Saturday 30 May 2015

Just a few hours on the plot today, a view from the air too.

Started to clear this patch in front of the Apple Trees, I'm building a bug/wildlife haven, from old pallets. 

Only the 1st level is in place, so keep checking back to see the bug house growing.
The Broad Beans, Onions, Shallots, Courgettes and even Parsnips are doing well in this patch.
Last week I said I was helping a PHD student with a Carrot Root Fly study, they are in this patch, see next photo. 

We have planted a few rows of Beetroot in this patch as well as Peas, Leeks & Garlic.
These are the non resistant Carrots 'Danvers' I was asked to sow, with a border of 'Flyaway'. 

They have already come through, so wont be long before its time to thin them out.
We were wondering which of the many Strawberries will be picked first, well I'm sure it will be the Honeoye ones, look at the size of them! Just need them to ripen.
So as I said only a few hours done today and as the wind was still I managed to get a good aerial shot of our plot. 

I've been loaned a quad copter (drone) by a kind friend, see below.
My plot from the air. 

Just 'click' on the photo to see it bigger.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 24 May 2015

Potatoes wont wait any longer!

These Cara potatoes, have been 'chitting' for ages, we moved them into the spare room, which is darker than the dining room windowsill. So have longer shoots than I would like, but they are still chunky, not long and spindly.
So as I didn't get a chance to fortify this area with horse manure (didn't have any well rotted left anyway) so I watered the trench well with Comfrey Tea water & also put Comfrey leaves in the bottom of the trench. I planted them the same way as the other potatoes except for placing the 'Cara' seed potatoes, a main crop, 15" (38cm) apart, in trenches 30" (75cm) between.
Everything is growing fast now, the early & second early potatoes are doing so well I cant earth them up anymore.

In this patch, we have the Broad Beans, Onions x2, Shallots, Courgettes x3  & Cabbages too.
I'm particularly pleased with this raised bed, we have crammed lots into it, Peas, Lettuce, Pac Choi, Spring Onions, Radish & Spinach. 

Its all doing well too
In this patch we have Leeks, Garlic, more Peas, Beetroot & Carrots. 
I'm helping a PHD student from Aberystwyth University with a Carrot planting study, where a 1mtr square border of resistant 'Flyaway' carrots are planted, with non resistant carrots planted inside the square, to see if the non resistant carrots are attacked by carrot root fly. The study ends in September when I have to report on the findings at harvest.
While digging the trenches for the Cara potatoes, this brave Blackbird was collecting up worms for his/her offspring, a nest must have been near, as it visited many times while I was digging.
So this looks like a neat patch, well its got 7 rows of Cara spuds 12 in each row! But at least they are all in now, I can relax. 
Until it's time for the next potato planting, I have 3 more rows of Kerrs Pink to plant! 
So a lovely day & our allotment is looking good now things are growing, still harvesting Rhubarb, Radish & Asparagus. 
We also put 3 Peppers into the greenhouse, in pots to go with the Tomatoes that are doing well. I will report on those next week.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Sunday 17 May 2015

Such a busy weekend

Thought it was time to net the Honeoye Strawberries, only planted a month ago, but already got lots of fruit ripening. 

Won't be long before we can harvest these lovely sweet Strawberries.
Weeded this patch where the 1st & 2nd early potatoes are, can't earth up the Rocket any more as they have grown bigger over the week, but now all the Charlotte are up I could earth those up.
I didn't take a before shot of this patch as I was ashamed of the state of it, but you can probably tell from the pile of weeds in the middle how bad it was. 
But I needed to get it ready for the main crop potatoes to go in soon. Started yesterday and finished today.
We started some Sweet Peas at home in root trainers, so planted them around the plot where they could climb easily, here along the side of the fruit cage. 
Still getting a good harvest of Asparagus & Rhubarb, on the left about 7lb of Stockbridge Arrow and a few spears of Asparagus, on the right 3.5lb of Victoria Rhubarb. A running total of 34.5lb so far!
News from the pond:
Hope you can see the Tadpoles in this photo (taken with my mobile yesterday) there are hundreds, we also spotted a couple of Frogs guarding the Tads too.
So not a bad weekend, we spent over 10 hours weeding, planting, bonfiring and a bit of maintenance too! 

I made new border edges to the path along most of the left side, from recycled decking boards. Still got plenty to carry on with the right side, hope to have some left over for a Bug Hotel project too!

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian.

Saturday 9 May 2015

May Harvest

Busy weekend, so just a quick visit to the plot and a harvest or two.

Another good harvest of Stockbridge Arrow rhubarb, almost 9lb (4kg) ! 

That's 14lb (6kg) so far harvested over the last few weeks.

See below for a cooking tip.
Another 2 spears of Stewarts Purple asparagus and plenty more on the way.
This is the Rhubarb patch, despite taking 14lb so far it still looks like a forest! 

But its not a good idea to take too much at a time as it can put the root into shock, so little and often is best. 
The plant with the white flowers is Sweet Cicely used when stewing rhubarb as it sweetens by reducing the 'tartness'.
All the rain & sun has made the early spuds 'Rocket' grow faster, so I had to earth them up again, using a draw hoe, that cuts the weeds & draws up the soil perfectly.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian

Monday 4 May 2015

Busy May Day Bank Holiday!

Well on Sunday I started digging over this rather weedy patch, where we hope to put some climbing French Beans and maybe more Peas, that we have started at home. 

See below to see how I got on. 
In this narrow strip, next to the Onions, I prepared the ground by adding a few scoops of Lime, as Brassicas prefer alkaline soil, I then dug it over and firmed the soil, then we planted Cauliflowers that were started at home. 

The blue pipe hoops are for the netting I put on after taking the photo, we don't want the Pigeons to take them! 
This patch is looking better, after a bit of weeding, near the top is where the 1st early Rocket & 2nd early Charlotte potatoes are, in the foreground, the Winter White Onions.
Love this raised bed, we have crammed a lot into it, Peas, Pak Choi, Spring Onions, Mixed Salad, Radish, Carrots and Spinach. Just shows you what can be grown in an 8ft x 4ft space. 
In the greenhouse, the soil has been beefed up with Grow Organic and plenty of water, as it was so dry (temp today 98 degrees). 

Then we planted 'Black Russian' and 'Money Maker' Tomatoes and a Cucumber. 
We also tidied up the Raspberries in the fruit cage, the summer fruiting ones, we put in late last year, have put on new growth. We also added a few new autumn fruiting Raspberries to fill a few gaps.
Here is the patch I started digging over yesterday, managed to get most of it done (took about 6 hours). We had Potatoes here last year, so perfect for Beans this season.
Harvests this weekend:

Radish 'Scarlet Globe'

Rhubarb 'Stockbridge Arrow' the 2nd of many harvests between now & August.
So we did pack in a lot over the weekend & holiday Monday. 

Also planted out Courgettes that we had started off at home.

Thanks for reading/returning. Ian