Monday, May 31, 2010
So no gardening, except for a quick 20 minutes on Friday evening when I planted 2 spaghetti squash and 3 Tristar pumpkins given to me by a workmate (thanks Chris!). I spotted my furry friend again too, some rodent that is living in the compost box because I saw it shoot back in there out of the corner of my eye. Hope it's not going to eat my squash seeds that I sowed last week.
I was quite pleased because the tender plants seem to have really taken well. I am hoping that this rainy period will help them develop their root systems and boost their growth.
The garlic and alliums are going strong, and even I must say, the spring onions, to my surprise have finally taken off. I won't have any straight away! But they are now about 10cm tall and finally look like they are plumping up.
Now I will have to start the great weeding campaign! A little and often is what I will try to do this year!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
But I got me seeds from DT Browns! I am trying to ensure more even cropping throughout the year so this year I took advice and got in some more brassica seeds, autumn varieties so I can keep harvesting as much as possible.
- Artichokes: these are now in the seedbed, I am hoping to renew my stock for next year.
- Beetroot, a late variety (Monoruba?). I will sow them a bit later, when I have had time to prepare a little space.
- Durham spring cabbage, that's for sowing in summer.
- Cauliflower - the All Year Round failed totally, so won't try that variety again, I bought a winter hardy variety and I sowed it today.
- Pak Choi- my first time growing these! sowed them this morning
- Kale, curly variety - my neighbour gave me some of this last year and I admit it was delicious. I have grown winter cabbage before (cow cabbage) but this seems finer and tastier. It also makes the garden look productive even in very cold weather :-)
- Libon winter onions, for cropping in early spring - they get sown later too.
Next week I will try to find time to sow some more lettuce, although the ones that have been planted recently are starting to be well established. I will be able to start harvesting the cut and come agains I think. I also noticed that my squashes have germinated in the coldframe, I will plant them out in a week or so once they have their proper leaves. For now, the melons seem ok, they had been covered up a little by my straw, so I exposed them again. Perhaps not my best idea. Soon they will be too big for that to be a problem. The other plantations from the long weekend seem to have recovered from the trauma of being planted out, even the aubergines which worried me, and are eagerly drinking the rain we had yesterday and last night. Not nearly enough but at least it helps a little. Now the garden just needs a good weeding and it will be well on the way to success!
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
So every morning early I was down there in my wellies (pools of sweat forming inside them) digging, and planting:
- melons: 4 Gallia melons and 5 Charentais, plus I sowed some more seeds in between each plant. Hopefully they will take off well straight from the earth. radically, I decided not to plant them through plastic but through a thick bed of straw (discreetly taken from the racetrack so it does have some horse pee in it). I am hoping that will provide heat but not too much and protection.
- courgettes; again 3 green and a yellow, plus I sowed some summer squash, and some pumpkins in the same bed. The pumpkins are having trouble taking off, I will sow some more in place this week.
and finally the tomatoes: 6 Gardener's Delight, 3 Totem, 3 Pannovy, and about 4 each of Marmande and Ananas Beefsteaks, Moneymaker, and Tigerella. There are about 25 plants in all. And despite the heat they looked as happy as pigs in s....
Harvesting! A big bunch of rhubarb and at last the first strawberries. small and sweet, a bit of rain will really help the crop along.
So the allotment is looking terrific, not too many weeds, everything in full growth, onions and potatoes looking green and healthy. I had a firkle and the garlic is swelling beautifully underground, dead chuffed as it was only precariously over wintered. I guess the cold winter was good for it. It is starting only now to yellow off a bit, I am thinking that in 2 or 3 weeks it will be ready for harvest.
Left to do now: climbing beans, more pumpkins, leeks (when a bit of space is made for them), and some sowing for winter And the weeding, in earnest.
Thursday, May 20, 2010
New seed order
Among others, I ordered a late cropping beetroot, some spring cauliflower (OK I am glutton for punishment, the early caulies didn't work out, so I will try this strategy. Plenty of room in the cold frame for a seedbed now...), Pak Choi (first go at that), Purple Kale, some winter hardy White Lisbon spring onions, (which are supposed to give me onions early spring if I sow in summer??) and some spring cabbage also.
