Monday, 24 November 2008


Its huge, one of 4 i dug up for a roast yesterday. Its about 4 times the size of a normal parsnip, the roasted ones were great and i think i have another 20 in the plot so good for a couple of months yet.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

The top part of the plot with the green manure growing well, the bean trench extended and the spinach beet, carrots and chard dug up and thrown in. I know it looks odd that i did not extend the trench to the row end, but to be honest that would be far to many beans planted than we would ever eat or give away, the length of the trench currently is probably a bit ambitious anyway.

The bottom of the plot with all weeding done. Again the manure is growing, all be it thinner than at the top. Parsnips remain the only crop growing.

The center where i have pulled over the tarpaulin again although the area underneath would not take more than half a day to weed, i am just not sure when i will get to do it. Plus under cover it will dry a bit so that i can pull back and weed without the ground being to boggy.The weed area left i'll also cover and attack when possible.

The chillies hanging to dry turning red, if you look at the slideshow you'll see them at different stages of colours.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008


I've added a slideshow on the right here which show a lot more photo's i've taken of the plot, garden and crops. also playing around with general look, what do you think?

Monday, 3 November 2008


so this update has been even longer in coming, but certainly less time than waiting for summer this year!
I felt its was time to show some photos and explain whats been happening. Summery of this year - another rained out season. No sun means little grows and only the late autumn sun meant we finally had some corgettes, but it was not enough for the other squashes to prosper, all failed.
Most other things were dissapointing also, sweetcorn grew no higher than my knee, carrots very poor and small, climbing french beans rubbish - all these things i presume are down to the poor weather and probably the poor nutritional quality of my soil which i am now addressing.
The above photo is the end of the plot mostly dug over apart from the parsnips which actually seem to have done well, judging by the first pull. The strip in the middle is the failed carrots with weeds in between awaiting removal, and the top right corner is some green manure i've sown, mustard seed.
The plank in the middle is actually alongside a strip of horse manure spread over the surface.The covered part in the middle is still yet to be completely cleared mainly due to time, with the clocks going back its now impossible to get anything done in the evening, but i suppose that another winter under cover cannot do any harm and i'll target that area with green manure in the spring.
I started a bean trench where the peas were this year and will extend it when i remove the spinach beet, another of the few successes this year.
The top part has also been seeded with mustard, and i am going to remove the water butt and other stuff from the wall edge to put down some covering to stop the weeds coming under the wall, generally couch grass and mares tail. I need to plan where to put the water buts and build a compost bin at some time, as well as considering where to put the permanent fruit beds (raspberry and blackberry) that i want to plant next year.

Saturday, 9 August 2008


i know its a month since my last post but what with the awful AWFUL weather here in wales i have rarely been down to the plot to be honest, the few times i have i have picked a little produce but also done some weeding which again seem to be growing the most!.

Plus no photos as my camera is dead unfortunately, not sure when I'll have a replacement.

I have dug up all the early potatoes 'Foremost' and am now digging the next 2nd earlies 'Marfon' which is producing a smaller crop per plan' which i am looking forward to tasting.

The swede are looking great and will start to be cropped now, freezing alot i think, the poorly performing turnips are out after all racing to seed straight away, but i sowed a second little row which are loaded with little golf ball size ready for picking. The swiss chard is doing well, as is the spinach beet which we have had several meals from.

The french beans are slowly producing, i need to do alot more next year i feel. Peas are tasty but again needed more intense cropping and better support. Lessons learnt!

The squash are performing at different levels, some of the courgettes plants have given us produce others lagging behind, the butternuts are sitting there doing nothing, and the 'crown prince' pumpkins are slowly growing but not looking promising at the moment unlike 'Jacks' pumpkin which has produced several flowers and 2 fruits which are now melon sized!!
I will be picking the beetroot and pickling soon, and the carrots are looking reasonable healthy. All white onions and garlic are now harvested with the red onions next to come up.
The garlic did quite well,
especially the Purple Georgian White, with the Spanish Roja doing reasonable well also. The onions were quite dissapointing, the Swift slightly better than the Autumn Champion but i think i will try different varities next year and possibly try some from seed which will be a new challange.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

