Sunday, 26 February 2012

First Potatoes

We've planted our first potatoes of the year yesterday, an experimental 3 bags of swift first earlies, a bag each for my wife, son and myself. We're having a competition to see who can grow the heaviest yield. The potato bags will be kept in the greenhouse on our half plot until there's no threat of frost, then they'll go outside. I'm hoping to get new potatoes in under 12 weeks, but we'll see.

I also took the sweet peas in the loo rolls to the greenhouse too.

As you can see the garlic has come up (3rd shelf down) and is romping away, this will go in when I plant my onions and shallots. 
I've also potted on the first of my tomatoes into small 6cm pots.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The New Greenhouse on the Plot.

We had a go at putting our new freebie greenhouse into its new home today. Yes, I did say freebie! A lady who works in the same building as my wife and knows we have allotments, asked if we wanted a greenhouse for nowt.  The council had told her elderly friend that they would charge him to remove it if he left it in the garden of his flat, as he's moving into a bungalow. It only took half a day to move it from his garden to my allotment which is 0.6 of a mile from his flat. I'd already took the glass out the week before, so all my wife and myself had to do, was lift it out of the ground. We lifted the greenhouse off its base, then with a bit of toing & froing my missus got the base up. We fixed them back together, and walked the frame and the base round to the plot.  We got a few funny looks and someone in a van slowed down and took a photo of us with his phone, lol. I drove the glass round and stored it in the shed.

So the greenhouse has been sat at the bottom of the plot all winter waiting for us to put it back together and we made a start today.

Now its where we want it, level-ish, with a fall to the back where the water butts will go, I'm happy with it.

Plan for the week ahead: I'm going to anchor the frame down with 4 posts with conny boots on,  make the path & beds in the greenhouse and get it ready for the glass going in.

This afternoon I planted my onion sets.  I start mine off in old, what I think were, fruit boxes from the market (please feel free to post a comment if  you know otherwise). 

I line them with paper and cardboard.

Fill with MPC.

And plant onions like so.

 Then I put them in the blow-away under fleece. By the time I've got the onion bed ready (hopefully) these sets will have a lovely little root system going on.

Thank you for taking the time to read this :) feel free to join the group or leave a comment. All the best CS .

Friday, 17 February 2012

Signs of Life

First signs of life under my holly bush.

Well I needn't of worried about the frozen leeks seed, looks like nearly all 50 seeds have germinated. These will go inside some kitchen paper rolls as a experiment, I'd like to see if I can blanch them. Worth a go I think, I'll be sowing more leeks at the end of next month.

I've also sowed some sweet peas (Bijou) a small bush type. I was going to sow these a couple of weeks ago but we had snow and freezing temperatures so held off. I soaked the sweet pea seeds overnight in a glass water filled loo rolls with MPC and put one seed in each roll. 

Sweet Peas.

Went to half allotment yesterday, We (my son Luis & myself) lifted the strawberries and put them in pots in the greenhouse, They will be going up to the full plot shortly now I have more room there. I also lifted and moved two gooseberries that I was given by a kind chap on the allotment, I healed them in last November, I wasn't sure where I wanted them but moved them yesterday to behind the greenhouse. I'm going to be putting two water butt at the front of the greenhouse, I just need to move some bricks to the plot for their base for the stands.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Shallot Time

This morning I've planted my shallots, I hadn't got as many as I thought ( usually 2 or 3 dozen),  so I could be doing some additional planing later on. I'll probably do this in march, directly into the ground and see how they get on. Anyway the shallots I do have are now sat in some MPC (multi purpose compost) in the blow-away with some fleece over them.

I've also been to the greenhouse this morning to give the brassicas I took there yesterday some water, that will do till the weekend I think.

The tomatoes a peppers are getting a little bit leggy, next year I'm going to leave them till a bit later in the month, I said this last year and forgot hence me writing this growing journal.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Update blow-away is set up in greenhouse

As I said I was going to in the last post, I took a blow-away down to the allotment today,I set it up inside the greenhouse with both fleece and plastic covers on it, the brassica seedlings survived the night, it was nice and worm in the blow-away this morning, I hope it stays like this :)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Potting On

Today I decided to pot my cabbage & calabrese seedlings on into 3" pots, they will stay in these pots until they are ready to plant in the ground.

Calabrese seedlings in 3" pots, spares in mod cells.

Cabbage seedlings in 3" pots.

The brassica seedlings will be spending the night in the fleeced blow-away, its bit of a risk I know but haven't got anywhere indoors to put this many pots. I'm going to set up a fleeced blow-away inside the greenhouse on the allotment tomorrow and move them down there. 

The tomatoes and pepper seedling are getting a bit leggy also, I need to keep an eye on them, maybe pot them on sometime this week.

I've checked over my rotavator today. I have a small Honda rotavator/tiller that I like to start up and run on tick over for a couple of minutes once a month so I know its running alright when I come to use it.  

Rotavator started first pull.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Half Plot Shed Spring Clean

Went to my half plot this morning at around 11, wanted to see the committee member who looks after the allotment shop. They've been selling off Groworganic fertiliser at under half price.  I've had 2 bags for myself and fetched another bag for my wife's work colleague.  To my surprise the chap said I owed him for 4 bags of Groworganic and he had it written on his chalkboard. I know I've given him the money but he's getting on a bit so he's probably forgot.  I'm not paying twice, put it that way.  Anyway, I took another bag, paid for it there and then and put it in the boot of my car.

I spent around an hour sorting the shed out today.  I know it doesn't look that tidy, but I like to leave it looking like someone just robbed it, just in case someone gets an idea I keep anything of any value in there, which I don't.

