Monday, 31 May 2010
Bank Holiday Plot Update
Beans, now released from their experimental duties:
More beans and behind them peas. They look a mess because the twiggy supports are a mess
The view from the end. Behind the rhubarb, all you can see of the early leeks (to the right) is the holes. They're not as big as Matron's but believe me they are there - soon to be joined by the late (Musselburgh) leeks.
Last but not least, as I've been working on this today, is the brassica patch. Not much to look at yet, but the defences are up so transplanting can start.
Now bad news. I've bought in six different varieties of tomato (which in a couple of wet grobags have been anchoring down my plastic "walk in" green/Wendy house ) . Of the six one has been causing me concern:
Today I steeled myself and chopped the offending plant down. It looks like blight, to me. If the rest go the same way I won't be growing tomatoes again. (I last grew them about 15 years ago)
Now something almost miraculous. Here's a picture of our apple tree. About four years ago we squished our Christmas mistletoe berries over the bark of our apple tree, more in hope than in expectation. We watched. Nothing happened. Lo and behold I was spending part of my bank holiday removing the under/over growth from our back lot when I spotted these non characteristic apple leaves - Cue the Allelujah Chorus...
Here's Edinburgh Castle and the Firth of Forth just discernable in the background, taken while walking the dog this weekend:
Last of all. I'm throwing away my "instant" pH tester. It's been telling me the soil is acid, no matter how much lime I've put on it. This week I finally got around to doing the chemical test for the first time ever. The result looks pretty clear to me!
Boy going back to work is going to be boring tomorrow.
Friday, 28 May 2010
Missed the coverage from Chelsea last night - busy planting out onions, leeks and fennel. Despite the rain and hail I whipped out the camera to take this low light snap of a neighbour's rhubarb array. How can you resist that???
Here's another favourite!
Monday, 24 May 2010
Let's see if it works this time! I wouldn't normally bother but this is a "heritage" variety and I'd like to see if I couldn't keep it going.
On the subject of failure (hate to dwell on it, but how else am I going to learn) my early start on the brassicas this year turned out to be a waste of effort. The red cabbage on the right was sown on 21st March in modules on a windowsill. The red cabbage on the left was sown outdoors (and covered with fleece). Despite its later start the outdoor grown seedlings are so much better!
So my efforts with starting brassica early indoors have convinced me not to try it again.
In fact the whole tray was a bit of a disappointment - except for the parsley and lettuce which I transplanted - hence the empty tray.
The cells are too small (although no roots were showing through the drainage holes)
The temperature was too hot
there wasn't enough light
The potting compost was too rich for them.
I overwatered them
They got a shock when they got put outdoors
I should have potted them up or planted them out sooner
All in all its too much of a waste of time. I'm going to avoid this experience next year.
This was the starting point (in reverse order):
All (brassicas) for nought.
For the record
Time spent last weekend 4.5 hrs
This weekend 4.5 hrs
On the plus side - No money spent!
Monday, 17 May 2010
Get Down and Boogie
Today I analysed my bean experiment results. Which scar orientation scored highest?
The "score" is like a school sports day. The winner gets 8 points, second 7,down to 1 for last place (but 0 for non finishers). If there's a dead heat for any positions the points allocated for each tied position are shared equally amongst the tied competitors. There were some non starters. All the pea beans failed(!) so my trial sample was down from 88 to 80. Six of those remaining failed. I've adjusted the average score for each orientation group to remove failures (as these might be down to other factors).
Still the Downs are the clear winners. In fact two of each other group failed, but none from Downs. So either Downs are clear winners, or less emphatic winners but less likely two fail. My view is that I have two reasons to sow my beans scar side down in future.
And in case you would like more detail here are the results in full (but needing magnification - just click on the picture)
Hope you enjoyed my little experiment. It was fun, but I'm relieved its over - and produced a result. (Anyone who knows enough about statistical significance is welcome to pick up the analysis for me.)
Saturday, 15 May 2010
Love a duck
I've added a couple of comparison pictures taken today to the "It's not Rocket Science" entry. I'll be doing the analysis of the results soon.
It's such a lovely morning I got a bit snap happy today.
Do you know what this is?
Answer: Pasque Flower (Latin name Pulsatilla) Credit to Izzy and Mojo!
When the sun shines walking the dog feels like a walk in the park
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Jack Frost and the Beanstalk
Like everyone I've been contending with the nip of frost lately. Yesterday there was snow on the hills outside Edinburgh (The Pentlands) until the afternoon! I've mounded my spuds and covered my coriander with fleece. But back at home I've lost faith in my plastic "mini"/"walk in" greenhouses and have been carting trays of seedlings indoors overnight. One or two beans have gone a bit yellow at the edges but they're still comming on strong despite the day/night temperature variation under plastic. Maybe this weekend will be the turn...
In the meantime the keen eyed among you will spot a new link I've added (rather apositely in the Links section) to a highly commendable site: http://igrowveg.com/. Tracey, aside fom being a model horticulturalist, clearly has a "dot com" web capability and an admirable enthusiasm for have-a-go science, however banal. I am complemented that she's featured my Quixotic escapade on her site. Have a look!
And to shake of the frosty gloom
Here's some spring flowers in the wild today:
Sunday, 9 May 2010
As Returning Officer ....
Oh take a look yourself:
Here's a count of some of the ballot papers:
And here's the happy candidates.
And just in case you haven't got it yet, The parties standing are:
BLDF - Barlotti
PL - Painted Lady
SE - Scarlet Emporer
Other candidates participating are from:
PB - Pea Bean
DFB - Dwarf French Bean
DRKB - Dwarf Red Kidney Bean
Their showing hasn't been very good so far.
The votes are not all in yet so a result cannot be declared on the main issue about orientation, but the first ward to return a result is Scarlet Emporer, and the first of those to emerge was orientation "down".
I promise to give a more sober statistical analysis once the results are all in.
Thursday, 6 May 2010
State of Emergence
Let me take down the details
Runner Bean Scarlet Emporer is the quickest off the mark.
You'd think it was easy to tell when a seed had emerged? Well, I've discovered beans grumble for a bit before they erupt.
Then they stick their necks out
before lifting their head.
Spot the dilemma:
So, I've decided that (for the purposes of this experiment) a bean seed has only "emerged" once the first two leaves have lifted above the soil level.
Sunday, 2 May 2010
Swifts Arrive in Edinburgh
I've chalked up two hours at the plot and £10 on sundries. I've learnt (rather too late) that I should be recording a running total as I go along because otherwise I'll have to trawl through a year of my posts...