Sunday, 26 May 2013

Sunny Bank Holiday Weekend

Been planning this for a while, you might have spotted a stack of Pallets in some of my previous photos.
 Oh well, this weekend was dry & sunny so I decided to renew one of the old rotten pallet fences with a new taller pallet fence, first I nailed together 2 pallets to make a 7ft wide fence panel, then using a post hole auger, I dug 20" deep holes, as the pallets are 40" high, using salvaged 3"x3" timber for the posts, I managed to erect 3 7ft panels to give me over 21ft of new fence.  
The other job needed doing before it's too late was to plant the last of the main crop Spuds 'Picasso' that have been 'chitting' for ages.

Just as a reminder, Main crop spuds need to be in trenches 30" apart, each seed spud placed in the trench 15" between each. This gives them plenty of room to grow & swell.
So another blue sky day. 
The Blossom on the Cox's Apples is lovely to see, hope we get a few apples this year. 
Most of the early potatoes are through now, have earthed them up a few times now. Other crops are also doing well, Mange Tout Peas in the raised bed have grown so quick, also the Cabbages I put in a few weeks ago under the green netting cloche. Will be planting out more Leeks, Beetroot & sowing some Carrots soon.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Weekend jobs completed

Finally got the Rotovator out again, this patch is where the last of the Potatoes 'Picasso' main crop will go. I plan to plant them at the weekend. In the picture I have only gone over the soil once with the Rotovator, I filmed when I went over it for the 2nd time, only 6mins to turn over approx 20 sq mtrs! See my YouTube video below.
The other job that needed finishing was the new Strawberry beds, also finished the path, with good depth of wood chips. The variety of Strawberries I put in are a mix of Elsanta & Alice. 
Was so nice to see the sun again, which carried on into the evening.

Also when visiting the plot yesterday we spotted a Frog in the pond, I put in only last year. We didn't expect to see any so soon, so was lovely to see, it was quite big too.
Don't forget to check out my YouTube video:

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Planting Lettuce, Planting Runner Beans.

Was such a lovely day, after a miserable week weather wise.

Anyway, I weeded the Garlic bed then planted some Cos Lettuce between the rows as a catch crop.
Its now time to plant out the Runner Beans started of at home in Root Trainers.

First I dug out a deep trench along the base of the netting, put a couple of spade fulls of well rotted manure in and back filled. Then planted the Runner Bean seedlings now about 12" (30cm) tall. As Runner beans are a hungry plant the manure will certainly help to produce a good crop.
Did a bit more work on the new Strawberry beds, the path between the new raised beds & the Asparagus bed needed a serious weeding & de-grassing. I removed a barrow full of sieved soil too to get the level ready for a base of weed suppressing fabric then about 2" of wood chips. Makes a great path.
The other urgent job to do was strimming the central path and edges. As we dont have any utilities (water/electricity) on site, I have to use petrol powered tools. 

My McCulloch Strimmer is a very useful tool, I even lend it out to neighboring plot holders too. 
Not sure this photo shows the neater grass path, but I'm sure you will see the lovely blue sky, the day started out a bit grey but by lunch time the sun came out and it was lovely.

I also had another bonfire (in the incinerator bin)! 

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Dodging the showers

 Arrived at our plot an hour or so before the rain, so managed to get a few crops in.

Here we have planted a row of Borecole the white stuff is crushed egg shells, I'm trying it out as a Slug and Snail barrier, they dont like crawling over sharp stuff!

If you have a lot of egg shells, like we do, here's how to easily crush them:
Put your cracked egg shells whole in a foil tray, pop in the oven any time its on, ideally when you are baking, when baked and dry, they crush easily.
I also dug over this patch, added some dried Lime, as all Brassicas prefer limed soil better than manure, also the soil needs firming down after the Lime is added. 
Then I planted some Cabbages that we had started at home. The netting tunnel is to stop birds pecking out the young plants!
Also started some Sweet Peas off at home and have planted them each side of the netting arch over the central path. 
Hopefully, as in other years, the Sweet Peas will grow up and over giving a lovely fragrant floral archway.
So as my title suggested, it was a rainy day, but we were lucky and managed to do all the above just before the rain started. 
Just got a little bit wet walking home, but we don't mind its only water. The early Potatoes, which were planted April 13th, are just breaking through the soil, I have already earthed them up once and they will need the rain as its been mostly dry since planting. Plus the rain barrels will be topped up.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Monday, 6 May 2013

May Bank Holiday continued

 Really needed to finish weeding and digging over this patch where I will plant the remainder of the Main Crop Potatoes 'Picasso' 
All the roots and weeds were burnt in the incinerator bin!
I also weeded between the Radar Onions, simply by using a draw hoe at an angle so the pointed edge causes a  shallow trench it lightly earths up the Onions too.
19 of the 'Foremost' Potatoes have broken through the dry soil, I planted these on April 13th, so less than a month.

Even though I have grown Potatoes for ages now, I'm always excited to see the 1st shoots.
Its been a weekend of firsts.
 Here is the first harvest of the 'Stewarts Purple' Asparagus that we put in in 2011, we did have a few spears last year, the yield should be bigger this year.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday, 5 May 2013

May Bank Holiday Weekend on the Plot

Main crop Potato planting time. 
This will be the fourth lot I've planted since last month. The variety is 'Valour' I picked this one because of it's good yield and resistance to disease and drought.

I didn't manage to plant all these, but 36 in 3 rows, is a good amount, I hope the claims of a good yield are true.
Because Valour is a main crop potato, I first dug a trench 30" (75cm) from the last trench, each seed potato is placed 15" (38cm) apart along the bottom of the trench which I watered well as the soil is so dry at the moment, I also added  a few handfuls of Chicken pellet fertiliser onto the soil dug out of the trench, so when back filling the trench the soil & pellets fall on top of the seed potatoes giving them a much needed boost as they grow.
Both the new raised beds are finished & filled with a soil, compost & manure mixture, then 4 ridges were formed then black mulch fabric placed over the soil mounds. Holes cut in the fabric allows the Strawberry plants to be planted through.

This variety is 'Elsanta' which we started last year, these plants are the runners we potted up and over wintered.
The Greenhouse is full at the moment, the Peas are podding well, the Pak Choi is massive and the Broad Beans are coming on fine, extra crops from a space not used normally over winter. 

Tomato plants have been started at home and will be planted here when the Peas & Pak Choi have been harvested.
We brought along our Chickens, Maud, Flo, Freda & Matilda. 

They are having a wonderful time amongst the Blueberries & Strawberries dust bathing!
When it was time to go home it was hard catching them, I think they could have stayed all night! But not happy to do that as nowhere for them to roost & threat of Fox attack is too great.
So much done today, also sown some Mange Tout peas in one of the raised beds.
Harvested Leeks and Rhubarb. Which we will have for our dinner tonight.

As its Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow, will be back to do more digging & weeding!
 The sun shone all day today hope it continues.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian