Monday 15 October 2012

Autumn harvest

So yes it's been too long since we last posted but will hopefully be back on track now.
We dug up our first parsnip yesterday and it was a big'un! It was roasted with our own potatoes, yum. Whilst the oven was on I roasted one of the potimaron squashes, which went into a spiced soup tonight. Double-yum.
Beans did badly this year, as did red currants but most other things did pretty well. I wish I'd made more effort on the greens though. We do have sprouts and some cabbages but not much chard. As the saying goes, there's always next year!

Saturday 17 March 2012

Peat-free compost

Don't forget that if you want to have real green credentials you should use peat-free compost. New Horizon is the best I've found and it's been given good reviews in several mags recently, including the Garden Organic members magazine. (better yet, make your own! I've read that home compost mixed with leaf-mould makes a good seed compost. Our home and allotment don't generate enough home-made stuff so I buy-in the New Horizon multi-purpose for sowing seeds and growing toms etc in the lean-to, with usually good results and good germination rates).

Today it rained (still is) but we trekked down the plot to attach guttering to the shed, to catch the precious stuff falling from the sky (kind of ironic really!). It was a bit fiddly and the old guttering we'd been donated had been a bit hacked about previously but we managed to get a reasonable seal, fashioning some extra-thick seals from old bike inner-tubes, (we also bought the end-stops and brackets from BnQ) and the tub started to fill up straight away. We just need to find a bit of pipe for the down-pipe but in the mean-time it's happily dripping down from the end-connector bit. Quite satisfying , especially as we have a drought in the east. In fact a sign has gone up on the gate saying that a hose-pipe ban will be coming in at the end of the month - not that i use a hose-pipe anyway - lugging the watering can is extra exercise!

More rain expected tomorrow so the potatoes will have to wait a while before setting out but maybe I'll sow some leeks at home instead.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Thought for the day...

...or thought for last sunday as that's when it occurred to me.... I was roasting the last of our parsnips and earlier that day been sowing the parsnip seeds for next year! The circularity of growing fruit and veggies is quite apparent at this time of year - spuds chitting and sowing seeds of parsnips, leeks, purple sprouting broc and so on, which can grow for over a year before harvesting. Start planning now to prevent that hungry gap!

Our 'gap' is quite small this year as we've got lots of leeks (I sow them now in pots and then plant out once the potatoes have been harvested - makes the most of space, helps reduce risk of leek moth damage. The down-side is that depending on the autumn/winter, you might not get decent sized leeks til the spring), PSB in the back garden, black kale, chard, parsnips just finished (discovered a secret row that I'd missed but the green tops starting to grow gave their presence away - a nice surprise) , still some potatoes in the shed, parsley, rocket (nice young leaves from where it's accidentally self-seeded around the back garden), and in the lean-to: pea shoots, coriander, oriental leaves, lettuce leaves, salad onions, all sown in the old tom compost from last summer (which will get added to the back garden borders when these crops are finished).

I do sometimes feel a bit stressed at this time of year, thinking of all those seeds waiting to be sown but take a deep breath and try and enjoy it instead. The toms, peppers, chilis and so on are all doing well, even producing their first true leaves. They'll probably need potting on soon!