Summer update

I had started keeping records of what was sown/transplanted/potted on/harvested and when, however I became lax and forgot to keep this up. My father had allotments and we kept records over 30 years ago. The first cauliflower I grew on his plot was one called Canberra and it was massive. The weight was recorded in the logbook but unfortunately, I cannot find it.

If I kept up record keeping, I would remember what did well. I did, I keep this blog updated regularly in its early days. Having neglected it, I now can’t remember which spuds did well, etc., in recent years.

Notes from this year:

  • Little Marvel is not as good/sweet/big as Greenshaft nor Douce Provence. They were sown in succession but were more or less ready the same time.
  • I pre-soaked some French Bean seeds as I had patchy germination last year. I think my saved seed is old and not 100% viable. The one Climbing French Bean did sprout up, and after planting out, there are already baby beans on them.
  • Leeks have been a success in most years but I sowed only a few this year, however the slugs and snails have eaten the seedlings.
  • Onions from sets, many have bolted. I did sow some seeds but they were sown in April and aren’t all that big.
  • Patty pans did really well last year but I have not sown any this. Instead, I have gone slightly overboard and now have many marrows-in-waiting.
  • Sweetcorn is not very tall. Started in good time, it might just be one of those years. A commercial maize field had a maze attraction, but one year, they had very short plants by their usual time of opening in July – about 2ft high,  and ours were around that height last month.

I was away again at the beginning of the sowing season, and practically all the toms/chillies I (or family) had sown failed. Cucumbers and watermelons are doing well, and we’ve had some cucumbers this year already. I have grown watermelons before but the fruit were not very big (about the size of a grapefruit, but that didn’t matter as there was flavour).

Have been away for a few weeks. I wonder how big the courgettes are. I have discovered a recipe for courgettes – they don’t taste all that courgettey if grated into olive oil/lemon juice/honey and poppy seeds.

Well hello there! Long time no blog.

The allotment over the last couple of years has not been as well maintained as it should have been. However, I hope that period is over. April saw some nice weather for getting down to the plot. I have been away from home and this has been the first week I have been able to get gardening.

While away, I visited a mainly outdoor museum and saw lots of harlequin ladybirds. I hadn’t noticed any where I live, but spotted my first one last week. I umm, accidentally killed it as I was trying to take photographs of it with my phone and moved the stem it was on. Oops. It was the only harlequin I came across so far on my plot. There are however plenty of 7-spot ladybirds and on my last visit to the plot, a couple of pairs of ladybirds were making more!

Seeds have been sown both indoors and on the plot. Tomatoes, chillis, aubergines, peas, beetroot, leafy things, cabbagey things, leeks and so forth.

Some potatoes have also been planted, obtained from the Shropshire Potato Day held at Harper Adams University. We have been to this Potato Day for a few years now and we’ve come away with most of what we wanted (some varieties do go quickly).

I haven’t done a proper seed order for this growing season. I still have seeds from previous years and from the veg. gardening magazines. I did however receive my Heritage Seed Library order in good time. Hard to decide sometimes what varieties to get. I like to try new things and the sorts of things not generally sold in supermarkets – have you ever seen Pink Fir Apple potatoes (for eating, not growing) in the big supermarkets? I remember as a child being fascinated by Tigerella mentioned in The Vegetable Expert. After hounding my father, we finally got some seeds – they did well!

Potatoes!

We bought seed potatoes this year from the potato day held at the Harper Adams University.

1st Earlies

  • Accent
  • Sharpes Express
  • Winston
  • Red Duke of York
  • Maris Bard
  • Casablanca
  • Amandine

2nd Earlies

  • Saxon
  • Bonnie
  • Maxine
  • Kestrel
  • Alouette

Early Maincrop

  • Red Robin
  • Linda
  • Caesar
  • Red Emmalie

Maincrop

  • Jelly
  • Chicago
  • Record
  • Pink Fir Apple
  • Arran Victory
  • Shetland Black
  • Highland Burgundy Red
  • Setanta
  • Carolus
  • Salad Blue

Didn’t mean to go overboard on maincrop but it happened. Oh well, we’ll see what this year brings when it happens!

Looking for right words to complain

I look forward to reading seed catalogues and deciding which varieties to grow. I decided to go with Nickys Nursery for the bulk of this year’s seed order because of their variety on offer of chillis. I ordered other vegetables too… including broad beans.

granov

The order came quickly but I was furious that this packet of seeds, described on the website shown in the image, had a label saying the seed had been treated with THIRAM. As an almost organic gardener, I find this totally unacceptable. I mentioned this in a gardening group on facebook -the response, just wear gloves when you sow. Surprised at the blasé attitude, I’m sure they’d complain if they ordered peanuts for eating and got sent those not for human consumption but suitable for feeding the birds.

I haven’t yet got round to writing a formal complaint, but they certainly will not be getting any more seed orders from me. DO NOT ORDER FROM NICKYS NURSERY is my advice.

August!

Record keeping for this year is non-existent, again! Although I do have some sowing dates. Labels also aren’t all that up-to-date. There were labels with the potatoes, but they’ve been earthed up and covered! Who knows what the potatoes are!? Next year, map it out on paper so we know what is what and where.

Need to buy more netting, and this time quality. Sparrows and flutterbies got in to the brassica patch!

One of the other allotmentholders said his netted beetroot were good. He also said the lack of rain (and also, we no longer have running water on site…) has led to very tasty and great crop of new potatoes.

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