Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Its Alive!!!!!

seeing as its been almost a year since a post, and I've had time down the allotment recently, i took a moment to write a bit about it since I last was here.

Last year saw only 3 posts i think, and the plot was also a disappointment generally.
After a frenzy of seed sowing in march/april time everything was set back by a failure of everything to germinate. The only common denominator was the seed compost i used, that'll teach me to buy cheep stuff.

From then on there was some success, strawberries, raspberries, onions and potatoes, but alot of other crops were mediocre to poor at best. Normally excellent producers like my beans, runner and french, both failed badly, peas too, chard, carrots...  The first time I've properly got to grips with leeks, seed bed and transplanting 70 ish plants, they were struck down with leek moth (the first time any of the others remember it happening here) which destroyed pretty much the whole sites leeks for everyone.

Anyway, last October I did alot of tidying and left it until this year to start again. A combination of work on the house, decorating etc.. meant i only got down this week to start making things ready for the start of the growing season.

This photo shows the plot before I started. 2/3'rds of the soil is actually dug over from last autumn so that's a help. I seemed to have acquired a another blue water butt from someone!!???

I started by adding a centre post to the pea wiring to help support more. I noticed that the seeds last year also were struggling at first to reach the bottom of the wiring so using the contents of 4 of last years greenhouse grow-bags I have raised the ground level there.
The blackberry canes sprung into life last autumn also, showing signs of growth, so I added in a post to start training the canes,
Last years strawberries were brilliant, in fact we had too many. Combined with the fact i had let the plants multiply to much in the rows themselves in meant fruit was going rotten quickly due to lack of air movement, crowding. So I've thinned out the plants again, in fact I removed one row which had gone a bit silly, weeds we're well established in there, plus it was in an awkward position. SO we will have to get by with just the two rows this year.
Raspberry canes were cut down and tidied, old chard plants removed, a barrel of stinking comfrey liquid feed was tipped over to drain into the soil, the rotting leaves put back into the compost bin. That was fixed and screwed back together to make solid.

I bought some planks of wood and did some path repairs, and noted that the wood dividing my plot and the next had disintegrated so started replacing that too.

Seed box was thinned out, plans made!

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I have some time off this week so i put in a few hours tidying things up and getting ready for the new season.
I've started planting potatoes, getting in one row of Estima. I also put in several rows of onions, hopefully they'll do better than last year. Varieties this year were Silver moon and Stuttgarter Giant. I also planted one bulbs worth of garlic cloves in a container.
I dressed the soil with chicken manure pellets, threw alot of blood fish bone around, and brought over from the greenhouse last years growbags to add into the soil. Today i also turned over the compost heap to get that started again.
The raspberries are looking healthy and i managed to get it properly wired up to support the canes, and weeded amongst the strawberries too. The purple sprouting broccoli is looking okay, a few look weak and small but mostly they look like producing some shoots. I also put in some wire to support the pea netting, and planted half a row of kelvdon wonder.
I need to look into comfrey plants still, my one is looking healthy now, the comfrey 'tea' is was making probably needs diluting which i need to read up on to get the strength right. I also need to propagate from it some new plants.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Digging has commenced.

First photos of work from this year.
We went down a couple of sundays ago and got to digging the bean trench, quite straight too! We then started removing the old beetroots, parsnips, chard, and carrot still decomposing in the soil after the winter snow. As i dug the kids used their wheel barrow to transport them and put into the trench.
 The majority of the purple sprouting broccoli seem healthy, hopefully cropping in a couple of months. Jobs i need to do soon are planting the onions and garlic, cross posting the raspberry end posts and wiring them up to contain the canes.
Today we went back and finished removing all the old strawberry growth, and did a bit of weeding. The kids wanted to sow something so they threw in some old mange tout seeds from last year i had in my pocket. If they grow I'll just use them as green manure and dig them before they flower.

Friday, 7 January 2011

new year, new post

Yes i know i have not posted for a while, got out of the routine, plus when the rainy weather hit i was not going down with little to report, plus i was ill for some of september and unable to get down also.

anyway, enough excuses.
Quick review of last year - okay year.

More info?? okay then.....

potatoes were pretty poor, very poor in fact, one row barely gave up a dozen spud's.
pea's were also poor, the mange tout grew big and flowered well but not great cropping.
Onions, i give up on red onions (again!), white/brown onions were  not good, and i didn't get round to planting the autumn sets so spring ones it is again.
Good - swiss chard, beetroot, parsnips, swede, sweetcorn, pumpkins, beans - french and runner, strawberry's, raspberries, lettuce. Courgettes were okay but i'll use another variety next year.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Photo's are from about 10 days ago, the pumpkins are doing well, about 6 fruits in total with the largest being huge!! the circumference about the size of a space hopper!

