Sunday 31 January 2010

Spot the Difference

Here's the plan for this year as dictated by the rotation. The Brassicas area gets lime. The Others area gets manure and the Roots area gets some compost in with the potatoes. As each area rotates over three years they all get the treatment once every three years and the pests don't get a chance to build up.

BUT I have made the adjustments to the overall plan as detailed in the second picture to meet my own priorities for this year. I don't need such a large brassica patch and if I am determined to grow carrots. So the potatoes are being squeezed between the soft fruit and the other roots. Answer: to borrow a bit of the brassica patch for the parsnips and carrots, with the proviso that next year (when this is the roots area) potatoes will be grown here and not carrots or parsnips again.

Friday 29 January 2010

Wish List for 2010

Prompted by the igrowveg blog I've cobbled together my wish list for 2010

To properly force one clump of rhubarb (this involves getting a bigger tub this year!)
Last year was good, but ths year's going to be better. I've received delivery of a new compost bin today which I'm going to use as a 'forcer'.

To grow fly free carrots. I gave up oncarrots years ago because the carrot root flies liked them so much that he ate them before I did. At a not inconsiderable outlay I have now armed myself with a couple of 'agrimesh' cloches to keep the rootfly out. Will it work - and will I remember to weed once the tunnels are set up?

Try blueberries
(awaiting delivery) and raspberries (already planted) for the first time. I have already documented my preparatory efforts for both of these. Seasonal soft fruit Mmmm

Increase the range of brassicas (cauliflower , red cabbage, maybe even kohlrabi? mmm maybe not. Swede anyway) My rotation (more of which to follow) dictates that a rough third of the plot is given over to brassicas. Who wants 50 cabbages all maturing at once?

Grow parsley – lots of it. We eat alot so lets grow alot. (or should that be a lot?) Anyone else mad keen on Tabouleh?

Grow coriander for leafNow there’s a challenge! Previous attempts have all run to seed

Successfully grow the ‘wild” rocket seed I saved from last year. There is rocket and there is wild/sweet rocket. This is the skinny leafed variety that the Italians grow and restaurants serve scraps of at exorbitant prices. Some from a salad mix seed packet (free with the People's Friend no less) escaped and grew like bilio in our patch and I let it go to seed. I hope to grow the next generation on for consumption with the less flavoursome, wonderfully bland lettuce

To remember to label all pots and not to mix my bean plants up. Last year I grew 4 wigwams of bean. Those that were monoculture were fine, those I mixed up had to be left for seed as I couldn't be sure whether they were for seed or pod eating. I have in the past seen wigwams set up by people at our allotment site only to find they have grown dwarf french beans instead of runners

To really grow successionally. We all know we should, but do we plan well enough in advance?

Stop Florence fennel bolting for a second year!OK I’ve really got carried away. If I do, you'll be the first to know

Do let me know what you plan to achieve in 2010.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Happy Birthday Blog

Today my blog is one year old. I gave it the title of "a 2009 Gardening Calendar" so I guess it's time to reflect on whether to carry it on for another year.

The answer is yes, for several reasons.

I now have a record of 2009 with which to compare progress in future years
Already I've found it useful to refer back to the record to remind me of what I've done and when.

During the dark winter evenings I've had great fun comparing notes with other allotment bloggers and exchanging a bit of banter too! Even when I'm not able to get to the plot the planning has continued.

Above all the discipline of posting my activities in public has reaped the reward that I've felt obliged to follow my declared intentions!

Of course I have been selective about where I point the camera (the recent snow had the wonderful effect of hiding the weeds) but It has been my most productive year for ages.

What I will being doing differently in 2010

Record how much time I've spent at the plot, week by week - It's a lot less than you think!

Make a record of expenditure. This is probably a bit of a cheat as most of my expenditure for this growing year has already been made (Fencing, compost, seeds and plants) but hey, you've got to start somewhere.

Don't worry, these mundane matters will just be footnotes as I also intend the photos to continue to be the main part of the blog.

Saturday 9 January 2010

In the deep mid winter

Here's a familiar view:

Not much showing above the snow level. You can always rely on leeks! In the background the cabbage variety is 'Tundra'.

Now where were those parsnips?

Bringing home the brussels:

... and just for Soilman's benefit here's how my raspberries are doing:

Saturday 2 January 2010

Avoiding the big chill - green shoots

There's been snow lying in Edinburgh since 17th December. Here's a view of the canal on New Year's Day

But inside I've got unexpected lodgers:

They're only there by accident. When storing this year's dried beans away on 1st November I came across some broad beans I'd overlooked from last year. To see if they were viable I soaked them in water:

and they all sprouted!

The next step was to plant them into modules. I had fully intended to plant them out at the plot but they didn't make it before the big freeze.

Considering the forecast before going away at Christmas I had to take them in. Now the big chill shows no sign of ending and my pampered beans are racing away. I'm going to have a hell of a job hardening them off!

Oh, and Happy New Year one and all!