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I Say Potato

September 8th, 2010

I popped in for an hour

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Dad came with me and I pointed at stuff and, well, didn't do much.

Lifted the onions who had finally died down. They are now in the greenhouse drying off.
Collected a bag of spuds for home. Dad lifted the teddies while I was away but these are the scabby desiree that need eating.
Courgettes. Um. Went a bit wild so two are composted but I've brought some home.
Tomatoes. HUGE NUMBERS. I'm going to make a tomato sauce tomorrow with some but I've still loads on the vine. I don't think the rest are going to do it on their own so I'm putting the green ones on the window sill.
Cucumbers. One in the fridge.
Cabbage. Eaten by something. Don't know what went on there.

Jobs for the weekend when I am no longer feeling so fragile:

Replanting leeks.
Trimming down the leafy veg.
Working out what to do with the fennel.
Autumn rasperries: I'm going to strip these in batches and freeze to make jam.

April 25th, 2010

As previously mentioned the plan this year was to miss early sowings of most things and concentrate on buying plants once the holiday was over.

Plan in disarray. I should be on holiday now but I'm not going until the 6th May, incidentally the weekend that I would have been planting tomatoes etc. I've done most of the jobs that I planned before the holiday (didn't finish the paths due to stuff).

It helps that this year is a pretty bad year in terms of early sowing. Right up until last weekend there has been a danger of frost and I'm not convinced that is over. I don't think that anything I'd planted would have done well anyway. But I'm going today to finish the paths and put in the root veg I've not bothered planting.

March 15th, 2010

A new year begins.

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This weekend isn't the first I've spent on the allotment this year, but it was the most productive. Last week I popped in for an hour on Saturday to buy my spuds and do some pruning, the week before that it was three hours of clearing the redcurrant bushes.

Yesterday I arrived at about 10 a.m. (after a trip to the council tip) and dug over some ground for my onions. No shallots this year, just red and white onions. Then I threw in an early sewing of peas and mangetout BUT used some glass I had hanging around to make a temporary cloche arrangement to try and help them along. Finally I put in seeds of cabbage and sprouts in another bed. Normally I'd raise lots of things at home but as I'm not going to be here at the end of April, nor is Dad, it's straight sowing or buying young plants this year. I was most distressed to find that frogs had used the compost bag as an improvised pond and I didn't realise until I'd unfolded it and disrupted the spawn.

Finally I finished clearing the top end around the redcurrants, chopping the wood into sections for Dad to transport to his council green bin. All in all four hours of good solid work.

to do list for the next few weeksCollapse )

July 12th, 2009

Cooking from the plot.

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The weather this year has produced a surprise in the amount of produce I've had relatively early. I guess that for the past few weeks most of my vegetables have come from the allotment which is a big contrast to last year when hardly any did. The strawberries are actually finished which is odd.

I've been in touch with the council about dealing with the Eucalyptus (or whatever it is) which is being very badly behaved. I've finally got some yellow courgettes after them being etted last year. I've cracked the successional sowing and even remembered the brassicas. My early potatoes looked distressed a few weeks ago so I pulled them up - HUGE NUMBERS OF SPUDS. Mangetout are everywhere meaning that I've had all sorts of unusual recipes (best being chicken and mangetout korma!) and last night I found a broadbean recipe that was even moreish (risotto).

By the end of this season I'll have used all of the beds currently in productively. There's very little space left needing dealing with now. Over winter I'll finally finish the paths. I was worried about forgetting the PS broccoli then remembered that none of us will be there next April so it'll go to waste anyway. I did pick up some sprout seedlings this week, however.

The big news is that I've FINALLY got a good crop of parsnips. After paying for all sorts of seeds from different suppliers a 20p packet of netto seeds came good. Just goes to show.

March 22nd, 2009

Cut and come again...

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Dad: Are you going to eat all purple sprouting broccoli?
Me: Do you want to steam some for the dinner today?
Dad: I don't want it, I've already got broccoli.
Me: Then yes, I am going to eat all of that purple sprouting broccoli. I'll have to.

Broad beans, peas and mangetout planted. Leeks sown. Early potatoes in (wilja). Leeks and ps broccoli harvested.

