Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy...

The past week has been a good one down at plot 58, lots of jobs ticked off the list and I managed to get a few decent pictures too.
The pear tree is bursting into life and the herbs are looking good. I have picked some today for the kitchen and the rhubarb that I thought was on the verge of dying has sprung into life.
One of the main jobs that needed tackling were the 2 large raised beds. They were full of weeds and needed digging over so, last Saturday, I got to it and started digging them over. I managed to get one done, one remains and it can wait another few days before tackling it.
I had never seen so many people at the allotment as I did on Saturday the nice weather had got all the “summer gardeners” out.

the Plot 58 potato trial kicked off this week too with the 3 first earlies going in Dr Macintosh, Ulster Classic and Winston all planted up into tubs and ready.

Other jobs on the list were repairing the guttering on the shed, as this year in Essex we have a hosepipe ban and water is going to be at a premium, so having the guttering collecting all the water I can will help.
I also sowed 3 rows of parsnips (Gladiator) and 2 rows of Carrot (Early Nantes 5) and in my salad raised bed I sowed 2 rows of Radish (Poloneza), 2 rows of salad mix and a row of Rocket collected from last year’s crop. After sowing I felt that the season had really kicked into second gear.
The strawberries got a good tidy up and watering and I also finished off the palleted floor round by the compost bins, this is a really good space now and hopefully the weeds will remain UNDER the landscape fabric!
I have added a few other pictures to my Facebook page, give it a click and “like” it and that way you can keep up to date with everything going on at plot 58 as this will be the place for all the extra pictures and updates.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

what would your Choice be?

Today I potted on my tomatoes as my 3 year old decided wile daddy was at work she would look after them for me and water them LOTS like she did my onions! (And we all know how that ended up!)They were very wet indeed and starting to show signs of over watering so fingers crossed I got to them in time.
The sowing season has really kicked into gear now and almost all blogs that I read have had some mention to it in some way or another, but what if you could only grow one type of vegetable what would it be? And why?
There is such a vast choice in catalogues these days and new variety’s resistant to almost everything appearing year on year which is like candy to a baby with us gardeners we always want to try new things and this enviably leads to it being added to the long list of veg we try to grow each year on our allotments
But if you could only pick one? Well this is such a big question and one that I have given a lot of thought to and for me it has to be…………………..

plain and simple couldn’t do without them I think the chef in me made the decision not the gardener because you just can’t beat the taste of a freshly picked tomato, that joy you get from the first tomato of the season the warmth you get when you put it in your mouth then it explodes and sends your taste buds wild that can’t be replicated by supermarkets.  There is also a tinge of sadness when you pick the last tomatoes of the season then realise you will have to live off supermarket tomatoes for the winter.
It is such a versatile vegetable it can be eaten cooked or raw there are so many things you can do with a tomato soup and sauces right down to having it as the main part of your meal. And the choice well there must be hundreds of different variety’s Plum, cherry, Yellow, black and the simple salad tomato I could spend all day listing them all.
Sweetcorn was a close second because no matter how hard you try you just can buy sweetcorn that tastes as good as home grown.  In my opinion it’s down to the fact that they are picked and then in the pot within a few hours. Also now a days the price, today I noticed that in Tesco they were £2.99 for 4 cobs that just robbery!

Let me know what vegetable you could not do without and why.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

On your marks get SET grow!

Well readers I have had a very busy week, my time mainly split between the allotment and work, I made the stupid mistake on Monday of doing 7 hours down the plot then going to work to do a 9 hour shift I was absolutely cream crackered at the end of it! It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t done 3 hours of hardcore digging. The beds needed turning and I don’t have the luxury of a Rotivator and can’t justify the cost of hiring one, no one on the plot wants to go half’s on the cost and share it. So today I didn’t make the same mistake! I used my time to do a few little jobs as I am working tonight.

