Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ten past five and it's dark. The clocks changed last night so winter's really on it's way but this morning our little bunch of allotment gardeners were basking in the warmth of another lovely Sunday. Tee shirt weather.

I collected these squashes last time we were up there. I forgot to take the camera again today so you'll just have to imagine photos of us clearing away the runner bean canes, harvesting the last of the sweetcorn and placing the badger proof cage over some brassicas. I don't think the brassicas are in any danger from badgers, whitefly are more of a problem, but it had to go somewhere, so that's where it went.

That's probably it till next weekend though. The days can be wonderful but oh dear, the nights are so long.
Happy gardening

Monday, October 3, 2011

Successes and also rans

An amazing weekend of record-breaking temperatures and lots and LOTS of clearing up after a very mixed summer.

I've decided I'll just make a list of what went well and what didn't do so well this year and number one on the list has got to be this poor old blog. I don't know what's happened really, inertia maybe. I keep forgetting to take the camera with me and I seem to be spending quality blogging time on facebook these days!

So....a strange growing season weatherwise, but good results from:
climbing french beans - Blue Lake
onions - Red Baron and Stuttgarter
garlic - from previous season
potatoes - Charlottes
broad beans - Meteor and Bunyard's Exhibition
lettuce - Lollo Rosso and Little Gem
runner beans - Scarlet Emporer
apples - the big tree (unknown) and James Grieve
raspberries - Autumn Bliss
strawberries - unknown (I got them all muddled up when I moved them)
spring onions
rocket - self seeded (all over the place)
Squash - Crown Prince and Pattie Pan
spinach beet
oops, forgot the leeks. Bit small but loads of them and they went on for ages.

Also rans:
giant pumpkin (only one)
carrots - they may be ok but they'll be very small
lettuce - Webbs
pak choi
butternut squash
courgettes - really, really rubbish this year
tomatoes - gardener's delight and moneymaker (hit by blight just before they ripened)

The windowsill yield was small but tasty, a few peppers (black and white, weird colours for peppers) three cucumbers from one plant and some very long, thin aubergines. Oh, and a couple more tomato plants, very leggy but not very productive.

Still in the ground at time of going to press:
a selection of brassicas, sprouts, purple broccoli, Greyhound cabbage, Romanescu broccoli
parsnips - Tender and True
this year's leeks (planted out today)

So...overall it looks like the successes won. Sometimes you need to write things down to see the whole picture and it's not as gloomy as I'd thought. I'm glad. The distinct periods of cold and wet and hot and dry certainly took their toll, but not on all of our produce. Some even benefited.

And it's been great being there, up on the hill in all weathers, digging, weeding, chopping the grass and picking the crops. I've enjoyed it. It gives me great contentment

Happy gardening. ( I bet I left something off my list)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Pattie pan squashes

These little squashes are in a basket in the kitchen at the moment because I haven't looked up what I should do with them yet. They seem more pumpkin-like than courgette-like, but I think I should read some recipes.

I bought a few interesting looking squashes as plantlets and this one has been very successful, lots of little pattie pans are forming, all very jolly and yellow.

Happy gardening

Monday, July 4, 2011

Potato harvest

The spuds are lovely this year. I only did Charlottes, and of course they're all ready at once, but yesterday I dug up the first few plants and brought them home to sort into "eat immediately" and "store in a sack for later" My habit of discovering them by sticking a fork right through them leads to quite a pile of "eat immediatelys".

I've filled the space already with a wigwam of mangetouts. If I can get two crops from most of my beds then I feel I've done ok.

Dinner last night was mostly home-grown, the first time this year I think. Delicious new potatoes with mint, broad beans and spinach. I can't claim to have grown the duck though!

Happy gardening (whatever you grow)

Monday, June 20, 2011


Sad, isn't it? Here I am, crammed into the shed in the rain checking my email!

Oh the joys of a smartphone!

I used to be quite contented with a cup of tea and a spider for company before I became connected to the other sort of web.

happy gardening (and surfing in the shed)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Unlikely, but there was an ant's nest at the bottom of the hole!
Happy gardening!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Too windy

We've been away. We came back yesterday and went to have a look and see what's to be done. Lots! I cut the grassy edges and did a bit of weeding. I planted out the sweetcorn too. Some strawberries were ready and lots of rocket too. But mostly, the new plants are getting on with their business of growing...slowly, because of the lack of rain. Oh, and the WIND. It's been windy since before the 1st of May! The runner beans, french beans and courgettes are all suffering from wind scorch. The leaves discolour, the plant fails to thrive unless sheltered in one of the many plastic bottle cloches we've used this year. The little brassicas in the photo are ok but mostly, everything this year is struggling on our exposed hillside. I do wish it would calm down and let my plants grow!

