Sunday 27 October 2013

A very windy end to October

 If you saw last weeks Blog, I featured my 'no turn composting' well in this photo you can see a barrow full of compost from the 3rd bin. It has been left for about 2yrs, lovely and crumbly dark stuff. But here's a tip, don't use those plastic kitchen caddy bags, that claim to decompose, as my compost that's been working for 2 years has not broken down the caddy bags, better to use paper bags or newspaper to line your kitchen caddy. Plus the plastic bags clog up your compost bin, I have stopped using those bio-degrading ones!   
Still harvesting: 
Peppers from the green house. 
Butter Nut Squashes.
But there was more, watch the YouTube video to see.
There was another important job to do today, before we left for the Plot. Sort out our seeds & decide what we need to order for next year. Even after removing all the out of date seeds, I still managed to cover our dining table and we still had to order more! But more importantly I have decided & ordered the Potatoes for next yr:
1st Early: Winston
Salad: Charlotte 
2nd early: Nadine 
Mains: Cara & Sante
I have chosen spuds with good resistance to diseases & blight too.

So as my title says a very windy day, if you can see my wind sock flying horizontal! 

And the clocks went back!

But we managed to plant some more crops for winter growing, watch the Video for more details. 

Thanks for reading, viewing & returning. Ian.

Sunday 20 October 2013

A quick lesson in Composting

My no-turn Compost recipe:
This is the 1st of three Compost bins we have.
In this photo are the Tomato stalks & leaves that I removed from the greenhouse, if you look close (if on a computer, click on the photo & and use ctrl+ to zoom in) you can see all the worms doing the hard work for me.
In this photo I have added kitchen waste collected over a few days, a good mix of veg cuttings, tea bags, coffee grounds, shredded paper, potato peelings & some fruit that had gone off. Never put cooked food or meat in your compost, it will only attract vermin! 
And its all topped off with straw & chicken poo from daily cleaning of the hen house, collected every day in a black sack, so breaking down is started. with this good mix of materials, the worms do all the hard work in mixing it all up. 
We add to the compost bin every week, it breaks down gently, so there is always room for more. We have a 3rd compost bin which we will start in January.
In this photo you can see the 2nd of the compost bins filled last year, we did the same as described above, we just left it to 'cook' and as you can see it has broken down into a lovely dark brown compost. It still has worms working on it. 
So despite the weather forecast of rain all day, the sun came out and I took my chance. At least I picked some greens for our Chickens: Kale, Spinach, Cabbage leaves & Dandelions too.   
And a few late Raspberries, nice mixed into a bowl of Porridge or just a handfull tossed into bowl of cereal like Cornflakes, makes them more tasty :)

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 13 October 2013

Just a harvest today

The Peppers in the Greenhouse are still ripening, we only picked the bottom left one as it was ready.

We still have a few 'Bell Peppers' that are ripening too (I feel a Pizza night looming).
The main reason for going to the plot today was to dig up some Potatoes for dinner tonight. I went a bit mad and dug up 3 'Picasso' plants, the yield as you can see is impressive and weighed 8lb (3.6kg) and a good mix of sizes, Roasties tonight, maybe Chips tomorrow & Mash or Baked later in the week.
Not a bad additional harvest of Courgette, the Pepper & autumn Raspberries.

The weather today has been a bit wet so didn't stay long today, just long enough to check over the crops planted in the week and they are doing fine. 
Just before leaving we picked up the last 2 Pumpkins (2 on the right) so here are the 4 we grew, as its gone colder there's no hope of them getting bigger as foliage has died off. But big enough to make soup from!

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Thursday 10 October 2013

Autumn planting on the Plot

Another dry day, so good timing for some more planting.
But first a Bonfire as there were dry weeds etc to burn, that were in the way of where I needed to dig.

Here is where I will plant the Cabbages, that we started off at home. 
First I dug it over removing any weeds that survived the last bonfire, then firmed the soil by walking all over it, Brassicas prefer firm soil. Then I scattered a few scoops full of lime and dug that in too. Brassicas do well on limed soil, but it's better if the soil hadn't been manured the year before, if it had the lime effect would be reduced or even cancelled out. 
So on the larger patch of ground I planted 30 'Senshyu' white Onions & 30 'Red Winter' red Onions. These are Autumn planting Onions so will be fine over winter, 

Approx 8"/20cm apart, in rows also 8"/20cm between.
As you can see I have planted the Cabbages, in 3 rows 15"/40cm apart. Now under netting, to keep the birds off especially Pheasants that regularly raid our plot!  These also over winter well and will give us & our Chickens greens in the new year. I also planted about 15 Kale plants under netting, lovely in a Stir-Fry and our Chickens love it raw too.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 6 October 2013

Summer in October ?

I had to pinch myself this morning, the sun was shining, it's warm, can it possibly be October?

First job to do, was to weed the Spring onions, after doing it I could only find 6 that had germinated, so along the string on the right I sowed another row of Lisbon Winter a hardy variety for winter growing. 
The Brassicas we planted out last week have taken well, I think the CD bird scarer's worked as none have been pecked out. 

The late Peas we sowed on the netting where the Mange Tout grew have already sprouted, a lot quicker than the Peas planted in Spring! The warm weather has helped all the late crops. 
The Buzzards were busy today circling over the Allotments, there were two taking advantage of the thermals, the occasional screech to let each other know of a potential prey.
Not a bad harvest again. I dug up some Potatoes too, 2/3 of a row of Valour (main crop) when weighed I was surprised at the result 25lb (11.3 Kg). As I planted 3 rows the estimated yield is 100lb (45.3 Kg). I also dug up 5.5 lb (2.5 Kg) of Charlotte (2nd early) will add up the totals when all dug up and let you all know.
So another lovely summers day, the plots looking good at the moment, we have been busy weeding, but one disappointment, the Ulster Classic spuds I planted a few months ago for Christmas harvesting, only 4 have come up, will have to watch the weather forecasts as Frost will badly affect them. 

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian