Saturday, 6 October 2018

October 2018

Links to Mr. Middleton's tasks 1st (please note that I have not updated all these tasks at present) :

October 1st Week
October 2nd Week
October 3rd Week
October 4th Week

 October's first week began on Saturday 6th. Due to the Giants visiting Liverpool I didn't go to the allotment until Monday 8th.
 Harvested on Monday were runner beans (Lady Di), raspberries and apples. The beans were sliced and cooked for dinner. The raspberries were put in a jelly. The apples were peeled, sliced and lightly sauteed.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

September 2018

Links to Mr. Middleton's tasks 1st (please note that I have not updated all these tasks at present) :

September 1st week.
September 2nd week.
September 3rd week.
September 4th week.
September 5th week.

1st September - the morning was spent peeling and prepping around 50 windfall apples.
 The afternoon was spent at the allotment. The saffron bed was cleared of straying strawberry plants and saffron bulbs, although only one square yard a bucket full of bindweed root was carefully removed from that area. I'd purchased a pound weight of Senshyu onion sets yesterday for 86p and planted those in the cleared and surrounding area. Whilst strawberry runners replaced the existing plants that bordered the bed.
 Harvested some raspberries, cherry tomatoes & windfall apples.

Didn't keep up with updates for the 30 days in between.

 I'm commencing the weeks in 2018 on Saturdays so September 29th began the start of the 5th week.
2nd October- Purchased this week were 3 Mr Middleton books from before the war: Mr. Middleton's Garden Book, Mr. Middleton talks about Gardening and Mr Middleton Suggests. Also bought a Goji Berry (Lycium barbarum) shrub to plant at the allotment.
3rd October - Visited the allotment this morning. Put the Goji Berry saplings in a plant pot for now. Used the hoe between the broad beans. Planted some shallots. Harvested some cherry tomatoes from the polytunnel, half a dozen apples, a handful of runner beans and 5 courgettes.
4th October - Not much gardening was done today more research, reading and dealing with my duties on the local allotment federation.
5th October - Visited the allotment, gathered some apples and topped up the mouse poison in the polytunnel. I tend to get visitors most winters now. Lifted the blackcurrants I'd harvested in the summer from the freezer and turned them into jam. Did some gardening at home, pruning the rose arch, repotting chrysanthemum cuttings that had rooted. A task I still have to do is grease band my apple trees.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

August 2018

Links to Mr. Middleton's weekly tasks first:

August 1st Week
August 2nd Week
August 3rd Week
August 4th Week


  • 1st August, cleared away more bindweed root that had been growing in one of the strawberry borders. Harvested 1lb of rhubarb. Topped up one of the worm tubes with vegetable peelings from the kitchen at home. Took some Yew cuttings.
  • 2nd August, sowed 32 Broad Bean (Luz de Otono).  Harvested blackcurrant & peas.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

May 2018

Rocket and mustard that had self seeded ready for harvesting.
Links to Mr. Middleton's weekly tasks first:
May 1st Week
May 2nd Week
May 3rd Week
May 4th Week

2018 has seen us suffer from late frosts and then very warm temperatures to record levels and now midway through the month down to plus 3° Celsius. I've spent far too much of my leisure time this year helping others, the allotment association that I chair has expanded its responsibilities as we create a community plot whilst trying to provide some facilities. So myself, I am behind in the garden AND allotment but as time waits for no one, one must jump in when one can and try to keep ahead of tasks.
16th started to soak some Sweet Corn seeds (Earliking F1) in room temperature water and filled 13 loo roll tubes with compost ready for sowing this afternoon. Visited the allotment and done a bit of weeding was given some sweetpeas plants from a fellow plot holder and duly put them in a small space of ground at the rear of the polytunnel. Carried out some work on the communal area and community plot. More Swiss Chard was harvested.
18th spent several hours weeding the grandmother-in-law's garden and mowing the lawns. The sudden arrival of the sun this month has accelerated the growth of weeds.
19th A bit more time was devoted to the Community Plot today. My neighboring plotholders gave me some seedlings (beetroot, courgette, habanero chilies, cherry tomatoes and peas), most of which were planted on the plot that afternoon. A considerable amount of weeding was undertaken today. The fruit cage is looking like it needs quite a bit of restoration and pronto before the plants take over.
20th, harvested most of the comfrey putting some into compost bins and filled a watering can with some to rot down in order to make a liquid feed. Seedlings watered and some garlic, that had been overlooked, growing in plant pots were put into the allium bed.