View from shed door

This is my nice clean greenhouse, I cleaned it inside and out the other day with a diluted solution of Armillatox, that a kind chap at my other allotment gave me. The chaps name is Dave, and he's always giving me helpful pointers and even seeds and plants, usually just to get shut of me so he can get some work done lol. 

Strawberries that are going to the other plot.

A Gooseberry I need to move 

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Seed Germination Update

It looks like the leeks are starting to come through. I know its only been 7 days and they can take double that, but we had about 4" of snow over the weekend, then it froze and so did the compost with the garlic & leek seeds in. I wasn't that worried about the garlic but I wasn't sure the leek seeds would be all right after they had been frozen, so I moved the polystyrene box into the outhouse to thaw overnight, then I moved them into one of my heated propagators. 3 days later and there's a little green shoot starting to grow ( if you've never grown leeks from seed they look like wispy bits of grass when they come through). So fingers crossed they'll be ok.

Some of the tomatoes, peppers and brassicas have germinated, also I was particularly surprised with the Calabrese and Hispi Cabbage (in left hand side seed tray) which germinated and could be seen after two days!

 Other News 

I bought a new spade and fork this week, nothing fancy just Spear & Jacksons stainless steel jobbies, I tend to leave tools in my sheds in spring and summer as I don't always drive to my plots. I have two plots on two sites, so two sets of tools. I don't have much room on my bike for heavy things, only me!! Also I picked up a Fiskars potting trowel for £1.99 RRP £7.95, but that will be stopping at home. I have wilkos specials at the allotment.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Sown this afternoon,Tomatoes & Brassicas.

Too cold to be on the plots today, shame because I wanted to have a look at the compost heap to see if its ready yet. We had the first snow fall of the year yesterday and it carried on for most of the night by the looks of it, this morning we had around 3"/ 4" in total.
So instead of heading up to the allotment for a couple of hours, I decided to sow my Tomatoes and some Brassicas. I'm growing a few different types of Tomatoes this year, as I've said before.

This years selection is as follows Sungold F1 & Grushovka ( a small Plum tomato both courtesy of my GYO friend VVG), Cossack F1 ( I think of it as a salad tomato), Apero F1 (Cherry Tomato), Giulietta F1( Plum Tomato) and my old dependable Alicante (small salad tomato). I also popped in a few Cucumber (Baby F1) seeds, not for me, I don't like cucumber but grow them for my son and mother-in-law.
I think I've sown everything that I will be growing in my greenhouses over this summer, everything else I sow from now on will be grown on my allotments or at home in pots. That said, I did a first sowing of Calabrese (F1 Olympia), I'll do another sowing when I plant these on the allotment. Also sowed this afternoon was an early pointy Cabbage (Hispi F1). I'll sow two more cabbage later in the spring,   ball head type and a Savoy for the autumn.

Sown on 5/02/2012

I looked in on my wormery today too, I've had this wormery up and running for a month now.
Fed worms with a little bread
When I took the lid off the wormery, at first it didn't look like they've been doing much work, but they've eaten there way through their core bedding and a lot of shredded paper. Come the spring this wormery should be running at full tilt (so I'm told) I'll move it to a sheltered part of the back garden when the weather gets better.

Seed Germination Times

The link below is for a website where I've been getting seed germination times from. Knowing how long a seed takes to germinate means I can put seeds that take the same length of time to germinate, in the same seed tray thus saving space in the heated propagator.

Germination Time for Seeds

Thursday, 2 February 2012

How I Sow My Leeks

This afternoon I decided to sow the first of my Leeks, this year I'm trying two different types the first of is Lincoln F1I used to sow mine in a seed tray until I saw a video on youtube (The allotmentdiary channel) where Dan showed how he sowed his leek seeds in polystyrene boxes.  A light came on and I thought I've got some of them in the garage from when I used to keep tropical fish. From then on I've done my leeks like this with great success.

First I need a polystyrene box.

Then I put drainage holes in the bottom.

I covered the holes with some broken tiles and pots I had laying around and filled with MPC.

I packet of seed I used only had around 50 seeds in so I only use a small polystyrene box I have some that are more than twice this size.

I then watered the seeds and put the lid on the box then popped them in the blow-a-way under some fleece. I keep the lid on till the seeds have germinated and I can see green wispy shoots.

Here is a couple of photo of my leeks growing on the allotment from previous years.


Thanks for reading :o)


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Today's Sowing's

Last weekend was our local Potato Day so we went along to see what was on offer. I was't after much really as I ordered my seed potatoes, onion sets and peas through the Allotment Association in November and my order was delivered the  allotment about a fortnight ago and are chitting away nicely on to of our wardrobes. 

So I thought I'd go along to the Potato Day shop and just pick up a few seed potatoes that I'm thinking of growing next year, I just to try a few first before ordering a bag full next year Unfortunately there wasn't any Yetholm Gypsy or Amorosa but I come away with half a dozen Vanessa (a red first early) and half a dozen Maris Piper (maincropseed potatoes I also picked up a small bag of Red Onion sets as well as
a Bulb Garlic (Solent Wight) which kinda brings my to the point of this 

Today I got one of my blow-a-way plastic greenhouses out of hibernation 
( if you've ever had a plastic greenhouse you know why they get called blow-a-ways). 
I've put a fleece cover on first and its plastic cover over 
that like so
Fixed to the fence with a bungee cord
In the blow-a-way I've sown the garlic bulb. I know I could put them in the ground on the plot but I not sure where I want them yet, so I'm starting them off at home and moving them to the plot when I'm ready for them.  All I've done is fill a couple of modulus I had laying around and two small pots with some MPC watered them and put them in the blow-a-way under some old scraps of fleece I had laying around in the allotment shed.

I'll post a update when they start to show, thanks for reading my ramblings :o)