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Showing posts from February, 2012

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips)!!

1. Seedlings & Damping Off - Keep your pots or other containers in trays with no drainage holes. When the seedlings need water, add it to the trays until it has soaked upwards into the pots/containers. This avoids watering over or around the seedlings, reducing the risk of damping off.

2. Before buying those packets of seeds you want, check the packet to ensure the seeds are still "in date" and also check the amount of seeds you are getting in each packet. The amount of seed can differ widely from one supplier to another.

3. Check those seed potatoes for diseases whilst they are still chitting. Discard any damaged, rotted or diseased ones, don't be tempted to plant them.

4. During cold weather fill your watering cans with water & keep them under cover (i.e. in your shed). This should keep the water a few degrees warmer & avoid "shocking" plants when you water them, especially seedlings.

5. When you are walking on wet soil or clay (bad habit) use wa…

A Lazy Weekend

Although higher, the temperatures are not consistently high enough yet to risk any significant sowing or planting outside, so I decided to take a break from the plot at the weekend. Saturday was sunny & warm all day and Sunday, although a little cooler was nice and sunny again. By 2pm on Sunday my resistance broke and I toddled off to the plot without a plan of action. I spent 3 hours weeding my second Strawberry bed, earthing up the plants & removing their dead foliage, damaged by the recent frosts. The temperature had lowered quite a bit again by the time I had finished.

An extremely heavy frost came again overnight last night, so I was glad that all the seeds I have sown into pots, trays & other containers were all still protected, either in my shed, cold frame or greenhouse. I had 2 smug feelings. One that most of them were already germinating & two, I had not yet manufactured a poly tunnel carbon footprint. I was back down the plot mid-morning & got to work s…

Bee Aware Now (Gardens & Allotments Everywhere)

My Allotment is now prepared for this coming seasons sowing & planting so as I sat around, getting bored, waiting for the right time to start, I was pondering the well publicized decline of the Bee (and other insects) populations. What can gardeners do to offset this decline, when we have to protect our much treasured, fruit, flowers and veggies from the myriad of insects that would devour them before they have reached maturity.

One method of defending our beloved plants against attacks by the BBB (BAD BUG BRIGADE) is to reach for those sprayers, fill them with chemicals of varying descriptions & liberally spray everything in sight. Yes everything, including the kitchen sink into which the unused liquid is poured, perhaps, & where the spray containers are washed out, after use??

So what could I, you, us, they, do to lessen the threat to the insects that help us in the garden & down the plot. If you have read thus far, please remember the following, don't just go w…

Now I Know I'm Not Getting Too Old

Slumbering in the dark recess of a shed was not the thing for Howard. He felt useless, discarded and uncared for. I woke him from his sleep last Autumn and after some maintenance, cleaning and a little tweaking he was as good as new, well almost. Late Autumn and over the Winter was the first time I had used a rotavator, preferring to use spades and forks up until then.

I have been informed that Howard is a (Batam) but I'm not yet fully convinced of that. Due to Howards' age most of his identifying marks have long since disappeared, except for some engine specifications on the side of his bodywork.

The carburetor was replaced along with the spark plug and a new throttle cable was added. The original tyres were completely perished and were discarded in favour of metal treads welded onto the wheels. The original tine guards corroded away many years ago and were replaced by pieces of aluminium bolted onto the bodywork.  Some of the tines will be replaced later this year, but at th…

Snow Ploughs Redundant Now

Snow snow all around but not a flake fell here. Horizon to horizon sunshine until it was dusk yesterday, allowed me to get the final 2 planting beds rotavated. Although the temperature was not much above freezing the soil was dry & manageable enough, "fining up" nicely as the rotavator got to work.
The Mustard sown on one bed, as green manure, was turned in, with the excess being transfered to the compost heap. The second bed had the horse manure, which had been left on its' surface, turned in also.
On completion of the rotavating, both beds were raked over and leveled, drawing the soil up the slight slope.

The allotments were deserted & looking pretty dismal as I left at about 4pm & a light drizzle had just started with snow forecast for overnight. It rained for most of the night which put paid to any further work down the plot today. An uneventful and dreary week, apart from the fact that my Tomato, Runner Beans and Peas have all germinated. The tomato pla…

A, F - F - F - F - F Day

A, F - ine, F - rost, F - ree, F - ifth - of - F - ebruary  my condolences to everyone still suffering from the recent frost, ice & snow.

As I ventured down to my allotment this morning, the weak Winter sun was struggling to shine through an overcast sky. The overnight rain had ceased and the recent frost was gone. The sub zero temperatures of late had risen & it was a pleasant February day.

Only 2 of my fellow allotment holders were in attendance when I arrived at my plot. The ground was still damp from the overnight rain but the frost had done its job & broken all of the recently turned soil down well, on the planting beds.  Around the shaded areas of the plot (frost pockets) the soil still contained traces of frost under the surface & the drainage ditch at the lower end of my plot was still frozen over, sheltered from the sun by the hedgerow close by. To my surprise I had one extra Blackcurrant bush growing from a cutting I had "stuck" into the ground las…

Grow some Ice Plants

Tis Wednesday 1st Feb 2012 & I've just got back from the plot at midday having decided it was a bit too cold to do much today. A big mistake as the sunshine is now blazing through my window as if to say, "get on with it".

Anyway the heavy frost of last night has now melted away and at least I got a couple of photographs of Jack Frosts' "Ice Plants" he left behind last night on my cold frame?? They should be good for overwintering extras.

There's no accounting for some imagination I suppose.