Thursday, 8 February 2018

May 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 6 tasks this week :

1) Plant Out Celery and Celeriac. -
2) Thin Out Seedlings. -
3) Onions and Their Enemies. -
4) Plant Cucumbers. -
5) Sow Swedes and Turnips. -
6) Sow and Plant. -

May 1st Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Look to Spring and Winter Greens. - 
2) Sow Runner Beans Outside.-
3) Sow Late Greens; Look Out for Club Root.- 

4) Sow Beet and Sweet Corn.- Sow spinach and seakale beet in rows 18 inches apart at intervals of 9 inches. Sweet corn seeds can be sown outside but will need a cloche protection for a short time.
5) Beware Woolly Aphis.- Woolly aphis is a serious pest of apples and effort should be made to keep its development in check. The colonies of aphis surrounds itself with a mass of wool-like threads. When wool tufts appear they should be brushed off with a stiff brush dipped in methylated spirit.
6) Keep Strawberries Clean.-
7) Sow and Plant.- Plant out and sow lettuce. Sow more peas and plant out tall peas raised inside. Finish planting potatoes. Thin parsnips and other seedlings. Prick out celery and celeriac. Sow scorzonera outside, and radish for succession. Keep down weeds with the hoe.

April 4th Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Sow Calabrese, Pickling Onions and Garlic. -
2) Look to Your Frames. -
3) Plant First Leeks. -
4) Cutting Asparagus. -
5) Sow Maincrop Beet. -
6) Earth-up Potatoes; Prepare Marrow Beds. -
7) Bark Ring Fruit Trees. -
8) Hunt Gooseberry Pests. -
9) Sow, Plant and Hoe. -

April 3rd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 5 tasks this week :

1) Pot Sweet Corn. -
2) Prepare Tomatoes for Outdoors. -
3) Make Up Celery Trenches. -
4) Spray Apples and Pears. -
5) Planting Work. -

April 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Finish Onion Planting. -
2) Sow Spinach and Peas. -
3) Sow Radish and Lettuce Outdoors. -
4) Fertilise Potatoes and Plant More. -
5) Sow Salsify, Chicory, Runner Beans . -
6) Plant Out Cabbage and Sprouts. -
7) Sow Carrots and Turnips. -
8) Spray Fruit Bushes and Trees. -
9) Look to Frames. -

April 1st Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Support Peas. -
2) Counter Enemies of Peas. -
3) Don't be Too Early with Tomatoes. -
4) Start New Compost Heap. -
5) Plant Out Onions. -
6) Sow Long-Rooted Carrots. -
7) Plant Seakale Thongs . -

March 5th Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 8 tasks this week :

1) Maintain Succession of Potatoes. -
2) Sow Lettuce and Sweet Corn. -
3) Case Mushrooms Beds. -
4) Deal with Clubroot Disease. -
5) Train Cucumbers. -
6) Sow Root Crops Outside. -
7) Look to Fruit and Pests. -
8) Spray Apples and Pears. -

March 4th Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Last Chances for Good Digging. -
2) More Early Potatoes Now. -
3) Plant Shallots and Garlic. -
4) Make Asparagus Bed. -
5) Sow Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Celery. -
6) Stake Cucumbers. -
7) Attack Apple Pests. -

March 3rd Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Work on Sandy Soil. -
2) Plant Early Potatoes. -
3) Plant Out Cauliflowers, Onions, Cabbage. -
4) Attend to Asparagus Beds. -
5) Outdoor Tomatoes. -
6) Spawn Mushroom Beds. -
7) Look Out for Fruit Diseases. -

