Sunday 21 December 2014

Christmas Veg harvest

Went to the plot this morning just to harvest the following:
Charlotte Potatoes 
& Sprouts.

Cant get fresher than that! 

We are having an early Christmas dinner today for visiting relatives that won't be around on Christmas day. 
We will of course be having Christmas dinner again on the 25th :)

The Garlic, Solent Wight, has finally put on growth in our unheated greenhouse. 
They have taken their time, I started them off ages ago, so now I can plant them out after hardening them off.
The weather has been so mild of late, just a few chilly days, but little if any frost, had plenty of rain though.

 Despite all this nothing much is growing, apart from Onions and Brassicas.

Thanks for reading/returning and Happy Christmas to you all. Ian

Sunday 23 November 2014

Chicken run extension

If you remember back in 2011 we started re-homing ex-battery Hens. 

I made a hen house from a donated small shed and made a run, soon after we realised they needed more room, so I extended the run. 
But as it was only a metre high it was difficult for us to get inside it to catch the Light Sussex hens that are still a bit flighty! 
They also have been able  (despite clipped wings) to get on top of the run extension & get on to the fence between us and our neighbours!
So I have dismantled the old run extension and replaced it with a full hight & wider run, so the hens will have more room and we can get inside it easily. 

This photo shows it in mid construction. Just need to re-locate the door and put the roof on.

As you can see in these photo's our current flock are doing well, even giving us an egg now and again. 

The cheeky Light Sussex hens do have fluffy bums! 

So it's finished. 
Now full height & about an extra 2 sqr Mtrs of floor space. The entire run has a corrugated plastic roof to give them more shelter for the winter and has a gentle slope so we can collect the water running off, so I will have to add more guttering to collect all the rain water in the rain barrel.
News update: 

My seed order has arrived from Kings Seeds, looking forward to getting all this planted.

I have been contacted about a very interesting website that's all about how to keep healthy and happy Hens, so I have added the link for you below:

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 9 November 2014

Raspberry supports in finally

On Friday the Raspberries we ordered from Kitchen Garden magazine arrived, 6 of each: 
Malling Minerva (early summer fruiting)
Glen Fyne (summer fruiting)
Polka Agm (autumn fruiting)

So I got the supports in and as it started to rain, I just heeled the new canes in, for planting proper in the week. 

Wont fit the tension wires just yet, will wait until they put on growth in the spring.
The Spinach I sowed earlier, either didn't germinate or a mouse has munched on the emerging shoots. 
So I started some more off in a seed tray at home, and planted them out today in one of the raised beds. 
Lets hope they survive.
Anyway you can't see the rain in this photo, in fact the sky looks rather blue, but it was getting late and we had done enough, but as you can see no wind, the flag is limp. But everywhere was wet!
Two days later (Tuesday) I did get the Summer fruiting Raspberry canes in. 
Will let them grow a bit before I put the support wires in.

Not ready for the Autumn ones yet so just heeled them in the corner.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 2 November 2014

November already

Only went to the Allotment today to dig up the last of the Cara Potatoes. 
As I have said before the yield has not been as good as in past years, today I dug up 8.99kg (19lb 13oz) from 2 rows. So total yield is about 18kg (39lb) from an initial 3kg purchase.
In the Greenhouse the Chillies are still growing, had to pick one as it looked like it was about to fall off, when I picked it I found a woodlice in the top of it! So hope it hasn't eaten all the insides.
Harvests today: 
Chilli, Raspberries, Kale and Cara Potatoes. 

Also some greens for our chickens.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 26 October 2014

Busy weekend on the plot and Muck was spread!

Busy weekend
Cleared this patch where Potatoes were growing, dug out plenty of roots and weeds! 
Then planted out 42 'Red Winter Onions' that I had started off in cells at home.
A big pile of weeds was building, so good time for a Bonfire, got it started and it burnt well for an hour or so, then our neighbour turned up, and as the wind was blowing the smoke over her plot she asked me to put it out, so obligingly I did. 

Oh well there will be another bonfire day.
Muck Spreading:
Well rotted local horse manure, lovely stuff.  
Top right; the new Raspberry bed in the fruit cage gets a few barrows full! 
Bottom left; the Rhubarb crowns gets plenty on each. 
Bottom right; the Asparagus gets a few barrows full too. 
The Greenhouse picture shows that despite very high winds on Tuesday, it had very little damage, only one of the perspex panes popped out of the roof, so I retrieved from neighbours plot & fixed back in. 

