Saturday, 30 May 2015

Saturday 30th May 2015

I was woken up by a neighbour at seven in the morning asking me to move my car whilst they had work done on their property. It was very hot and I remembered that I had an Aquilegia and a clematis in my boot waiting to be
.

Friday 29th May 2015

Actually got to spend a hour on the plot this evening .

Monday 25th May - Thursday 28th May 2015

Rain to Malaysia

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Sunday 24th May 2015

Harvested 200g of Swiss Chard.
Received 2 courgette plants from my allotment neighbour. Potted on Pumpkin(Dill's Atlantic) and Courgette despite Nice. Planted out coriander seedlings in the onion bed. I really need to pot on and possibly plant out the squash seedlings. With a bit of luck I shall have enough pumpkin to see us through the winter.
Posted via Blogaway

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Saturday 23rd May 2015

Had quite a busy midday on the allotment today spending just over 4 hours there.
Managed to attach most of the mini green wire fence to the path edging as well as clearing sections of the path I've had bits of projects on since February.
Harvested 65g of Swiss Chard.

Posted via Blogaway


Posted via Blogaway

Friday, 22 May 2015

Rhubarb Spice Cake

Ingredients:
30g marg
200g sugar
1 egg
175ml milk
250g sifted plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
250g rhubarb cut in to 1cm pieces.

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Grease and flour a 22x33cm cake tin .
Sift together the flour ,baking powder,salt,cinnamon,nutmeg and cloves and set aside.
In a large bowl cream together the sugar and margarine. Beat in the egg then add the milk and flour mixture alternately whilst still mixing. Stir in the rhubarb and then pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes then allow the cake to cool in the tin .


Posted via Blogaway

Friday 22nd May 2015

 Today I made several plant labels from a used soft cheese container and then a windmill from a used coca cola bottle before baking a vegan rhubarb cake using 250grams of the rhubarb I harvested yesterday from the allotment.
No visit to the allotment today instead I caught up with adding photos to this blog. I sorted through some seeds I had collected last year sowing French Marigolds in to a 9x15 cell tray . Sown too were Cardoon in to a small seed tray and Nasturtium and Peas in to a 8x4 root trainer .

Harvested 10g of Chives and 2g Rocket leaves as part of dinner's side salad.

Posted via Blogaway

Posted via Blogaway


Posted via Blogaway

Thursday 21st May 2015

 Today started with a pleasant surprise . I received a 2 free "blight busting" Crimson Crush tomato plants from Dobies of Devon which I promptly put in to two plant pots ready to plant out this weekend.




   At the allotment I began clearing the paths as I have several projects on the go at once and yet it looks like nothing is completed but hopefully all these projects will be completed around the same time so that I can be proud to show off my plot. One task done whilst undertaking this tidying was attaching a hanging basket containing alpine strawberries that was given to me last year by a neighbouring plot holder to the apple tree .

Alpine strawberries hanging from the apple tree using a chain I unearthed back in 2012

 In the polytunnel I began transferring tomato plants in to their final positions in growbags purchased last month including several of the yellow tomato plants that had grown from seeds saved from tomatoes purchased in Calais at the end of March this year.




















 After doing a spot of weeding , adding some cardboard to the compost bin and sweeping paths I harvested 356g of Rhubarb , 103g of Swiss Chard and 7g of mint . The mint and swiss chard were used for dinner whilst the rhubarb occupied the fridge awaiting recipes to experiment with.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Wednesday 20th May 2015

 Harvested 10 grams of fresh chives to use in a egg, Cheshire cheese,chive and mayonnaise sandwich filler.




 Early evening I pricked out the following seedlings: Brussels sprouts Darkmar 21, Spinach Emilla, Hamburg Parsley, Dill , Cabbage Greyhound, Couve Tronchuda, and Turnip Snowball.
 The following sowings failed mainly due to a hungry mouse visiting the greenhouse: Turnip Petrowski, Cucumber Marketmore, Marrow long green Bush, Kale Nero di Toscana and Spinach Beet. I also took the opportunity to refresh the water in the sweet potatoes that I'm attempting to grow 'slips' from
2 Bushbok Sweet Potatoes one growing vines from the top the other below the waterline with roots.
 After dinner I visited the allotment to put the seedlings in to the polytunnel . During the visit I spent time sorting out empty plant pots and compost in the polytunnel assembling some bread trays to act as storage near the entrance as well as harvesting 100g of Swiss Chard which was given to our parakeets as a treat.

