Sunday, 11 November 2007

Spare a thought. 11.11.07

Welcome back to this weeks update of Growing your own Veg in Raised Beds. Sorry I missed you all last week, but tempus fugit and all that.
I'd like to start today with a poignant reminder, Thank you to all those who gave their lives in service to this country. And how lovely it is, to see the poppies in bloom. What a fitting tribute.

Today I finally got to spend a good few hours in the garden. There's so much to do ( yes, even at this time of year ) , and it was nice to catch up with the plot.

Way back in the year, I planted six Parsnips as an experiment. Experiment in that the seeds were planted in toilet roll inners before being transplanted to the raised beds at a later date. The foliage grew well all year but recently died back to nothing. At this point I kind of forgot they were there. Until today that is, when I dug up this 2' monster ! Boy was it delicious too. I just could not believe the size of it. remember my raised beds are only 9" tall, and only have 6" of soil in them ! I guess this proves the point that all the digging is worth it prior to the hard landscaping of the raised beds. If the parsnip had been 6" long, I would have been chuffed. Needless to say - I'm over the moon. I will be planting more of these next year, without a doubt.

As you can clearly see from this picture, I finally cleared the Runner Beans away, and now the plots look oh so bare.
In doing this job, I accumulated yet more seed pods for seed collection.
I would estimate that I now have in excess of 200 seeds, and will be giving these out as previously promised. Some are going to France ( for Krissy), some to Topveg, whilst others will be shared amongst family and friends: Fred, Bill, Mick, crikey I'm losing track ! I'd better start writing this all down. A point to note is that some of the seeds this year are jet black as opposed to the mottled purple and black that you would expect. Can anyone explain why this might be ?

My next raised bed continues to take shape. Currently it resembles an open compost bin, with all sorts of garden and household waste accumulating there. I'll give it another month or so, before adding a bag or 2 of garden centre general purpose compost as a top dressing, and then I will cover it with the trusty mulching cloth, so that it can all rot down nicely, ready for next years plantings. I will also collect some cardboard toilet roll inners to add, these rot down nicely and are great for retaining moisture. I will be planting my runner beans in this bed next year. Oh I can hardly wait.

My Christmas new potatoes are not doing as well as I would have liked. I think they have started to succumb to the frosts, so I will be covering with fleece sometime soon , and hopefully will be able to salvage some haulms and the associated crops. I've got some planted around the garden in other beds, that were planted about 3 weeks after this lot, and so far they seem to be ok, but obviously they have less growth on them. This is another of my experiments - I figured I've got nothing to lose by trying these out. If all else fails, I can always buy some !
Would I ?

As you see, I'm having a mixed success / failure rate on the Curly Leaf Kale. Some of the plants are flourishing, but the dreaded caterpillars are wreaking havoc on about half of the plants. They're not strong enough yet to use as cut and come again plants, So I'm playing the waiting game here.
With the return of the Robin's to the garden, I'm hoping they will seek out the tasty treat of the caterpillars, as well as the snails, now that the plot is much more exposed. I tried spreading bits of bread on the ground around the plants which attracted the birds, but the caterpillars are so hard to see, maybe they missed them. Maybe I need to erect a sign " Fresh Caterpillars - Help Yourself " !!! with a direction arrow ?

Ok, this might just look like a patch of bare soil - I'll give you that! But today, I planted 4 rows of Garlic bulbs, that I had saved from my Summer harvest.
It's a job I've been meaning to do for a few weeks now, but at least I finally got there. It's really satisfying to be planting at this time of year. Now I just have to sit back and wait for a late spring harvest - yummy.

So where do you site your next composting bin? Well, after a bit of thought, I decided to put it where the next raised bed is going to be put. Makes sense to me! Next spring when it comes to construction, I can simply build a square around the bin, then lift off the compost container and hey presto, a raised bed full of compost.
I've started the bin off with all the waste growth from the runner beans. I also added a generous sprinkling of water and some trusty compost accelerator, to get the process underway. Over the next couple of weeks , I will add the remaining spent compost from the hanging baskets, as well as all the household waste I can muster!

I'm adding some more pics from around the plot at the end of this weeks update, what I really need to do though is work out how to add a slideshow. Maybe Steve ( if you're reading this ? ) can give me a few pointers. If you are aware of how to do this please get in touch.

I think that's about it. I hope you are still enjoying your gardens as much as I am. I will try to get back to weekly updates ( ok mum ) , but can only do what time permits. Enjoy the week and I'll see you all soon.


See ya !

1 comment:

TopVeg said...

So interesting to read your news. Congratulations on the parsnip - isn't nature wonderful. Think it must be the same wonderful natural goings-on that has mixed the bean genes up to make them black. Hope the christmas potatoes pick up - I have been watching them with interest.

Try for the slide show look forward to the results & the bean seed! Thanks!