Season in Full Swing

I can’t believe it’s been so long since the last update of the plot. Well actually I can ūüėČ

It’s been a busy time and we haven’t been able to get to the plot as often as I would like or it needs, mainly due to growing more human based items at home, the family has now swelled by an additional number and Aaron was born on July 20th, hopefully in years to come he and his brother will have even more lovely stuff to eat from our little plot of green.

Well onto the plot of green, and very green it is, mainly the green that comes with weeds, big weeds, and thistles, why thistles, I hate thistles.

The grass around the beds was high again, thank you for the strimmer, and the weeds are crazy, mainly due to this being our first year on a freshly rotavated plot, so onwards we will trudge and eventually get it to a more manageable level.

So this past weekend I spent my entire time weeding the brassica patch, I think the Calabrese is going to be a failure, but the Cauliflowers still look good, but the caterpillars are now moving in, and I need to try and get them back out. After the mammoth weeding session I decided it was time to lift all the 1st and 2nd early potatoes and store them in sacks rather than the ground.

We have been eating fresh spuds now for what seems like months, and I have of the three varieties that were in, Vivaldi, Pentalnd Javelin and Charlotte, we have two half full sacks and a kilo or so of the third, should keep us going as Long as they store. I can’t wait to dig up the main crop.

Courgettes, I can’t write this update with out mentioning courgettes, someone please remind me that next year I only need one courgette plant, they grow very easily and are prolific, I have some courgettes the size of marrows, that being said they make a good soup, (Soup Recipe – Courgettes\Potato\Onion bring to the boil with enough Veg stock to cover, simmer until all soft, then blend. Stir in some milk and season to taste).

Also we have been eating the remains of the lettuce, Broad Beans, French Beans, some Peas but not many, the carrots are starting to appear, Runner Beans are now in full swing, cucumbers are coming through, and I even picked some late Rhubarb the other day. Jane has been pickling her Beetroot, with plenty more to come, all the onions are up so I intend to pickle the Shallots, the main Onions and Garlic is up and drying in the garage, and out of curiosity I have pulled a Parsnip, a bit early but it’s a good size although it was a nightmare to lift.

I haven’t been overly impressed with the Pumpkin and Squash plants, a lot of flowers but no action, until recently and now we have one lovely looking Pumpkin coming through. Also not impressed by the Tomatoes, we have a lot of green ones but not a lot else, so I am trying to ripen some at home.

There is probably loads of other bits I need to add, but for now I will leave this post with some photos.

French Beans

French Beans

Courgette

Courgette

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Runner Beans

Runner Beans

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

Cucumber

Cucumber

Parsnip

Parsnip

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Fork to fork.

Short update today just to show off some of the produce we have been able to harvest from the plot.

In the shot below you will see some of our First Early Potatoes (Pentland Javelin) this is one plants worth, Rhubarb, One Spring Onion (Size Checking), Shallots that came up whilst weeding, a Cos Lettuce, Loose Leaf (Rocket, Unknown and Lollo Rosso), also the one Strawberry the plants have produced so far, I think it will be next year from proper fruit production.

The best part is that it has all been very, very tasty.

Additionally  I have included a photo of when we took on the plot in October 2008, and Now June 2009. It had been freshly rotavated by the council in October, great I though then, but the weeds just loved it and I am fighting constantly against them.

Small Harvest

Small Harvest

Strawberry

Strawberry

October 2008

October 2008

June 2009

June 2009

Weeding, Planting, Sowing and Eating

The year on our plot seems to now be in full swing, but recently I haven’t managed much more than 2 hours in the last three weeks outside of popping up to water on my way home that was until this last weekend where I managed to spend a whole afternoon working the plot, it was hard work but as always enjoyable.

I started off with a fun job rather than pile straight into the weeding, on the previous two hours I had for the plot I had purchased some grow-bags with the idea of this year growing the Tomatoes and Sweet peppers in them rather than planting out, so first job read the instructions (Can you tell I’m new to this) so with the tops cut (I knew that bit)¬† and plenty of water added I began to transplant my pot grown Tomatoes, only one variety (Ferline F1) as the others hadn’t grown very well, so in went nine into pots with the bottoms cut off, hopefully this will encourage even more root growth from the lower stem.

Also into the grow-bags went 3 Sweet Peppers, again all which survived, and 3 back up Broad Beans, more on the Beans in a bit. All in all it’s a nice little section of the plot and if nothing else will stop the grass growing.