Tuesday 19th May 2015

 Collected seeds from a large tiger-striped tomato and a yellow plum tomato. Too late in the year to do anything with but they will store.
 Although I do a 'to do' list each month quite often tasks are left undone because of having to deal with pricking out and potting on as and when required. To help deal with everything I have yet again followed the late Geoff Hamilton's advice and I purchased 10 notebooks containing 80 pages ( small enough and thin enough to put in my back pocket) for 99p so that I can make daily observations and deal with tasks in order of importance.
 Visited the allotment and added kitchen waste to the rotating compost bin. From the squash seeds sown on May 2nd the following will need potting on this week: Courgettes despite Nice, Marrow long green Bush, Cucumber Passandra, Courgette Black Forest F1, Pumpkin Dill's Atlantic, Pumpkin Jack be Little, Cucumber La Diva, Melon Piel de Sapo, Squash Cha cha F1, Turks Turban.

 Transplanted 3 Gardeners Delight tomato plants in to a growbag in the polytunnel after spending 20 minutes de-tangling the supports from last year.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Monday 18th May 2015

Heavy rain last night and through most of today so no outside work done.
Spotted a few new ideas via the Chelsea flower show on tv . The tomtato plant from Thompson&Morgan but more realistic was the potato pot where you can harvest New potatoes without pulling up the plants. Might attempt to create one of those. Have saved 5 Charlotte and 3 Maris Peer from our food cupboards to trial this idea.
The Tomtato
Agralan's Potato pot
Agralan's website states "Pick your own new potatoes week after week throughout the season with the new Potato pot.New potatoes ready to pick in 8 weeks (10 weeks if the potatoes haven’t been chitted).  Simply lift the inner pot and pick the larger tubers, leaving the smaller ones to grow on."

Sunday 17th May 2015

I spent a few hours on the allotment this afternoon  erecting the bean frame my wife purchased me yesterday as well as assembling a bean wigwam next to it . Hopefully 2015 will be the year of the bean on the allotment.
In order to make space for the bean frame I began moving strawberry plants in to the bins I had drilled holes in to inside the fruit cage copying one of Geoff Hamilton's original £2 garden ideas but on a larger scale.
Some more of the squash sown on May 2nd had germinated and will require potting on later this week. Harvested some rhubarb, Swiss Chard and onions today.


Posted via Blogaway

Saturday 16th May 2015

I didn't visit the plot today and spent most of the day nursing the dog and updating other areas of this blog namely the £2 garden section. My wife went out shopping and running errands returning with a present for me . A sweet pea/bean grow frame which coincidentally cost £2 at a local discount store.

Posted via Blogaway


Posted via Blogaway

Friday 15th May 2015

Today was spent near Chester whilst we took our Standard Poodle for his MRI scans following his accident on May 2nd. Managed to look at a book briefly whilst in Ellesmere called Gardening on a Shoestring from which I got the plans for a self watering plant pot that I will attempt to utilise in the next few weeks. Please note that I didn't purchase the book.
Had a brief visit to the plot just to water plants.

Posted via Blogaway


Posted via Blogaway

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Thursday 14th May 2015

Morning began with watering the sweet peas I had planted out yesterday in the back garden and the poppies that I had transplanted to the waste ground behind our garden. Today wasn't going to be as sunny as yesterday so I grasped the chance and made some leek and potato soup utilising leeks I had harvested from the allotment last week and kept in the fridge.
 In the afternoon I added some spent compost to the small herb garden in my backyard . I took some onion and leek seedlings that I had sown back in January in the greenhouse to the allotment and planted out the onion seedlings in to the same bed that contained the Showmaster seedlings that I had been given recently.


 I also planted a fig tree that I had growing in a plant pot in my backyard in to a red tub that I had dug a hole for last night . I used the opportunity to dispose of the hedge clippings from my front garden two days ago by putting those in to the base of the red tub prior to placing the fig tree in there and back filling with the soil I had removed whilst digging the hole. 
Posted via Blogaway

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Wednesday 13th May 2015

I had planned to sow a lot of herbs yesterday but that never materialized so today I sowed:
Hamburg Parsley, Marjoram, Flat Leaf Parsley and Curly Leaf Parsley, Fennel , Sage , Dill , Basil Dark Bush and Dark Opal , Coriander
As well as : Courgette , Cabbage , Mustard Greens , Pak Choi , Mizuna , Mustard Oriental Pizzo , Hungarian Wax Pepper , Quinoa Red and White, Tomato Glorioso (from seeds collected on May 1st) , Celtuce , Black Salsify , Cucumbers (Bedfordshire Prize and Later Diva).
Small seed trays in the greenhouse were sown with Aubrietia and Nicotiana .
Elsewhere in the back garden I emptied the small herb garden I have of the yellow flowered poppies , transferring the plants to a small neglected area of land to the rear of our property that I am slowly tidying up and bringing in to cultivation. 32 sweet pea plants ,sown from self collected seeds back in January ,that I have been growing in root trainers for the first time this year were planted out around 2 sides of the herb garden. I must say that despite the price (almost £10 including postage) the 32 cell root trainer have proved to be a success . Now to see if it works as well on edible peas.
Managed to spend 2 hours on the allotment in the evening. Sown Parsnips (Hollow Crown & Guernsey) , Carrots ( Early Nantes& Royal Change may Red), Radish (French Breakfast 3) and Beetroot Boltardy in a bed where I sowed similar on 29th March but none appeared to have survived.

