LL's Gardening Diary

Members adventures in the Vegetable Patch all year round
Post Reply
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: The Plot at the Beginning ....

Post by lancashire lass »

mrs boodles wrote:That looks like one very large allotment plot. Love seeing you photos and posts.


)grin2( thank you. When I viewed the plot, it was difficult to see the boundary footpaths and I made a lot of assumptions of size because the neighbour had a chicken run right up to a footpath (which I presumed was the communal footpath) So as a plot, yes it was long but not particularly wide. The first year's rent is free because of the clearance but when I got the bill the following year, I didn't believe the size they were charging me. So, tape measure and calculations later, I worked out that the plot was a third smaller than I was being charged. It took the council 2 years to finally mark out the boundary.

boosmummy wrote: i look at your pictures and i want my allotment like yours!!!


LOL (I really wanted a cheeky sticking tongue out smiley for this) but my plot still needs loads doing to it (and the weeds have yet to come out in full force ...) First of all, {hug} your allotment will happen but will just take a little time and hard work. This is what my plot used to look like when I first viewed it (it hadn't been cultivated in 5 years and neither had the neighbours either side):

Image

Digging:

Image

And this is what it looked like in the 1st year (before the revised boundary):

Image

.Every year I do something so that over the years it slowly builds up. I have yet to get the pond bed done which I had high hopes of doing it this year. And of course, improving the soil is a never ending job.
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Repotting the Toms

Post by lancashire lass »

Looks like it is going to be a glorious day - blue skies and sunshine - but there was quite a frost this morning. The greenhouses had a distinctive chill to them as I went to give the plants a little water and to leave the doors open. The 6 x 4 glass greenhouse is best suited for the chillies but it's going to need some serious reorganisation so I made a mental note of removing some of the shelving and visualizing the plants in big pots .... I just have to find space in the shed so I can move the lawnmower out :oops:

I didn't have time to do much this morning as my car is at the garage having expensive repairs and I had to leave earlier than usual for a lift. The "Delicious" tomatoes in the back bedroom were just begging to be repotted - I'm not quite ready with the growbags in the greenhouse as I like to build a cane frame round them to support the plants, so they were potted on in 6 inch pots which will give them a little boost until they are planted out. I put them in a crate and transferred them to the greenhouse.

As I waited for my lift at 7.00am, I looked at the pots on the drive - the overwintered Greek oregano is coming along nicely, but the garden mint in the other pot not so clever. The mint had been sown from seed in autumn as the suggested time on the seed packet, but unfortunately they started to come up about the same time as a load of weeds }hairout{ A spring sowing I did a couple of years ago was much more productive (unfortunately it was very dry in 2011 and they died hence trying again) I had a bit of compost left over from the morning so after picking out a few more weed seedlings, I put it on the soil surface of the pots and gave the plants a liquid feed. These photos were taken a couple of days ago:

Greek oregano:

Image

Mint:

Image
User avatar
LittleBrownFrog
Legendary Laner
Posts: 4477
Joined: 09 Jan 2012, 20:06
Gender: Female

Re: LL's 2013 GYO Diary

Post by LittleBrownFrog »

My most successful mint last year was propagated from snippings from a neighbour's garden rooted in a glass of water. I have some sown from seed earlier in the year that is only just starting to show, but have rooted some in water again, from the 'indoor mint' (I get through lots of mint, so like to keep plenty of it going) & that's growing away nicely.
"Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder..." Thoreau.
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Plot too dry

Post by lancashire lass »

LittleBrownFrog wrote:My most successful mint last year was propagated from snippings from a neighbour's garden rooted in a glass of water. I have some sown from seed earlier in the year that is only just starting to show, but have rooted some in water again, from the 'indoor mint' (I get through lots of mint, so like to keep plenty of it going) & that's growing away nicely.


I used to have about 4 different varieties of mint (peppermint, variegated pineapple, chocolate and something a friend gave to me that had a strong antiseptic smell) but no-one ever seemed to have garden mint. Over the years I've lost the other mint for one reason or other (considering mint is reknowned for spreading, apparently you can neglect mint to death when in a container LOL) I grew some garden mint from seed a couple of years ago and once it germinated, it really got going quite nicely ... but I didn't pot on and then it didn't survive the winter. Hence, trying again!