Elsewhere in the plot the runner beans are over, struggled on through the masses of blackfly, whereas the Isobel climbing french beans are brilliant, very heavy cropping and good straight flavored beans. The dwarf french where a little tough very quickly and i dont think i'll do them again. The sweet corn has benefited from being started early and done well, some good size cobs there, beetroot and swiss chard also doing well. The strawberries were great this year with lots for the kids to enjoy, i should get some later season variety though as they all came in together.
The onions were pretty rubbish, the red ones terrible, they hardly grew any larger than the sets i put in originally. The others were generally small, and my garlic which i started off on pots and then transplanted all grew but are very small, i think i'll go back to autumn planting next year (this year!). Swede and broccoli grew very well although the broccoli flowered very quickly and we only had a few heads off them. I put in a few weeks ago some purple sprouting for next spring. Below on the left you can also see the rhubarb i split and replanted which has taken well, i have not taken anything from it this year, just let it establish itself. Back left by the blue box is the comfy which has just been severely cropped and the leaves are in the box with water to make a liquid feed. Already when i went to the plot today the comfy has sprung back into life with huge growth. I need to look into how i can split or transplant the comfy to create more plants.
What else? well the potatoes have been hit and miss, the first two rows i put in, i forget now what types, where very poor, not worth the effort of planting, the last row has been very good. The butternuts grew poorly but i have one, yes one fruit on them! Carrots have been okay, i still have a row of the rainbow coloured ones insitu. The lettuce has been good, although all at once, i still have some coming on now, the oriental varieties did go to seed quickly though. I need this autumn to properly tie in the raspberries which are falling all over the place but still cropping.
The peas were also sporadic this year, and the mange tout were not great, i think i'll stick to heavily sowing peas next year as i had better result last year with that. The parsnips are looking okay, as do the small square of leeks i put in.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Big Max pumpkins going mad!!!!

Monday, 5 July 2010

early july

Well a long overdue post, but hopefully a full one. After such good weather we've had some rain over the last few weeks which has helped everything come on alot, weeds too!
This shot shows the poor performing potatoes, either they were hit by a frost early on, or it was bad seed potatoes, my other row the other side of the beans is coming on fine. I'm going to probably dig these up soon and use the space for other things.

The strawberries have been great this year, glad i put so many in now, we have had about 7-8 ice tubs full, and the kids have loved going and picking them, stright into the mouth! On the left is the remains of the pea's, which i removed afterwards. At the top of the pea row had been the mange tout which had grown well and lots of flowers but very little crop, so i removed them and have sown a late heavy crop of 'lincoln' peas.

The sweetcorn i put in much earlier this year and they are looking much bigger and healthier this year, we have been enjoying sweetcorn on the BBQ this year so hopefully we'll have a good crop to put on later this year.

Here the courgettes are doing well, i have two plants in there, with another at the end of the plot next to the rhubarb.
At the back are the raspberries which are now producing a good amount , and the dwarf french beans which have given there first crop today.

The french beans, with the garlic behind them which has failed to bulb up, so i am going to remove it soon so create some space. We have had great lettuce, little gem, both from the greenhouse and the plot. At the front is the leeks i put in, although some have failed already, i think i failed to water them enough in the first few days.

The onions are a bit hit and miss, about 50% have come on okay, not huge bulbs by any means, but the other half are poor, the red onions 'hyred' have very poorly performed, many have barelt grown since being put in as sets. Again i am removing these to create more space.

The broccoli and swede nicely growing, with a row of carrots on the left
which i weeded well after the shot was taken


The first crop of runner beans. This year i seem to have bad blackfly on my beans, not a problem i have had before, they're everywhere, although not yet crossed over to the climbing french beans 'isabel'.

Friday, 11 June 2010

first strawberries

quick photo update, loads of growth over last week but that means weeds too! try to tackle that today, but look at my first strawberry, and very good it was too!!!!!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Sorry for delay in updating but i was having trouble uploading photos for a while. Anyway, quick note to show you the dwarf french beans, the strawberries which are doing really well, the climbing french bean 'isabel' , and rows of swede and brocolli 'marathon'. Elsewhere the pumpkins Big Max are in, potatoes are coming through, the runner bean 'celebration' are climbing fast, and chard beetroot and pea's look healthy. Overall quite pleased with the plot this year.