Sunday, 29 June 2008

Plants for Winter

Last week I had an email from Thompson & Morgan (seed specialists) from whom I normally order all my seeds etc. They were having a half price sale for one week only and I took the opportunity of snapping up some packets of seeds so that I can keep the crops going throughout the winter.

Here's what I ordered:-

Lettuce Arctic King - sow August-October & harvest April-May

Cabbage Kalibos - sow March-May & harvest August-October

Broccoli Sprouting Redhead - sow May-June & harvest March-April

Cabbage Minicole - sow April-June & harvest August-October

Radicchio Treviso Precoce Mesola- sow April-September & harvest August-December

This is just the start of my winter crops that I want to get going, and hopefully there will be plenty more to follow, but as the saying goes "you've got to start somewhere"

Over the next few weeks and months (as time permits) I want to create a big wall chart with what to plant when, how, harvest time etc and see where the gaps are and then try and "plug" those gaps so that I will be further on with my long term plan of being almost self-sufficient in vegetables all year round. It's a big task so will take some time, but will be worth it in the long run.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Planting Time

The past two weeks have been extremely busy at the allotment digging, planning and planting. The new plot is so overgrown and infested with weeds that each time I go I fill up 4 old compost bags full and take them to the local re-cycling centre. These places are great and you can pick up some bargains that would otherwise be sent to landfill. One lady was going to bin a beautiful rosemary bush that was too big for her garden, so that has made its way to the plot and is planted next door to the thriving blackcurrant bush.

The other "find" at the centre was a butler sink (which weighed a ton, or so it seemed) which is now sitting proudly in our front garden at home waiting for some love and attention.

Back to the allotment - the runner beans and French beans have been planted and are climbing nicely up their sticks, and although they have gone slightly pale in colour I am assured that they do this sometimes, but production is not affected. Today I noticed that there are some flowers that have just blossomed on one of the French beans. On the bed above them I have planted 6 courgettes, 6 cauliflowers, 2 broccoli (for the time being) and 5 sweetcorn (for the time being).

The bed to the right of the brassicas is full from top to bottom with white and red onions and shallots. The garlic is next to the compost heap (which is full to bursting). I have planted some spinach, but it looks very weedy and seems to be struggling to grow so will have to see how it turns out.

The fruit is growing well - I picked the first strawberry yesterday and the blackcurrant bush has produced lots of currants which are bright green at the moment.

On the new plot I have planted 13 plum tomatoes and 21 beef tomatoes. Peter is frantically digging at the bottom of the plot where the ground is very heavy and we will put in the last of the potatoes there to break up the earth a bit, besides we ran out of space on the main potato bed so am glad that they will have the right amount of space to grow in and not be squashed somewhere too small.

I am now digging below the tomatoes to prepare the ground for the cucumbers as they are nearly ready to be planted outside. They have been hardening off for about 10 days now so will hopefully be planted next week.

One man at the allotment gave me the two broccoli and 2 chilli plants and another man gave me 2 sweet pepper plants. I haven't offered them any of my seedlings as their plots are full to bursting and always look professionally grown. They are my inspiration and example, so instead I spend time talking to them. Maybe one day I can return the favours.