So the plots looking better after a bit of a tidy up, rain threatened, but kept off, the wind was a bit blowy as I said with the Bonfire problem. 

So I'm glad we spent the time this weekend down there.

The only harvests we got were a few Rasperries, a couple of Parsnips for dinner and a couple of Potatoes I found while digging over the patch where the Winter Onions have gone in. 

We still have plenty of greens like Cabbage, Kale & Sprouts, the leaves we take home for our Chickens, they love them.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 19 October 2014

Windy on the plot

So only spent a couple of hours today, but managed a start on this raised bed, where the Dwarf French Beans were. 

At the far end are some Strawberries we initially put there temporarily, but they have rooted and sent out lots of runners, we plan to make this a permanent Strawberry patch now, yes another!
The autumn Raspberries still producing. 
I like to toss a hand full on my cereal at breakfast, but the pantry is full now with jars of Jam made this year & Wine too.
As the title says 'Windy on the plot' you can tell by the flag, weather reports did predict windspeed up to 70mph! 

The sky was looking grey too & rain clouds moved in quick, pushed along by the wind, so our day was cut short. 

In the foreground you can see my 'Truck' its been used alot since purchase & is very useful.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 12 October 2014

Autumn clear-up starts

 It's definitely got colder over the last few days, so it's time to clear up crops that have finished. 
In the fruit cage, the summer Raspberries have been dug up, as they are not cropping as well as they used to. We have bought some more that we expect will come next month (Nov) so now getting the ground prepared, will dig in some Manure next and cover with weed suppressant fabric.
I dug up another 2 rows of the Cara Potatoes, sadly they haven't given us a good yield this year, not sure why, except to say they flowered quite early and foliage died back too soon for the spuds to swell, they came out quite small!
I took my new truck down to the plot expecting to bring back a load of Cara spuds, but as you can see they hardly cover the bottom. But the Parsnips are looking good, a few Raspberries and the last of the Tomatoes.
As I said above, the last of the Tomatoes, we cleared the greenhouse of the toms, but left the Chillies these are 'Hungarian Hot Wax' they are looking good. 

The tomatoes growing outside the greenhouse have finished too, so with all the foliage taken out, the compost bin is getting full now, as well as kitchen waste & chicken poo, I'm hoping for a good load of home-made compost for 2016!
Despite more winter weather this week, colder & wetter! 

Today the sun came out, it was so peaceful down on the plot today, but glad we got some ground cleared, next job the bean frames & sweetcorn need clearing! 

Seed order to complete too.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 5 October 2014

More planting and crop theft!

I bought some Senshyu Onions 2 weeks ago, put them in cells with multi purpose compost and watered well, they have already sprouted, so a good time to plant out. 
As they were outside all the time they are already hardened off. 
I know you like a before & after shot. 
So this morning I cleared the patch where the Nadine (2nd early) Potatoes were growing, prepared the ground and planted 72 of the Senshyu Onions.
Another job that needed doing was raising the netting over the Brussel Sprouts, all I did was to add a short length of cane to the blue pipe. 
As you can see the sprouts are forming and I don't want the wildlife to take them, see below!
Harvests this week: 
A test dig of the Cara (main) Potatoes, Tomatoes, Raspberries, Runner Beans, Kale, Sweet Peas and the last of the Nadine (2nd early) Potatoes.
Yesterday was a bit of a wash out, rain on and off all day, so glad today was dry, still lots to do before winter and crops still producing. 

The Leeks I put in a few weeks ago have taken well and the Spinach seems to be germinating too.
And now to the crop theft! 

When I was down on my plot on Thursday, I saw out of the corner of my eye a movement, to my surprise there was a Squirrel that had taken a Sweetcorn Cob and was tucking into it, if you recognise the culprit please don't call CrimeStoppers! 

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 28 September 2014

End of September on the Plot

Only a short visit to the plot today, but plenty to harvest still. 