Today I was geared up to plant the last of the potatoes. We'd had a few sharp April showers this past couple of days so I was expecting the ground to be soft. Wrong. The soil is so dry that any water that lands on it evaporates off in the wind. And the rain last year and long wet winter seems to have changed the loamy structure of the soil that I had achieved over the years back to its heavy clay consistency which dries off into solid clods. Digging has involved a lot of bashing and chopping to break up clods, making it a very tiring task, and a touch of arthritis in the joints are now also throbbing.

Last week I had cleared a bed ready for planting and I managed to get half the potatoes in, but clearing a second bed for the rest was hard work. I was too tired to dig the trenches for planting and will do it tomorrow (thank goodness for a bank holiday weekend) So I decided to go round the plot with the hoe and finished all the beds bar the currant bush bed. Even the footpaths got a hoe which was quite satisfying as the hoe seemed to shave off the lumpy bits that had dried from walking on them in winter when they were saturated.

A couple of weeks ago I broke my rake - I can't remember where I bought it but it used to be very good at breaking up clods so I wanted another just like it. I saw some in Tesco's last week but as they are so awkward in the trolley, I had intended to pick one up just before going to the till. Suffice to say I got home and remembered. So yesterday it was on my shopping list as a reminder - only to find the price had been knocked down to £6. Today I took it to the plot but although it looks the same, the other seemed to be heavier and did a good job of slicing into clods but this one just bounced off them. Oh well.

Despite spending 4 and half hours on the plot, I felt like I had barely done anything and came away disappointed with today's efforts - especially as I have yet to finish planting the potatoes! I found a couple more asparagus pushing through but worryingly, not all the plants are coming up. I spied a clump of Jerusalem artichokes coming up but again, there should be loads more. The apple tree seems to have masses of buds forming - perhaps the poor season last year has encouraged a lot more flowers this year. Meanwhile, no sign of the broad beans I sowed 2 weeks ago (the ground is probably too dry), and the shallots are only about an inch up. No sign of the onion sets either but it is only a week since planted and probably need water. Twice I was thwarted by other plot holders hogging the standpipe (I was none too pleased to find one had a sprinkler on for most of the morning - I don't mind people doing it when the site is quiet but not on a Sunday when most people need to get access to water)

Meanwhile, I have started sowing the winter squash and courgettes - a couple of warm days should encourage germination but it doesn't look as though it is going to last. I also need to sow the sweetcorn so is next on the list ....
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Potatoes, broad beans, asparagus, kale and leeks

Post by lancashire lass »

Because of the forecast of a warm day, I had intended to get to the plot for 6.00am (I'm still in dog walking time and get up early regardless) but things didn't quite go to plan - I had woke up from a dream of walking into the greenhouse and finding all my plants were dead and dessicated from lack of water LOL so despite feeling they should be fine, I went round and gave everything a good watering including all the pots on the patio and drive. In the garden, my sweet cherry tree Stella is just one amazing mass of flowers, the Braeburn and James Grieves apple trees also. Unfortunately I was a bit heavy handed with the loppers on the Conference Pear trees so blossom is a bit sparse. The Victoria plum tree has just peaked and some petals falling off now. The other apple trees are just about to flower. I love this time of year when all the fruit tree blossom are out.

Recently I've been frustrated that I have misplaced some seeds - I've already turned my house upside down looking for them. I have a bag of Carouby de Maussane mange tout seeds that I want to sow soon so it started to get a bit urgent as well as a bag of Dreadnought broad beans - both bags are substantial so how could I lose them? So one more search and ha-ha, I found the peas and even a couple more squash varieties from the same purchase but still not sign of the broad beans or Italian oregano, grrr. As I started to gather things together, I decided to empty my allotment bag to make room for stuff and lo and behold, I found the broad beans. So obvious thinking about it now - the beans had been put there to sow but I'd forgotten all about them.

By the time I'd loaded the car and set off, it was already 7.00am and the sun was well up. My first task of the day was to haul the hosepipe to the standpipe and give everything a thorough drenching. I paid a lot of attention to the onions, garlic and shallot beds, and even the blueberries got a good watering too. As I went round the shed to water the rhubarb and asparagus bed, the angle of the sun revealed there were a lot more baby asparagus spears coming up - I counted 12 plants so all had survived the winter after all. Alas, 2 rhubarb crowns seem to have disappeared - I remember them showing buds in January before the cold weather set in so perhaps it had killed them off. Surprisingly, a tiny root that I really didn't think would come to much is growing - odd how something so small can survive whereas the other more substantial ones should perish.

