Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Last spud harvest 26.08.07

Well, this was the last of my maincrop spuds (v. King Edward), which were plucked from the earth on Sunday morning.
This has been a really good crop, and I cant wait to get planting again, ready for the next crop which will be around christmas - all being well.

AS you can see in the foreground of this image, the maincrop spud bed has now been cleared / weeded as required.
As mentioned previously, I will be planting Earlies ( v. Maris Piper) for a Christmas harvest.
A longer growing season is the order of the day i.e. It will take the new planting approx 30 days longer to mature, as the daylight available is now much less. I will plant 5 seeds in this bed, and cover in a black mulch fabric to keep the weeds down.

I finally managed to plant out the Curly Leaf Kale, but alas had to liberally sprinkle around the seedlings with slug pellets, as the offending critters seem to be booming in number, after the recent damp weather. I'll keep you posted on the progress here, as it's an experimental growing for me.

My runner bean crop is going very well, and despite heavy rainfall of late, I continue to water around the base of the plants on a daily basis.
As a result, I am picking beans virtually everyday, and still some are going to waste.
I have been collecting seed for the last 2 months, and this will continue for the next 2 months - at least. The reason : I want to see next year which seeds germinate and produce best crops - i.e. is it dependent on when the seeds are harvested ?
As you can imagine, I will have a large seed collection, and if you want some, I will gladly post out to you - wherever you are. I already have one request from France which I will post free of charge. Any further requests I will have to ask for P&P contribution!

New growth is now appearing in the form of germinating Beetroot ( v. Boltardy ) shoots. I planted 2 further rows as a catch crop, just 2 weeks ago.

I also planted a single row of Radish ( v. French Breakfast ) which although now showing as seedlings, are still too small to photograph.

Thats about it for this weeks update. Sorry it's a couple of days late getting to you, but I've been busy as you know, and time is getting harder to find.

I'm finally trying to give up smoking (again) and four days in all is going well. Wish me luck!

Hope you have enjoyed this update. Please bookmark me and pop back soon.


Sunday, 19 August 2007

Looking Good ! 19.08.07

Welcome to my veg plot / garden update. Enjoy:

Despite the best efforts of the howling wind and rain, my runner bean plants continue to flourish in their raised bed home. We are picking beans now on an almost daily basis, whether they are for our own use, or indeed to give away to others. They taste really delicious.We also have a stock now of freshly frozen beans which were simply blanched,drained and then frozen. These will be used up as and when the beans go out of season, thereby extending the eating season. I've also been collecting seeds ; keeping the months seed harvest seperate, so that i can experiment with my planting next year.

I finally managed to get some of the Curly Leaf Kale planted up in the beds.
The plants are now a good 4" tall, and growing on at quite a rate.
This is my little experiment to provide some fresh winter greens, and I still have another dozen or so plants to go in. All I'm waiting for is my second crop of Peas (v.Kelvedon Wonder) to finish so that i can use the same raised bed to plant them up. For reference, I'm growing the Kale in the raised bed that was home to my first and second early pots plantings.

This little space was recently re planted with 2 rows of Betroot (v.Boltardy) and a further single row of Radish(v.French Breakfast). Hopefully these will germinate soon to provide some catch crops, whilst everything else is growing on.

I can't bear to see a patch of ground not being utilised!

This pic shows the remainder of my maincrop spuds (v. King Edward), which have yielded some good crops.
There are 4 plants & tubers left, which I intend to dig up later today, making room for my next crop.
My FIL has given me 15 seed pots (v. Maris Piper ) which I intend to plant up in 5's over the coming weeks, to try ultimately to get fresh spuds for christmas day. I will space the plantings out over 6 weeks, and hopefully will reap the reward. I'll keep you all posted.

This pic shows whats left of my second crop of peas (v. Kelvedon Wonder). 24 seeds were planted 8 weeks ago, and 12 grew on well.
Currently the pods are "mange tout" but are beginning to swell.
There won't be a massive harvest here; enough for 1 meal maybe, but another successful experiment proving a second crop is a viable option. Roll on next year !

I'm persevering with the toms (v. Moneymaker), but have yet to enjoy a good harvest. It seems for every 3 i pick, 2 go in the bin.
I've not enjoyed growing this variety ( despite recommendations from various people ) and do not intend to grow them again.
I will leave them to their own devices and hopefully still get enough to fill a salad bowl !

Thats about it for this weeks update. I hope you have found it interesting / informative even ?
There's no good news on the Southend United front either, having suffered a second loss in the league yesterday to the lowly Leeds United! Oh well, it's only a game!

Lets all hope we get some better weather this week, and I hope you continue to enjoy your gardens. If you want to add / contribute to this blog, then please get in touch.


Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Southend United 15.08.07

Shrimpers recorded their first round win in the Carling Cup with an emphatic 4-1 Victory over Cheltenham Town. Well done all.

Hopefully this will give the team the boost they need to start performing in the league, and inspire them to their first away win over Leeds United on Saturday.

