in smaller trays and kept them separate the tomatoes could have stayed in the propagator and be left to germinate. They don’t have a cat in hells chance in the unheated greenhouse as the temperature has really dropped in the past few days. Oh well, live and learn. Mr Middleton would probably have said ‘Now where did l tell you to sow different vegetables together in the same tray?’ Lesson learnt.


Posted by on February 13, 2010 in January, The garden


Tags: , , ,