I spent a good hour watering and then got stuck in planting the last of the potatoes. The bed I had cleared yesterday was easier to dig but aching muscles from yesterday's efforts still made it hard work. Still, I'm just so pleased to get it finished. I hadn't intended to stay long at the allotment today as I wanted to get on with sowing more squash seeds but I still had 2 bags of compost in the car and also a bag of compostables to bury.

I emptied the last granules out of the box of Growmore round the asparagus and the Chinese artichokes. As the soil surface dries so quickly, I decided to put a good layer of compost round the asparagus and rhubarb which will act like a mulch as well as percolate nutrients into the soil when it rains. Both beds had a good amount of manure dug in last autumn but I'm keen for the plants to get growing and mature quickly this year. The rest of the compost went in the crate of horseradish and the bath tub with the Chinese artichokes with a small amount in the bed with the Jerusalem artichokes (still only the one clump but hopefully the others, if they survived should follow soon)

I did a spot of hand weeding here and there as I decided what to do with the last bag of compost. The railway sleeper bed is filled with compost where I add fresh every year so I thought about putting the bag there ready for the Oca. At the last minute I scooped out about 2 wheel barrow loads of the old and partially filled the containers for the herbs and then used the fresh to finish off the top layer so they are now finished and ready. I had some left to dig a shallow trench and sow a row of the Dreadnought broad beans ... getting late I know but I'm sure they'll be fine. Finally the compostables - a trench filled ready for the dwarf french beans which I'll sow direct in a couple of weeks time.

I had brought some Fish Blood and Bone which I scattered over the squash bed - normally I avoid organic fertilisers and chicken manure as this invariably attracts the foxes which then go on a frenzied digging spree. As I'm unlikely to be planting the squash for a good 5 weeks yet, it might just give the foxes time to realise there are no dead chickens in my plot. Having said that, I haven't seen any signs of the foxes for some time so fingers crossed.

Last of all before leaving, I removed the fleece from over the kale bed - the plants underneath were amazingly healthy and the fleece had protected them from the pigeons as I had hoped. I've never had kale before so I had a little munch and found them surprisingly sweet and tender. As most were bursting into flower they were going to be lifted anyway so I harvested a load for myself and offered the rest to my neighbour. I still have some leeks but they'll be throwing flower heads up soon so time to lift up. I'll be making Colcannon with today's harvest - after watching a clip from the Hairy Biker's Best of British, I rather liked the look of it so will be giving it a try. I got home for 1.00pm with a touch of sunburn and a chilled can of beer waiting for me.
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: a few piccies in the garden

Post by lancashire lass »

From this in January:
Image
to this :-D :
Image

Rhubarb in a pot:
Image

Apple trees:
Image
Image
Image

Shortage of pears this year (my fault for not pruning the trees back the year before and doing a hatchet job this spring)
Image

And what did we see this morning ..... )gr:
Image
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Sweetcorn & Squash

Post by lancashire lass »

Ideally I should have sown the sweetcorn and squash last week and taken advantage of the warm spell this weekend to boost germination - as it happens, the forecast for the rest of the week is looking dire, down to 11oC on Saturday >dowhat< Hopefully the first batch of squash seeds have got going but once again the weather seems to be thwarting attempts to get this growing season off. Today it is raining so that is welcome news as the plot and garden were beginning to get a little parched and nothing is more infuriating than having to spend ages with the watering when there are so many other things to be doing! I think I'll park the new sowings in the back bedroom where it should remain warmer until things perk up again.

This morning I got on with sowing the sweetcorn. Last year I grew Earlibird F1 which were sown a little late and despite the wet summer, they did very well. It's definitely on my list of best sweetcorn so far but everyone raves about Lark F1 so I had got some seed to try them. Actually this attempt no. 2 as the first time I grew them, the weather turned cold and I hadn't realised just how cold until the seedlings stopped growing altogether and never recovered - a harsh lesson learned there! I still had some Earlibird seed so after pondering which to sow, decided to do both LOL - I'll just have to squeeze the extra ones somewhere on my plot.