I'll keep you posted.


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Another week flies by !! 14.08.07

Where does it go ? Time I mean !

Ruby is fine, now at 7 weeks old and thankfully sleeping through the night !

Southend United suffered a 2-1 Home defeat on Saturday, not the start to the season that was hoped for / expected ! Perhaps we will fair better against Cheltenham Town in the first round of the Carling Cup tonight at Roots Hall.

The garden plot continues to grow on well, with bumper harvests abounding:

The Runner Beans are looking truly fabulous, with a large picking in the last week, we now have 3 bags of freshly picked and blanched runners' in the freezer, as well as having some for a meal last week. The plants are full of smaller beans ( up to 3 inches long ) and with regular morning watering, we'll soon be harvesting even more.

The maincrop spuds ( v. King Edward) are still providing for the table, and we are digging them up as we need them. They are really delicious and a real treat, as well as a great save on the grocery bill. Talking of Bill, my FIL has given me a bag of winter seed pots (v. Maris Piper ) which i hope to grow for a Christmas harvest. I expect these will take longer to grow on as the days are now getting shorter, but it's still too early to plant them up. Instead, I will find a cool spot in the shed and let them start to chit. There are 15 seed in total, so I will plant them up 5 at a time, with a couple of weeks between each planting, and hopefully will then get my winter harvest. Never tried this before - wish me luck !

The Curly Leaf Kale, that i transferred from my conservatory to an outside position, are growing on well in their 3.5" pots. Hopefully within a week I will get them into their final position where I hope they will flourish to provide my winter greens. It's nice to be growing something a little different. You don't see this in the supermarket's too often, but when it is there , it flies off the shelf. The best thing about the kale, is that the leaves take on savoy cabbage like growth, but don't have the veiny texture when cooked. Talking of savoy cabbage .....

I planted some seeds last Monday (v. January King 3 Savoy Cabbage), in a propagator in the conservatory. I know its a bit late, but the weather has been quite mild of late, and I'm hopeful they will germinate. I have nothing to lose by trying! This variety is very hardy and again I'm hopeful of it growing on well into the winter months.

Today we are going to pick our first lot of Toms (v. Moneymaker) that I left in the ground after the winds destroyed them. They are much slower to ripen but nonetheless are doing ok. I can almost taste them now! The toms in the conservatory (v. Gardeners Delight ) have their trusses set and are now also beginning to ripen off. I am feeding with some Doff tomato food I found in the shed as funds are a bit too tight for buying tomorite!. If you fancy helping out, there's a paypal donate button on the site. All donations gratefully received !

With bare patches opening up on the plot, I am planning some more catch crop sowing. I will be planting more Beetroot ( v. Boltardy ), Carrot (v. Autumn King ), and also some more Radish (v. French Breakfast). Then, if there is still some space, I will plant out some mixed salad leaves. Still quite a lot to do, and time is of the essence. Now i just need to find some!

Hope your gardens are doing as well as mine, and I hope you continue to come back on a regular basis. That's about it for today.

Take care all


Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Better late than never ! 07.08.07

Honestly, I don't know where the time goes !

Darling Ruby was six weeks old yesterday - crikey ! Just glad that I've got shed loads of photo's!

The garden continues to flourish , against the odds of the weather.

We have had several large picking of young tender runner beans, which have gone down a treat, and we are currently about halfway through our row of maincrop spuds (v. King Edward), which have cropped far more than I thought they would - considering how small the row was to start with.

My FIL has ordered some winter spuds and will share the tubers with me. We are going to try to plant them to harvest on Christmas day. Wouldn't that be a treat!

The Curly Kale seedlings I had in the conservatory were doing miserably - which was a tad disappointing, but I have now transferred the seedlings to the table top on my patio, where they are beginning to flourish. I'm trying really hard to get these to grow on, as they will supply a wholesome greens crop through the winter months.

Sunday I planted some cabbage seeds indoors in a propagator, (v January King 3 Savoy ) which I hope will germinate quickly to be planted out later in the month. This variety is apparently not only a good cropper, but very hardy too. We'll have to see, I've not grown cabbages before!

Outdoor tomatoes (v. Moneymaker) are bearing large trusses of fruit, which are now beginning to redden up for picking. This despite all the stems collapsing in the recent bad weather. I reckoned I had nothing to lose by leaving them in place ( broken stems and all ) and now i'm seeing the benefit.

We had Rhubarb crumble on Sunday, with rhubarb straight from the garden (v. Timperley Early). I read that you should not pick it in the first year, this was our second picking and the plant still looks great. You cant always go by what you read in books, half the fun of gardening ( in my opinion ) is trying things for yourself! Next year I will plant another crown or 2 alongside, and hope we get larger crops year on year.

Next seed planting will be Brussel Sprouts, which I hope I'm not too late to grow!

Hope you will all come back soon for my next update, scheduled for 12th August.

Until then, enjoy your garden, and all the time you spend in it!