March 2nd Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Fork Dry Soil. - Only fork dry soil as much harm can be done by working on heavy wet soil. If the land is wet then you might have to wait until April to complete this task.
2) Get Ahead with Parsnips. - Due to the long growing season required for parsnip to develop, it's recommended you sow without delay.3) Sow Onions Outdoors. - As with parsnip it's recommended you sow onions without delay.
4) Sow Spinach Outside. - In this task, Mr Middleton also suggests sowing leeks, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprout, peas and broad beans.
5) In and Out of the Greenhouse. - 
6) Harden Off Onions and Leeks. -
7) Plant Out Early Potatoes. - Plant first earlies 6 inches deep.
8) Feed and Support Fruit Trees. - It's recommended to feed around the tree with a general fertilizer to make up for any mineral deficiencies.
9) Complete Planting of Fruit Trees. - The last chance to plant fruit trees before growth begins.

March 1st Week

According to Mr Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 8 tasks this week :

1) Clear Land. - Gradually clear land as crops are used and it's suggested that you can speed things up by lifting leeks and celery and heeling them in together in a sheltered corner or frame. Brussels sprouts should be cleared as used not forgetting to use the tops as a spring green.
2) Beware of Cabbage Aphis. - Sprays made from many plants have been investigated as possible cabbage aphid controls, and it appears that peppermint has repellent properties. Spritzing plants with a strong mint tea made sticky with a few drops of dishwashing soap that has few environmental repercussions, I am currently trialling this on my kales. 
3) Prepare Trenches for Peas and Beans. - It is suggested to dig trenches 18 inches and filling with manure before covering over with the removed soil. Personally, I dig an 18-inch deep trench, line the bottom with ripped up pieces of brown cardboard. The cardboard is then covered by a layer of manure before applying a layer of fresh vegetable peelings that would otherwise be going to the compost heap. Finally, the initial soil that was removed is used to fill in the trench.
4) Get Outside Seed Bed Ready. - Apply superphosphate of lime to a small corner, 3 ounces per square yard. Finely rake this area when the soil is dry, removing stones. Primarily this area is to be used for brassicas and onions.
5) Prick Out Leeks, Onions, Celery. - Leeks and onions sown indoors will need pricking out in to seed cells. Once established move into a cold frame for hardening off. Celery to be pricked out once they reach the third leaf.
6) Pot Tomatoes. - It's suggested to pot tomatoes on in to 5 inch pots.
7) How to Use Cold Greenhouse. - It's suggested a succession of food can be obtained from a cold greenhouse by planting winter lettuce. When the lettuce is growing well, interplant with an early cauliflower. Lettuce being cut in March/early April, cauliflowers in May as the tomato plants are put in. I've not tried this as haven't had success with winter lettuce instead using my cold greenhouse to overwinter herbs, flowers and for seed sowing.
8) Spray Strawberries, Support Raspberries, Prune Gooseberries. - Strawberry spraying refers to The Tarsonemid Mite (Phytonemus pallidus fragariae). I have searched but there are no other organic insecticides that work.  (Apparently, the mite can be kept in check by burning the straw over the plants immediately after harvest. The straw should be picked up with a fork and spread over the plants and allowed to dry. On a day when there is a fair wind blowing down the rows, the straw should be set alight on the windward side, so that there is a quick fire that burns the leaves without damaging the crowns. After burning the rows it would help to promote new foliage by giving the plants a good soaking of water. If it is not possible to fire the bed, the only remedy would be to dig up the plants and destroy them. New 'Ministry certified stock' should be planted in a fresh bed as far away from the old crop as possible. I, however, have not tried this and due to a no fires policy on my allotment site I'm unlikely to ever try this. )