I still have loads of squash to sow but only time for one small tray with a few new varieties (seed found in my search for the missing peas and broad beans on Monday :-D ) and some old favourites (I can highly recommend Potimarron) Last year I tried to grow Marina di Chioggio and Galeux d'Eysine but they did not survive the rain and slug onslaught so I'm trying those again.
User avatar
HappyBob
Legendary Laner
Posts: 1512
Joined: 19 Dec 2011, 02:14
Gender: Male
Location: E. Yorks

Re: LL's 2013 GYO Diary

Post by HappyBob »

The blossom in the pictures of your fruit tree, looks great LL. )t' )t' I put my sweetcorn in pots in the G/H last week and was quite suprised how quickly it germinated in the warm temperatures we,ve recently had.
Dont ever grow up, its a trap
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Butternut

Post by lancashire lass »

HappyBob wrote:The blossom in the pictures of your fruit tree, looks great LL. )t' )t' I put my sweetcorn in pots in the G/H last week and was quite suprised how quickly it germinated in the warm temperatures we,ve recently had.


I don't have many flowers in my garden so at this time of year when all the fruit tree blossom are out, it is a lovely sight )t' thank you.

As for sweetcorn and squashes ... I so wish I'd got my act together and sowed them the week before. Maybe next week we'll get another warm spell >fi< but we do seem to be having waves of Atlantic fronts which is what happened last year ....

This morning I got cracking on with sowing butternut - before I got involved with the chilli trials which is a home project anyway, I had already got myself geared up for a butternut trial on the plot. Despite the dreadful wet summer last summer, I did very well and got loads of fruit albeit most were on the large chicken egg size LOL, but imagine if we'd had a "normal" summer, a warm one even better!?! So, in anticipation of a good year, I had got together a number of different varieties and will be keeping a close eye on which ones do best on my plot. Whenever anyone asks about which varieties are suitable for UK growing, most people recommend Hunter F1 or Harriet F1 both of which I was happy with, but as most butternut seed sold are F1 hybrids (apart from Waltham), they tend to all be suitable anyway. Ideally I should have sown the seeds about 2-3 weeks ago but I'm hopeful everything will catch up.

Last night when I went to close the greenhouse doors, they were surprisingly warm inside despite such a horrible wet and windy day, so I have put all the trays of sowings in the big greenhouse. I noticed some of the other trays were looking on the dry side - it's so easy to see days of rain to forget that it's not watering the plants in the greenhouse, so I gave everything a little top up. Some of the chillies and peppers appear to have stalled but when I look at photos posted only last week, they are in fact doing fine. In the back bedroom, one of the overwintering chillies burst into flower and I noticed some of the other overwintered ones are also producing buds so hopefully an early harvest there :-D
User avatar
Annie
Project Hedgehog Leader
Posts: 10383
Joined: 01 Aug 2010, 15:45
Gender: Female
Location: lennoxtown North of Glasgow

Re: LL's 2013 GYO Diary

Post by Annie »

LL what a comprehensive diary blossom on the you are keeping. It gladdens the heart to see the apple tree and the red stalks of rhubarb, I replaced my roobie this year so won't have any unless I beg or pay for it.
On the subject of mint , I have apple mint and garden mint in the ground amongst a couple of shrubs, personally I don't care how much it rambles about as the two differing leaves are pretty and if it flowers thats quite dainty and decorative too. I love brushing past it and each week after the bins have been emptied, Eck pulls up a handful of mint and throws it in the bins to keep them a bit fresher smelling. I could never keep it in containers without killing it >shrug<
It will be alright in the end , if its not alright, it isn't the end .
Quote from the proprietor of the The best exotic Marigold Hotel for the elderly and beautiful
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Popcorn, Weeding & the Thief strikes again

Post by lancashire lass »

Annie wrote:LL what a comprehensive diary


)t' it helps to see what I did and how it turns out.

Re: fruit trees. I'm probably leaving it a little late but last week I ordered some glue bands to try and control some of the pests, as well as some codling moth traps (they give off a pheromone which attracts the males and they get trapped on sticky pads) I'm half hopeful that with such a poor fruit harvest last year that many of the pests will also have been affected but I'm not taking any chances this year.

Tomorrow is bin day so I started to clear some of the rubbish accumulated from the sowings when I came across one of my chitting bags - inside were dozens of chitted popcorn. About 4 years ago I grew some Strawberry Popcorn (a novelty corn that has burgundy coloured small cobs that can be used for decoration or to make popcorn) and I had wanted to see if the seed from that crop were still viable and had put some into a bag with a little water. After 5 weeks I had concluded they were not and forgot about them ... until today. I've decided to grow them and potted up about 10 and put the tray in the greenhouse.

