Monday, 24 December 2007
Each time I go down to the allotment now (which is not so often because of the season and weather) I take more garden items down and it is filling up nicely. It is so nice not to have to make several trips to the car when I want to do a few hours work.
Here are my pictures:
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Saturday, 8 December 2007
The onions are great tasting too, especially the red ones Red Baron and are excellent in salads. The chillies Cherry Bomb are of medium heat and I think we have done pretty well to get approximately 15 of them considering the lack of summer sun this year.
I still get a thrill when I am harvesting anything and I guess that will always be the case. I'm always so amazed at the fact that you plant seeds, sets or tubers and with a little care and nuture from me, and rain and sun from above, that after the appropriate period of time you have an abundant crop.
All the chillies and onions have now been harvested, so that leaves one row of potatoes left to dig up - so maybe I will get my wish and have home grown potatoes for Christmas dinner. Will let you know.
Monday, 3 December 2007
I have ordered 2 types of raspberries - summer fruiting and autumn fruiting. Glen Ample and Glen Moy are both summer fruiting and should be ready to harvest between mid/late June and early August. Autumn Bliss is the autumn variety that I have chosen and that should be ready to harvest from late August until mid October. So hopefully there will be a steady supply of fruit for about 5 months of the year. My mind is already running away with me - raspberry jam, raspberry ice cream, fresh raspberries, raspberry jelly.....
Monday, 12 November 2007
I redrew my original plan when I knew where the storage box was to be sited and the allotment is now beginning to take shape and get some structure to it.
As soon as it's in place I will photograph it so you can all see.
Tuesday, 2 October 2007
Here it is:-
9 cucumbers (diced)
1 red pepper & 1 green pepper (diced), pith & seeds removed
8oz onions (chopped) I used our red onions from the allotment
3 celery stalks (chopped)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
15fl oz white vinegar
Place diced cucumber in bowl, sprinkle with a little salt and leave overnight. Drain and rinse in cold running water. Put cucumbers into a saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30-40 mins or until relish is nice and thick. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal.
What could be easier? It tastes delicious and the children love it with "salad bits" as my son calls them. Now we have a winter's supply of lovely tasting relish, together with home made pickle (made from apples from my brother's tree). Luvly jubly!!
Thursday, 6 September 2007
The last month has been relatively quiet at the allotment (we've been on holiday) and apart from watering and harvesting there is not a great deal to do apart from...you've guessed it...digging!
Over the summer I took the opportunity of making myself a "wish list" of all the things I would like at the allotment and I came up with the following:-
- 4 big beds, all 4 ft wide
- herb bed
- strawberry bed
- salad bed
- 2 childrens beds
- wild flower & flower bed
- raspberries along trellis
- blackcurrant & redcurrant dividing "hedge"
- fruit tree(s)
I've also looked into a bulk order of compost/manure from the local council being delivered to the site so that the worms can work some magic over the winter months.
Thursday, 2 August 2007
Wednesday, 25 July 2007
Saturday, 21 July 2007
Monday, 9 July 2007
Sunday, 17 June 2007
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
Before planting out we dig a patch at least 3-4 times to get it to as good a standard as we can in the time available to us. Well over half the plot has now been cultivated, and it really has been worth it as our plants are thriving in their planted positions.
I'm already thinking ahead as to what I might like to grow next year .......
With all this digging, carrying heavy bags full of weeds, kneeling, bending and stretching, who needs to go to the gym or keep fit? Get an allotment - it's cheaper, plenty of fresh air, and loads of home grown tasty fruit and vegetables to eat that haven't clocked up hundreds or thousands of air miles.
Monday, 14 May 2007
Before the rains came over the past week, the ground was so hard that the digging was very laborious, but now it has been well and truly soaked the earth is beautiful and crumbly. The only problem is that the weeds have taken over in a big way and are really invading the rest of the plot. Last Wednesday Peter spent most of the morning pulling up grass from bed no. 4 (which is the bed where the compost bin is). It was coming up very easily, but underneath we found some huge cracks in the ground, some of which were over 2cm in places.
The greenhouse looks a wonderful sight with rows of pots full of tomatoes (3 varieties), French beans, courgettes, cucumber, cauliflowers, strawberries, chillies, white onions and chitted potatoes all ready to be planted out as soon as the ground has been dug.
The potatoes and onions that we planted before Easter are growing really well. The onions have got green tops on them that are about 12 inches in height and the potatoes look lovely and bushey and are getting quite tall. I "earthed up" some of them last week for the second time. Must sign off now as there's lots more digging to be done.
Monday, 9 April 2007
All the people we've met on the site who stop for a chat are really friendly and are very encouraging to us. They love to see us as a family all working together, each doing our bit. We've been given lots of friendly advice too and it's interesting to find out what they are growing and how successful they have been. It's a very relaxed atmosphere and no-one really seems to rush.