update and pics

A little shot of produce the other day, we eventually had a salad of lettuce, peas, green beans, spinach beet leaves, new potatoes and mackerel fillets, along with fresh bread.The climbing beans starting to ascend the poles, potatoes and peas in the back ground, and dwarf beans next the climbers. And weeds, lots of weeds!
The weeded end of the plot! Parsnips, swedes properly spaced this year, turnips which have been disappointing as they mostly have bolted and failed to grow. Next are the beetroots, and two rows of resown carrots which have come up well thankfully.
My MIL doing some weeding. Much appreciated too.The center part is getting smaller and will soon be able to be uncovered, although its slow progress as the couch grass and bindweed roots are getting thicker towards the middle. On the right are the newly planted butternut squash.
Jacks pumpkin, with a very small yellow fruit forming near the centre.
As i remove the new potatoes the crown prince pumpkins with some manure are going in.
The sunflowers which i had to secure to the railings as the recent winds had almost knocked them over. In front are the sweetcorn and more dwarf french beans in between.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Just a quick post - sweetcorn now in, and another courgette plant at the plot, and one in a pot at home but that has been mostly destroyed by slugs so i'm not sure if it will survive.
I picked the first french dwarf beans today, and noted that the peas have also started putting pods on. I now have more dwarf beans to put in, and all the squashes are looking promising and will follow on over the next few weeks.

The weather has been terrible for the last 2 days, but good for the garden as they say, although my almost empty water buts will need alot more before they refill. One thing i need to sort out before this winter is water storage so i have a better supply throughout next year.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

No posts...

but i have been busy at the plot and in the garden. At the plot i have again earthed up the potatoes, thinned again the parsnips, swede and turnips, and sowed 2 rows of leeks, a little late but hopefully they'll come through. The second sowings of beetroot and carrots have come on well too, need thinning soon, and i continue to weed everywhere. I have also put in 2 small rows of spinach beet, and the 3 chard plants have also taken well.

Below is my daughter with the sunflower in the garden, she is looking for ants!

In the greenhouse, sweetcorn ready to go out, in the red posts are more dwarf french beans, and also in the tray are the 4 butternut squash, 2 courgettes, and in the next tray 6 crown prince pumpkins.
In the next trays are the next sowing of mixed lettuce, a pot of herbs, the lower green tray has basil and the two at the bottom are yellow sun courgettes.
The cherry tomato plant is doing really well setting flowers already, and the pepper plant a little slower but making progress.
This is a pumpkin, variety unknown, that i was given by Jack my nephew , to see who could grow the largest pumpkin from it. I have now planted it at the plot, photo next time.

Tuesday, 27 May 2008


Over the last few days i've done a few more jobs, weeded and potted on a few things.

On the plot i planted some broccoli plants i bought a week ago, and was given 2 brussel sprouts by my neighbour which i swapped for one of my Indian chilli plants. i then planted 2 small rows of spinach beet as the spinach i have sowed is trying to seed already before its in the ground! I also put in the climbing french beans and planted one bean alongside each plant just in case they fail. Plus a little weeding at every opportunity.

In the garden i spent a nice hour this evening having a beer, putting Sonic Youth and Aphex Twin on the stereo, and potting on and planting more seed. The chilli's, 2 Betty's indian (as i've named it, after my colleague) and 2 jalapeno were potted on. Sowed were 8 more dwarf french beans for a later crop, 2 courgette 'zucchini F1' , and 6 crown prince pumpkins seeds from last years crop. I then added another 4 squash in the shape of butternut again from previous years seed.

Next up must be to remove the 4 cabbage plants and sow 2 rows of leeks at the plot, and to thin out the turnips, swede and parsnips again to final positions.

Friday, 23 May 2008

'little helpers'

a comment on my last posting asked where the little helpers were. well here you go!!!!!

