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Showing posts from July, 2012

Fiction and Fact

Mainly attributed to this years unexpected, unusual & fluctuating weather conditions I have compiled 2 lists of the fruit & veggies which I have sown and cultivated to date. The first list is in the order of how I expected the crops to turn out, (given reasonable UK weather conditions). Quality, abundance, taste and difficulty in cultivation, being the criteria, used.  My second list is the order in which they actually turned out.
EXPECTED OUTCOME
1.Potatoes 2. Runner beans  3. Peas 4. French climbing beans 5. Rhubarb 6. Onions (Including Spring onions) 7.Sweetcorn 8. Tomatoes (Outdoor varieties) 9. Strawberries 10. Raspberries 11. Blackcurrants 12. Cucumbers (Ridge) 13. Apples 14.Lettuce 15. Redcurrants  16.White currants 17. Gooseberries  18. Cabbage 19. Sprouts 20. Carrots 21. Parsnips 22. Pears 23. Beetroot 24.Swedes 25. Turnips 26. Plums 27. Peppers 28.Khol-rabi 29. Cherries 30. Pumpkins 31. Oca 32. Grapes
ACTUAL OUTCOME
1. Blackcurrants (Excellent size, abundance…

End of July Bed Time

  Another week of horizon to horizon sunshine with plenty of harvesting done, down the plot. Watering of my crops has been called for twice this week, a far cry from letting the rain do its thing, only a few weeks ago.
 Today I picked the first batch of Runner beans which were sown on the 23rd of February. About 80% of the plants have reached their allotted height and been pinched out. The rest have yet to reach the top of their 8 foot canes. I lifted the first full row of main crop Desiree potatoes yesterday, giving me a yield of just over 12kg. Each plant had about 10/12 good sized tubers or 6/7 larger ones per plant. Only 2 plants had been affected by rotting off, from wet soil with 2 tubers showing signs of blight, (both tubers were growing very close to the soils surface), which has been apparent but limited to a handful of other plots on the allotments. The tubers were growing very shallowly, caused by compaction of the heavy clay soil, due to our earlier "monsoon" we…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 22)!!

1. If you are spending long periods of time tending your garden/allotment during hot periods of weather, remember it is easy to get sun burnt or dehydrated. Make sure you have enough to drink and keep your head and the back of your neck protected from the suns rays.

2. Plants growing in containers such as hanging baskets will dry out quickly during hot weather. Make sure that their soil is kept moist.

3. If your bean plants are looking stunted/wilting with yellowing leaves there are 3 possible causes. The soil is too wet, the soil is too dry or the soil is not fertile enough for correct growth.

4.  July and August is the time to sow Spring Cabbage. If you are sowing directly outside, find a sheltered area of ground which has been manured earlier in the year or last Autumn, partial shade is o.k. Cloche protection may be needed later in the year. Thin out the plants in the following February/March. Harvest from April/May.

5.  If you are likely to have seeds left over this year, put the…

Poetic Fortnight (With Apologies to William Shakespeare and Others)

Its been a busy fortnight, since my last blog post went up, The weathers great, the veg is fine and the suns been out a lot, Everyday for 13 now, I've visited my plot.
Rain and wind forgotten now, the soil is almost dry, Clear blue skies and singing birds my smile is kind of wry, I've cut the grass and pulled the weeds just like I know I outa, Tomorrows job just has to be, yep, give the plants some water.
Earthing spuds up months ago I thought was heavy work, But shelling peas and picking fruit has kept me extra busy, Prepping carrots for the freezer, almost made me dizzy, Sixty pounds of Blackcurrants, took me hours to pick, If I eat all of the jam, I will probably be quite sick.
The Runner beans look healthy now, a long time they have stood, The French beans and Borlotties are just now, coming good, My garden peas have all been picked and stored inside my freezer, I've turned the soil where they were grown, whats sown there now? well that really is a teaser. 
My earl…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 21)!!

1. If your Tomatoes are struggling to ripen try putting some Banana skins on the ground, around the base of the plants.

2. The UK weather is forecast to be getting warmer and drier by the end of next week. It may be a chance to sow/plant some flowers/vegetables that were not done in June and early July.

