Monday, October 23, 2006

All Sad

I'm now in the process of covering the lottie for the winter, there are still a few things growing, leeks, parsnips, swede, lettuce, purple sprouting brocolli and carrots.

I haven't pulled a parsnip yet but I had a dig around with my fingers and they feel like they have grown nice and broad. Think I'll wait for the first frost before I try them. Will leave the leeks a bit longer yet as well.

Cheeky buggers at the council sent me a letter saying I wasn't keeping it up and did I still want it. I hope for their sake they are confusing my plot with the unkept one next door and not including the unkept path of theirs which i'm not allowed to touch. Words will be had.

One the plus side I get to have a big fire,all blokes like poking a fire with a stick and I get to carve my pumpkins for halloween.

Soon it will be all plasticed over again waiting for next year, now wheres that seed book !!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

That Seemed Like A Very Short Season

I was thinking when I visited the plot last week after being away for a week and all the squashes were finished, the tomatoes looking sad and beans lacking flowers that it had been a short season. Then I realised that I haven't bought any veg or salads from the supermarket for months and that really, I hadn't done bad.

I've collected my squashes, strung my onions (as you can see) and have a sack of spuds in the garge for the winter (hope it's not too warm in there). There is a pile of plant debris to burn and a lot of bare spaces on the plot. Now the digging manuring and reclaiming of edges can begin before covering up for the winter.

All thats left is the winter stuff, leeks, parsnips, carrots, PSB and swedes, I got to get my over wintering lettuces down there soon.

Like many I'm already planning for next year, what will go where, what new stuff do I want, what won't I bother with and eagerly awaiting the seed books.

It's been a fuuny year with the weather and hopefully next year will be better, my brocolli has come to nothing so far and pak choi was a no-no, next year I'm growing them under fleece from day 1.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Where Did The Sun Go?

Well that's the end of summer then......

At least with the return of cooler weather the lettuces, radishes and cucumbers are surviving better and worth planting again.

With the rain everything is looking pretty healty, the runner beans are getting a second flush of youth, lb's and lb's of them so far, and as a bonus, I no longer have to lug 30 gallons of water around nearly every night.

My pumpkins seems nearly ready, the big one is actually the same variety as the other, but it grew wide and they grew tall, very strange.

I thought the butternut squash were doing nothing, that I had planted them too close to everything else, but now there are squashes appearing all over the shop, mostly nowhere near the mother plant

I have an epidemic of flea beetle, they attacks the radishes, then the brocolli and I had to give up on Pak Choi completely. Once I uncovered the swede they have made a start on those too.

I have covered any heads of brocolli with fleece now to try and protect them, as you can see they wreck the heads, but at least there is is no club root.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Let The Courgette Battle Begin

No Picutures again, not very good at this am I.

The current picking list is:

Lettuce: Sangria, Little Gem, Red/Green Salad Bowl
Radishes: French Breakfast 3
Spring Onions: Ramrod, Ishikura
Spinach: Pass, it's green, it's taking over the world
Potatoes: Foremost
Courgette: O'Reila, Nice De Round (loads of them)
Beetroot: Detroit 2
Runner Beans: Best Of All
Carrots: Early Nantes
Tomatoes: Gardeners Delight, Gartenpearle and Golden Sunrise
Onions: Sturgeon, Red Baron
Cucumber: Marketmore

Peppers and Chillies are doing nicely, the pumpkins are even starting to go orange as well as growing nicely, sweetcorn is nearly there and some of brocolli has started to form heads.

But the heat isn't all good, I've given up planting any more radishes in the open, they go woody before they get big enough in this heat or the tops get burnt off them, I've got some under fleece with swedes and they seems to be coping now. Pretty much all the salad bowl lettuce has bolted, but others are coming along to replace them.

It's still good to be able to pick a decent size bag of produce a day, I'm paying my dad with it for services rendered on DIY on my house and just about managing to get rid of all the courgettes.

I have some blank spots now as spuds and onions are coming up so I'm looking for replacements already.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

More On The Harvesting List

Things are going mad, bit of rain would be nice, but the currently picking list has grown :o)

Currently Picking:

Lettuce: Sangria, Little Gem, Red/Green Salad Bowl
Radishes: French Breakfast 3
Spring Onions: Ramrod, Ishikura
Spinach: Pass, it's green, it's taking over the world
Potatoes: Foremost
Courgette: O'Reila, Nice De Round
Beetroot: Detroit 2
Runner Beans: Best Of All
Carrots: Early Nantes
Tomatoes: gardeners Delight, Gartenpearle.