Tuesday, 20 May 2008


Had a day off today to spend at the plot and got a lot done. i put up the pea netting and cloched the second sowing, and sowed a third one. The bean trench was filled in and poles put up, and planted the dwarf french beans. The climbing beans are ready to put in but i didn't get round to that today. I also planted the 6 strawberry plants i bought at the weekend, i've never had much success with strawberries so fingers crossed this time. Potatoes were earth up, and weeding ++++.
At the bottom of the plot the parsnips look like they have germinated which is great, and i thinned the swede and turnips. At the end of the swede row i planted the 3 chard plants i had in pots, and also weeded the beetroot row and filled in the gaps with some tray sown seedlings and sowed some more seed in the remaining row spaces. In the carrot row barely 5% had germinated so i weeded that and resowed with a new variety 'Amsterdam 2 sweetheart'. I then repeated this with the row that originally had 'autumn king' in which again had poorly germinated.

I removed the purple and white sprouting broccolis which had gone over, and was given some seedlings by another plot holder of cabbage 'greyhound' which was put in last night. I then weeded around the remaining cabbages and onions. The remaining weeding to be down is under the tarpaulin which is shrinking slowly but has alot of roots and taking a long time. This is where the summer crops will go, pumpkins, squashes, sweetcorn, and i also want to sow some more carrots, spinach, chard.

In the green house i have planted into growbags one tomato, 2 cucumbers, and 1 sweet pepper, and have to go in a few more tomatoes and all the chilli plants. I was given some chilli seeds by an indian colleague who is not sure what variety they are, i was unsure also whether the would germinate but they have so i will grow on 2 plants, and also 2 jalapeƱo plants. I have also bought another tomato plant which should just be for eating for me, whilst the others will be predominantly for sauces. The courgette sowed has surprisingly failed to germinate so i bought a plant last weekend which i potted on and seems to be doing well.

Phew, busy day!!!!

Friday, 9 May 2008

More sunshine!!

Quick notes and photos.
This was our first picking of lettuce from the greenhouse

More work on the weed area, including a huge stone i dug out.
Thining the turnips and swede, the turnips allowed to be a little more grouped, but i was stricter with the swede as last year poor thinning meant a patchy crop in the end.
The white sprouting broccolli looking great, need to pick soon!!
My daughter by the sunflower plants she sowed! She was more interested though on standing on the potato hills!

Pea's under bottle cloches, which will need removing and pea netting set up.The second sowing of pea's, next week i will put in the third.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

In the greenhouse are these few pots, at the back in the yellow is Dill, and in the front is the pre-germinated parsnips apart from the front left which is a chard tube.
This is the first planted growbag of the year, some little gem lettuce which look like the first leaves are ready for cutting. The trough of mixed green leaves i planted, not pictured, is coming on strong also and should provide leaves ina week or so.
I started to do dig over the central part of the plot, covered with tarpaulin currently, and will do a part little by little over the next month. This area will be for the summer crops such as the squashes and sweetcorn among others. Below are an example of some of the weeds i dug out of the part pictured. The length of the roots shows how important it is to carefully remove all traces of the roots of courch grass as it regrows so vigorously.
This is a great show of my beans coming through, from the first showing through of green tips and lifting of soil, and the actual opening of bean seed itself.

The sweetcorn starting to come through.
The first sowing of peas has now come through and i'm protect them with some squash bottle cloches, and have also sowed the second sowing and these are getting a warming from the glass panes. I will sow a third lot next week and repeat to try and get a good cropping this year.
The next lot of purple sprouting is coming along now and will be ready for central head removal soon to speed up the side shoot production.
In between the onions i have again sowed a row of carrots, this time Autumn King as companion planting seem to work last year to prevent carrot fly.
The last two rows here next to the border now sowed up with (next to border first) parsnips White Gem, and then swede Marian. The turnips are also now starting to show through so i'll start to thin them soon
Ths solitary white sprouting broccoli is starting to form a head!!

Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Getting lots more seeds sown in the last few days, including a tray of beetroot Bolthardy in case the row i sowed does not come through, a large tray of mixed herbs just to see what comes up and separate pots of orgeano too.
I have also finally sown my tomatoes, which is a variety called Pomodoro San Marzano 2 which is a plum ideal for sauces which plenty of flesh and few seeds. The cucumber variety Telegraph improved also was started in the propagator.

