Oct 20, 2013

Time to get back in to the swing of things



So by the looks of it, I’ve had a year off from posting updates here. My sincere apologies. Now I’m back! And first on the agenda is to give this page a tidy up. Over the next few weeks you will start to see some new content added and some old content removed. The posts though will remain.

So how has this year been? Half and half is probably best to describe it but that maybe unfair slightly as I don’t eat much of what I grow, my Wife and Kids are the benefactors so what did I grow and how did it do?

·        Potatoes – I went with Second Earlies this year after last year’s blight on the main crop I have learnt my lesson quickly. I choose Kestrel as they are a good all-rounder. I went with two beds for them and they grew well. We still have around 10kg left so I’m reasonably happy with how they turned out.
·        Sweetcorn – Despite holding them back in pots for longer than I should, they recovered quickly and gave us a great harvest. I inter-planted them with Squashes and Courgettes and I have to say it worked very well. No supplement feeding was required and the ground covering by the leaves meant the whole bed stayed weed free all summer.
·        Dwarf French Beans – These were started off in modules and even though they took a long time, they gave us a plentiful harvest. Will add them in again next year.
·        Japanese Onions and Spring planted Onions – The Japanese Onions were ok, and that’s about it. Nothing too big and were quite wet but still edible. Going to pass on these this time round though as the Spring planted ones from this year grew very quickly.
·        Garlic – God knows what happened to these. They grew through winter lovely with nice green stalks but when it came to harvesting them, I couldn’t find a bulb in sight. The stalks just lifted out of the soil with nothing attached. A complete mystery. This year I will be starting them off in modules and overwintering them in the greenhouse.
·        Courgettes – These were my best performers this year. We’re still eating them now! These will return in 2014, gaureenteed.
·        Squashes – These took their time but once they fruited they grew well but their taste didn’t go down well with the family. Due to crop rotation I won’t have the space in the smaller beds so will give these a miss next year.
·        Tomatoes – These took ages to come through this year and when they did they were nothing special. Possibly too hot in July which stunted them. Might try a different variety next year.
·        Cucumbers – Same as the Tomatoes really. They have their own greenhouse so conditions were slightly different but fruiting just didn’t produce a great bounty. We had a couple and of those they went down a treat. Will try them again next year.
·        Mixed Bell Peppers – And again, they struggled in the greenhouse. That long spell of hot weather in July meant temps in the greenhouse with doors and vent wide open were still in the 30’s for 12 hours a day. I’m convinced this was their downfall.

So what to grow next year? I’m definitely growing Potatoes, Onions, Sweetcorn, Courgettes, Dwarf French Beans, and the greenhouse crops. I missed out the Brassica’s this year as well as Leeks, Carrots, and Salads. I will have a think about adding a couple of them to the others and see how it all fits in the beds. I may throw in something else from the many packets of seeds just to see how they get on. For now though it’s a case of putting the beds to sleep. I have homemade compost to scatter and dig some bean trenches as the one large bed I have will be for the bean family next year. I might also start off some Leeks now and overwinter them in the cold frames and that’s it for now.


Thanks for reading.

Oct 28, 2012

Greenwich Mean Time AT LAST...

The Summer of 2012 has been truly rubbish so when I woke up this morning albeit thinking it was either 8am or 6am (it was neither, it was 7am), I had an urge to get things going again.

I know its been ages since my last post but to be honest, not a lot has happened in my Veg Patch other that failings and more failings with just a sprinkle of success. So I was secretly counting down to today, the start of when you can open the curtains and expect to see rubbish weather and know its OK.

So in the cold rain with a mug of coffee and the portable radio, off I went to get things going for 2013. First up, the greenhouse. It needed clearing out badly. Having done that, I erected the small blow-away greenhouse to sit inside the glass greenhouse and thus keep temps above freezing all the way through winter for a few pots of something I've yet to decide to grow.

Finally I covered my carrots with cloches in the hope they grow a little more bigger than babies of baby carrots in time for Christmas. I also laid fleece over my overwintering onions and garlic bed as the cats around here like to pull them up and then do their business to further annoy me. Not this year pussy cats!!!

So there we are. A short but sweet post and here's hoping for a quick winter to pass. Just a few more jobs for this year and I'll update on that as and when I choose to do them :)

Thanks for reading. HAPPY GMT DAY \o/

Jun 17, 2012

Enthusiasm Of A Sloth Right Now...


***WARNING*** I’ve just finished typing this post and reading back it really is negative and full of moaning so if you were hoping for a cheery update I apologise.

I really am a summer month gardener. Last year I put it down to it being my first year and that as I got better I would overcome the miserable weather we have and through gritted teeth plough on. Alas I have not changed at all and as our rubbish weather continues, I’m finding it increasingly hard to get out and get on. That’s not to say nothing is happening because it is. Harvests are lower than they were last year with only a handful of lettuce leaves and Radishes coming from the plot, but the veg that stays in the ground for months on end are looking much healthier. On the odd day it is sunny and warm, I get out and weed. With the amount of rain we have had, watering has not been an issue other than in the greenhouse, and the plot as a whole is active.

