Sunday, 22 April 2012

Sunday Morning Treat.

A rare Sunday morning off so the weather was good so down the plot I went, I was dreading it a bit as I have been reading a lot of other blogs and everyone saying how the weather has made the weeds go wild, last year I really struggled to keep them at bay so over the winter I constructed raised beds and barked the main paths, to my surprise the only area that had gone mad was the dreaded path I mentioned a few posts ago I got a spade on them and just chopped them down for the time being until I can spend a bit more time tackling it. i gave the onions and Garlic a quick hoe just to keep them down.

I wanted to do some planting today so I put the first of the peas in with some twigs from my eucalyptus tree I cut down a few weeks ago, the soil in this bed is the best on the plot lots of organic material and some hard digging in the autumn really did pay dividends I plan to do 2 a year to get them all in top shape.
I also got another herb pot planted up with some flat parsley oregano and chives all grown from seed this year.
I used the time to contemplate a few big decisions I need to make this week and nothing better than a few hours down the allotment to clear my head.
The blossom on the pear tree is all out now and I hope to get a good harvest from it this year

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

theres only one thing to do with weather like this...shed time.

Well the rain has finally arrived it’s great for the garden and the allotment but means things at the plot have slowed up a little.
Days like today are made for the shed, there is something quite tranquil about a morning in the shed when it’s lashing it down outside.
The rain pounding on the roof, talk-sport radio on in the back ground and a mug of hot coffee siting on the side. Not a care in the world….
I pricked out more tomatoes today, I use to really struggle when it came to pricking out  I always handled the seedling to rough but with a little practice over the years now I have got it down to a tee. I also pricked out my celeriac Giant Prague the seedlings are by far the smallest I have ever handled its amazing to think that something so small will produce something so big.
The peppers sown in late February are really coming on now and I am hoping for a good crop this year as last year promised so much but delivered little.   
The house is becoming very full with plants that are to tender to have outside. My greenhouse is full and the cold frame is bursting at the seams I have even had to create a make shift table in the shed with some seeds on it to offer a bit of protection from the cold.
The aubergines that I sowed back in January are now looking really healthy and are ready to be put in their final positions but I want to wait on these until mid may when the threat of frost has passed. They look like they are going to give me a really good crop this year.
I am holding off sowing the French beans as the coming week doesn’t look great weather wise and don’t want to risk losing them to the cold, I am looking forward to my French bean crop this year I have 6 different variety’s to try my 2 young daughters adore French beans and even grow them on their allotment patch with a little help from daddy.
I also sowed some more peas this week with a little help from the youngest daughter she loves helping daddy with seed sowing. She likes to pop the seed in and push them down, she even wrote the label but at 3 years old only she knew what it actually said!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Potato trial part 2

I hope you all had a good Easter and managed to get some quality time down your plots. Me I mainly worked all Easter and didn’t get time to do much on the plot. Tuesday was a different story I got the potato trial under way. For all my readers that follow my blog will know this year I am trying 10 varieties of potato all mainly heritage and some over 100 years old I did have a bit of a setback in February and lost a few spuds due to the weather but I still had enough to go with.
I planted the First earlies (Dr Macintosh Winston & Ulster classic) a few weeks back now and the first signs of shoots are starting to appear.

Tuesday was time for the second earlies and the Main crops. I am planting in two different ways the first the tried and tested dig a trench 6 inches deep and place the potatoes in sprinkle with fertiliser and cover back up, the second is a far simpler way using a bulb planter taking out a small whole them plopping the spud in (with a little fertiliser) them covering it back up. I tried this last year with my Christmas spuds and I got a good crop.
All the potatoes have been chitting since February some of the potatoes really responded well to chitting, the Santé and the Majestic both had really good chits but the Doon Pearl and the Ryecroft purple had chits but were very small and look like they had only just started.
All the main crops went into the potato bed at the plot but the first and second earlies were both planted up in containers and dotted about around the plot. 

For me the first and second earlies aren’t really about yield but more about the taste and texture. I can’t wait to try the Dr Macintosh just because I love the name!  the main crops are a little more about the yield because this is what is going to supply us with our potatoes for the coming year but I still will have an eye on taste and texture because a potato may be a heavy cropper but it may taste like dish water!

I will also compare the different planting styles as the santé had 2 rows planted 1 with the trench method and 1 with the Bulb planter we will see what grows best and if there is even a difference.
The soil although it has been dug over was very hard going and due to the lack of rain over the winter when you get 4inches down its very dry and full of boulders I am hoping the potatoes will help break down the soil further.

All that’s left to do now is water them and wait….

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


In my garden at home we had a wonderful Eucalyptus tree it was planted the first year we moved in and it was only a small shrub about 3ft tall but over the years it has got taller and taller and we turned it into a tree, but the last 2 harsh winters has taken its toll on the poor thing and all the leaves kept falling off and on an evergreen Eucalyptus once there gone there gone. The result is that it’s all up top and nothing down below so to speak. So after a bit of research I found that Eucalyptus lends its self to coppicing and comes back stronger. So several books and articles later last Wednesday I got the saw out and cut her down. I had to shout “TIMBER” just because I will never get the chance again, and the moment got to me (the wife gave me that “don’t be stupid” look) but it was worth it!
The garden looks a little bare without it now but there is always a silver lining. I had 4 nice size stumps that I thought I would have a go at growing mushrooms on down the plot. At first I wasn’t sure that I could use this wood but again after a bit of research and some friends on twitter I found I could. I have always wanted to grow mushrooms and never could get hold of the right wood for the job and the kits don’t really appeal to me, does anyone else grow mushrooms or have in the past I would love to hear from you and how it went for you.

Other things that have been going on this week, the last raised bed was finally dug over and  finished with a sprinkle of chicken manure ready for this year’s crops.
I can’t believe how much the pear tree has come on since last week it really has put on growth and the buds are fit to burst. The strawberries are romping away too and there are flowers everywhere
The path
All that’s left to sort out is the “path” between my plot and my neighbours, they haven’t really done much on their plot since they got it last year and the path has been left and only given a little tidy every so often when the weeds get too bad that they encroach on my plot. So I have a length of landscape fabric left that I have ear marked for this job all I need to do now is get my hands on a petrol strimmer  and chop them down. Then hopefully this won’t be such a problem this year.

Enjoy your Easter whatever your planning     

as ever there are more pics on my facebook page