I finally got round to changing the wire on my raspberries and loganberries to something more child and Rabbit proof, I did have up a very thin wire that could easily be snapped it now had a strong sturdy wire to hopefully last a few years.
 Today saw the first thing planted on the plot for the 2012 growing season I planted out some onion sets, I have given up on the onion seeds tried 3 times and all 3 times ended in failure so its sets this year (I will try again next year) I have got my red onion and more Strattgarter Giant onion sets growing in modules in the green house as well I want to see which gives better yield or if it’s worth potting into modules. The onions in the modules are growing well so hopefully have a good harvest.

if you want to see more pictures as ever visit my Facebook page.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

I Love it when a plan comes together (cue the music!)

One thing I like to be is organised, think it’s a chef thing, but this year like last I have put together a planting plan for the allotment. Last year I just put it down on paper that I kept at the allotment but this year I have gone all “Hi-tech” and produced it on Excel I thought I would share it all with you.

I have added some pages to the top of my blog with the planting plan on it and the layout of the plot. I have also added my seed list for 2012 so you can see what I am growing.

You can also see the layout of the plot from the diagram.

Have a look and let me know what you think

Friday, 9 March 2012

A quick Garlic Update.

My garlic is looking really healthy this year; I planted my garlic last November so was in the ground when we had the cold snap in the beginning of February. It is about 5 inches tall now. This looks like it’s going to be the best crop yet. Last year I didn’t grow it on the allotment instead I grew a few cloves at home but my 2 chickens Hetty & Hilda got to it before it was ready, so when I dug it up the bulbs were too small.

There is now nothing on the plot apart from the garlic so roll on 2012.

more pictures on my Facebook page (link on the right)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Seed update...

Just to give you an update on the seeds sown, the leeks are doing well and look good the tomatoes are romping away and at this rate they will be fruiting in May!  My parsley & aubergines are doing well although the aubergines haven’t really grown an awful lot.

My spuds are chitting nicely and should be ready in a few weeks. The parsnips that I have grown in cells are doing very well and got over 95% germination from them which is very pleasing but I am going to sow some direct in the ground at the plot too just for a comparison.

The broad beans however seem to be rotting off after a nice start I would say I have lost about 40%.

And finally the cauliflower and the Cabbage sown last Thursday are already showing signs and I recon tomorrow some will be up.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

St David's Day Daffodil & Egg shells

Day off today so spent the morning down the plot,weeded around the raspberries and the loganberries and putting the ash from last week’s bonfire round the plants. Also dug out the last of the compost from the bin and spread round the plot so I can start composting again, I added all the old chicken straw to it first thing that should start if off nicely.
Also had a stroll round the Garden and finally I have some or should I say one Daffodil out and what timing too on St David’s Day

The last week or two I have been reading Joes allotment again (love this book) and in particular the section on brassicas in it he uses crushed up egg shells for Calcium to get his brassicas going when planning, I tried this last year with a few cabbages and they did do very well indeed. So this year I have decided to give it a shot properly so I brought a load of egg shells home from work (about 300!) dried them and crushed them up and now I have a nice tub of crushed up shells some I have feed back to the chickens as they use this for their new eggs. I plan to use his Brassica mix of a wheel barrow full of compost mixed with sharp sand or grit then a good helping of fish, blood and bone, 2 nice handfuls of lime to deter club root and finally the egg shells.

So with that in my mind I got to it and sowed a few cabbages and cauliflowers. I'm using All the year round for the cauliflower and Golden Acre for the cabbage I got this free last month with The Kitchen Garden magazine, getting right into this Magazine its full of useful articles that I find useful.

 Also the other day I could not resist a tomato seed called Golden Pear it looks amazing and have used this in the kitchen before and they are really sweet so I sowed that today as well (I know I said that I wasn’t going to buy anymore tomato seeds! But I just had to……right?) I also made another sowing of broad beans as some have rotted off.

As this is my first proper year of growing for the allotment (last year was very last minute.com ) so I have started keeping an allotment Journal, my wife brought it for me a few years back but never really felt the need to use it but this year it’s been a must that way I can look back next year and see what I did when and what I used, not only that but it’s got great advice and a list of when you should be planning etc, it’s called Carol Klein’s Grow Your Own Veg Journal

Well have a cracking weekend all, and if the weathers nice get out in that garden!