Dug up more Parsnips for Sunday dinner. But still plenty left in the ground, what we need is a good hard frost to sweeten them up, but weather reports for our area say we might experience mild conditions for a few more weeks, even into November!
Its been a good year for fruit, as you can see here lots of Raspberries, we were told to pick from a neighbours plot too as they were away on holiday, they also grow Golden Raspberries odd to look as but lovely taste. There is 4lb here, 3lb already made into Jam, the rest added to Rhubarb for a batch of wine. 
Chicken News: 
Looks like the Light Sussex have started laying, we have had 2 eggs this week, not sure if from the same hen, but will monitor this to see.
As I mentioned the weather has been warmer than we are used to, everything is still growing, weeds too! 
So still clearing away weeds as fast as I can and drying so can burn on the bonfire.  

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 21 September 2014

Super, sunny Sunday

My new toy 'The Allotment Truck' a bargain from Aldi. It will be very useful, first load, a bag of compost (for potting up Strawberry runners). 
But will be good for transporting home the Potato harvest instead of taking the car. 
Anyway back to today, in the patch where I dug up the 'Sante' Potatoes, I have planted 'Musselborough' Leeks, started off in a seed tray. 
Also Spinach seed sown 'Giant Winter' and 'Emilia F1' both good for late sowing for an early spring harvest. 
The Sweetpeas still giving a good handful of blooms and no sign of them stopping yet. 

Also as the Lavender has finished flowering we cut it back saving the dry heads for fragrant bath salts & lavender pillows.
Another job I have put off until now is this corner, where the Apple Trees are, as their roots spread about 6ft (1.8mtrs) we cant disturb the area around them too much, so I plan to change the route of our path through here. 

A work in progress, so keep watching.
So as I said super, sunny Sunday and it certainly was, I heard that this fine weather might last until mid October, lets hope so, as crops have been so good this year & I still have 4 rows of Cara Potatoes to dig up, our winter store! 

Already got our Onions 'Senshyu' & 'Red Winter' and Garlic 'Solent Wight' to get started.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Sunday 14 September 2014

September on the plot

Finally got to harvest the Sweetcorn, sadly some had been eaten by the wildlife, not sure what, a Hare has been spotted on our site! So maybe its the culprit ?
The Runner Bean frame is still producing well, it includes Sweet Peas & Honeysuckle which are lovely, the Echinops on the other side are almost finished but dried they are still very attractive, they attracted lots of Bees too. 
Dug up the last of the early 'Winston' some 2nd Early 'Charlotte' Potatoes, also the last of the Sante mains, they weren't as good as past years and oddly some red skinned spuds came up too, odd as I haven't grown red's for at least 2 yrs! 
Today's Harvest:
Runner & Green Beans
Courgette (round)
Cox's Orange Pippin Apples
& (the 2 large ones) Woodbrook Pippin Apples.
The weather is still warm & dry, good excuse for a bonfire as the weeds I pulled up over the week are nicely dry, we cleared a few areas today, so the freshly pulled weeds went on the bonfire too! 

I have done a video of our new Chickens, now that we have have had them for 3 weeks, sadly one of them (we think she was at least 4yrs old) passed away. Considering battery hens are culled at around 18 months, she has done well. 
So you will see 9 hens at the start, but only 8 at the end. 

Thanks again for reading/watching. Ian

Sunday 7 September 2014

Busy week pulling weeds & burning them! Plus a harvest or two.

Busy time, pulling weeds, it's surprising how quick they take over, especially as the weather has been summer like this week. 

First I cleared the Potato patches ready for digging them up for storing. 
And where do all those weeds go? 
On the bonfire! I had some that were drying from a week ago, to start the bonfire with, then I could add the fresh 'green' weeds pulled up today & yesterday.
So pleased with our Autumn Raspberries, these are 'Joan J' variety and as you can see they are huge fruits, bigger than my thumb! 
Lovely Sunflower, enough said.
Harvests over the last week:
 In the Trug (far left) we entered this mix of veg in a local 'show your own' show and we came 3rd. 

I dug up some 'Sante' potatoes also Parsnips, Beans, Kale, Courgette, Tomatoes, Raspberries & Sweet Peas.
So as I said a busy week pulling up weeds, the plots looking neater, but there is still lots to do, but the weather forecast is good for the next few days, so another bonfire is likely.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.