And talking of grass growing, my strimmer has arrived and has hacked it’s way through the plot, please see the before and after pictures below for how bad it had got at the top of the plot, this is also where the Tomatoes are now living.

Next was to add our only fruit for this year, not forgetting the Rhubarb, Strawberries, we now have 8 nice little Strawberry plants in, I have planted these through black plastic with the hope that it will keep the weeds to a almost zero in the fruit section, they have gone right at the back of the plot, and area I had once left for a shed and greenhouse, but now will become next years fruit cage.

So they were the fun quick win jobs complete, now onto something a lot more tiring, digging over and weeding one of the beds, the bed in question used to have out raddishes in, but seeing as they have all gone huge I pulled out what was left for eating and began to convert the plot for almost what it was intended for. So after much sweating and buckets of weeds removed in went¬† 12 Cauliflowers and 12 Calabrese plants, I will confess these are shop bought as mine had been left for to long in pots, and well died mostly. Currently these are uncovered so I’m hoping that when I pop up there later in the week they will still be there and not eaten.

Next for the back breaking was to weed the Peas and Beans, this bed was getting out of control again and it was hard to see what we had left after the birds had eaten the early shoots, once weeded though and some supports put in for the Peas I was pleased to see that we had a lot of Broad Beans left and plenty of Peas, but only 2 Dwarf French beans, I think now though is to late to plant more, so thats it for them for this year.

Once weeded I planted out the Runner Beans I had grown in pots at home, so that’s 12 of them, and added in some pot grown Broad Beans to fill some gaps.

There is still loads to do, one bed still needs digging over and something planting in it, and the Onions, Carrots,  Beetroot and Spinach needs weeding and some more items sowing, but that was it for Saturday, all that was left was to give everything a good water and take a few pictures for the blog.

As for the eating part of the allotment, it’s still early days, but we are enjoying some nice lettuce, some Rocket, obviously the radishes, but we have also had our first early potatoes, I pull one plant to have a look, and although not fully there yet we had at least 10 good size new potatoes, and they were very very nice, a lot better tasting than anything shop bought which was a big bonus, we look forward to pulling many more in the weeks to come.

Happy Growing, and enjoy the photos.

Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers & Broad Beans

Tomatoes, Peppers, Beans

Before Strimmer

Before Strimmer

After Strimmer

After Strimmer

Strawberries

Strawberries

Cauliflower & Calabrese

Cauliflower & Calabrese

Peas & Beans

Peas & Beans

Home Sowings

As I hadn’t shown them yet I thought I’d have a quick blog update to show the progress of the plants that are in the garden, waiting to go to the plot when they are big enough.

I have about two thirds of our tomatoes left but they seem to be doing well, for this season I am just going to use growbags for them rather than digging, that way they will also help to suppress the weeds by covering them up, this is also what I will try for the sweet peppers, all in all I think I will have six to eight growbags on the plot and maybe two at home for easy tomato harvesting.

In pots we also have a good selection of cucumbers, three courgettes, and now after I have donated the other two, a single pumpkin and a single squash plant, all seem to be doing well now and living permanently outside, soon they’ll be up on the plot.

Also just starting to break through ar the runner beans I started last week in pots to get them going, and the broad beans that are a back up to the bird pecked ones on the plot.

Still at home and to plant we have the brassicas, mainly Calabrese, Summer Cabbage and Cauliflower, they aren’t looking the best, but it has given me ideas to work on for next year, mainly how to sow.

Also not be left out, I have finally bought some fruit plants, it’s not much but we have two strawberry plants in post outside the back door, and three than will go to the plot. We have plans for a fruit cage for next year, raspberries are a favourite and it’s a shame I was to late this year.

All part of the learning experience.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

Sweet Peppers

Sweet Peppers

Cucumbers, Pumpkin & Squash

Cucumbers, Pumpkin & Squash

Courgette

Courgette

Plot Update – Whats Growing on.

The recent rains had made the grass around our plot grow at a very very fast rate, it was almost impossible to see the edges of the beds. Unfortunately I wont have my strimmer until next weekend at the earliest, but it will be a welcome addition to the tool set once it’s here, I don’t want to be hand shearing the grass again.

Luckily the strimmer I have opted for, a Ryobi RLT-30CES, has the option of upgrading the head, so I can actually get a hover mower end, which I will be doing as soon as funds allow.

Once the back breaking work of grass maintenance was complete it was onto the plants, the first task was our Parsnips, the three rows I had planted were completely over run with weeds, after some research and help from another Allotment website I knew what I was looking for, and now after weeding I have 14 good looking parsnips left, I probably had more but it was hard to spot them between the sea of green.