I’m really happy with my potatoes. With it being my first year of growing them and wanting the biggest harvest to come from them, the effort I spent making sure their bed was perfect for them is really starting to show. With the rotation now set, the beds should start to benefit from moving round each year.


Potato Plants in Trenches


The cages are working well but that could be more to do with our weather as to why there are hardly any cabbage white butterflies, greenfly, and blackfly around right now.




The carrots I sowed have hardly grown at all so I’ve resown some more and hope they do better. The Parsnips though are looking ok albeit with little growth but again, the weather…

Growing Under Fleece

Root Veg Bed


The sweetcorn though is relishing this weather and is looking promising for the end of July.

Sweetcorn


The peas that decided to grow on are producing pods, but only handfuls. I must have sown 40+ seeds over the last couple of months to see little return. They really are struggling for me. The same could be said for the Broadbeans and the Dwarf French Beans, Especially the French beans. Wow they have struggled. I don’t think I’ll bother with them next year or the Broadbeans and just concentrate on a long row of peas.

Pea Pods

More Pea Pods

Poor Dwarf French Beans

Broadbeans growing slowly


The onions are bulging up nicely although I’m sure we were harvesting them this time last year. The leeks that slotted in between them are also filling out nicely. That’s 2 years now of growing Alliums without any trouble so I’m very happy with them.

Onions going strong


Leek poking through


The greenhouse is starting to fill out with the tomato plants but even these have found this year’s erratic weather very hard. I have a strong feeling we won’t be seeing the same number of fruits as last year but we shall see.


Tomato Flowering


Peppers again are struggling and I doubt we’ll see much from them this year. Lots of leafy growth and buds forming, but after that, no fruit growth sadly.

Tomato and Pepper Plants
So, what can I say? So far I’m nowhere near as happy as I was this time last year. It’s nothing to do with higher expectations as I would have been happy with the same as last year but to properly see the fruits of my labour affected so heavily by our climate really grates me. This is exactly the reason why I’m choosing to grow such a big variety of veg as I know not all can be affected badly so I get something at the end of it. So far that’s looking like Onions, Leeks, and Potatoes and hopefully the sprouts and Parsnips at Christmas. This then leads me to the question on whether I should just cut out some of the other veg and concentrate heavily on these half dozen or so? If our weather doesn’t pick up soon then I’m really going to get little return in 2012. BRING ME SOME SUN!!!!

Apr 22, 2012

The Hungry Gap 2012


So this is it, we are in the middle of “the hungry gap”, but to be honest, I’m not that fussed that there is nothing to harvest right now because I have been so flipping busy I would not have to time to be harvesting anything. That’s my excuse anyway…

So how has the first 3 weeks of April been? Well, wet would be the answer, and thank heavens it has. The odd frost has occurred though and the overall temperatures have been very low to say the least. This put a check on what I was planning on doing this month but couldn’t hold off any longer so this weekend saw me catch up. It has to get warmer at some point doesn’t it!!!



The Patch in April 2012
I finally sowed my carrots and Spring Onions the other day. At the same time I sowed some Beetroot and Radishes (varieties can be found in the 2012 plan over in the right hand column). I then immediately fleeced the bed for added frost protection and also to stop the carrot fly attacking although I don’t actually know if there is any around here.
Carrots Sown In Sand

I also built the supports for the Peas and have planted out the ones I started indoors a while back and then filled in the spaces with direct sown seeds.

Peas in Pea Netting


I also planted out the Broadbeans and again filled in the gaps with directly sown seeds. This method worked fine for me last year so saw no reason to do one or the other this time round.

Broadbean Flowering


I also dug out the middle trench for the remaining seed potatoes and planted them yesterday in between the sharp showers.

Potato Trench


My Parsnips were also sown this weekend, again, just like last year, in cardboard tubes. And now sit in the greenhouse next to some earlier sown Spring Onions.

Parsnips in Cardboard Tubes


My Leeks are still in the same tray and growing nicely although I might pot these on to deeper pots and have a dozen or so per pot as that compost has probably seen all its nutrients used up.

Leeks growing in tray


The Brussels are nearly ready for planting out and I am determined to have sprouts on the table for Christmas this year. I’m hoping they will love their new cage.

Brussels Sprouts waiting to go out


I’m also growing some Busy Lizzies from seed to plant up in to hanging baskets. Never done it before but they are still growing nicely. I potted them on in to individual pots this afternoon so we’ll see how they take. I also sowed some more and have them in the Airing Cupboard as we speak along with some more Cherry tomato seeds that I want to grow to see how much difference there is between sowing the same seeds nearly 3 months ago.

Busy Lizzies in greenhouse


I’ve also started off my Dwarf French Beans which sit in our bedroom along with some more Lettuces and our Son’s bedroom has the Cabbages.

Dwarf French Beans Indoors


The Tomatoes and Chilli plants from 3 months ago are itching to get in to their final placings but its still too cold for my liking in the greenhouse. I may pot them on again in to even bigger pots and again bury the stem as far down as I can as they will soon become pot bound.

Tomato Plants Indoors

Tomato and Chilli Plants Indoors


Finally the Rhubarb is ready for harvesting so I guess I am going to get something out of the hungry gap afterall. Thanks for reading.

Rhubarb ready for harvesting

Thanks again for reading my blog :)