Saturday, 6 August 2016

Blaugust Day 6 - Allotment 2016 progress

I've not posted a great deal about what I'm growing this year, but as I'm taking part in Blaugust over on my main blog at knifesedge.net, I include this post as part of that and cross post it as usual.

I had a health issue earlier in the year that put me off my feet for the first couple of months of the season, which put me right behind with the preparation so much of the land I intended to claim back and dig over is still covered in grass. As a result I've been giving notice from the management of the site that I need to get the fallow areas covered to prevent seeds spreading to other plots. Failing to do so will result in me losing the plot, which I definitely want to avoid, but finding time to get it all done has not been easy.

Today I managed to get a full four hours down there and have cut down and covered a large patch with thick membrane that will stop weeds coming through but let water in so I'm now about 3/4 through the job. The hardest part will be clearing the now overgrown compost bins (seen at the top of the photo) but I'll get there.








Today clearing my daughter's over grown flowerbed, which sported one lovely flower (not sure what this one was called) I found a family of baby frogs. I found one on the plot last year so to find a few of them is great. They'll take care of slugs that love to eat my vegetables!










I dug over a few potato patches and got a good amount of Anya potatoes (left), a lovely nutty salad potato and some larger Charlottes and Red potatoes.






The rest of the plot is coming along nicely, with a good crop of runner beans and Yard Long red beans (that I picked while young and tender). The first few courgettes have started showing up as well and my tomato and cucumbers are starting to fruit, despite starting late.



So overall a good day and a beautiful one with barely a cloud in the sky!

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Seed Parade October Sale!

For readers in the UK, now's a great time to grab seeds for next year and I highly recommend Seed Parade, online purveyor of vegetable and flower seeds.

Until the end of October, they are offering a 50% discount on all seed orders, simply using the code OCT50 on their website so head over and grab a bargain!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Blaugust Day 15 Mid August Allotment Update

 Returning to my plot after over a week away, I didn't know what to expect. The weather was hot and dry by all accounts and with no-one watering I was worried some had died off. Thankfully the opposite was true. A lot had grown and most impressive was the sweetcorn. The hairs turning brown is generally a sign that a cob is ready, so I cautiously picked one off and opened it up and it was a thing of beauty. I quickly went through and picked another half dozen cobs with dark hairs, leaving the rest to continue to ripen.
















Cherry Tomatoes



The greenhouse had not faired so well. As it is fully enclosed, even the smallest rainfall wouldn't have reached so the tomatoes and chillis, though fruiting are starting to look a little bedraggled. A good water and feed will hopefully get them back on track.

The Cucamelons, which I hadn't expected to grow have actually done quite well and in fact one of the plants has started producing.


Chilli Pepper

Cucamelon plant in the greenhouse
Cucamelons




The Blackberry bushes have now fruited and most have ripened. It looks like I'll need a full day of picking to get through all these. I see lots of pies and Jam in my future!
Juicy Blackberries

So all in all a pretty good haul today. Spinach, Kale, Corn, Borlotti beans, Squash, Cucumbers, a massive Courgette and blackberries.









Full Harvest for the day

As I was finishing up today, I came across little friend. I managed to catch him on film before he hopped away.

video


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Blaugust Day 5 - August begins and with it harvesting!

Despite some odd weather patterns here in the suburbs of London, the allotment is starting to produce in abundance. My Jostaberry bushes still have plenty of berries, but honestly I'm tired of picking them and the plucking off the stalks before freezing. So far I estimate I've had 8 kilos of the things and have made cordial, smoothies, crumble, ice-cream, frozen yoghurt and jam and still have plenty of bags full left in the freezer. The rest will have to be for the birds, mostly because now I have something new to pick - Blackberries!

Blackberries!

I was excited to see my plot had some established blackberry bushes. Year on year I collect them wild, to freeze for crumble through the year and they make delicious pies and crumbles with a few apples.

Kale, Beans, Cucumber, Squash and Blackberries
The squash plants are doing well, despite periods of drought, and I've already had two delicious fruits off them.






Cucumber
The cucumber plants are also doing really well. Two plants in a tub at home have already given us two decent sized cucumbers with more growing away nicely. At the allotment I have several in the ground which are doing less well but time will tell.

Tomatoes at home are flourishing. Lots of cherry tomatoes forming, though nothing has ripened yet. At the allotment, the tomatoes I started later in the greenhouse are catching up and have just started flowering, as have the chilli plants.

My experiment with Cucamelons doesn't seem to have worked. The plants are barely growing, either outdoors or in the greenhouse. Not sure what I'm doing wrong but maybe it's just not been consistantly hot enough.

Beans have given mixed results this year. Borlotti beans haven't done especially but the French beans have been excellent and the plan to grow some in hanging baskets, inspired by my dad, was great. Sadly his own haven't done much at all.

Sweetcorn





Sweetcorn, though not as tall as I'd expected, is producing plenty of cobs, much better than last year. Hopefully they continue to grown and
ripen.













This post is part of the Blaugust 2015 initiative. If you are interested in taking part, all the information can be found by clicking the logo below.


Tuesday, 30 June 2015

End of June and back garden is producing at last!

 Now summer is well under way, everything is growing well in the garden. Tomato plants have started flowering although of the 11 plants that have survived, I am unsure of the varieties, after planting three different types, so it'll be a nice surprise when they start fruiting.

Within a couple of week, the poor, sickly looking cucumbers are now flourishing. Three plants in the back garden this year, and using a technique I discovered last year, forming a cage around the plants and weaving the growing head in and out til it reaches the top. The method worked very well last year so looking forward to a good crop. I have a few plants at the allotment too, but they are not thriving as well, most likely as they don't get watered as often.



Having cleared a lot of weeds, the beans are now flourishing again. A mixture of yard long beans and Borlotti beans.
There's also a few beans in hanging baskets. I've not tried this method before, having stole the idea from my Dad. In theory they should start to over hang and grow downwards.
I also dug out the only potatoes growing at home, a decent crop from a couple of plants.













After an hour long Jostaberry picking session yesterday, I now have well over a kilo as well as some lovely redcurrants.

As well as a few crumbles, I've made some Jostaberry and Redcurrant Jam which I can confirm is delicious!






Friday, 19 June 2015

Harvesting begins!

The dry spell continues which means I need to get down to the allotment every couple of days, if not every day to get things watered. Thankfully my daughter loves going and helps water everything and picking berries.

I've pretty much confirmed that my plot contains Jostaberries, a hybrid of gooseberry and black currant. Not only are they delicious but we have tons of them, so every visit ends in a marathon picking session! Teaching the little 'un not to pick the green ones is a difficult task but they'll do just fine in a crumble!.


I also dug up the first batch of potatoes, which were dying down, I suspect due to blight. Still, we got a good enough haul for the three of us and as I've been promised a roast beef dinner for Father's Day this Sunday, they'll do just right!



Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Mid June and everything is flourishing!

 Another gorgeous summery afternoon so the little 'un and I went to check on things and give everything a much needed water.

Three separate plantings of lettuce are coming along nicely, as is the spinach,  surprisingly without a single sign of slug attack.


















Sweetcorn has been doing well at last and the local greengrocer had some plants in, so picked up another 9 to add to mine, making it now 29.

I have more space coming free, so I'm tempted to grow another batch as it's something all of us enjoy , especially grilled on the barbeque!













The cucumbers are starting to flourish and grow up the cylindrical cages I've made for them. One has even popped a flower already!













The little greenhouse is doing well, mostly taken up with Jalapeno plants and some purple sprouting brocolli ready for planting out later. A solitary tomato plant is doing ok, though probably needs a bigger pot.









Most of the plot