Sunday, 23 January 2011

Big weekend

Been a big weekend, my 50th Birthday was on Saturday (yesterday) so had a lovely day with the family.

So today we went to the Allotment, mainly to check it out and to put our weekly vegetable waste into the Compo
st bins.
Here you can see one of the Strawberry plants we tidied up last week, looking healthy and green.

Here you can see the red tip of the Rhubarb which has been dormant over the last few months, glad to see it making a showing at last. With a bit of warmth it will grow rapidly.

Here is just one row of Garlic, that we planted a few weeks ago. Unfortunately we don't know it's variety, but is one we grew last year.

The Leeks are still looking good, and we will be having these with our dinner.

This year our big project is to re-home some ex-battery Chickens, so are clearing space in the back garden at home. I will be constructing a hen house & run for them here, so will report on progress each week (weather permitting).

We are going on a Poultry Keeping Course next weekend at Reaseheath College.
So looking forward to that.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Potato 'Chitting' Station

Just for a change I thought I would show you my Potato Chitting Station, an easy D.I.Y project.

You will need a cheap shelf unit like the one on the left, easily purchased from most D.I.Y stores for under £10.

Luckily we already had one that's no longer used, hence the tasty paint job.

I rearranged the shelves to make them closer together, I had to drill extra holes in the uprights to do this.

The original unit shelf spacing was about 10" apart, but after adding 2 new shelves they ended up 7.5" apart, ideal for it's new use as a 'Chitting' station.

The extra shelves were made from some rough cut timber about 3" wide, it's easy to copy the construction of the original shelves.

The next job is to add the egg trays, most butchers/grocers will let you have these.
Each shelf takes 2.5 trays.

I have started with my 1st Earlies:
'Anya' & 'Charlotte'

Over the next few weeks I will add the 2nd Earlies 'Hunter' & the Mains 'Markies' to stagger the chitting.

The advantage of using shelves, is that they can be easily moved around, from shade to sunlight, but must be kept in a cool place (our radiator is switched off) saves having them on the dining table, as I have done in the past.
Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Wet & Dismal harvesting Sunday

Well despite an earlier forecast of dry weather, it turned out to be a drizzly day.

But we had been told that the Potatoes were ready for collection today, from the on site shop so we ventured out and yes our Charlotte & Anya Potatoes were there with our name on.
Anya is a cross of Desiree & Pink Fir Apple and is described as a Salad type, so nice hot or cold.

So we went to the Plot to harvest some crops, in the picture above, from Left to Right, Horseradish, Sprouts, Leeks & Carrots.
All looking surprisingly good after the freezing temperatures of the last few months, in fact the Sprouts have improved I think from a little freeze and are lovely and sweet.

So we were only there for about half an hour, didn't even take my camera for fear of getting it wet. But there is next week, which is a special weekend, watch this space for next update.
Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Clear up Sunday, part 2

A lovely day today, blue skies and sunny too.

We did have a light snow shower on Friday, but went same day.

But as you can see 'Bonfire Time' again, still clearing up, we tidied up the Strawberry beds of old dead leaves & removed the Straw from between plants, a good hiding place for slugs & their eggs!

I also dug out an old Blackcurrant bush that was rather old & less productive, in the space made we plan to have a couple of Blueberry trees.

Now that the Rain Barrels have thawed out a small leak has developed & why does it have to be right at the bottom of the main barrel? The one all the others are filled from !!

So do I drain it and try to fix with 'Duct Tape' or replace with a new one?

The Birds are still hungry so I put up an extra feeding platform, with mixed seed & fat balls too.

We put out a fat block last week & today noticed it had been totally eaten, not a scrap left, so shows you how hungry the Birds are at the moment.

So as you can see the sky was Blue and not a cloud in sight. But still chilly, so only about 2 hours was spent there (we forgot to pack a flask).
Still more clearing to do, but almost there.

My main crop seed Potatoes arrived this week, a new variety 'Markies' so will be 'chitting' them soon ready for planting in March/April.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday, 2 January 2011

1st Sunday of the New Year

It seems to be a tradition now, looking back to last year, we were on the plot on Sunday 3rd Jan 2010 too.

First job was to clear this raised bed and put the Garlic in, 3 varieties: Aquila Wight, Elephant & one Un-named. I put netting over just while they get established as we get Pheasants that just claw bulbs up whilst searching for insects etc.

But the main job was to collect all the old/dead foliage up and have a big Bonfire. I love this time of year as you start with a clean slate and can plan whats going where.

The Seeds have arrived & the Potatoes are due soon, so now the ground preparation can start.

So after 3+ hours work we managed to take down all the Pea & Bean frames, pull up all the spent flowers, weeds etc. Luckily most were dry enough to burn so the Bonfire was quite a big one (although burnt down somewhat in this photo).
Eventually all the ash will be dug back into the soil, recycling at it's best :)

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Saturday, 1 January 2011

1st Day of the New Year 2011

The Ice & Snow that had stopped us doing any work on the plot had finally gone.

So now the ground wasn't frozen solid, we managed to finally dig up the Parsnips, also harvested some Sprouts too, that were frozen last week, was hoping to have them for Christmas Lunch, but had to have them today instead and they were lovely & sweet.

So as I said the Snow had now gone and hopefully lots of soil bound bugs too.

Just need a few dry days and the serious work can start, clearing & soil preparation and of course a bonfire.

I am planning to put a pond in this year to attract Frogs & Toads, so the Slugs better watch out.

Another task to do today was to refill the Bird feeders with fat balls & blocks. They still need assistance from us as the ground is still too cold to hold the bugs they need.

Thanks for reading/returning & Happy New Year too all.