Sunday, 29 June 2014

Picnic on the plot dashed by the rain.

Lunch packed

My youngest daughter and I planned a few hours at the allotment today. I had checked the weather report for today and if we were lucky, we would only just get a light shower. So, at about mid day, with all the jobs done at home and lunch packed, we got ourselves ready to go. The plan for the day was weeding and sowing a row of carrots. I've done quite well with them so far, I thought I would sow some more. But a few hours turned into about 45 minutes including transit there and back. We stayed through one light shower, but the rain drops got bigger and more frequent that we couldn't stay any longer. No carrots sown. What was worse, after about half an hour of arriving home, the rain stopped and the rest of the day was fine. Not wishing to risk it, we stayed at home.

In between showers, my daughter did managed to take some photos of what's happening on the plot.

A mini pumpkin 


Garden Connect

A few 'Downs', 'Ups' and 'Not really sure what's happening' in my 'Garden Connect' bed.

Kale looking good

Lemon cucumber starting to bud

The only French bean

Nasturtium has gone crazy

Sweet pepper surviving

Tomatoes have one or two flowers

No worries with the parsnips

Spinach may be past its best

Another lettuce growing

Purple carrots still in need of thinning

Good old onions

Two beetroots

Not 'Garden Connect' related, but it looks like all but one of my red onions are gone. The only one I still have has bolted. So I may just give them a miss next time. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

This is why I call it my 'Downs' and 'Ups'.

I have been trying to grow more vegetables this year that I have not grown before. But with that comes many failures.

Some failures are due to the fact that I don't know what care and attention is required. These radishes for example. Plenty of foliage, a bit flee bitten but the actual radish is not even worth picking. Of course, until you pick it, you don't know. The ones on the right I had picked out first. I've been told that they need plenty of water. It hasn't rained for over two weeks. My pea bin hasn't quite gone to plan. I have more weeds than peas growing. I think I need to chat more with my fellow gardeners at the allotment and find out where I'm going wrong.

Other failures are due to forces beyond my control. I am talking of the 'Bloody slugs'. I wouldn't mind so much, but they've found a way into the greenhouse. Of over 40 lemon cucumber seeds sown, now only two plants have gotten to a decent size, one at the allotment and one in pot at home. Now to see if any fruit comes from them.

Then there is neglect. I had five globe courgettes that needed moving from the greenhouse to the allotment. This was done over two weeks ago. I haven't been able to get to the allotment since then and it hasn't rain. They are all gone.

Bloody hell! Carrots.

Its not all been bad news. I finally have carrots growing. All I did was prepare the soil, sow the seeds, cover them lightly, water them and sprinkle some slug pellets. I never tried to be organic in the past, it's just that I never wanted to spend the money on slug pellets. They do need to be thinned out, but the fact that they are growing at all seems a shame.

Parsnip jungle taken from ground level

Next up in the 'Doing quite well' category are my parsnips. I'm not sure what's happening underground, but if anything, I'll have plenty of leafs for the compost.

Cauliflower. Sorry about the weeds

Inside the brassica tent, as well as weeds, I have a row of cauliflowers and two rows of savoy cabbage. These I have grown from seed myself rather than buying seedlings from the garden center.

The duel cabbage way. Savoy's

On Thursday I dug up my winter onions and to be honest, I not as pleased with them as I was when I brought them home. You see of 50 onion sets I only came home with 25 onions. Not meaning to sound ungreatful, but I was hoping for a bit better than 50% success. They were looking so good as well. The red onions don't look so bad in comparison.

The first of the years harvest

As you can see there are quite a few strawberries and a handful of potatoes. I have never had this many strawberries I one go and on Friday I had half as much again. As for the potatoes, I was too early with my first Early's.

May look great, but it's bloody hard work

While I was at the allotment on Friday, I cut the only grass path I have which I share with my neighbour. I have inherited this lovely push along lawnmower. It's not so lovely on a hot day trying to cut long grass. What made it easier was hearing the band Kasabian doing a sound check for their home coming gig. And now, while writing this post, I can here the Kasabian playing.

Garden Connect

I now have something growing in every square foot of my Garden Connect bed. The parsnips and onions are really doing well, but not too far behind is the nasturtium. It's growing like a weed. The purple carrots are also growing and in need of thinning. The kale and spinach keep growing, but I'm not sure what to do with them. So if the are past I wouldn't know. Two beetroots are growing nicely as is the only lemon cucumber. We have also enjoyed our first lettuce from the allotment. There is another one coming up, either that, or a dandelion in cunning disguise. And finally I have a French bean coming up. I didn't think I would have any so came prepared. 

Will this bean do?

I know it has been a while since I written a post, but the World Cup is on. We all have our vices. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The lowdown on the Hoe.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Wolf Garten Tools and asked if I would try out one of their tools and post a blog about it. I've never been asked to review anything before now and as you read on, it may be clear why. I have been given, for free, a hoe and I have been trying it out this last week. So what can I say about a hoe that hasn't already been said? Well the hoe I already have is a Dutch style hoe, a cheap one that I have had for a while. It's not very sharp and it never has been. The hoe that I have been given is Swoe style hoe. A bit sharper to start with. As you can see it is a bit different to my original one. It does allow you hoe around your vegetables without having to move backwards and forward all the time, no real hardship but it's nice to know I don't have to.

Not quite getting around the cabbage

Getting all the way around from just one spot

I've done my best to show you the hoe in action, so I hope you can forgive some of the photos.

What I have is a pole which you can swap for different attachments, in this case the hoe. Nothing complicated about changing from one tool to another. Press and hold the yellow button and one attachment is loose, get the next one, slide it into the slot till it clicks and away you go. It is a lot lighter than my original hoe, but in no way do I feel I need to go easy on it. It also feels quite comfortable in my hands while using it. A friend of mine, his father, has had these tools for many years and swears by them. I do hope that the new ones have been made just as well, because I'd like to build on my collection.

I'm only 5'6" so this gives you an idea of reach

I hope this review has been a bit helpful or at least interesting in some way. Till next time and thanks for reading.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

I love it when a plant comes together.

Well to be honest, quite a few have really come together. The very fact that I have carrots growing is my best success this year. I will continue to sow carrots the same way next year. All I've really done was sprinkle slug pellets after sowing. A lot of the carrots are small. I was told to thin them out and I can hear a big 'I told you so' from other gardeners.

Beetroot I have grown to like, but it could never count as one of my 'five a day'. You see I only like them sliced thinly and fried. Don't knock it till you've tried it. 

My brassica tent has also done it's job this year, this Savoy cabbage is the first one I've picked so far. Hardly touched by caterpillars at all. I'm still waiting for the cauliflower show.   

Finally the courgettes are still coming. So I quite sure that the food scrap pit is working. That's something else to remember for next year. 

Most of what I've harvested today will be eaten by tonight and mostly roasted. Only a short post today, but I'll soon get back into the swing of things. Till next time and thanks for reading.