Sunday 27 June 2010

The hottest day of the year so far!

So the weather report said hottest day so far, and they were not wrong it was 110F in the Greenhouse today!

1st Picture shows the many flowers we grow, many self seeded, but all attract beneficial Bees*

*Sorry I keep mentioning Bees, but if everyone grew just a few flowers, even in a window box or on a balcony our Bee population would be more healthy, so please give a thought to the Bees :)

This information pack (download) has some good advise & a game to play too:

Earlier in the year we bought a Goji Berry, cultivated it at home and today planted it out in the fruit cage. According to information supplied it can grow up to 3mtrs tall, but as our cage is only 2mtrs, a bit of pruning will be needed as it grows.

If you are interested in growing Goji Berries there is more info via this useful link:

Our Strawberries 'Alice' are still producing well, in fact we are harvesting on average 1lb (450g) per day, but so far none made into Jam.

These 'Petit Pois' Peas are almost ready to harvest, loads of pods have formed over the last few days and will be so sweet when ready :)

Due to the hot temp, not much physical work was done today except weeding of this Brassica patch, which contains Curly Kale & Mini Cauliflowers. You can see Sweetcorn in the patch behind which is also growing well and will be pollinating soon (if it needs help we can assist). Cant wait to taste that super sweet corn :)

Thanks for reading/returning, look out for next update.

Sunday 20 June 2010

Very busy Sunday

This is Poppy & Delphinium corner (self seeded) next to the Greenhouse which contains Tomato, Cucumber & Pepper plants.

We don't mind self seeded flowers as they attract beneficial Bees.

Despite several Thefts of Rhubarb (the last time the thief took more than half the crop (if too much is taken it goes into shock, producing thinner stalks) but luckily the Rhubarb has recovered well.
We managed to harvest about 10 stalks, to make a crumble from :)

A row of Lettuce between the Brassica bed (right) & the Climbing French Bean wigwams (left), Sweet Peas are also grow here.

I made a small protective cloche from offcuts of Chicken Wire, to keep the birds off the Lettuce.

I planted more Sweetcorn today, as a succession crop, the ones in the background were planted about a month ago and are doing well.

I also planted more Kale too, so we should have a continuous crop for later in the year.

And with the help of my Petrol Strimmer, I trimmed the path edges, so you can see from one end of the plot to the other now :)

Sunday 13 June 2010

Good intentions thwarted by rain

Had lots of weeding to do today, but due to another commitment didn't get down to the Allotment until 10:30. So started weeding the Brassica extension patch, all went well and managed to hand weed the remaining patch plus set aside pulled up Nettles, more on that later. Then It rained :(

The good weather this week, mostly Sunny with a little rain, has made everything put on a growing spurt, lots of the early Potatoes are now in flower, so will be lifting them soon.

The Peas & climbing Beans are also
growing well, Brassicas too are growing so fast they are pushing the netting off!

Our Fruit Cage is so full of fruit we are expecting our biggest harvest, Strawberries, Raspberries, Black & Red Currents too. I think the top dressing of well rotted Manure early in the year did help.

This is our first ripe Strawberry, the 1st of many:)

shared it (half each) on top of Vanilla ice cream in a meringue nest, it was the tastiest we have ever had, supermarket strawberries are no match!

The Runner Beans are starting to climb up this permanent wire mesh as usual we are expecting a bumper crop and expect to give lots away, as usual we gave a good dose of Manure :)

The Yellow & Orange flowers are Calendula (self seeded) but the Bees love them so we don't mind some growing but we do have to weed some of them out as thy can take over.

Anyway I said earlier I harvested Nettles, well I am considering making Nettle Beer from the top few leaves of each stem and liquid fertilizer from the rest ('Tea').

It's very simple to make FREE liquid fertilizer from Nettles or Comfrey:
Harvest the Nettles and/or Comfrey, stems & leaves, place in a large bucket or bin, place a weight on top.
Then fill bucket/bin with water to cover the leaves, wait a few weeks (it may pong a bit so keep away from house etc) then remove the rotted leaves etc (these can be put in the compost bin).
Then decant the liquid off, never use neat always dilute the 'Tea' before use to about 10 parts water to 1 part 'Tea'.
As I like to recycle things I made a Comfrey Bin out of an old Wheelie Bin (one that was damaged and council forgot to collect when it was replaced).
First I made a base to stand the bin on, I used 2 breeze blocks and a paving slab.
I put a water butt tap close to the base, used wire mesh (chicken wire is ideal) inside placed on top of 3 bricks standing on end inside the bin, this makes a sump for the liquid that is collected.
Then I fill the bin up with Comfrery (Nettles too if you have any) and fill with water to cover the Comfrey/Nettles, after a few weeks
the 'Tea' should be a dark brown colour.
I then, using empty 500ml water bottles, fill the bottles via the tap and store for future use, approx a third of a bottle per watering can is about the best mix.
This free liquid fertilizer can be used on any of your growing crops especially Tomatoes, Peppers etc.

Thanks for reading/returning.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

We grow flowers too.

Just for a change I thought you would like to see some of the Flowers we grow, some self seeded but most are cultivated by us.

These are Foxgloves
'Digitalis Purpurea' we just love the vertical structure of these (self seeded) plants and the Bees love them.

We also grow Sweet Peas 'Lathyrus Odoratus' every year, they are lovely as cut flowers, in fact the more you cut them the more flowers they produce, a win win situation.

We grow lots of different colours each year, this is just one of them but they do come in 100's of colour combinations.

These California Poppies 'Eschscholzia Californica' also self seeded from last years growth.

Another Poppy type sowed for the 1st time this year:
'Ladybird Poppy'

We are so glad they came out and the colours are magic.

The principal reason we grow Flowers is that they attract beneficial insects and Bees of course.
Without Bees very little pollination would take place which would mean lots of the fruit and vegetables we grow would fail and then what would we eat?

Thanks for reading/returning, look out for main up-date on Sunday.


Sunday 6 June 2010

A wet Sunday so not much done

As the weather was not good today I thought looking back to see how the plot has grown in 2 months might be fun.

This picture taken April 18th

This picture taken today June 6th.
As you can see its much greener and lush.
In the foreground, left, the Garlic bed & right, the Mange Tout frame.
Beyond the frame is the Comfrey patch.
The tall pale green plant on left is Spinach, and beyond that the new Potato patch.

But look how big our Strawberries are, a week of sun should turn them red, can't wait as we have so many this year, Jam making is a certainty.

Thanks for reading/returning, I hope to do a full update next week.

Friday 4 June 2010

Nice survey for you to do

Was sent this link to a 'Grow your own' survey, via my Twitter feed, thought it was a good one for you all to fill in.

So if you only have a windowsill, a balcony, back yard or full blown Allotment this survey is for everyone who grows for themselves. Enjoy.