3. The following are some vegetables you can still sow (outside) now and in the next few months. Calabrese (up to the end of July), Carrots (through to September), Chard (July & August), Coriander, French beans, Kale, Lettuce,  Oriental greens, Peas, Radish, Spring cabbage, Spring Onions.

4. If you are using mulches, use well rotted organic materials as these are less likely to attract slugs & snails, than fresh organic materials.

5. If you are lucky enough to have grown some Kiwi fruit to pick, it will be ripe when it gives slightly, if pressed. If the fruit is hard, it is not ripe, but is over ripe if soft and starting to shrivel.

6. Dandelions may be a pain to eradicate fro…

Just Another Disaster

 We've all experienced enough rainfall this year to fill an infinite number of water butts, and probably complained about it too. Some areas of Somerset were heavily flooded again last night and today. I was lucky enough to get down the plot all day, working in warm sunny conditions until 5 p.m. this evening., so I will count my blessings.


The BBC (Breakfast Time) this morning announced that the weather conditions we have had in UK this year will become worse over the next 20 years and that the government will be adding another £2 billion to research into climate change. Funny that the announcement didn't come just before or just after the weather forecast. Are we just being drip fed the bare essentials as usual?

Most gardeners will have noticed many changes in the environment over the past few years, for instance the decline of the Honey bee and the difference in plant behavior. Will the Mayans be proved correct on the 21st of December this year.

My take on climate change, …

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Your Tips 20)!!

1. If you intend to save your own Carrot seeds this year, ensure that there is no (Daucus carota) Wild carrot, Queen Anne's Lace growing in the vicinity of your Carrots. They will cross breed.

2. Queen Ann's Lace or Wild carrot has edible roots BUT there is a similar looking plant called Water Hemlock which is deadly to eat. Can you positively identify them?


3. If you are growing Pak Choi, try harvesting some of them while they are still young. Cut off the leaves about 2 inches (5cm) above soil level and the plant should produce further leaves.

4. Looking at the current weather trends in UK, if you want Spring Cabbages for next year, sow the seeds at the end of this month (under glass or cloches) and plant out in the Autumn.

5. Planting Fennel and Yarrow in your garden or down the plot will attract Lacewings which feed on, Spider mites, Aphids, Caterpillar Larvae and other garden pests.

6. Blackspot on Roses is caused by wind borne spores (fungus) in water droplets. Sprays a…

Now Its Freezing

June 26th was my last blog post, during the few breaks in the weather since then, my visits to the plot have been a mixture of fruit and veg picking, hoeing, weeding and repeated grass cutting around the plot. The fruit and veg which hasn't already been eaten has been frozen for future use. The huge amount of time spent picking, shelling, cleaning and preparing the produce, (and still doing some decorating in between), is and will be time well spent. I picked 15lbs of peas (2nd pick) and 8lbs of Gooseberries (1st pick) on Friday, along with another 2lbs of Strawberries. The Rhubarb just keeps coming. The only challenge with Rhubarb is manuring and protecting it during the Winter months. Rhubarb generally appreciates a fair amount of water to grow well, so it should be good this year.


 Most of my Strawberry plants have now exhausted their bounty of fruit. Despite the wet weather approximately 1 and a half lbs of fruit per day has been produced since early June. My Potato plants se…

Thursdays Top 10 Tryouts (Or Show Us Yer Tips 19)!!

1. If you intend to save your own vegetable/flower seeds this year, ensure they are kept as cool and dry as possible. Store them in glass or tin containers, (they may sweat if kept in plastic or polythene containers). Add a sachet of silica gel to each container to help keep the seeds dry.

2. Again the continuing rainy, wet conditions in UK are causing problems. If your garden/allotment soil is becoming waterlogged/compacted take any opportunity to let air into it. Digging is not advisable but pushing a garden fork into the soil repeatedly over a given area, will aerate the soil and may save plants from rotting off.

3. Scarlet Pimpernel is a common garden weed (very common on my allotment). It is poisonous to humans if ingested. It can also cause dermatitis. Don't forget to wear gardening gloves when necessary?

4. If you have a shaded area of ground and are looking for plants to grow there, try the following herbs, which should grow well even in shade. Chives, Lemon Balm, Mint, P…