Sunday is allotment day so I gathered a few bits and pieces together and set off at 7.00am. Today's task was meant to be pea and carrot sowing, and a bit of weeding. When I got to the plot, I got stuck in and started to lift up the dock and other perennial weeds that were taking hold especially in the squash bed. The heavy showers we had yesterday had softened the clay clods and they were breaking up nicely, so I hauled the hoe and rake out to finally grind up the horrible clumps that had been solid in the dry weather. I went round all the beds where the soil had been particularly bad.

This task took most of the morning but I also cleared the kale bed and behind the shed turned the heavy soil over and lifted up the Jerusalem artichokes - out of the dozen artichokes I planted in March last year, only 3 had survived but even the clumps I dug up were struggling. For some reason the soil at the back of the shed has reverted back to clay and was unusually heavy causing the erratic growth. They are still immature so I've decided to break up the roots and pot them on and will plant out later.

I had brought along a box of pelleted chicken manure and spread it out between the 2 squash beds, then raked it in breaking up clods and lifting up weed seedlings as I went along. By now the clouds were rolling in and looking menacing so I gave up the idea of sowing the mange tout and carrots. While pottering round the plot, I noticed all of the first early potatoes have now emerged and some of the main crop too. Some of the onion sets I planted a couple of weeks ago are also sprouting. The shallots are coming along nicely, and (cross fingers as I don't want to jinx it) I'm particularly happy with the garlic - the Music variety are coming along in leaps and bounds.

Meanwhile the resident thief on the site has once again struck and targetted my plot }hairout{ I know exactly who it is, and he knows I know it is him so you'd think he'd give me a wide berth. This time the old door I had by the manure pile has gone missing - okay, it's a piece of rubbish but it's my rubbish. I shot round to this person's plot but unless he had put it in his shed, there was no sign of it but I did see several other pieces that looked reminiscent of wood pieces from my plot all painted up and supporting raised beds but, I can't prove any of the it )gr: I wish there was some way I can and get the horrible little man kicked off the site.

On that note I left just after 12pm with the rain following me home.
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: Rainbow and more flower piccies

Post by lancashire lass »

I tried to upload the photos yesterday but yet another PC problem at home. So here goes from the work computer:

After Saturday's heavy showers and rumble of thunder, we got a really amazing rainbow (or is it that pot of gold at the bottom of my garden? >fi< - it really did look like it was coming down into my garden LOL)
Image
Image

Rosemary in flower:
Image

Raspberries budding up (I didn't know the fly was there until afterwards ...):
Image

Elderflowers starting to bud up too:
Image

The cox apple blossom just coming out - unfortunately, never many fruit on my tree:
Image
User avatar
billnorfolk
Legendary Laner
Posts: 1067
Joined: 07 Jul 2011, 13:24
Gender: Male
Location: Great Yarmouth Norfolk

Re: LL's 2013 GYO Diary

Post by billnorfolk »

Some realy nice closeup shots there LL,mine nearly allways come out fuzzy :oops:
Mind you it is only a Brownie box camera :-D
A leek in the hand,is worth 2 in the roof.

Bill's Diaries.....2012 2013 2014
User avatar
lancashire lass
Legendary Laner
Posts: 5905
Joined: 28 Jun 2007, 15:17

Re: LL's 2013 GYO Diary

Post by lancashire lass »

billnorfolk wrote:Some realy nice closeup shots there LL,mine nearly allways come out fuzzy :oops:
Mind you it is only a Brownie box camera :-D


I have a Brownie box camera (still got it and in working order) )t' It belonged to my parents when they were going out together (1950s) and when they got a "proper" camera, it was passed on to me when I was about 10 (my first camera) - I actually got some very decent photos off it, better than the instamatic camera one.

Close ups, thank you )t' ... down to one very expensive macro lens I'm afraid (cost more than the camera body but well worth it) The light conditions for those photos were not that great but in the past, I've had some REALLY close up close-ups (here a hover fly that posed for me on the head of a sunflower - you can even see the pollen grains on his abdomen ):

Image
Image
Image
User avatar
billnorfolk
Legendary Laner
Posts: 1067
Joined: 07 Jul 2011, 13:24
Gender: Male
Location: Great Yarmouth Norfolk

Re: LL's 2013 GYO Diary

Post by billnorfolk »

They are brilliant,must treat myself to a realy good camera and lenses one of these days ,i use a fuji finepix A360 second hand off fleabay,wont embarass myself by saying how much it cost ,ideal for normal pics but no good for close work .Can see you dont use simular for yours though )t'
A leek in the hand,is worth 2 in the roof.

Bill's Diaries.....2012 2013 2014
Post Reply