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Showing posts from April, 2012

Paddy Field or Plot

The incessant rain finally abated about 1015 this morning, after putting my kayak back into the garage I drove down to my allotment to assess the outcome of the weekends storms. Only 2 other allotment holders were on sight and were busy draining rain water away from their plot.

Many plots were partially or mostly flooded, mainly the plots close to the allotment road, which was acting as a barrier, preventing the surface water from draining down the, (North to South) slope into the drainage ditch on the South side of the allotments.

My main plot was looking O.K. Although the ground was saturated the only area which had standing water on the surface was around my shed close to the drainage ditch.

My second plot was a different picture. Most of the area planted with spuds was waterlogged. 4 rows of Letttuce were under water and the lower end of the plot, nearest to the road was well under water. Sticking a garden fork into various parts of the ground, to see if the water would drain off…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 9)!!

1. If you have used "permanent marker pens" to write on your plant labels try cleaning off the writing with wire wool/scouring pad and water, easy to do.

2. When planting Tomatoes, instead of planting the plants upright, lay the plants along a shallow trench, leaving only the top leaves above soil level. The whole stem should put out extra roots and will soon grow upright. A larger root area should give more nutrition to the growing plants.

3. Many Daffodils & other similar plants have finished flowering. Leave the foliage to die back naturally, this will put extra energy back into the bulbs for next seasons stronger growth.

4. Recently I read an introduction to an allotment blog indicating that crop rotation was too complicated & a waste of time. I realize that in some circumstances crop rotation is not practical but it is important and not really that complicated. Remember the following "phrase" for rotating your veg.

 Potatoes  Like  Being  Roasted in Oi…

Wet, Wet, Wet.

Unfortunately no posts about the plot since the 12th of April, due to the recent persistent heavy rain, hail, wind and low air temperatures. I managed a visit to my plot yesterday but the ground is saturated throughout, so seed sowing or working the soil was out of the question. I watered the seedlings in my cold frames & shed & did some weeding, removing weeds which I could reach from the paths around my planting beds, to avoid walking & compacting the wet soil. Funnily enough very few weeds have been germinating recently, partly due to the cooler temperatures and it seems that the regular hand weeding of the plots over the past couple of years has paid off, with less and less perennial weeds re-appearing. Remember the old saying, 1 years seeds are worth 7 years weeds?

 One bonus of the recent (and more to come), heavy rain is that my rainwater barrels are all full again. I had used almost 2 barrels of water, just watering seedlings during February & March. The follo…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 8)!!

1.  Saving Cucumber seeds. Leave the Cucumber on the vine until it is FULLY RIPE & the vine is dead. Keep the vine & cucumber dry, leaving it for about another week. After the Cucumber has turned soft, scoop it out, placing the "scoopings" into a container of clean water. Leave the seeds for a week then separate the seeds from the goo. Rinse & dry the seeds for a month then seal in a dry air tight container, keeping them in a cool dry location.

2.  Yet another spray against Aphids. 1 grated Lemon rind (or other strong citrus fruit), 1 Pint of water. Boil the water, remove from heat source add the rind & allow to soak for 24 hours. Strain the liquid, add to a spray bottle & spray the Aphids with it.

3. Hostas are good plants to grow in moist shady locations. In dry weather keep them mulched and add fish blood & bonemeal feed in Spring. If you grow Hostas in containers ensure that the soil does not dry out. Propagate by division in Spring after new gr…

Gardening Free Stuff

I came home from the plot earlier than expected today due to the cold weather. Although I have already got my packets of seeds for this year, I thought it might be an idea to list some links to websites that are giving away free seeds & other gardening stuff. I cannot vouch personally for the sights listed but you might be lucky:

1. Free flower bulbs worldwide.  >>>>>>>>>  CLICK HERE

2. Free flowers plants seeds & bulbs  >>>>>>>>>> CLICK HERE

3. Germplasm (CANADA) >>>>>>>> CLICK HERE

4. This is a community based tree planting scheme from the Woodland Trust >>>>>>> CLICK HERE

5. Free Delivery (on seed only orders) free packet of seeds + labels with order >>>>>>> CLICK HERE

6. Free seeds & catalogue  (You will need to send 3, 1st class stamps for this one) >>>>>> CLICK HERE

7. Link to Applegate Gardens website for a variety of free gar…

Tomatoes in the Sky, Dinosaur Bones and Sweetcorn in a Bottle

Well, yet another relatively fine week with warm sunshine, showers, cool breezes and colder night time temperatures.
All in all a good week in which I have achieved  more sowing, planting & other "bits & pieces" down the plot.

The allotment rightly took second place to family visitors & visits over the Easter weekend & Monday saw me pruning a couple of large shrubs & generally tidying up my back garden again. I discovered a swarm of bees, in the flower border alongside my patio, had established an underground hive in the dry soil. Although I was loathe to disturb them the situation had to be dealt with.

Tuesday I was back down the plot & potting up was the order of the day, Runner beans (Scarlet Emperor), Sweetcorn (Lark F1) and Tomatoes (Alicante) were sown into various pots & containers and put into my cold frame. I decided to loosen up the soil in between my Potato ridges with the intention of utilizing the space for Lettuce or another crop at…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 7)!!

1. When earthing up your Potatoes, (the last earthing up), ensure enough earth is in place to cover all tubers, preventing sunlight from reaching them. Also ensure that the top of the ridges are not too FLAT, also COMPACT the sides of the ridges. The theory behind compacting is that any spores from blight on the plant, are less likely to get to the tubers and will be washed down into the trenches between the ridges.

2.  Broccoli (Purple & White) is not really fussy about soil, but firm ground with lime added will help Broccoli. Sow in Spring 18 inches (45cm) between plants and 2 feet (60cm) between rows. Keep mulched. Repeatedly pick the flowering heads as they develop.

3.  Look after the Bees this year by planting some Bee friendly plants/flowers in your garden or plot. Some examples are, Coltsfoot, Elder, Borage, White Clover.

4.  One job you know you really want to do? Give your lawn a good raking before feeding & cutting it. It is surprising how much good compost able…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 6)!!

1. If you are sowing Sweetcorn, sow into compost able pots. The pots can then be "planted" into the ground, thus avoiding disturbing the seedlings roots, which Sweetcorn dislikes.

2. Bay has many uses in the kitchen. Being an evergreen storage is not a problem. Bay does not like frosts but can be grown easily, outside in warm climates. Keep protected from cold & frosts in less warm climates.

3. If you are having problems with animals on your garden or veggie plot try sprinkling some of the following around your plants. Red Chilli Pepper, Cayenne Pepper or freshly ground Black Pepper.

4. Many vegetable growers find Cauliflowers difficult to grow. Try the following. Check that their soil is neutral to slightly alkaline. Ensure the soil is very rich in nutrients, prepared the previous Autumn. About a week before planting apply a general fertilizer (about 90 to 100 grams per square meter). Full sun is required away from trees shrubs & hedges.

5. If you intend to sow Pum…

Sunny Somerset

My heartfelt commiserations to all gardeners & allotmenteers who have been affected by the snow, cold & low temperatures, over the last couple of days "up north". Apart from a cool breeze and some very light rain overnight & this morning not much has altered weather wise, here in Somerset. The sun is now trying to break through the patchy cloud, so with a bit of luck I will be down the plot again tomorrow. I went down to the plot earlier this afternoon to pick some Rhubarb, and to take some photographs to add to this post
. The seedlings had benefited from the "dusting" of rain but the ground underneath larger plants such as the Rhubarb was still dry. The following photographs show the progress of the seed sowing and planting which has been done over the last couple of months.

If the weather gets warmer this week I will be enjoying sowing more seeds this coming weekend.