Monday 30 May 2011

May Bank holiday weekend

Back in the Fruit Cage the Strawberries & Raspberries are so laden with fruit, they just need to ripen so we can harvest.
Here you can see the Blueberries, this picture taken on Saturday, but today they are even larger, after the rain, but still not turned Blue.

We have 5 Blueberry bushes, the others are doing well too.

Back in the Green House, if you look back a few weeks, you will notice how much the Tomatoes, Cucumbers & Peppers have grown.
The Cucumbers have fruit on already, we have 2 one is a mini version the other produces standard size fruit.

Today I planted out the Sweetcorn, only 8 made it from the ones started in the greenhouse at home, but have sown some more so we have a later successive crop.
So should end up with up to 20, planted out in a block formation, not a straight line, as this aids wind pollination.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Weeding, Weeding, Weeding

Just thought you would like to see some of the fruit we are growing, in the Fruit Cage.

Here is just one of the Strawberry beds, in this one we are growing 'Alice' Strawberries. Each plant, there are 9 here, is laden with fruit and a few are just starting to turn red.
We have another bed the same size in the fruit cage, plus another larger raised bed, near the shed, with about 20 plants in it, also abundant with fruit.

Still in the Fruit Cage, here you can see a Bee on a Raspberry flower, it's nice to sit quietly in the cage and just listen to the hum of the Bees, there are so many.

One of the neighboring plots has a Bee Hive I wonder how many of the Bees in my cage came from the Allotment Hive?

So as the title says I have been doing alot of weeding and the plot is looking rather tidy.
The Potato bed on the left & Brassica bed on the right looking nice and weed free, for a change. It was nice to have the time this week to get it done. But my fingers are tingling from picking Nettles up with my bare hands, but as a Twitter follower said its said to be good for Arthritis :)

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 22 May 2011

Day 2 of a busy weekend, Sunday

The weekend construction jobs continue.

First I made 2 taller 'wigwam' style frames for the Climbing (purple) French Beans, I used my usual circle of weed suppressing cardboard weighed down by a couple of old floor tiles.

Will be planting these up very soon, as the Beans have been started at home.

Despite the clear blue sky, it was a very windy & showery day today, but not so much as to stop me getting these jobs done, I do have the Shed to shelter in when it does rain.

The next frame I constructed was a tent style frame we always grow our Mange Tout Peas on this type of frame.
This year we are growing 'Oregon Sugar Pod' just the name sounds like they will be sweet tasting :)

We started some at home in root trainers, so when I planted them out today I also popped a seed in between so we get a successive crop later in the season.

So it's been a very productive weekend, I'm happy that most of the Potatoes are through, especially the 'Bleue d'Artois' French heritage spuds that my neighbor brought back from a trip abroad.
The fruit cage is bursting with flowers & buds. We are going to have a bumper crop of Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries & Black/Redcurrants.
There will be much Jam & Wine making I feel :)

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Saturday 21 May 2011

Day 1 of a busy Weekend, Saturday

Despite the grey clouds, but a dry forecast we decided to visit the Allotment, well it is Saturday.

First job to water the Greenhouse, we have 3 Tomato, 2 Pepper & 2 Cucumber plants growing, here you can see one of the Cucumbers forming.

Next Job to check on the Potatoes, the 1st & 2nd earlies are still doing well and noticed two of the 'Rocket' are in flower, which means we can lift them soon, hopefully early June :)

Did a quick count of the mains 'Markies' (a new variety) and 70 out of 77 planted are showing. I also checked on the French Blue spuds and all 8 have come through, so cant
wait to try these for the 1st time.

Next Job: To weed the Onion Bed both Red and White, most have sprouted only a few out of over 300 sets I planted haven't shown yet.
Also planted more Dwarf French Beans, Sunflowers and other flowers too.

Tomorrow I plan to construct
a new frame & plant out the Mange Tout Peas, also construct 2 tall wigwams for climbing French (purple) Beans. So check out tomorrows Blog.
Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Monday 16 May 2011

A bit of rain and it all goes mad, chickens too

One day late due to a Christening yesterday, so no Sunday Allotmenting.

But went down there tonight to water the Greenhouse & harvest some weeds & greens for the Chickens.

Here is the Onion bed, over 300 sets planted both White & Red onions planted & doing well, most are growing.

We have had some strong winds over the last week or so, you can clearly see this effect on the Garlic which are all bending over in the same direction.
We are growing 2 types of small size (cant remember name, will check on next visit and update) and also Elephant Garlic.
The Leeks in foreground are doing well too.

Here you can see the Broad Beans, Peas & Sweet Peas.