February 4th Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Maintain Succession of Lettuces. -
2) Break Down and Lime Soil. -
3) Maintain Succession of Seakale and Rhubarb. -
4) Plant Onion Sets. -
5) Sow Parsnips, Broad Beans, Carrots, etc. -
6) Sow Early Peas, Sprouts and Summer Carrots. -
7) Pot Cucumbers and Tomatoes. -

February 3rd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Sow and Transplant Onions. -
2) Making New Rhubarb Bed. -
3) Fill Up and Hoe Cabbage Rows. -
4) Examine Broccoli. -
5) First Sowing of Celery. -
6) Maintain Succession of Seakale. -
7) Paint Pruning Wounds. -
8) Examine Blackcurrants. -
9) Prepare Early Strawberries. -

Saturday, 27 January 2018

February 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 10 tasks this week :

1) Sow Peas, Radish, Spinach, Parsnips, Broad Beans. - Peas, radish and round seeded spinach can be sown now in warm positions. Sow parsnips as soon as the soil can be worked without making your boots muddy. Broad beans can be sown in seed trays for planting out when the weather improves.
2) Make and Begin to Use Hot-Bed. - fresh stable manure and leaves 2 ft. deep covered with a 6 in. layer of good soil inside a covered frame. Sow turnips, radish, carrots and carrots in this frame.
3) Forcing Rhubarb and Seakale Outside. -
4) Prepare Onions for Transplanting. - onions sown in the autumn may be transplanted in to place now.
5) Sow Summer Cabbage and Cauliflowers. -
6) Pot Young Tomatoes. -
7) Protect Wall Fruit Blossom. -
8) Complete Fruit Pruning. -
9) Cut Back New Raspberries. -
10) Protect Fruit Buds. -

February 1st Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) How to Use Bad Weather. - apparently a wet month but digging is recommended after lifting parsnips, storing them in sand and lifting leeks and replanting those in a sheltered spot.
2) Plant Shallots. - Weather permitting. Prepare the bed with wood ash, bone meal or superphosphate of lime, raking it in. Plant shallots half in the soil 9 in. apart with 12 in. between the rows. 
3) Plant Artichokes. - Plant good tubers 5 to 6 in. deep in rows 12 in. apart. Remember that these plants grow 6 ft tall and so make sure they are not going to block the light from neighbouring crops. 
4) Fill up Spring Cabbage Rows. - It's a good idea to keep some plants protected in frames at this time of year to replenish those outside lost to bad weather.  In emergency seeds can be sown inside in 50°F to fulfill this purpose. When the worst weather has past feed the plants with a dressing of nitrate of soda hoed between the rows.
5) Sow Maincrop Onions. - sow indoors for planting out in May. Leeks should be sown now for planting out in June.
6) Sow Sprouts and Cucumbers. - sprouts sown now in seed trays can be pricked out later. Cucumbers for fruiting early summer are sown now, singly in small pots sideways, not flat. the temperature needs to be kept 55° to 60° F.  Prick out tomato seedlings when they're 2-in. high and the true leaves are developed.
7) Examine Seed Potatoes. - some may now be sprouting, for maincrop leave no more than two sprouts per seed potato to encourage larger tubers. For first earlies more sprouts can be left to encourage more baby new potatoes in the springtime.
8) Prune New Fruit Trees. - Fruit trees planted in early winter should now be able to withstand a light pruning. Soft fruit can be planted now if the soil isn't too pasty with all the recent rainfall. The strawberry bed can be prepared for planting although it says August is the best month to plant strawberries in.
9) Feed Wall Fruit. - remove an inch or two of soil around  each plant and top-dress adding bone meal and a general fertilizer to the compost.