In the greenhouse i transplanted some lettuce seedlings into a trough to grow on and seem to have taken, and also a few little gem lettuce which i put straight into a grow bag and look like the first few leaves will be ready for picking in a week i think. I also planted a single courgette Gold Rush which will be hopefully an early greenhouse provider before the outdoor ones get in season, and a few pots of spinach as the transplanted ones are looking a little weak and i'm not sure if they will survive.

The pots of chard have just come through, as have some of the leeks and broccoli. Still awaiting germination of the sweetcorn, climbing french beans and dill at the moment. The sunflowers and dwarf french beans all look very healthy and look like they want planting out very soon but i'm concerned its to early still with the frisks of frosts.

At the plot i sowed at the bottom end a row of swede Marian and put in a thickly sowed row of parsnips Hollow Crown in a trench of purchased soil which should avoid the problem of my stoney soil causing forking. I also put bottle cloches over the peas that have emerged and sowed a second crop and using some recently acquired window panes erected a glass cloche over that area of soil to warm it up and speed up germination hopefully.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

sunshine and digging

has been the order of the day recently which has been nice, an hour here and there and i've alot done.
I had to move the compost bin so i dug a bean trench and placed half the good compost in it, and dug another one for the remaining potatoes Desiree which i put in yesterday morning. The dwarf fench beans i planted with my daughter a few weeks back are growing nicely and are in the greenhouse now , and i today sowed 20 climbing french beans 'blue lake' all for the trench next month hopefully.

This is the path edging i have done this week, not the straightest but it does the job, and the compost bin in its new home. i still need to do some parts of the top of the path which have now also started to give way.

I have also sowed this week a tray of broccoli autumn spear, pots of chard, dill and potted on some spinach sown indoors. I was given by an colleague from india some chilli seeds of a hot chilli pepper variety unknown and i sowed 3 pots up today which went into the propagator this evening. Next up is to sow tomatoes, and swede, turnip and parsnips directly in the plot.

Thursday, 3 April 2008


i popped in the first row of beetroot 'bolthardy' and a row of turnips 'purple marian top' i think its called, in rows next to the onions towards the bottom end of plot.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008


As i'm off on holiday for a week i have stopped seed sowing about a week ago, the few seeds that have germinated have either died off or are sturdy enough to survive in the greenhouse now with a good watering. When i return the sowing will go into overdrive, starting with tomatoes,chillies and cucumbers, and then tray sowings of beetroots, chard, cabbage, cauliflower, french beans just to start with.

I also just popped over to the plot to get in the first sowing of peas 'kelvedon wonder' which i am determined to properly successional sow this year. I also put in a first sowing of carrots 'early nantes 5' in a space between 2 rows of onions, which seemed successful last year in keeping away the carrot fly. Again when i get back i have plenty of seeds to get straight into the plot, which should be easier now the evening s are lighter.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Potato's in

I had a chance this morning to go for a couple of hours so i put in the Red Baron onions and Red Sun shallots that i had growing on in some trays for the last month, and they had quite good root structure on them as well as some starting to show green shoots.

I also managed to put in 2 rows of potatoes, the 1st earlies Foremost and 2nd earlies Marfona. All i need now is to put in the final row of main crop Desiree and i have a small pack of Lady Christl also to put into a barrel/container.

Monday, 24 March 2008


I finished digging over the top part of the plot last week apart from a small grassy section, and my MIL kindly came and did the bottom part and some weeding also so the plot is looking ready for the new season, apart from the covered area which will need careful digging to remove as much couch grass roots as possible. This will be tackled when the weather improves and the evenings lighten up.The plots' secretary phoned me to say he had arranged for a few boards to be delivered to repair the path edge. It had been left to disintegrate so much that the path is joining the plot, and really needs attention. So this is a great help, i'll just have to sort that this summer also.
Purple sprouting broccoli just waiting to be picked, despite having 4 or 5 plants of good size only this one is producing spears so far. Hopefully this means the others will start later and prolong the season?
With my daughter who wanted to play in the shed with the soil (!) i got her to help plant some seeds. I thought that some dwarf french beans would be best, easy for her to handle, and its only a little early for them. I used the variety 'the prince' and in the propagtor they are now germinating. Whether they survive til planting i dont know but she had fun anyway!!