Sunday 24 June 2012

A break in the weather

It's been a mixed week of weather, mostly wet though and very windy. 
I checked the White Onions earlier in the week and they looked a bit water logged so decided to lift them. After cleaning them up they look fine, in fact only one was a bit soft, so I composted it.
Anyway, today turned out rather nice, the sun came out  too. So we managed to get quite a lot done in the afternoon today.
I planted two Courgettes into the old Compost Bin I tidied up earlier in the month. Four more Courgettes were planted out where the Garlic was, I say the same every year 'why do we need so many Courgette plants !'
I finally got round to weeding the late Onions again, 'Autumn Gold' and 'Stuttgarter Stanfield' I planted out in March. They are getting bigger and will benefit from not competing with the weeds!
Anyway, lots more harvested this week: 
The 1st Strawberries
A few Raspberries
More Charlotte Potatoes
Broad Beans
Even more Rhubarb.

We had the Rhubarb and Raspberries as a crumble with Ice Cream for dinner tonight.  
The weather forecast is for fine weather for most of next week, so hope to get to the plot more often. 
There is plenty of weeding to be done, as the wet weather we have had has boosted the weeds, what we need now is warmth, that too is forecast but for how long?

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 17 June 2012

Sunday Afternoon Sun

Well it has been a miserable week weather wise, I was last down on Tuesday, but since then rain on and off, cold too.

So today as the Sun finally came out we headed for the Allotment.
1st Job to lift the Garlic, here you can see from left to right:
Eden Rose, Avignon Wight, Bella Italiano.
When we got home I hung them from our clothes airer to dry fully.
As the Broad Beans we transplanted from the Green house had not taken so well, I think the shock of outdoors & the chilly weather didn't help, so we harvested the Beans and composted the foliage.

In the space left I built another cane WigWam but without netting this time. We had some Climbing French Beans, that were started at home but now ready to go in. Luckily 8 made it and my WigWam was made with 8 canes, a circle of weed suppressing cardboard was put in place too.
We also planted out some Runner Beans on the permanent frame, right of the archway in the overall shot of our plot (see below). We always do well with Runner Beans, but have planted later this year as we want these to mature after all the other Beans & Peas we have growing.  
If you remember I was going to use the remainder of the Manure heap to grow something in, well I did just that today.
I boxed off the area loosely with boards & poles, levelled the manure & covered it with weed suppressing mulch fabric, I then cut X slits in the fabric and planted Pumpkins through the fabric & watered in well. The Manure beneath will feed these well.
Todays Harvest:
Charlotte Potatoes (the 1st dug up this year)
Broad Beans ( the last of the Greenhouse crop)
Strawberries (just a few, an explosion of taste you don't get from shop bought fruit )
Sweet Pea Flowers too (always nice to have fresh cut flowers)
So all in all a busy 3 hours on the plot this afternoon.

The Chickens came with us again, they love scratching around the safety of the fruit cage, searching out insects and worms. They really get excited when they know a trip to the Allotment is on.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian. 

Sunday 10 June 2012

Sunny Sunday

Lovely sunny Sunday and a perfect day to do some harvesting & planting.

I noticed the Red Onions looked like they were ready to be lifted, also as we have had quite alot of rain I didn't want to risk leaving them in too long for fear of rotting, see below for a better photo.

As I lifted the Onions I also weeded the patch ready for the next crop, probably Spinach. 
I mentioned 'Root Trainers' a few weeks ago, so here are some that I have had Peas growing in, as you can see the roots have grown well in them, we have a set of 8 so get 32 plants growing at a time. The Peas 'Onward' have been transferred into the ground to grow up 20" (50cm) high netting.
Here are the Red Onions dug up today, sadly we cant remember what variety they are, but as you can see, now they are cleaned up and roots trimmed off they look rather good, the large one bottom right measures approx 15" (38cm) circumference and is a Whopper!
So a really productive day, I also noticed the Charlotte 2nd early spuds were in flower, so had a feel in the soil but only detected smallish tubers, so will leave them a bit longer.
Also did a bit of Harvesting:
Rhubarb, both 'Stockbridge Arrow' for Puddings and 'Victoria' for Wine Making.
Kale, Garlic & the last of the Greenhouse Broad Beans.
In the space left by the broad beans we put 2 more Tomatoes in so we now have 5 growing, the greenhouse shading also went up.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian 

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Busy Bank Holiday

 While Queen Elizabeth was enjoying her 60th anniversary celebrations for being on the throne, I put up some climbing structures and to show you how easy it can be, even ready-made obelisk's can be used if you simply wrap netting around them, I also made 2 bamboo WigWams, 8 x 6ft canes & 8 x 8ft canes then  wrapped in netting. I used a weed suppressing circle of cardboard beneath each too.
We planted:
Climbing French Bean, Blue Lake
Peas, Kelveden Wonder
Mange Tout type Peas, Oregon Sugar Snap.
Just look at what you can grow in less than a sq mtr of raised bed, all these Leeks. They might not be the massive ones I usually grow in open soil/ground, but when thin they are so tender and we had some in a Leek & Cheese Omelet for dinner tonight with added Peas (see below) and made with our own Eggs of course. The rest went into Leek & Potato soup.
Yes, as mentioned the Peas I grew in the Greenhouse over winter a mix of 'Kelvedon Wonder' and 'Feltham First'.
There is noting like shelling your own peas, blanched for 2 mins plunged in cold water, dried, bagged then frozen and ready for any meal.
So a busy Bank Holiday weekend plus 2 Jubilee days, plenty of planting, weeding (do excuse that massive pile in this photo) and harvesting. The Pond in the foreground I put in recently is teaming with Tadpoles some quite large now with signs of the change to Frogs. It would be lovely to have our own Frog colony soon, Slugs beware!

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Saturday 2 June 2012

Busy June day Planting & Harvesting

 So June arrives and the weather is not summer like.
But planting still had to be done, first I leveled the soil, then added some lime (as Brassicas prefer limed soil) then planted out Kale, Cauliflower and some more Pak Choi. I protected the young shoots with wire netting tunnels, when they get bigger will make larger netting protection. Also moved the Broad Beans from the greenhouse and planted them out too, more about that below. 
Where the manure was stored last year, I leveled the soil, mixed in the last of the manure and planted out 18 Sweetcorn that were started in the greenhouse at home, we put them in a cold frame for a week before planting out on the Allotment though.
Planted in block form, 3 rows with 6 in each, this aids wind pollination.
Here are the last of the Peas that were growing in the Greenhouse since last winter, also moved the younger Broad Beans as we need the space for Tomatoes now, so as the Peas were finished timing was just right. But a massive crop has been harvested, will grow under glass again. 
Here is a high level shot of our plot, I stood on top of a pile of pallets to get this shot. The pallets will be a new fence one day soon.
Foreground right, The main crop Cara spuds. 
Left the Brassicas put in today, beyond the Leeks, Onions and Worzel Jnr the Scarcrow. 
So a very productive day, the weather forecast said it would be dry, but we did have a few very light showers, didn't stop us.
But tomorrow, Sunday when HM Queen Elizabeth celebrates her Diamond Jubilee, the weather is forecast to be very wet, good for our crops but not for Her Majesty.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.