In the order was also a packet of artichoke seeds. I really want to grow another artichoke plant, although I haven't yet decided whereabouts I could put it, so I figure if I get the little plants going now, I can put them in their final spots later on, when other things move out of the way. I currently have one beautiful artichoke bush but it is getting old and maybe next year it won't give me a great result, best to foresee some new plantings.
Monday, May 17, 2010
Still working hard
I weeded, watered, keeping it all tidy, transplanted a few lettuce from the cold frame, and planted out Brussel sprouts, a few red cabbage and broccoli that I grew from seed in the cold frame as well as the first courgette plants and some pumpkins.
The cold frames have turned out to be a terrific success, now I see how to work them, I will use them more and more in the coming seasons.
I also transplanted spinach, that I started in the coldframe, as the ones I direct sowed seem useless. The others will go in later this week, and I hope to plant out the tomatoes, aubergines and peppers which for now are discouragingly small. I hope that by planting them out, they will take off... I try to be optimistic!
I sowed some more sweetcorn into the cold frame, so far it has been hopeless, I have almost no viable seedlings. Last ditch attempt, perhaps it has been too cold this year?
I will try to do some pics soon, to show how it's shaping up...
Monday, May 03, 2010
Spuds - what we don't see
And I took a picture of it, as many people have never seen how a potato actually grows lots of other potatoes!
You can see the "mother" spuddy - it will eventually rot and dissolve into the ground once its job is done. It throws out a central stem which will be the leafy part that appears above ground, and from that there are side shoots, which produce new tubers. Which is why it's good for the potato to be buried deeply and to keep putting earth around it, as that produces more potatoes.
Another example of the wonders of nature ;-)
Our allotment site
I was talking about this plot on Allotments for all forum the other day - the guy came and dug this all by hand in one day... Now it's getting weedy again - but no doubt there is some science behind this that I am unfamiliar with...
This is the plot of a new guy, who took over from one of the "old boys" who passed away in the New Year. he has made it very fussy, not my style at all. he is the owner of the "drinks table, so he now has to be friends with all those around him :-)
And this is the plot of Therese - she is 80 this year and says she is giving up as she is getting too decrepit (but she says this every year). Her plot is very tidy and she is the queen of little containers and setups to protect and frame out her crops. Not sure what is under here, maybe courgettes...
This plot is 2 behind mine, I noticed the guy had everything labelled with sweet little metal labels. Another one of the ruler and spirit level brigade! :-) His peas are taller than mine though...
And finally, I was having a little moan the other day that no one mulches on our site except me, BUT I seem to have been proved wrong: this plot has some straw mulching...what? potatoes? I didn't get close enough to note it down.
hope you liked that little tour of our site, there are lots of hardworking gardeners on it.
- Tidy the edges, digging out dandelion and scraping earth back onto the plot.
- Weeding the peas, uncovering their netting and letting them grow in the fresh air. They are now big enough not to interest birds.
- Sowing a row of beetroot, a patch of rocket and two rows of green beans, one row of drying beans (end of a packet) and some yellow butter, or wax beans.
- Moving around some chive plants that are getting a little invasive on the paths.
- Cleaning the paths a little.
- Earthing spuds.
- Planting some lettuce plants and transplanting some marigolds here and there.
- Netting the gooseberries, a little sloppily but I WANT THAT FRUIT this year. They are full of tiny berries.
I took a couple of pics, not terribly clear...
This shows the rhubarb in the foreground, and the few flowers that surrounds it, and behind, the herb bed, with lemon balm, thyme on the left, mint behind that, sage to the far right, andparsley everywhere else. There are a couple of rose bushes here and there too. The artichoke can be seen in the bed opposite. The bessa concrete blocks are for the water tanks that are being installed - not on my plot next but one will go behind mine, to save water.
This one shows the plot from the far end, I am standing near the strawberries, so you can see the potatoes on the left and the onions on the right. The peas are netted here but just after I took the pic, they were un-netted and weeded. I also planted some lettuces next to them, where there was a blank space.
You can also see my shop-bought cold frame and the home-made one on the left. Still, they work...
And here, I am a couple of plots down and the plot with the orange roof tiles along the edge is mine. This year it is looking really good (well compared to some previous years!). Gives you a look at our plots (see today's other post).
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