Cucumbers are going to start this week I think, brocolli is starting to form heads as well.

I have to rig up some shade in all this sun, I have used the space vacated by the first row of early spuds for more beetroot and swedes, but as soon as they come up the sun burns them and kills them. Same with lettuces planted out, running out now as they seem to grow at very different rates per batch, never quite getting the hang of them.

Any way heres a couple of update pics

I'm growing these for a halloween party this year, 6 on 3 plants to get them nice and big.

The onions are harvested, seems very early but they had folded over etc. Only a few had rot in the end and gave them away straight away.

The first carrots, just started to show signs of forking as they reach the bottom of the sand/peat holes I dug out.

growing nicely under the netting, Marigolds seem to help with the white fly, will be growing more next year.

The runners, sweetcorn and squashes, a busy bed this one.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Year So Far.....

It's been far too long since I updated this. No pictures this time because I keep forgetting to take the camera, just an update on the season so far.

Currently Picking:

Lettuce: Sangria, Little Gem, Red/Green Salad Bowl
Radishes: Big Ben, French Breakfast 3
Spring Onions: Ramrod, Ishikura
Spinach: Pass, it's green, it's taking over the world
Potatoes: Foremost
Courgette: O'Reila, Nice De Round
Beetroot: Detroit 2

Coming Along Nicely:

Golden Sunrise, Gardeners Delight are swelling nicely, hopefully ripening soon in the greenhouse

Greenhouse Marketmore are doing nice, very healthy

Runner Beans:
Not yet at the top of the canes but beans are setting quite low down, not enough to pick yet but soon

Good germination rate and looking very healthy so far

Musselbough are looking healthy and starting to bulk up a bit

Main Spuds:
Sante, no sign of blight, coming into flower now

Look healty, no sign of silks like my neighbours, but I think they are 4 weeks ahead of me

Not Such A Great Success:

Looks like the onion patch has a case of white rot, they seem to have have had to tops falling over a little early for my liking, waiting for them to dry a bit before I dig them up, but a couple of sample pulls have not been hopefull

Earlies didn't have a good germination rate but are catching up now, couple pulled up to gauge size seem to have esxcaped carrot fly so far. Mains were doing nicely but suddenly a couple of the tops have gone a bit Orange and a couple of gaps have appeared, mains are still very small.

Not sure if these belong here or the next section up, some of the leaves have been attacked but they are netted against pigeons and I haven't seen a catapillar so far.
Will give them another spray with Deris and hope for the best. They don't appear stunted or too unhealthy

Pak Choi:
They grow OK but the flea beetles get to them before I do,growing them as a sacreficial crop for the brassica bed.

Changes For Next Year:

Already thinking about it, so far I want to change to following in the plan:

Mini Cauliflowers and Cabbages to add to the list, whole large ones are too big for me.

Grow some traditional waxy salad spuds (foremost are lovely but quite flowery)

Grow banana shallots but no onions, for space & ease of weeding verus yield & shop price it's not worth it. Also not got the storage space for them.

Replace runner beans with french beans

Things Already Learnt This Year

1. Don't go out, get drunk and forget to open the cold frame.
2. Must stagger sowing more.
3. You can never plant enough lettuce.
4. Squashes need a lot of room!!!
5. Carrots are a pig to grow.

I've also added a row of suedes to the plot where the early spuds were, no point planting them early as I wouldn't eat them in the summer.

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Evil Plan Has Worked

The plan when I took on this plot was to sow everything at home and pot it out, so I could give it a good start and keep and eye on it, so far it's working.

I have finally potted out all the plants, it's the first year so I'm not worrying too much about stretching the session etc, it would have happened with the brocolli but I got drunk, over slept and forgot to open the coldframe killing the first batch.

Any way here are some more pics:

The brocolli (Red Baron, Marathan, Nataliano) are in, derris'd against flea beetle, slug pelleted against slugs and netted against pigeons!!!. If anything can get at them I reckon they earned them!!

The squashes, 3 pumpkin (growing for a party), 3 butternut, 2 round and 1 long yellow courgette

The strawberries I inherited, I though I was losing them to slugs, turns out it's the birds, caught the little b******s today, netting goes up tomorrow!!!

