Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Pea : Big Ben

Big Ben.

Type of Seed: Smooth, Green.

Type of Pod: Long and rounded

History: Unknown

Description: This is a very tall variety of pea which will grow to over six foot tall and requires support. I grew these peas in March and they had started to produce flowers and form peas in May. They are strong and sturdy plants which produce large white flowers, like the name of this variety everything about it is big!

They are quite prolific and produce pods containing 8 to 9 large peas. They taste like a marrowfat pea and are definately worth growing.

I would try this variety again and will save the seed.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Home Front.

The weather has been non stop rain this morning so time for an update.

These are the pictures of the hanging baskets that I planted up during May, they have put on a lot of growth and I'm really pleased with them.
They don't take much time to keep them in tip top condition, just a weekly feed and some dead heading.

Hopefully they will continue to flower throughout the rest of the summer.

So far things are going to plan and we have been harvesting lots of veg, no where near as much as I would like but now we have the lottie we are hoping to turn this around for next year.

These are some of thee views around the back garden, I have managed to pack as much in as we could.

Turnip's and Pea's have done particularly well. We had a huge crop from Ezeta's Krombek Blauwschokker. Clarkes Beltony Blue also did well.

The early tomatoe experiment has been showing dividends, so far we have harvested sun gold, stupice, balconi red. There are lots more to come as the plants are layden with fruit. I am hoping to make some spaghetti sauce with some of the harvest.

I think I would definitely sow tomatoes earlier as I did this year, I don't know if I would start to sow earlier than February though, as I did have a distinct lack of space before I could start moving the plants into the greenhouse. Next year I think I will do a few varieties of tomatoes along with the chili's which need a long season. Some of the chilis that were sown in february have started to produce fruit, currently we have Purple Jal's, Cveta, Chili Pyramid, Apache and Orangina . Something nasty (slug, I think) decided to have a munch on my lemon drop plant which is now starting to make a recovery! All the chili plants have been moved out of the greenhouse and are now on the patio, they don't seem any worse for wear but it has continually rained since so may have to move them back in temporarily.

Courgettes have produced a huge crop and if you blink you miss them and they turn into marrows.

The picture on the left is De Nice a fruit round, it should have been harvested when it was small sort of golf ball size instead I got a cricket ball! Golden Zucchini is just starting to produce fruit so looking forward to trying these.
We have harvested : Radish, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Courgettes, Strawberries, Cabbage, Kale, Peas, Mange Tout, French Beans with more to come.

Onions are still growing away, some of the red baron have started to bolt so will lift these and use first as they will not store well. The white onions seem to be doing the best. I am going to over winter onions this year for planting out on the lottie. I also managed to get a selection of shallots that I am holding on to for growing through the winter. The garlic that was sown earlier in the year is still in the ground as its not ready but the supermarket experiment produced a crop but rather on the small size. I'm going to keep some of the cloves to plant again in the autumn to see if they can be improved upon.
Next year I am hoping to be able to grow more flowers from seed to fill in the gaps in the back garden as I will be digging raspberries and blackcurrant bushes up to go to the lottie so can plan abit of a revamp.
And finally, my beautiful sweet peas, we have been picking them every few days, the fragrance is fantastic and they certainly brighten up a room and let you know that summer is here even if it is still raining.

Allotment News!!!!

I have been lucky enough to secure an allotment after a six month wait. This came as a lovely surprise as I have been growing lots of veggies at home and collecting bits and bobs for when I got one. I received the letter on the 18th of June. We managed to get our first choice in terms of site, which is only a 10 minute walk from where we live.
The site only has 42 plots in total and is situated on a south facing slope. Our plot is situated at the bottom of the slope and is second from last in the row. The plot is in full sun and hasn't been cultivated for some time.

We viewed the plot the same afternoon as we received the letter and went in to sign the tenancy on the Saturday morning. The plot had been overgrown with couch grass, bindweed, brambles etc but the Council has cleared and sprayed the plot, as the previous plot holder was allowed to have seven plots and created what she saw as a nature reserve, this unfortunately was allowed and she didn't cultivate any of the plots but dumped her rubbish on them.

The soil is heavy clay and very compacted, and requires lots of weeding and digging. Due to the recent dry and sunny weather the surface is as hard as nails and is tough to dig, but we have made a start.
We started by digging out a lot of dock leaves and racking the weeds and debris off the plot, took away about 10 black bags of rubbish. Because the soil was sun baked and hard, we hired a cultivator for a day to break the ground ready for laying out and digging.
This is a picture of my OH cultivating the plot. Over the last few weeks we have managed to get a load of carpet off cuts which we have used to cover the banks to either side of the plot after we had cut them down. We also sourced some lengths of wood which we have used to mark out and make a central path; which was covered with weed suppressing membrane and covered in wood chippings.

We brought a new shed to go on the plot which had to be laid on concrete as part of the tenancy, so we got the slabs and started to level the ground, unfortunately we had not finished before we got the call to say they wanted to deliver the shed, so it was a mad dash to get this completed and take delivery of the shed. We erected the shed the same evening as it was delivered and finally got home about 9pm. Since then we have put in one water butt and put up an off strip of guttering we manged to pick up. We have built a compost bin from old pallets courtesy of my Dad. Gradually the plot is starting to take shape and looks like an allotment.
We have started to dig and weed one side and have started to lay out the beds with carpet paths in between. The left hand side of the plot will be home to most of the fruit, we have planted gooseberry bushes, rhubarb, black currant bushes, tay berry and logan berry bushes so far. We have erected the posts for where we are planning to grow summer and autumn varieties of raspberries.

I have used a few of the beds on this side for cabbages and purple sprouting broccoli. The right hand side will be used to grow spuds next year with other beds for roots and beans. Looking forward to sitting down in the winter months and planning what will go where as before its been a case of just cramming things in. I have some raspberry canes and a black currant bush that I will be digging up in the autumn which will go to the lottie along with a plum tree which is growing in a large pot. I am also hoping to source some bare rooted fruit trees over the next few months which I can plant out in the winter months.
Now that we have marked out and started planting the fruit area, we will be building a raised bed for the strawberries which I have at home in the flower planter, they produced a good crop this year for a small amount of plants. They have started to produce runners so hopefully we will have even more for next year.
The fruit area will be caged off at a later date as I have noted that pigeons frequent the site and hide in the trees at the end of the slope.
I have directly sowed beetroot, carrots and turnips - so lets see how they do.
Lots to do and plenty of plans to make, exciting isn't it.

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