Posted via Blogaway

Posted via Blogaway


Posted via Blogaway

Tuesday 12th May 2015

Apart from sorting through seeds just to see what hasn't been sown or failed to survive yet nothing was done vegetable wise in the garden . A brief check on the polytunnel in the evening to see how things were progressing in there.
The day had been spent tidying up the front garden . There was an obelisk that had been damaged by the March winds and although I replaced the metal work sadly the newer ones that were available were not as good as the original being much thinner , smaller in height and generally not as sturdy.  Anyway the day had come to make this structure sturdy once more. My front garden being just 4 inches of compost on top of concrete I removed the soil in the area required before drilling 14mm wide holes through the concrete. I disassembled the obelisk and inserted a leg in to each of the 4 holes before reassembling . The roses , Jasmine and other climbers that normally hide the metalwork were cut back severely to stop the wind from moving the structure . I'm hoping that it will get back to its former glory this summer.
Having sorted out the obelisk the surrounding hedges were looking very overgrown so they too were clipped in to shape . I have been trying to grow a hedge, using propagated cuttings from the neighbour's privet hedge that dates back pre-war ,for the past 5 years with the hope to remove the dog rose bushes that I initially planted once we removed the conifers almost 15 years ago now. So a few hours were spent in the front garden and thank goodness as first appearances do count .

Posted via Blogaway


Posted via Blogaway

Monday, 11 May 2015

Monday 11th May 2015

Sown the following tomato varieties today : Moneymaker , Cheshire Temptation , Marmande , Roma VF , Alicante , San Marzano , Tumbling Tom , Cerise , Tiger Striped and Pink Brandywine .
Sown the following pepper varieties today : Cayenne , Cherry Bomb, California Wonder , Mini Sweet Pointed , Red Marconi , Jalapeno , Habenero , Anaheim and Thai Chilli.
Also sown the following : Summer Squash (Custard White) , Winter Squash (variety unknown as self collected last year.) , Winter Squash (Sweet Dumpling) , Butternut Squash , Courgette (Black Forest F1) , Aubergine (Mixed) , Aubergine (Black Enorma) and Sweet Corn (Mini Pop F1).
Also I finished sowing the following beans : French Bean (Achim (dwarf)) , Broad Bean (Bunyards Exhibition) , Bean Yard Long (Metro Rouge) , Runner Beans (Enorma, White Emergo and Painted Lady ) , Borlotti (bush type) and Asparagus Pea.
 All the above were sown in coco coir . I am late on the tomato , pepper and aubergine front but that is because previous sowings have failed or suffered frost damage . I am quickly going through my collection of seeds sowing as much as I can whilst the sun shines.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

10th May 2015

 I had planned on keeping daily records from May 1st 2015 but sadly on May 2nd our pet standard poodle fell down the stairs and so our time has very much been taken up nursing him and ensuring he receives the best medical attention possible. He's stable awaiting an MRI scan next Friday.

I received 6 Showmaster Onion seedling from a fellow allotmenteer that I planted out straight away in a raised bed that I had filled with well rotted manure and wood ash raked through.
Planted out 3 Salsify seedlings.
Sowed directly Garlic Chives ,Spring Onion (White Lisbon) and Rainbow Radish.
Sowed 7 fresh Runnerbeans.
Checked on Tomato seedlings currently growing :
Shirley , Black Krim , Marmande , Gardener's Delight , San Marzano , Amateur , Yellow Cluster , Roma , Tiger Stripe.

9th May 2015

 Saturday 9th May 2015 . It's a wet weekend so far as Britain celebrates the 70th Anniversary of V.E. Day . Today I received some free wildflower seeds from the BBC.

Free seeds from the BBC & Kew . Now to find a place for them to grow.
 I recycled a 500g margarine in to plant labels . Whilst in the kitchen I had an apple, banana and pear that needed using up so I created some dairy free muffins in the afternoon.


In the evening I rehydrated some of the coco coir that I received earlier this year as a present . I then used the hydrated coco coir to fill used toilet roll tubes and sowed various beans in them.



The following were sown : Runner Beans ( Streamline , Firestorm & Scarlet Emperor ),
Dwarf French Beans ( Ferrari & Tendergreen ) , Climbing Beans ( Blue Lake , Borlotti (Lingua di Fuoco) & Cosse Violet ) as well as a Broad Bean . The Broad Bean , Borlotti and Cosse Violet (purple podded French Bean) were from seeds I had collected and saved from last year's harvest.