And here's a genral one of the plot, the grassy area at teh back will bed an extra bed next year....I just haven't told the council yet.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

We have produce and more work to do

Finally, I can do what I was hoping for when I started work on the plot, I can stop by on the way home from work and pick something to eat for me tea. It's not much so far I grant you, some lettuces, spinach, radishes and the little bits of pak choi the flea beetle have left.

I almost ran out of radishes, I thoughtI had more, turns out they were very similar looking weeds, so I've rushed in another row. The slug pellets are dealing with most of the little blilters and I have some home made beer traps to install when I can be parted from my beloved beer.

The masses of rain have really helped both the veg and the weeds along, but I didn't really enjoy erecting runner bean supports in a down pour.

Any way, the beans are in, they had out grown their tubes, the sweetcorn are hardening off to go in next weekend and the squahes are at the one leaf sage so I'll give it another couple of weeks. My plot is by a river and it always seems a little colder than elsewhere down there, better to be safe than sorry.

Anyway, heres a few picture updates.

The beans on the supports erected in the pouring rain, and slightly on the p**s!!!

The salad bd, the most productive 16ft square so far, the strawberries are just starting to fruit as well.

The onions have sped along with the rain, the carrots are coming up slowly, the earlies are doing about the same despite the difference in planting time, mother nature proving she will not be rushed. Promise this has been weeded since!!!1

And finally the parsnips doing well in the front, leeks just gone in behind and the early spuds just showing signs of flowers. Most of the mains are just about showing.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

What A Difference

A bit of sunshine makes.....

I'll have to post photos of the evidence later as I forgot the camera on Saturday when I spent 4 1/2 hours weeding, planting and digging. Here's an update on the lottie beds.

Bed 1

The great sunny weather and a bit of rain last week have made a HUGE difference, all the early spuds are shooting upwards at a great rate of knots, not earthing them too much, but keeping a very close eye on the weather forecast. The mains are in, but no sign of them yet. All the parsnips have germinated, I now have 1 per station planted, quite an acheivement after all the warnings I got. The leeks aren't in yet but it won't be long, some are getting to quite a size in their bog roll tubes now. the beds ready for them anyway.

Bed 2

The carrots...or lack there of. Finally the first sowings of Early Nantes are showing, been very slow, even under plastic, but finally we have some tiny shoots showing. Also planted 2 rows or main orange and 2 rows of main purple carrots this sat in lines of peat. The onions and garlic are going well, there is the odd failed red one but all the white ones and garlic are fine. This bed took 1 1/2 hours to weed, still doing battle with something the previous people had planted, ut it looks good now.

Bed 3

Hoed and weeded round me salad stuff, removed the clouche for a bit of air and planted out some more rocket, lettuce, pak choi and radishes. The flea beetle, I've seen them now, are still eating the pak choi and radishes but a spray with liquid derris seems to be helping. Must remember to take slug pellets down for this bed. The beetroot and spring onions are just coming through as well. Dug over the half for brassicas, got to firm it ready for planting out now.

Bed 4

Still under wraps, start that one next weekend, bean trench and putting cane up to start.

Pics to follow....

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The First Harvest

Woo Hoo. It has finally arrived, not much I grant you, a few salad leaves, a few radishes and some spinach, but finally we have something to taste after all the digging and weeding.

Hopefully by the end of the week there will be more lettuce to harvest as well.

The slugs are starting to put in an appearance after theheavy rain of the weekend, nothing major yet but my milk carton beer and bait traps will be going out ASAP before they eat everything.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Let there be weeds

Apologies for the lack of posting this month, been up to my arm pits. A good month for greenery, especially weeds, spent 2 1/2 hours weeding and cutting grass edges on the lottie Saturday but at least I can see progress.

The early spuds are coming up now, at least I think that's what's poking through, I was worried I had buried them a bit deep, need to get the mains in now, might have a crack at that one day this week.

The parsnips are in that bed too and it looks l like they have decided to put in an appearance, a few tiny seedlings are poking their heads through the sand/peat mix I put them in.

The onion and garlic are going great guns, birds have left them alone and apart from an ongoing battle with something the previous owners have planted in that bed that refuses to die and needs constant weeding they all seem quite happy. Good news is that whatever is eating my radishes and pak choi in the clouch seems to like whatever it is as well which helps to control it. Think I'm going to have to hoe the onions every week this year though....!

In the last inhabited bed is the nearest I'm getting to something I can eat, the lettuces are coming on well, little gem, red salad bowl and sangria, some should be ready for picking soon. radishes and pak choi are being munched by something, I think flea beetle, I have given them a spray with liquid derris and will see what happens, most likely going to have to pull them up and start again.