January 4th Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 11 tasks this week :

1) Start New Compost Heap. - now that the old compost heap has been dug into the ground it's time to start a new heap adding "house refuse of a decaying nature" of no use as food for man nor beast.
2) Sow Cauliflowers. - a seed tray can be sown to provide plants for growing on in frames/cold greenhouse or the open.  They're suitable for planting after lettuce in frames and greenhouses. Apparently they will mature in time for planting tomato plants.
3) Sow Mustard and Cress. - for a small family a  seed tray should be enough to provide salads for a week to a fortnight. Fortnightly sowings can be made throughout winter. It's suggested to sow the cress 3 or 4 days before mustard due to the longer germination time. Instructions are given; press seeds into the soil with a flat piece of wood, water  and cover with paper until germinated. 
4) Prick Out Seedlings. - further sowings of lettuce can be made now if necessary.Prick out seedlings from earlier sowing of lettuce and onions when ready.
5) Examine Cabbage, Kale and Broccoli. - a steady supply of greens should now be available. It's recommended that the outer leaves of broccoli are bent over to protect the centers from the elements.
6) Protect Plants in Frames Against Frost. - remove dead and diseased leaves. Cloches should have the ends blocked to prevent draughts. Cold frames need plenty of ventilation when possible and covering with cloths/mats when frosts are threatened. 
7) Protect Broad Beans and Spring Cabbage. - draw soil up around November sown beans to protect them. If the weather permits another sowing can be made. Spring cabbages need to be protected by drawing soil up to the stems to encourage new root growth from the stems to provide more support.
8) Lift and Store Artichokes. - Jerusalem Artichokes can be left in the ground until necessary. He recommends lifting them all to clear the land and replanting egg-sized tubers annually to keep them manageable.
9) Fruit to Store. - regularly sort through apples and pears in store, those showing signs of decay need destroying and those beginning to wrinkle and shrink should be used immediately. 
10) Fruit Tree Pruning. - It's recommended that before spraying espalier trained fruit-trees that it's better to thin out the fruit spurs. Every alternate spur can be cut away in extreme cases.
11) Start Hot-House Fruit. - This focuses on vines and peaches, closing vents to maintain a temperature of 45° - 50°F.

January 3rd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 9 tasks this week :

1) Dig and Clean up. - after all that digging a good clean is recommended especially paths. I'd say for safety purposes but the book claims it helps reduce the number of insect pests.
2) Prepare More Forced Rhubarb. - if you've plenty of 'crowns' then you can keep up a succession of forced rhubarb sticks.
3) Force Seakale. - ** I've yet to try growing seakale. I've not even tasted it yet. It's one of the many vegetables that have eluded my tastebuds. **
4) Sow Onions and Lettuce. - sow if necessary. It's suggested lettuce are ideal for growing in frames/cloches.
5) First Sowing of Tomatoes. - ** I've tried sowing tomatoes this early but the results are unsuitable due to the lack of daylight. **
6) Force Herbs. - it's suggested that chives, mint and tarragon suit being placed in a temperature of 55 °F (just under 13 °c)
7) Examine Seed Potatoes. - as soon as you obtain them begin chitting them at this time of year.
8) Spraying and Pruning Fruit Trees. - whilst fruit trees are still in their dormant stage continue pruning. Back in the 1940s, they recommended pesticide spraying with a petroleum-based spray, Winter Volck was suggested. ** A homemade alternative can be made using 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon of baking soda mixed with a gallon of water. Apply during the fruit tree’s dormant stage, which is typically between November and early spring before bud break. Fill a pump sprayer with the homemade dormant spray and thoroughly coat the fruit tree stems with the oil. Never apply dormant oil when the temperature is below freezing or when fruit trees are stressed. Stressed trees are more likely to become damaged when treated with dormant oil. Furthermore, only apply the oil spray when the fruit tree is dry. Moisture or high levels of humidity lower the effectiveness of dormant oil sprays.**
9) After a Gale. - check all young/newly planted fruit trees for loosened soil around their base and firm in/stake as necessary.

January 2nd Week

According to My Middleton in Dig On For Victory we have 7 tasks this week :

1) Manure and Lime : More Digging. -
2) Onions and Cauliflower. -
3) Water Lettuces. -
4) Sow Peas in Pots. -
5) Examine Potatoes etc. in Store. -
6) Prune Fruit Trees. -
7) Winter Spraying. -

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