Happy gardening (and hope the wind drops)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weed of the month

Forget-me-nots. All over the place. I'd have hauled them out weeks ago but I read somewhere that they're very attractive to honeybees so I've given them a reprieve.

Only for a little bit longer. Watch out little blue weeds - your days are numbered!

Happy gardening

Monday, April 25, 2011

The compost fairy

Well, so much for sowing seed! Of the seeds sown last time I posted, only three tiny parsnip seedlings have appeared and I don't know what happened to the rest. So I've sown some more, just parsnips this time and I also added a row of beetroot next to the potatoes. Over the last week or so I've been planting out pak choi, spinach beet and lettuce seedlings, but the big job has been watering (an hour and a half each time I go) and there's still no sign of rain!

The big thrill this post is that the compost fairy (burly bloke called Joe) has been, so I've now got plenty of good organic matter to dig in or spread over my plot. Just in time to enrich the bed I'm getting ready for the cane beans. Excellent timing.

Happy gardening

Monday, April 11, 2011

J admiring Sandy and Roger's plot next door.

Our own plot is now strimmed (thanks J) and dug over (that was me) and is looking nice and tidy but a bit empty. The garlic, broad beans and onions are coming up. The potatoes are yet to appear but the rest of the beds that aren't given over to permanent planting are waiting for their new occupants. I've sown some seed, carrots, parsnips and spring onions but they haven't appeared either and I think they may have dried out during the very hot week we've just had. So.......

.........I've been popping seeds into pots at home like a crazy obsessed thing. I didn't even stop when I ran out of windowsill (there's more under the piano) I can't wait till they're big and strong enough to plant them out. Let's hope there's going to be enough room for them all!

Happy gardening (exciting, isn't it?)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rhubarb rhubarb

This week, I've been mostly eating leeks and rhubarb. Actually some of the rhubarb's still sitting in the fridge waiting for me to do something with it. The leeks are good though.

Both my rhubarb plants were flowering but I cut the strange, knobbly flowers off because I'm told they waste valuable stalk producing energy. Probably a good thing, but I often don't really know what to do with my rhubarb. This week I bundled up a little pile of stalks and took them into work. Somebody there knows what to do with them. They disappeared anyway!

Happy gardening. Enjoy your rhubarb.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Early drought

It's been another lovely day but already the dry weather is adding the extra job of watering to all the other work we do at this time of year.

During the last couple of weeks I've put in some Charlotte potatoes, the rest of the broadbeans (Bunyards Exhibition) and sown a couple of rows of parsnips and carrots but the ground is now so dry that I need to go and water every couple of days. It is really, really early in the year for all this watering. An effect of climate change maybe? Or just weather, which as we all know, can be unpredictable.

Whatever the reason, I can't just leave my newly emerged plants or germinating seeds to dry out!

Happy gardening (and watering)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

No excuses

Really, no excuses. It's spring. I've had the week off work to get the allotment started for the year and it's been great. There's been real warmth in the sun and the soil's turned over nicely. And I feel great too, aching obviously, but purposeful. Invigorated.

At the start of the week I did a lot of digging and forking through the great clods left by winter, hoiked out all the weeds that had taken over and started a tiny bit of planting. So far, only broad beans (Meteor) and red and white onions (Red Baron and Stuttgarter) But most of the groundwork is done, my potatoes are chitting and there's another packet of broad beans ready to go in the moment I get time. Oh, and today (this is the icing on the cake) we have frogspawn in the pond!

I wish I had another week off next week!
Happy gardening

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ice Ice baby

This little iceberg was on the water tank this afternoon. It was a glorious day, cold but sunny and the first time I've ventured up the hill for ages.

I kept warm by digging up leeks and sprouts and then clearing some weeds.

My neighbour was planting asparagus! Very exciting. There are a couple of asparagus beds already on our allotments but I don't think it would work terribly well in my rather clayey soil. I'll stick to the leeks and sprouts for now. Maybe next year.

I returned home to a house that's as icy cold as the allotment. The wretched boiler hasn't worked today so apart from one room that we've managed to warm up with a fan heater, I might as well be spending the evening in the shed!

Happy gardening. Brrr.