Monday, 25 May 2015

Too Busy for Photos?

What a busy weekend on the plot! We managed to get a lot done as there was no rain all weekend and, although warm, the cloudy sky meant that the sun didn't bake us and make it too hard to work.
In fact, I was so busy today I didn't get a chance to take many photos - just this cinnabar moth. They are so pretty and their caterpillars don't eat veggies so are welcome on the plot.
I sowed the following, while Jamie dug Plot3:
  • Coriander - direct into the ground, near the carrots.
  • Big Smile sun flowers - big flower, short stem. These looked good in pots last year. They're in small pots in the greenhouse at the moment.
  • Calendula Sherbet Fizz - sowed them into modules for transplanting all over the place.
  • Mantanghong Chinese Radish - forgot we had these exciting things. I sowed direct into the ground but covered with mesh to offer some protection (though pollen beetles normally cause the most damage to these types of crop).
I also potted on the Cornells Bush Delicata squash and Defender courgettes which were in tiny pots.
Plot 3 is still turning out a lot of weed and roots but Jamie dug a good area where we should be able to plant a pumpkin quite soon. We have a few coming on nicely in the greenhouse.

Our chilli, bell pepper and tomato plants are surviving at home for the timebeing. Hopefully in June we'll take them up to their final home in the greenhouse..
Oh! And, all 12 florence fennel were still standing - just one dead slug!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Loving Life on the Allotment

Two sessions on the plot today as it was so warm and pleasant. In the morning there were lots of plotholders on site tending, planting and sowing which is so good to see. The worked plots on site are looking great at this time of year.
I made a pretty salad at lunchtime from the radish and salad leaf that I had to move in the raised bed. It may be small but it was a hot little plateful with chives and par-cel for extra flavour.

We got a lot done on the second warm, dry day of this bank holiday weekend. Jamie mowed and we trimmed the edges of the grass paths in an attempt to keep the slugs at bay.
Rhubarb is doing rather well this year
I planted out 12 of my fennel (florence - bulb) seedlings - really hope there are still 12 when we go up tomorrow. I added some slug pellets and mesh to stop the birds eating the pellets (or the disgusting remains of poisoned slugs). I have a second lot of seedlings which don't have their second leaves yet, so they can go out in a few weeks time.
Florence fennel in the raised bed
I potted on the French marigolds and the Russian Giant sunflowers. The marigolds will go all over the place as they're so bright and pretty. They're also going alongside our sprouts as they are meant to deter whitefly.

They'd probably be ok going in the ground, but we haven't sorted out where they're going yet, so we're hardening the sunflowers off outside along with the leek seeds and sprout seeds which won't appreciate the heat in the greenhouse.

The courgette and squash really want out too, but they're heading to have a little more waiting to do.
The wild flowers, radish, stocks and Silverskin onions that we sowed last week are up! And 3 little gherkins have germinated - hope the slugs leave this second sowing alone...
The Tenerife potatoes in the bags and the ground are looking ok (well, the foliage is). We're not sure if there may be a frost later this week, so we're holding off earthing up until we know.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Not All Weeds are Weedy

This one certainly isn't - Horsetail (Equisetum arvense). It's an interesting plant which has been around since prehistoric times and will likely be around on Plot 3 (our new one) forever! It grows through spores from cone-like tips, earlier in the season, and through its creeping roots (rhizomes) now.
You can see that the blue-black stem looks dead but left in the ground a shoot will soon appear ...
...followed by green growth. The resultant fairy forests really are very pretty, but not in the middle of our vegetable plot. The weed has ~2m deep roots and pulls nutrients from deep down in the earth, so doesn't actually cause a whole lot of problems to other plant growth ( this space).
The 'leaves' break into sections. These leaves are silica-rich and can be used for strenghthening your nails and hair and stopping bleeding. All this information may be tested at some point...though probably not through ingestion (at least not by me!). More likely It's used in Japan for polishing wood and metal - I did use it once to polish stainless steel - but I think the vinegar and bicarb were doing most of the work!
We got about 2 bags of weed and roots out of that area and then dug a couple of barrows of manure in. That should encourage the worms to do their bit and then we're going to plant some broad beans on that part of the plot.
We found a lot of these tubers - they look rather like oca. I think they belong to a weed, but not sure what sort. It looks like forget-me-not but I don't remember the roots looking like that.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Fresco Como una Lechuga!

(Corrections are expected and appreciated!!)
Este blogpost es para mis amigos de curso de espanol. Estoy hablando siempre de mi huerta tan  aqui lo es! 
Eses nosotros dos huertas; de 125m2 en total
Hace el sitio en Hungerford desde 2009. Jamie, mi pareja, y yo hemos cultivido vegetales aqui desde el principio. Hay mas que 100 otras jardineros al sitio.
El Marsh Lane Sitio

Este año hemos comenzado una huerta nueva - otros 50m2. Es muy dificil cavar.
Huerta Numero 3
Aqui cultivamos nuestra ajo y ensalada.
Estan las patatas de Tenerife. Le parece frio si hace mal tiempo! Son mas pico que los otras patatas.
Papas arrugadas
Estoy esperando este año cultivamos muchas vegetales y podamos hablar de las! Cebollas, tomates, ajos, habas verdes, pepinos y calabacíns. Delicioso!

Si teneis suerte habéis unas fresas pronto!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Signs of Things to Come

So after catching the sun yesterday (naughty - I didn't put any suncream on) I was quite relieved that it wasn't so sunny today (that isn't something anyone would normally hear me say, but I've got transplant clinic on Wednesday!!). We had a lovely few hours on the site this afternoon and enjoyed chatting to other plotholders.

We sowed some wild flowers at the back of Plot 8 and Jamie sowed night stocks at the front, by the bench, so hopefully we'll have some warm fragrant evenings on the plot this year! Maybe eating strawberries - look at that little beauty! (PLEASE don't let there be another frost!!)
Not so busy today. Though I did plant out a few asparagus pea plants - along the front of the plot as the flowers are so pretty and they need to be accessible to get all those delicious pods picked when they're still small and tasty.
Also, rainbow chard (a couple of plants of each colour: yellow, pink, orange & red) which are the other side of the same quarter, again for easy access as I like chard raw in salads so eat it regularly. And it looks really stunning if the sun catches it right.
The remaining seedlings I've potted on as replacements if the planted plants disappear or as spares for fellow plotholders if they want them... They're looking a little sad immediately after transplanting but they should cheer up in a couple of days.
This is our Tiger Nuts pot - known as Chufa in Spain. They make a lovely drink called Horchata which I really enjoyed in Tenerife. Hopefully in the late Autumn we'll get some chufa and be able to make our own... The grass-like plant has to be kept wet, hence the green trug-thing...with the escape route for the insects which are always drawn to water then drown in it! I saw a frog today too so perhaps he'll fancy a dip.
Our rhubarb is still going strong, giving us plenty of stalks whenever we want it - these raspberry red plants are definitely worth growing as the rhubarb stays red after cooking.