Sunday, 31 January 2010

Seed Potatoes arrived

My seed Potatoes arrived yesterday.

So this morning went down to plot to start preparing patch for planting next month.

The area to the right is where the Main Crop potatoes will be planted, the patch beyond the archway where the Early & 2nd Early's will be planted.

These are 'Pentland Javelin' an early variety. Not grown these before but they have good disease resistance, so thought I would try them.

I am 'chitting' them in a light but cool room, old egg trays are ideal for this. In about 3 weeks, when short dark green shoots have appeared, they will be ready to be planted out.

These are 'Charlotte' a 2nd early variety, I have grown these before and really like the taste and texture, they make great new potatoes and also great cold in salads, their waxy flesh doesn't disintegrate when boiled.

All Early varieties should be planted 12" apart in rows, 24" between the rows.

I will be
planting my 'Earlies' late Feb early March, when threat of Frost has gone and the soil is warming up. Watch this space.

I also received my Main Crop spuds 'Cara' but have stored them in a cold dark place, for about 3 weeks, then will be chitting them too. I have grown Cara before because they crop well and are disease resistant too.

Thanks for reading & returning, I look forward to reading your comments.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Making home-made Bird fat blocks

Here is all you need
to make bird fat blocks
A much needed foodstuff
for foraging birds at this
time of the year.

Lard (500g)
Mixed seed, Sunflower seed & Peanuts (600g)
Add Mealworms if y
ou want.
Various yoghurt, pasta sauce, cream pots etc.
String or Twine.

Some twigs.

Large sauce pan (preferably an old one).
Large mixing bowl.

Make a small hole in the base of each pot, cut twigs into lengths slightly wider than pot,
diagonal measurement is ideal. Tie twig to end of string/twine and thread through hole.

Melt Lard over heat in old sauce pan, once in
liquid form, leave to cool a little. Whilst waiting it's an ideal time to prepare the pots.

When Lard is cooler but still liquid, poor into seed mix in mixing bowl, stir occasionally until the mixture starts to stiffen, takes about 20-30mins. It's best not to fill pots when lard is still liquid as it will leak out of hole in pot base.

A good tip is to put your finger over the hole whilst you fill the pots up with the seed & lard mixture, then the liquid cant leak out as you fill. I have also refilled some square containers that contained bird cake that fit in those wire feeders.
Leave for a few hours (preferably overnight) in a cool place, then carefully press them out. If your mixture is firm enough they should slide out easily, if not sliding a knife around sides will help to release it.

Hang up anywhere suitable, a tree branch is ideal, but I have used old shelf brackets on an archway & on the corners of my fruit cage.

No sooner are they in place and the birds home in on them, a Robin had a nibble of this one but flew off before I could take a pic.
The twigs act as a stopper so the seed ball cannot slide of the string/twine and makes a handy perch for small birds.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Only Carrots to harvest today

Snow has gone and the thaw has now set in, ground not frozen anymore.

Only task to do today is to harvest some Carrots. Kept under fleece mainly to deter 'Carrot root fly' which we have problems with, mostly in warmer months though, but also good to keep the 'chill' off.

Looking good.

Perfect for tonight's dinner.

Thanks for returning, look out for next weeks update.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Still Snow covered Allotment

No change since last visit, still snow covered and ground frozen hard.

Only task to do was to fill the bird feeders, which the birds do appreciate.

But theory about Rabbit visit was confirmed as another plot holder spotted a Rabbit or Hare running away earlier in the week.

Thanks for returning, a new update due next week.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Snow covered Allotment

Wednesday 6th Jan 2010

Lovely snowy shots of Allotment. Haven't seen it under a blanket of snow until this year. Overnight temp dropped to -10 so ground still too hard to work on.

Amongst the usual tracks I expected to see, Birds & Pheasants, I saw these paw prints. Wonder what made them?

Here's a close up. Thought it might be a Rabbit or Hare, but back legs are not long enough, unless it was on tip-toes!

Thanks for reading/returning and I look forward to your comments.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Welcome to my new Allotment Blog

3rd Jan 2010

It was so cold today and the ground was frozen, so just a big clear-up and bonfire was all we could do.

Its a standard plot approx 30ft x 100ft, we have had it since 2000, so now in our 10th year.

It's so satisfying, clearing up after a good growing year, having a bonfire and returning the burnt material back into the soil.

The Archway to the right is ideal for climbing crops, such as Courgettes, Beans or Sweet Peas.

Last year I built a fruit cage (you may see it in the distance). We have Raspberries, Black & Red Currants and Strawberries in it.

This cheeky fat Robin, greets us as we arrive and as we work on the soil, he and his friends forage for any bugs we might have disturbed. We also have bird feeders so they wait for us to fill them up. Today we also spotted Thrushes & Black Birds.

I will update this Blog each weekend, with news and pics from whats been done in the week (if anything).

Thanks for reading, I look forward to reading your comments.