As it was the same bed I continued to dig the rest of it over and weed it again for planting, hard going as some of the weeds, I haven’t learnt their names yet, were very deep rooted, but once done the bed looked nice and clean and ready for planting. We now have four rows of carrots, some summer some autumn, a row of beetroot, a row of spinach, and a gap for the celery if it ever germinates.

The rest of the day was taken up with weeding and watering, although I have planted some rocket to compliment the loose leaf lettuce that is growing really really well, we’re hoping for a good crop of rocket as we all love it’s taste.

Eating wise so far all we have had is some loose leaf lettuce and loads of radishes, all of which have been very good eating.

Whats Growing РThe bean and pea bed is going nicely, the french beans, Sugar Snap and regular Peas are all coming through, the broad beans were lagging behind with only a couple poking through, and after a trip past this morning they have been snapped off by something, so  some netting is in order and I will be starting some more off at home in pots, along with getting a head start on next months runner beans.

Also growing, but at home, some good signs with the courgettes, cucumbers, pumpkins and squashes, all starting to come up nicely for planting out during June, some of our tomatoes look good, some look to be honest past it, and it’s a mixed bag with the brassicas. That’s something I have definitely learnt for next year, get good size pots to start with and one seed per pot.

The BBC Dig In seeds are doing well in Sam’s mini bed, there is Beetroot, Carrots and Lollo Rosso in there, all growing well, and the potato rows are looking fantastic, I have earthed these up as far as I can and we’re are now just looking forward to the first earlies to start flowering, then we’ll have a look at our first home grown new potatoes.

Hope you like the new blog design, I prefer this to the old design, and I hope the photos at the end makes it nice and clean to read, comments are always welcome.

Parsnips

Parsnips

Lettuce

Lettuce

Peas

Peas

Beetroot & Carrot

Beetroot & Carrot

Potatoes

Potatoes

Update on Book Store

Just a reminder that we are an Amazon Associates Store for books relating to Allotments and Vegetable growing, please feel free to have a browse.

The Allotment Diary Book Store.

Tell your friends, thanks for looking.

One month on – May

It’s been almost a month since my last update and it’s amazing to see the changes in the photos posted.

IMAG0227

First picture shows one of our four rows of potatoes, they are all coming through nicely now, I had earthed them up when I planted them, so aprt from keeping an eye on any stray spuds that may get near the surface I will be leaving them to do their thing.

IMAG0230

This weekend I worked on the bean and pea bed, I managed to put up the canes for the runner beans that will go in shortly, next week or two, when asked the canes aren’t un-even, they’re ‘Rustic’, and from what I can work out the beans wont care much.

This bed also now contains, French Beans, Sugar Pod Peas, Oregon Peas and Broad Beans, fingers crossed for a good crop.

You can also see in this photo the neat grass path next to the bed, this was a jungle just moments before, but my plot neighbour¬† lent me his petrol mower and I went to town on it, it’s now lovely, shame it wont stay short, but I have seen a cheap’ish petrol strimmer at B&Q so thats on my list for this year birthday as that will enable me to sort out the edges next to beds that are also going a little wild.

IMAG0232

Also planted this weekend was 6 garlic bulbs kindly donated by my mum in exchange for the seed potatoes I had left over, they are now nicley homed next to the onions, of which the regular white and shallots are doing nicely, also if you eagle eyed you’ll see the spring onions coming through in the back of the shot, it was suprising to see the spring onions are easier to see on the photo¬† than in real life.

IMAG0233Next up is a nice photo of the loose leaf lettuce that seems to be going nicely, it is a bit bunched so I’m not sure how big it is going to get bu rather than disturb it I am going to leave it be and just see, the second batch like a lot of my second sowings isn’t doing so well, but we will see, next I am going to sow two rows of pur rocket, as it is a favourite at home.

IMAG0234

I was also very happy to see sign of life from the headed lettuce, all very small but a start none the less, sometimes I have to convince myself that stuff actually grows quite happily.

IMAG0235

The last photo is a nice one for me as it shows the first three raddish I have pulled

to try, the first row went really well, and still is, the second again, not so, but I have planted an additional 2 rows and I’ll see how we get on, I will have to report though that they did taste lovely and i will pull some more this week for dinner.

Still lots to do and plant, still feel behind, but I also feel that I have accomplished loads in this my first year of growing anything let alone a whole plot of veg.