Friday, 28 March 2008

First Welly to Belly

Before leaving the plots last night I decided to 'harvest' some wild garlic (ramsons) and pull the forced rhubarb for dinner. Although the ramsons are establishing themselves ok I only took enough for a wee taster. I'll wait until the weather warms up and they've grown more before cutting anymore.
I sauteed the ramsonsin butter together with some peas, mmm yum! and the rhubarb was baked in the oven with muscovado sugar (forgot to take pics of the end results).

After School Allotment

Left the office a wee bit earlier than usual because the sun was shining and I wanted to spend some quality weeding time as we're away all this weekend.

And it was lovely! (yes even weeding, sad aren't I) Such a de-stress from the banalities of work. Got rid of another patch of docks and couch grass. I should be able to plant some of the jerusalem artichokes out one night next week.

Decided to head home about 7pm as the light was fading fast but with the clocks going forward this weekend I'll be able to stay there even later.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

More sowing...

Finally got round to sowing the 24 broad beans (.......) that have been soaking since Sunday night into the cardboard tubes... oh ok, loo roll inners...
Planted 6 of the Gladioli bulbs in one of the big terracotta pots and the others are to be planted somewhere on the plots. Will plant up the other two big pots with the Dahlias. Sowed 3 artichokes as I'd like to give the plantlings as presents, and sowed 6 small pots of leeks.

Other Seed News - Almost all the tomatos are up. In last place are the Golden Sunrise which are still just loops of stem above the soil. The sweet peas are hinting at an imminent emergence and still no sign whatsoever of the physalis or sweet peppers.... hmmph!

MJC has put together the plastic greenhouse and this morning I put the peas and chitting potatoes in there (to free up some space in the outhouse).

We got given 4 raspberry canes from MJC's mum (thank you very much, most kind) but they'll have to wait in their pot awhile before we can plant them out. But seeing as the evenings will be much lighter after the clocks go forward at the weekend then I think we can start spending some plot quality time on school nights!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

More Sowing

Had a bit of a flurry on the sowing front, sowed peas (33 x Hurst Green Shaft) a bit later than last year, Beetroot (Boltardy), Celeriac (Alabaster) and Kohl Rabi (XXX).

I sow peas in short lengths of guttering as discovered in the brilliant blog last year and the method seems to work quite well. It goes a little something like this:

Fill the guttering almost to the top with compost Place the peas (you can pre-soak but I didn't want to wait any longer) at a spacing of approx. 2cm apart in two staggered rows

Cover with compost (like the ones on the right) and mound it slightly

When the seedlings are big enough to plant out (and the weather warm enough) then its just a case of sliding them into a ready made shallow trench. More when that time comes...

The weather this weekend is too cold to plant out the seed potatoes, that are chitting nicely in the outhouse, and so we've been doing other 'house & flat' stuff and will wait until things warm up. Plan is to plant them on the 5/6th April.

I also transplanted (finally!!) the basil seedlings that have been waiting patiently on the kitchen window sill. They were quite leggy so I've put them in deeper so that they thicken up and develop a better rootball.

Sprouting seeds!!

Came back after a day and half walking in Snowdonia and noticed that the flower and tomato seeds I sowed on Sunday have emerged.

In the lead, in joint first place, are the Blue Echium and the San Marzano tomatoes...closely followed by the Gardener's Delight, Black Peony poppies, sunflowers and the merest hint of the Costoluto Fiorentino and Tigerellas. But no sign (yet) of the sweet peas, Golden Sunrise, physalis or sweet peppers.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Jerusalem Fartichokes

The artichokes have arived!! These are my new favourite vegetable of 2008 and I can't wait until the autumn when we'll finally have our own "wind" farm....

Seed Sowing & Saving Strawbs

Finally got round to sowing some seeds.

Sowed 25 sweet peas, and then 5 modules each of Black Peony poppies, Love-in-a-mist, Blue Echium and 5 sunflowers. And sowed 9 each of the following tomato varieties - Costoluto Fiorentino, Red Pear, Gardener's Delight, Golde Sunrise, Tigerella and San Marzano, and 7 Physalis ('cos they look pretty and are edible!) and 7 Sweet Pepper "Corno di Torro".

The toms and peppers are in the new propagator that I got from MJC's mum for Christmas.

I also transplanted the strawberry plants that were on the allotment, hidden in amongst the weeds. They're now in pots outside and I'll probably put them into the clay strawberry growing pots once they have a chance to recuperate.

We had a couple of hours on the plot yesterday. MJC dug another raised bed and I started weeding out all the docks and couch grass where the Jerusalem artichokes are going to be.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

First March Digging Weekend

It was good to be able to devote a whole two days to digging and tending the plots. Now that other DIY related tasks can be sidelined for awhile the plots and all things vegetable-growing can take precedence.

MJC starting to dig last year's now weed infested broad bean bed on Plot 85a.

We finally dug the trench for the french beans in Plot 86.
  • Dug down two spades deep and pile the earth onto one side.
  • Added a layer of shredded paper along the bottom, watered it down and covered with a thin layer of soil to stop it blowing all over the place.
    Then started filling it at one end (on the right of the pic) with the contents of our compost caddy and covered that with soil too.

We'll continue filling the trench with our green kitchen waste and then hopefully when it comes to planting out the beans it'll be all rotted down and provide them with plenty of water retaining mulchy goodness. Might try something similar for the celeriac...

A view of the 3 finished 'raised' beds in Plot 85a. The nearset one is planted up with garlic, then there is the shallot bed and the end one (which looks like a really comfy bed!) is covered to warm it up for an early sowing of carrots.

We also lifetd all the remaining strawberry plants to pot up for the summer and planted a red goosberry bush in their place.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

February Digging Weekend

Bed 1 - garlic and Bed 2 - shallots on Plot 85a.

The ramsons seem to taking well to the clayey soil. Fingers crossed that they'll survive and multiply!

Progress so far in 2008

MJC digging the top half of Plot 86. Luckily under the carpet that we put down in the autumn and the weeds was another layer of old carpet so the only weeds we have to deal with are some very tough, gnarly dandelions and docks.

This area will be for the potatoes and a big courgette, squash and pumpkin bed at the top.

In the foreground on the right is one of the gooseberry bushes (which needs clearing of grass) and the transplanted offshoot of Bramhope rhubarb.

View from the other side of the apple tree. We've cleared (hacked down) all the raspberrys that were under the tree and I'd found another currant (don't know what flavour yet!) in amongst them, so left that intact. We also gave the tree a haircut.

Going to rellocate some ramsons from Stone and plant them under the tree to develop our own source of the tasty greens.

(The timber posts are for swinging a hammock between in summer.)

Panoramic of both plots - 85a on the right with freshly dug beds, and the long view of 86.