The children have now got their own mini plots of about half a square metre each and they are both working hard watering, digging and "mashing up" the ground. They have collected lots of stones from around the plot so that they can make a nice edging when they have finished digging.
Today we planted 5 rows of onions red baron (about 50 onions in all). They have all rooted nicely and we planted them in rows about 12" apart with about 4" between each onion set. Each one is nicely bedded in some home made compost with just the tip sticking out. We're now hoping that they are rooted enough to discourage the birds from pecking them out of the ground.
Now it's time to start rooting the white onions so that we can plant them in the next fortnight or so.
Sunday, 8 April 2007
With the hot, sunny weather that we've been having just recently, we are wetting a small patch of earth, let the water sink in and then dig that particular bit. It's very encouraging when we come to dig over that patch of earth again a day or so later to find that the earth underneath has retained that water and it hasn't all drained away.
We have also tested the soil with a really good soil testing kit that is very easy to use. We are very fortunate in that our soil has a pH of 7.0 (neutral) so hopefully we do not have to be too choosy about what we grow.
To date we have planted 6 rows of "Sante" potatoes and 2 rows of "Charlotte" potatoes. They have chitted really well and it was fun to plant them in their trenches. The children enjoyed spacing them out and counting how many potatoes were in each row (about 9 if you're interested).
So for now, it's back to some more digging.
Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Although the digging is getting harder and the progress has slowed down a bit, there is something very satisfying about looking back over what has been dug, and there is a real sense of excitement that as soon as the first strip has been completely dug, the potatoes will go in, followed by the onions.
Monday, 5 March 2007
Wednesday, 28 February 2007
The seeds being started off in the greenhouse are beginning to sprout and it's exciting to think that soon they will be placed in their new home in the ground to grow, develop and mature and become wonderful, tasty, fresh organic food on our plates. As Carol Klein said in her recent excellent series "Grow your own Veg" ...."the furthest journey the veg will make is from the plot to the plate" and in our case that is less than a mile away.
Meanwhile, the planting of seeds goes on..... and on.....and on!!
Saturday, 24 February 2007
- Charlotte - a second early very popular salad variety
- Bonnie - second early, good for boiling and baking
- Sante - early maincrop - a good pest and disease resistant potato
I got the children to count the number of "bumps" on each potato and then place them in egg boxes with the most number of "bumps" on the top. So far we have got 4 egg boxes full of potatoes, and they are sitting happily in the greenhouse and will be joined with some more once we have some more empty egg boxes available. The greenhouse is beginning to get very full, so soon the mini greenhouse will have to take the overflow of seeds etc. I can't wait to get planting and free up more space for more seeds and start the succession of planting that we have planned.
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
In the meantime I have planted 70 sweet pea seeds (they have already started to sprout) as my idea is to grow the plants up and around the compost bin a) to hide the essential rotting mass, b) to attract beneficial insects, c) to make good use of every bit of space that I can, and d) because I just love sweet peas. Will let you know how my idea works out in future posts.
Sunday, 4 February 2007
We have decided to start very simply and grow most of the salads and vegetables that were successful in the garden last year, plus a few others. They are:- cauliflower - all the year round; cauliflower - avalanche; parsnip - tender and true; carrot - sugarsnax; broccoli - belstar; courgette - defender; beetroot - boltardy; onion - Bedfordshire champion; spring onion - white lisbon; radish - rougette; cucumber - burpless tasty green; tomato - balconi red; tomato - brandywine; tomato - ailsa craig; chilli - Thai dragon; chilli - numex twilight; chilli - Hungarian; chilli - jalapeno; chilli - cherry bomb; chives; parsley - French; coriander; and marjoram. In the garden we will be growing lettuce - little gem; basil; and wild rocket.
A quick tally of the total number of seeds is 4,600! Of course I'm not expecting all of them to germinate, but even if one half of them do, and then of those half that have germinated are then thinned out to produce strong, sturdy plants and I am left with one third of my original number, I'll have enough produce to feed our entire road.
Here's to sowing, and hopefully lots of growing.
Thursday, 25 January 2007
The seeds, onion sets and potatoes have not arrived yet, but I am all geared up to get sowing as soon as they arrive. The sacks of compost are piled up, the pots and trays are ready and the greenhouse shelving has been cleaned in preparation. So now, as they say, we wait for the postman.
Monday, 15 January 2007
The reasons we have decided to get an allotment are:-
- to grow a wide variety of organic fruit and vegetables for the family
- I have outgrown the available space in our garden
- It will be fun
We will take possession of the site in about mid-late March so in the meantime we have ordered seeds, onion sets and potatoes and as soon as they all arrive sowing will start in earnest.
I hope to post at regular intervals as things progress.