March 8th, 2009

Purple sprouting brocolli

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Pics for SJ - broc first then plotCollapse )

It hailed while we were there! It was horrid. I had to hide in the shed. Important jobs done now, though. I can't believe how neat the plot looks - and I've got loads of veg I can eat so I'll have to think about what I'm cooking. I ate the first heads from the brocolli -delish.

A planting we will go.

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I made arrangements with Dad yesterday to work on the plot this morning. My plan is to put the onions and garlic in, plant some parnips, radish, broad beans and spinach and then come home. Oh, and take some photos.

On the home front the dining room nursery is doing well. My tomatoes are out, as is the melon and sprouts. The celeriac is still a bit tardy. The herbs, chilli and peppers planted just this week have yet to appear (no surprise) but my spicy greens and mixed leaf lettuce are sprouting.

March 3rd, 2009

March on.

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While I've been incapacitated (again) Dad has been doing some reconstruction work on the plot. I've three beds where there were two, moving further up toward the trees. So we've a little bit more planting space.

I've done the seed list and the buying for the year. I know when things can go in but haven't done the planting plan or the successional sowing list. There are things, though, that cannot wait for such things so I'll have to go down this week and put in the onions (red and white), garlic and shallots as well as plant parsnips[1] and radish. This isn't too onerous a task and I should be able to do it. More difficult will be the broad beans so I might pot them at home for now.

The dining table is now covered with seeds for this year. Aubergine, Courgette, Pepper and sprouts in one tray, with tomatoes and melon Celeriac in my new heated propagator. I've two small seed trays I'm going to try growing lettuce in at home as well as my windowsill propagator which will get the herbs: sadly I ran out of potting compost yesterday and will have to get some more. To be planted next month are the squash, cucumbers and golden courgette and they are hanging about on the mantelpiece.

On the plot are leeks, still, cabbage and purple sprouting brocolli just coming into season. I can see me eating a lot of that in the coming weeks.

[1]It's got personal now. I can grow carrots. Why can't I grow parsnip?

September 28th, 2008

Closing off the plot...

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Well, not really, but I've cleared all the summer vegetable beds and pulled down the tomatoes. The courgettes and cucumbers are still producing so survived the autumn tidy up. There are all sorts of things to do but the active sowing, weeding and growing season is over for me and it's just left to keep a watchful eye on my brassicas.

August 25th, 2008

The sky is blue. THE SKY IS BLUE. For the past couple of weeks trips to the allotment have been for a couple of hours, in drizzle, to collect produce or do urgent jobs. The highlight was thinning the leeks in the rain last week.

Yesterday it was almost dry so I took advantage and finally lifted my King Teddies. I've lost some to wireworm and I had a couple of plants which had god knows what and produced small, knobbly, completely red potatoes (which I binned) but in the main the crop is good. They are drying in the shed now and I'll bag them later. We've done well in tatties this year, wll, we've done well in everything, really.

The tomatoes are bad again, it's a virus I think and while they've set some fruit it's been a long time ripening. The cucumbers have once again thrived under Dad's watchful eye and I've a few peppers forming although I'm not convinced I'll get any aubergines. The grapes look like they might actually fruit this year as we've not had a dry spell and their doesn't seem to be any mildew in the greenhouse. I'm not sure what is happening with the melons - I think I've not looked after them properly so today I might do some trimming.

The late strawberries are just coming out now. This is a really good idea except for the woodlice. I really can't believe that I've lost most of my strawberry crop to woodlice. I think it's because Dad used rotting wood to make the bed and it meant that they could colonise the sides and take a short stroll to my strawbs. The wet weather hasn't helped.

Blackberry bushes died in a series of tragic accidents and this needs to be sorted out. The raspberries are away, happily putting up shoots for next year, both the summer and autumn fruiting varieties. The pear and plum tree look alright but I think the cherry might be dead, I'm not sure why. At the moment it's a glamorous stick in the ground. Over at the apple trees we've good fruiting again although I suspect we are going to start getting wasp attackes. I might pull some fruit today if I can fight my way through as...

Dad has loads of compost and wood stored on the allotment and it's really annoying. I can't move round the plot properly, I can't get to the apple trees to feed the birds, I can't wheel my barrow from one end to the other. I think we will be having words at some point. He wants a storage point so we need to sort that out. Perhaps put some paving stones down at one end or something. I do want my little patio back.

