Wednesday 29 April 2009

Good and bad

Good: Got a free fork, spade and two rakes from a skip

Bad:Went to allotment at lunch to take the compost from work, to find our allotment neighbour on our plot helping himself to twigs from our buddleia for pea sticks. He didn't even rude!! He also knocked off our bird feeder without noticing...bah!

Saturday 25 April 2009

If only work didn't get in the way....

....we would get so much more done on the plot! Alas, all we've been getting on with this week is a bit of weeding really, but if the weather holds out tomorrow we'll hopefully do a bit of clearing and bed preparing. The seedlings back home are mainly doing ok, some a bit too well and will have to undergo an extended hardening off i think! Things from the plot that we are eating at the mo are radishes (sown this year), chard and some final leeks. In the back garden we've also got perpetual spinach, beetroot and spring greens and some lettuce in the lean-to :o) Oh was actually the Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening that I looked up the weevils in and not organic gardening catalogue.

Here's a few pics
Strawberries coming into flower

Potatoes coming on, with a bit of winter spinach behind and some onions

Broad beans in flower (sown Nov) plus garlic and onions. Yum. Although apparently broad beans don't like being near garlic...doh! Too late now!

Sunday 19 April 2009

Lessons learnt No 2

That the little naughty things eating the bean and pea plants are actually the aptly named 'pea and bean weevil' and not flea beetle as previously mentioned. Looked up the little blighters in the Organic Gardening Catalogue yesterday.

As suspected the weevils affect early sowings the worst whereas later ones grow faster and don't mind being nibbled as much. The book also recommended that to discourage them you shouldn't grow vetch as a green manure...bah! Anyway I lay the mis-identification blame on my allotment friend who was very confident they were flea beetle ;0)

Saturday 18 April 2009


We spent a couple of hours down the plot today, mainly weeding and cutting the paths (using the cuttings to mulch the raspberries), though we've still got a fair amount of clearing to get done. Need to make another bed or two for all the brassicas we've got coming on at home..sigh! If only work didn't get in the way of allotmenting!

Apple blossom on the dwarf tree (Charles Ross) we planted out earlier this spring. We went for an M27 (I think it was)...anyway it was the second smallest you can get. We were going to get the smallest but as we have poor soil, the nursery (Reads Nursery at Hales Hall, Norfolk) , recommended we get the next one up. We pruned the 'maiden' to about 1m high as per advised in one of the million books we've got.

Here's some of the black currant blossom. ...the bushes are covered in it!

...and some red currant blossom....and even some teeny berries!

Friday 17 April 2009

Lessons learnt No1.......

....don't leave your delicate cabbage seedlings on the top shelf in the lean-too when it's a really sunny day or this will happen...! Fortunately it was only the seed leaves which frazzled and the first true leaves were ok...phew! They now have a much shadier spot on the second shelf.

These are three aubergines (black beauty) potted on (the little ones) plus two of the tomatoes (money maker)....The tomatoes got a bit damaged before I potted them on....ahem...ok, I admit it, I trod on the tray with the seedlings in and they flipped over and got a tad crushed. Whoops!

Non-crushed peppers (California Wonder)

Droopy Brussels with a rogue lettuce. I think the soil was a bit loose for the Brussels, which prefer more compact soil and have since firmed the compost a bit. We don't mind having funny shaped Brussels stalks anyway!

Sweetcorn and pumpkins...more have germinated since!

Left to right... courgettes, climbing french beans and cucumbers :o)

Top shelf L to R....more peppers to be pricked out, toms (gardeners delight) - these are a month ahead of the moneymakers and are much bigger, then the same lettuces etc as before.
Lower shelf - rescued cabbages, more Brussels, red cabbage and lettuce.

Raised bed in the back garden....L to R - rocket gone to flower which we'll collect seed from, spring greens...don't know at what stage we eat these!...peas just planted out, with a few lettuces too.

Second raised bed in back garden with just erected wigwam for runner beans (and anti Minxie sticks (our cat)), with a raspberry trained to the fence.

At last...the allotment!

Onions, garlic and broad beans


Broad beans just coming into flower, with teeny lettuces in between

The sweetcorn...still alive!

Monday 13 April 2009

Mixed results

Lou here. Been doing lots of pottering at the plot. No photos but will add them in soon!

The first lot of potatoes have come through. I think I planted them a bit too shallowly (is that a word?), so have added lots more top soil from the big mound I'm clearing, which has the added benefit of protecting them from any upcoming frosts. It's was a shame to cover them up though! Hopefully they'll push their way up again soon.