They are all starting to get taller, the Peas were only planted out 2 weeks ago, the Broad Beans also 2-3 weeks.

So glad it's raining, most days for over a week now. It's a shame folks in the south haven't had much, in some areas non at all.

But most of all the Potatoes have benefited from the Rain, the 1st & 2nd earlies Anya, Charlotte, Rocket and Hunter have all come up and as you can see in the background have grown well.

The Main crop 'Markies' in the foreground, have now broken through 50 out of 77 planted. Did 1st earthing up on Saturday.
Cant wait to try this new variety.

Chicken News:
We have been letting the Chickens out into the garden for over a week now, they expect it. They have their favorite places to dust bathe, scratch & snooze.
Hetty has chosen this large planter, that we had spring bulbs in, as her dust bath and she loves covering herself with the compost. It's so nice to see them behaving naturally so soon after release from Battery Farm.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 8 May 2011

A day of Rain and Chickens invade

Despite the weather forecast of rain, rain, rain, we donned our waterproofs and headed off.
But actually we experienced more Sun than rain, so got on with some important jobs.

First I made 3 'Cane Wigwams' with weed stopping circle of cardboard at base, then planted up the Climbing French Beans 'Blue Lake' 24 of them!

Other job's done:
Water the greenhouse.
Earth up the 1st & 2nd early Potatoes.
Plant out some Kale (for us & the Chickens).
Harvest some Rhubarb.
Check on the Asparagus.
And do some weeding (obviously).

Chicken News:
We have started to let them out of their run for an hour or so a day, but only when we are around to keep an eye on them. Not because of our potted plants, but more to check they don't escape over the fence, but so far they haven't even tried, despite exercising their wings to get into tall planters etc.

Help there's a Chicken in the Kitchen!
On Friday we left the patio door open and one came into the house! Followed soon after by the others so at one point we had all 4 chickens in our house, this will be a hard habit to stop as when ever they are loose in the garden & we open the patio door they run towards it hoping to come inside, it's rather nice to think they are so confident and fully settled in now only 7 weeks since release from their battery existence.

We have had a total of 182 eggs so far, friends, neighbors & relatives have been helping us to eat them and they taste so good, far better than shop bought eggs, it's definitely because of all the greens and treats they get as well as their new laid (no pun intended) back lifestyle.
Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Wednesday 4 May 2011

Blue Potatoes planted

A quick mid-week Blog, had planned to get my Rotovator out again today as I had weeded & manured the patch set aside for the Peas & Beans.

It was on Monday I spread the manure on the soil that had been manually weeded, so Rotovating was next.

Wouldn't normally use the Rotovator but as I had already removed most of the weeds roots and all, I knew it wouldn't be a problem.

This picture, looking through the Archway, is where we are growing Sweet Peas this year.

So after Rotovating I realised I had some Bleue d'Artois seed potatoes that my neighbor brought back from a trip to France and were ready to go in.
This heritage spud which has Blue skin & Purple/Blue flesh, is said to be a good cropper and has good resistance to common potato pests too.
It is recommended for pureed, steamed or fried as chips.
More info here:
(Sorry it's in French, translate if you cant read it)

I planted them 6" deep in a trench lined with Comfrey Leaves, 15" apart, then back filled.

It's a coincidence that the egg tray used to 'chit' them is blue too :) Will report on how we get on with them in due course.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Sunday 1 May 2011

Growing update

Everything is doing well & growing, in the Greenhouse we have Lettuce, Tomatoes, Peppers & Cucumber.

The barrow full of Muck I added last weekend must have helped :)

This shot looking from the shed end showing Greenhouse on left, with salad bed alongside, then right of Path the Asparagus bed, they have grown well and are 18"+ high and most are showing sign of flowering soon, so have settled in well, hope to harvest this time next year :)

The patch behind the Green house that already has Peas & Sweet peas, will be planted up with Beans & more Peas, as I have finished weeding.

In the photo above, if you 'click' on it a larger version will pop up and you might see a row of purple topped flowers at the end of the raised bed alongside the Greenhouse, this photo is a close up if the largest bloom.

They are Alliums and have such lovely structured flower heads.

The Potatoes are doing well, the 'Anyas' (nearest) have all come through, as have the 'Hunter', 'Charlotte' & 'Rocket'.
The 'Markies' I only planted last weekend haven't shown yet & I don't expect them to for at least 2 weeks.
A neighbor who went away to the continent for a few weeks gave me some seed potatoes called 'Bleue d'Artois' and an internet search told me it's an old French variety which is an early main crop Potato and yes they are Blue! Will report on my results later in the year.

Thanks for reading/returning. Look out for next update soon.