Nearly Dinner

In the nursery as it is now called the runner beans and sweetcorn are coming up nicely, I managed to murder the broccoli by getting drunk and forgetting to open the coldframe which cooked them long before they are ready for that sort of thing.

The peppers are doing well and along with the 3 early tomato plants will be moving into the greenhouse next door that I'm using as soon as I finish cleaning it up.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Some Proper Progress

Things are finally warming up and at last I can get on with some planting. I seem to have slipped behind some people a bit, I haven't got my early spuds in yet. They need to go soon as they are getting rather large shoots on them now, hoping to do it today but it has chucked it down with rain this morning.

On the bright side I planted 180 onions and garlic cloves the other day and netted them over to stop the birds having a go at them.

The coldframe is proving very useful, my leeks are quite happy in there and despite my misgivings about the organic grow bags made from bark rather than peat, radishes, lettuces and some spring onions seem to be surviving in there, even when I forget to open the lid and it hits 40 degrees C.

My little collection of tomato, pepper and chilli plants is slowly growing and seem to like the spot in front of the patio door, there are still quite a lot that haven't germinated yet but by the time I next post a photo this lot should have quite a few friends.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Just like cricket, the covers are off.

My plot has been hiding under plastic all through the winter but at the first sign of warmier weather I decided it was time for action.

It is a choice between leaving the plastic on the warm the soil some more and digging the ground over and letting the birds eat the bugs that will get to the veg before me!!!

For the beds that will be spuds and onions I decided that bug free was probably more important than heated, so off came the covers, out came the spade and a good dig over and a liberal sprinkling of Growmore was in order.

I constructed a couple of wooden frame type thingeys to put polythene over for clouches for carrots and parsnips in a couple of weeks, i've another to do for lettuces soon.

The coldframe now has glass and the leeks have taken up residence in there, along with a couple of grow bags in which a line of radishes and spring onions has been sown.

at night if it is looking too cold then I throw a blanket over it and pop in a couple of bottles of hot tap water, which are able to raise the temp by 2-3 degrees to ward off frost.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Is Spring Here Yet!!

I was out on my bike on Saturday an while it was still cold, the sun made it feel very spring like and gave me the urge to plant something and get going with this veg growing business. So I put a few lettuce seeds in modules in the propigator, in the hope I have the cold frame finished before they get too big.

Visited the lottie with some compost and found it a hive of activity, the 2 plots next to me which looked abandoned have sprung back to life. One was owned by an old chap who had heart trouble last year but is back this year and has rotivated the lot ready for some planting and the half plot which was an overgrown weed bed except for 1 leek now has 4 beds in it. It seems everyone is making a new effort this year.

The Leeks

As you can see these are coming up nicely in their cardboard tubes, once they get a bit bigger I will thin it to one per tube and grow them on in the cold frame ready for planting out in about June.


A small problem here, I swear I put the bag labels in the trays so i would know which was which!!!!!. I am assuming that the ones with the bit chit (ooer) are the earlies (Foremost) and the others the main crop (Sante), but to be honest I have no idea.

I bought these from Mr Fothergills, only then to find a good selection in my local market a lot cheaper, well you live and learn, and this is my first year.

The Cold Frame

This seems to be taking ages, all it needs now is a final coat of white inside to help with the ligh and some glass. should prove big enough for my needs I hope.

Roll on warmer weather

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Some Progress

A few minor activities to report, my seed spuds have arrived and are laid out in trays under cover, they have started to develop shoots but I'll keep them under cover a bit longer as it's a bit early.

The white onions I ordered didn't look like enough so i've been out and bought 100 more of a different variety as well.

I have started the cold frame, bought the grow bags to go in it etc, but run out of wood, it's about twice the size I intended.

I checked the soil PH at the lottie the other day and it looks good, hopefully just a liberal spread of growmore (which B+Q sold cheap) is all that will be required as part of a light digover as I get ready to plant. The weed control seems to be working on everything except the garlic chives which appear to need niether light nor weater!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Soon Be Planting

It's sad but I'm counting down the days until I can start planting, leeks first, a couple of early tomato plants for the green house, salad stuff in the coldframe (when I get round to building it!!!).

All I can do for now is keep topping up and turning the compost bin and make sure my plastic weed control stays in place. the strawberries are doing OK and all showing signs of new leaves etc hopefully there will be a few nice ones for the summer.