Making Plant Labels

 Don't get me wrong , I have purchased plant labels in the past when they were reduced at the end of the season but one thing that I noticed with quite a few of them was that some didn't last more than a season or two whilst some of my home made labels made from recycling yoghurt pots and margarine containers were still going strong ten years later. 
 Below you can see in the photographs how a 500g margarine tub became 15 plant labels. First of all the margarine tub was thoroughly washed and de-greased . The rims from the lid and tub were removed. 

500g margarine tub . The lid has had its rim removed.
 The de-rimmed tub was then dissected . The narrow ends to be used as small labels whilst the two sides, lid and base are to be cut into plant labels. Before cutting I lightly sanded the white surfaces to make it easier for a pencil to write on it .

The surfaces having been lightly sanded to allow pencil lead to adhere.


 The large sanded rectangle pieces of the margarine tub are then neatened up and cut in to plant labels along with pointed ends.

15 plant label from just a little effort and no outlay (unless you need to purchase sandpaper!)
Another thing that I have decided about plant labels this year is that I will stop writing dates on the label  so that I no longer need to waste my time and effort scrubbing dates off old labels every winter/ spring.

8th May 2015

 Due to incidents on May 2nd I have been unable to spend anytime at the allotment this week and besides the weather hasn't been favourable for outside work either. I managed to pay a brief visit to the allotment on Friday 8th May and this was just to check on the seedlings in the polytunnel.


Mexican Tree Spinach & Red Orach on the right
Collected Coriander and Tomato seeds sown at the end of March growing well.

Peas sown in April appearing amongst the Jerusalem Artichokes.


 This year amongst the many new vegetables I'm trying are Mexican Tree Spinach and Red Orach as recommended by Alys Fowler during her Kitchen Garden episode of the Great British Garden Revival series on the BBC back in 2014. Today I potted on these seedlings as they were getting too crowded for the seed tray that they germinated in.


Saturday, 2 May 2015

2nd May 2015

 Saturday 2nd May 2015 began well but ended in personal turmoil as our pet Standard Poodle had fallen down the stairs at home whilst I was at the allotment which has meant huge changes to our daily life in the week since. On Saturday evening we were not given much hope but over a week later and the dog is healing well and awaiting a MRI scan to see if he has suffered any permanent damage.
 In the morning I planted out some Chinese Artichokes (Stachys Affinis) that I purchased at the start of the year online and had been growing them in the greenhouse since February. 4 were planted in the small veg patch that I have at home whilst the remaining 8 were planted at the allotment in the bed facing the entrance to the plot.
Chinese Artichoke plants.


 At the allotment I sown the following seeds in the polytunnel :
Marrow (Long Green Bush)
Squash (Turks Turban)
Pumpkin (Jack Be Little)
Squash (Cha Cha F1)
Squash (Spaghetti)
Courgette (De Nice a fruit rond)
Cucumber (Passandra F1)
Cucumber (White Wonder)
Cucumber (Burpless F1 Tasty Green)
Cucumber (Marketmore)
Pumpkin (Dill's Atlantic Giant)
Melon (Piel De Sapo)
Pumpkin (Hundredweight)
Courgette
Pickling Cucumber
Gourds
Pumpkin (Amazonka)
Marrow (Long Green Trailing)
Cucumber (La Diva)
Courgette (Black Forest F1)
Water Melon (Sugar Baby)
Sweet corn (Mini Pop F1)

 Whilst outside on the allotment Broad beans & Parsley were sown .
Good King Henry was sown in the shade of the Cardoons.


1st May 2015

 I suppose that the first day of a new month is as good as any to try and kick-start this blog . I have been very busy trying to complete a number of improvements and repairs on the allotment with the hope that this year will see my plot looking tidy and organised again .
I began the day at lunchtime saving some tomato seeds from an Italian Glorioso tomato that I had purchased in the reduced section at Morrisons .
Tomato seeds drying after being rinsed in a sieve

 After that I attempted to remove some 'slips' from the Covington Sweet Potato that I had had producing 'slips' and roots since January 1st 2015 . This is very much an experiment for me as I have never succeeded in growing Sweet Potato yet but after reading about others who have managed to grow their own in the U.K. I thought I would give it another go in 2015.
The Covington Sweet Potato that has been in water since 1st January 2015

2 'slips' removed from the tuber
The 2 'slips' put in water hopefully to develop roots
 I visited the allotment in the early evening and cleaned 7 grow bags of weeds that had been used last year by a fellow allotmenteer to grow his tomatoes in and he's allowed me to have them for free and in true Geoff Hamilton £2 Garden style I shall be using these to grow salad crops in.
Recycling tomato grow bags from last year.

 Elsewhere on the plot I emptied the ash from the woodburning stove and put this on the bed that has Turbo Onion sets growing in it and checked on the contents of a compost bin that I had been filling with the domestic kitchen waste since last summer.
Onions in the right bed covered in wood ash.




Blog archive