The peas are not looking too hot after being attacked by flea beetle, which cuts little semi circles from around the leaf edge. I wouldn't be that bothered but as the peas've only recently come through I'm not sure if they'll survive. Oh well, will sow some more if they don't make it. The vetch (aka winter tares) was in the bed adjacent up until last week, and as we were clearing the bed we noticed the vetch had flea beetle damage quite badly, so the beetles were probably gutted their lovely home was cut down and went for our peas instead..bah! Talking of peas, I planted out the home germinated peas into the back garden today...they look much more healthy so may stick to sowing in toilet roll middles and then planting out from now. We'll see, may have to experiment a bit.

Planted out 7 sweetcorn that I'd germinated at home. It's a bit early I think, but have been hardening them off and have put cut-down plastic bottle protectors around each one. I'm trying to avoid the mistake I made last year which was too leave them growing at home for too long, and the roots got really badly intertwined and they didn't like being ripped apart from each other (even though I was as gentle as possible!) and did very very badly. Sowed a different variety in tubes recently too, and one has come through already!

Ooh the pumpkins have also germinated but none of the other squashes have. Spent some time potting on the tomatoes too...haven't grown these from seed before so am quite pleased with their progress. Also pricked out some pepper seedlings and potted on a couple of aubergines (am not too bothered about the aubergines...I'm not very good at getting them to set fruit, though the flowers are pretty). Sowed some purple sprouting broccoli which should be ready this time next year...that's planning ahead for you eh!

Thanks to the rain and sun the weeds on the plot are growing fast and hiding lots of slugs and snails. I found a snail hot spot under the rosemary bush and gave them a swift squish to get the nasty job over and done with quickly. At least the birds will get a feast.

Lots more has been done too but I will not rattle on without any photos to spice it up!

Monday 6 April 2009


Lou here - Just a few little pics of some of our seedlings. Also sowed a load on Saturday as it was a 'fruit day' - purple climbing french beans (Blauhide) and runner beans (Scarlet Emporer) in toilet roll middles - grew the purple french beans last year and they were very pretty and very tasty, crystal lemon cucumbers (recommended by a friend) and courgette (Nero) in pots, pumpkin, kiri and butternut squash (these seeds saved and dried from fruits we got in a veg box a couple of years ago) in pots, and sweetcorn (Sweet Nugget) in toilet roll tubes - have put all these in the lean-to.
On the allotment Ms Idler has been doing lots of weeding and I've been preparing the ground for the potatoes and also some more red onion sets that a fellow plot holder had spare.

Peas in the foreground and dwarf french beans behind. The peas are to go in the back garden, where we've got a couple of small veg beds (which we made when we moved in, before we got the allot plot). At the allotment I directly sowed some peas (Ambassador) about a month ago and they've just started to show through. We also sowed another row at the weekend. Mmmm peas.

Some more seedlings in the lean-to. Top row is sweetcorn in the tubes, red cabbages, summer cabbages, leeks, with lettuce and coriander in the big pots behind that have been growing since autumn and keeping us in some salad over winter. Second row is sprouts and mess, mess and more mess.


Some of the leeks. Have got some other pots though not that many have germinated yet. Will probably do some more just in case!

Some of the potatoes chitting. these are Maris Bard (first early). As it is roots planting time from 4pm tomorrow through to 11pm thurs will get them in over the next couple of days :0)

Broad beans (actually planted these out on the allot yesterday). In the black pot behind is an apple tree waiting to be planted out (am still clearing the space for it).

Friday 3 April 2009

It's about to kick off!

Lou here again.....Well it's been a bit quiet down on the plot for the past couple of weeks. The weather's been a bit rubbish and as my folks were visiting last weekend we didn't manage to get down there. My mum and dad were impressed with all my seedlings coming along at home though and I sent them off with some little tomato plants.

And now the biodynamic northern planting period has just started so it means we can get sowing! It's a bit of a funny one though, there's a few days where the planets are all squewiff or something so you can't do any planting. But anyway this weekend is fruits which includes squashes, beans and sweetcorn, so will get sowing tomorrow and take some pics. On the allotment I'm trying to concentrate on clearing a big overgrown mound of couch grass and bramble, so we can level it out and plant out an apple tree and make a wildflower area. Oh yeah and will plant out some broad beans that I've grown in toilet roll tubes. I've been hardening them off in the back garden. Bring on the weekend!