On the veg front everything has gone right this year. I've had my first ever successful pea crop, the mangetout have come on and on, salad veg have done well, herbs have grown, beans are everywhere. We've enjoyed some mini-cauli although my cabbage aren't doing particularly well. I netted everything apart from a couple of sprouting broccoli plants and I noticed them getting comprehensively munched by cabbage white caterpillars yesterday. I'm starting to think about preserving some beetroot for winter and perhaps putting some broad beans into the freezer. Annoyingly I realised today I forgot to sow my perpetual spinach earlier in the year but luckily I can sow some now for the winter. It's a top veg.

So yes, a good year for growers last year and a relief after the struggles of last year. I've only bought fruit and the occasional bit of non-seasonal veg for the past few months and I reckon I've saved about five quid a week... there's a chance the potatoes might last me all the way through this year!

August 4th, 2008

Hoe Hoe

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I slept in yesterday and spent my traditional Sunday morning allotment time shopping so spent a couple of hours there in the afternoon. Dad had cleared the sides of the plot so I took care of something that had suddenly become urgent - weeding and thinning the second brassica bed. I stripped the kale down to four plants, thinned the swede and then tackled the unexpectedly successful sprouting broccoli. These have now been replanted whereever I could fit them - all three brasicca beds are now full with the spring cabbage fitted around a butternut squash plant that had unexpectedly survived.

I still haven't lifted the potatoes so jobs in order this week:

Weed the lettuce and beans bed.
Lift maincrop potatoes.
Thin leeks.
Plan final sowings of carrot etc.

July 30th, 2008

Oh poor neglected plot.

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Not really. Dad claimed I hadn't been there for two weeks but it's actually ten days, at the most.

It's really changes since last time. The cucumbers are now producing (Dad picked one on Sunday, I picked one today, there's at least two more) and the melon is spreading over the back of the greenhouse. I had to weed the cauliflowers/cabbage and we've three caulis already! I came home with peas and carrots from stripping the first sowing and thinning the carrots. The second sowing of napoli look very impressive. Chard is up, second sowing of spinach is up, herbs and lettuce are in fabulous form. The runner beans are flowering - it's a magnificent site.

This week I have to dig up the last of the potatoes, plant some spring cabbage and do another sowing of carrots/beetroot. Then next week I'm thinning my leeks and replanting them into the space left by the cleared carrot and spinach and probably thinning the apple trees.

July 1st, 2008

First strawberries and cream of the season - nyom nyom nyom. Have lost loads to slugs and birds in the unprotected section but the covered plants are doing better - lost two rather ripe strawbs to woodlice so will have to tell Dad about that - I asked him to pick the ripe ones but he "left them for me". I've only a few raspberries but signs are good for the canes next year.

We have sustainable lettuce in the form of cos, lollo rosso, curly leaf and rocket. Spicy greens are coming up and should be usuable soon. Dad took a pile of mangetout off at the weekend and I got more today. The first sowing of carrots are ready to pull and the second sowing need thinning as do the beetroot. The cucumbers are going great guns and the trusses have finally developed on the tomatoes. As long as it's not as cold and wet as last year I think we are going to be okay.

June 15th, 2008

Tomato plant down!

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Dad continued to destroy my crops and dropped some wood onto the tomato plants so I've lost two of them and they are yet to develop their first truss. I'm not too worried as things appear to be going well in the greenhouse with the cucumbers which have their first flowers. Also starting to flower are the courgettes which is so EXCITING.

I went through the seed collection and sorted out what I still had to plant. The biggest space issue is with the brassicas as I've only half a bed left and still swede, late sprouting broc. spring cabbage and kale to put in. The space that I thought could become a third "emergency" bed has stuff on it so I'll probably make that bed next week by simply clearing around it and raking down the compost heaped there. I'll also put the spring cabbage in where the onions will be pulled from in a few weeks. I've still at least two sowings of carrot to do and some beetroot before the end of the season but I've space for them. I've found some butternut squash I'd lost, too, but I've no idea where they can go.

