Sunday, November 21, 2010

This time I mean It

The time has come to really make an effort for next year on the plots and that means lots of sorting out this winter.

I have made a good start and the compost bins are already filling up with weeds.

As pictured below I finally got some spring cabbage plants into the ground and netted over

A whole bed of marfona potatoes were neglected during the growing season, and in a raised bed they need good watering to get any size. I was amazed when turning over a bed to find lots of in effect "new potatoes", unmarked by slugs and in good order. A pan of these will be served up with my Sunday Lunch

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The new salad bar at home

Its all very well growing wonderful salads on the allotment, but for those impromptu last minute salads or leaves, a trip to it to get them is the last thing you want. With this in mind I built a pair of salad bars on our veranda handrail

They are watered via a leaky hose and water computer and are already planted up with rocket, flame, devils tongue, australian green, little gem, salad bowl and mesclun leaves, a row of radish "easter egg" has also gone in. Along the back, with the idea of them trailing over, a dozen strawberry "Elsanta" have also been planted.
They are lined with plastic and will be stained green to enhance their look but as they are they are cracking. From now on, fresh salad leaves and herbs are just one step outside the kitchen door.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Back into the saddle

Its been well over a since since my last post, work, a gammy knee and house renovations have all conspired to keep me away from my allotments.

Below, my hative de niort shallots are growing on well and will be planted on the plots once a bed for them is cleared. They were potted up in February as a few had started to sprout. They are an excellent shallot and a good variety if you like showing.

These three pictures are in reverse order. In essence, I sow a pot of sweet basil and once it has sprouted well, pull out clumps of 4-6 seedlings and pot them up as a clump. The clumps when well established and after any danger of frosts go into my tunnels, planted between my tomato plants. Some will remain at home in the salad and herb bar for easy pickings.

With Kazzi returning from New Zealand this week, a few sweet pea seeds from her brother Nigel's garden have been sowed. They are pretty much straight out the pod as it's early autumn there. Lets see what comes up!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spring onions or Scallions?

As mentioned on the grapevine, to get great spring onions I sow a pinch of seed in modules and keep frost free till the roots fill the cell. The clumps are then planted about 4" apart with individual onions being pulled as they reach a useable size.
Another sowing in April and again in July will see you right through the year.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Snow, ice and daffodils.

With sub zero temperatures for the past week or two and lots of snow falling in the last week, almost the whole country came to a standstill. In Leicester we had 4-5 " of snow which somehow shut every school in the county. I ventured to the allotments today to get veg for the weekend and found the place as pretty as a picture. The leeks are holding well with no rust this year.

With it being so cold I presumed pulling root crops would require a fork, however the sweded came up a dream, the snow has acted like a blanket, keeping the soil frost free.

And amongst all of the snow, a daffodil decided spring is on its way.

One good thing about snow, it hides the weeds.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Heritage peas by the packet

Being a big fan of heritage peas and climbing french beans I was very excited to be given a whole raft of heritage pea varieties to trial. Being a Leicester boy, the varieties "Mayor of Leicester" and "Lord Leicester" hold particular interest.

The varieties range from "Carters Battleship" to "Mummy White", a variety that in Victorian times was reputed to have been found in an Egyptian tomb, hence the name. All of these peas will be trialed, photographed, the seeds saved with some returning to the very kind doner, Dave "American Gardener" Thompson at Worldwide Seed Trader., some being kept and some passed on to others.
To be honest, I have never been so exited at the begining of a growing season.

Friday, January 23, 2009

This beastie started its life as a "ham" on the 23rd December 08. It has sat, covered in salt and weighed down with a brick for 3 days per kilo in weight. Already it is much drier due to the salt drawing out moisture and it has a cured ham feel about it.

It was washed in cider vinegar to remove any salt deposits, dried and then wrapped in muslin.

Finally, a hook was (with some difficulty) pushed into the end of the ham and it was hung in a dry, airy place which happens to be under our verandah.

It will hang there for another 6-9 months air drying before being thinly sliced and scoffed. Our good friend Di, being of Italian stock, can have first bite as she is well qualified in how our "Leicester Ham" tastes compared to the famous Italian Parma or Sorrento ones.