I also found some exciting yellow french beans I'd bought so I need to put some canes in for them. Luckily I've still space in those beds that I was going to use for lettuce but now they can go where the first early potatoes have been cleared from. It's quite exhilirating to be running out of space, actually, and to be on top of everything. Next year we will need the last beds by the fruit trees to be cleared ready for potatoes but then that's it, the main work on the plot infrastructure is finished. Apart from the pool, obviously, which I will put in at some point. I have this mythical time of peace in my head where all I have to do is weed the beds and sow and harvest rather then heave around tonnes of soil to build up beds and hack my way through a jungle of weeds. I know it's unlikely to ever happen.

June 8th, 2008

And so it begins.

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My onion have bolted so I've pulled them and they are sat by Dad's back door while we think about what to do with them. Did my first real thinning of the spinach - the spell of warm weather was at just the right time for this to shoot up so we are having some with lunch today. I'm making a rhubarb crumble with harvest from the plot and, most exciting of all, I've pulled some of my first early potatoes and they are looking lovely. All the indications are that things will be veg-tastic this year.

Today I repotted my theoterical peppers (theoretical because I can't remember what I planted) and put in some runner beans. The mangetout are flowering so they will produce later and the carrots are looking healthy. The lettuce I'm giving some more time to before I pull any.

I've pictures but they are on my phone and the adapter is in work.

May 26th, 2008

I haz greenhouse!

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Dad has worked his socks off and I've got a greenhouse up and running. I've been down this morning and planted the cucumber and tomorrow I'm going to sort out the tomatoes. I'm really pleased with it - it's a lot sturdier than the old one.

Put in the courgettes and french beans this morning, too, so I've just the lettuce plants and brassicas to plant out tomorrow. Loads of seeds need planting: I've lost track somewhere and haven't put any in for about a month! Still, the first plantings of everything are doing really well and I've flowers on the rasberry canes I put in. More disappointing are the blackcurrant bushes which appear to be dead. Ah well, try again next year.

No sign of the roundup seeing off the perennial weeds. Another application, I think, but not this week as it is far too windy. Perhaps at the weekend. I have a jobs list to try and get me back on track:

To do this weekCollapse )

April 19th, 2008

*brrrrr*

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I've just looked back at the archive for last year and by now I had beetroot and peas starting to sprout. This year I haven't even started the beetroot and busyness and bad weather interuppted my plans.

This morning I've been at the plot for a couple of hours planting the maincrop potatoes and sifting the free compost Dad has liberated. There are about three piles of compost but it's quite woody so it needed sifting before I put it on the carrot bed. The allotment was chilly and I've come home looking forward to my shower.

I'm not doing anything this weekend nor am I out much next week so the plan is to put in teh first sowings on the plot. I think the bad weather means I'm not too behind, I hope.

April 1st, 2008

Spring springs.

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I've got my first and second early potatoes in and Dad has dug over another part of the plot for the maincrop. Sunday I refilled the bird feeders and when I got to the plot last night one was half empty so there's a lot of avian activity happening at the plot. The fruit trees and bushes I planted before Easter look fairly happy and are starting to bud although they aren't as far ahead as the established stuff.

I've sorted my first planting out and last night went to the plot for an hour and put in peas and mangetout. This is the last chance for the peas - if they don't produce this year I'm giving up and planting double rows of mangetout from next year. Allotmenting starts in earnest from this week when I need to put my first rows of beetroot etc. in and start keeping watch for the horsetail. At home I've still not got round to putting in my seeds but I'm thinking of investing in a heated propagator: the lack of a handy greenhouse makes starting things hard. On the plot one job is going to be cutting the bottoms off the 5 litre water bottles I've been saving to make myself some cheap cloches. I'm hoping for more success with my carrots this year with the addition of this handy anti-pest device.

As far as plot infrastructure goes I've just a couple of paths still to put in, the herb garden to sort out and the cold frame to build. Dad is faffing with the greenhouse and I can see us losing out this year with tomatoes and cucumbers again as if it isn't in place by May I'm not going to bother.

Here's hoping for a better crop this year - I'd love to not have to buy any veg from May this year, it should be doable.

March 15th, 2008

Oh Chit!

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I've lost a bag of seed potatoes. It appears to be my Rocket. Hmmm.
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