End of season summary – part 2

We had some mixed success with the onion family. Garlic was a bit on the small side, but we did have some decent onions (from sets I think). Leeks have been good, none have bolted (so far).

Roots have been a different story, apart from a few parsnip (luckily, no burns this time!), salsify and scorzonera. Will leave a salsify and a scorzonera to flower (they are pretty) in the spring. Carrots and beetroots decimated, both germinated OK, but something ate the beetroot leaves and didn’t recover (not even a golf ball size root). Carrots looked sad.

Potatoes were OK, although many were holey (slugs, other things), but we did have some!

Only the early sowings of peas did any good, but we did well with broad beans, and runner beans. Didn’t have that many French ones this time.

We had plenty of marrows (marrows, and not overgrown courgettes), and a couple of squash things. Marrows have kept well. We only harvested one pumpkin, was too late putting something underneath another pumpkin and so it was eaten by various creatures, turning into a mush gradually. Still, the pumpkin we harvested was nice.

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Spring, or do I mean summer?

Winter disappeared pretty quickly (no snow for us, although we did have a cold spell), but perhaps Summer has barged in knocking Spring out of the way.

We had a daffodil in flower for St. David’s Day, yay! and the daffs look great.

We now have a proper greenhouse up. Seeds have only just been sown in there, including aubergines, peppers, tomatoes, some lettuce, and herbs. Still awaiting some seeds on order (only ordered last week after the greenhouse was glazed…) – more aubergines, peppers….

Down the plot, carrots, cabbages, calabrese have been sown. All the seed potatoes have been planted, as have the garlic and onion sets (apart from the ones I bought today, more on that later). The broad beans and peas are coming up too, from an earlier sowing. We still have overwintered produce – leeks, cabbages, purple sprouting broccoli, to harvest, yay!

Today, I went to a seed and craft fair. It was a beautiful day in the historic town of Conwy. There was a small seed company (from Lancashire) with a stall. They were selling seed potatoes, onion sets, shallots, plants, and seeds. I bought a few packets of seeds, willing to give them another go. I haven’t really had all that much success with their seeds (Spinach Renegade, Winter Squash- Butternut Ponca, Basils – no germination, whereas other companies’ basils will germinate but often not got further than the first couple of leaves)., but have gone for different vegetables this time (their last chance). Seeds bought to try are Coriander Chechnya, Pepper Marconi Yellow, Basella Ceylon/Indian Spinach, Salsify, Soy Bean Envy, and Okra Clemson’s Spineless. Also bought Stuttgart Giant onion sets (the white ones – Ebenezer?, I bought from them last year were not spectacular).

However, I hope they will fare better than the advice I overheard them giving. “Only their Witkiem broad beans could be sown now” but they also had The Sutton and Bunyards Exhibition for sale too. On my seasonal seed plan pages (not recently updated with more recent acquisitions), The Sutton can be sown November, December, January, February, March, April, May, and June. Whereas Bunyards Exhibition can be sown February, March and April. And other ones sowable from March to May. Maybe I should stick with the Organic Gardening Catalogue, Simpson’s Seeds, and the big names available in garden centres to top up with.

Off to the greenhouse to sow more seeds…

The weather

It has been cold, but we haven’t had the snow that fell in other parts of the UK. We were on the allotment briefly last Wednesday (1st) and there was ice on the pond. We cracked the ice and removed it from around the edges. Some of the plants were stuck to the ice, or growing through the ice.

We went back to the plot on Friday (3rd) and new ice had formed on the pond. The piece below wasn’t the thickest bit of ice, which was 4cm thick.

The plot is looking good. We popped down on Sunday (5th) and the pond ice had almost all melted away. We had a lot of rain over the weekend. Even a lot of snow on the hills/mountains of Snowdonia has melted.

We harvested some parsnips (the ground had also thawed since last week), and a lovely savoy-type cabbage. The brassicas has been good this season. The leeks still look good too with only a few bolting. I’ll leave those to flower.

Spring update

Things are coming along nicely. The weather can still get cold and there is still a risk of frost. The potatoes have been earthed up. We should have parsnips this year – the seedlings are doing well.
Fruit bushes and trees have has flowers and blossom on plus some fruit has even set. The bumblebees have been busy.
Things are looking good so far. There is a plastic cloche thing, under which there are lettuces and some other salad stuff.
Fingers crossed.

Ryton’s Potato Day

Just returned from Garden Organic’s Ryton Gardens where they held members’ Potato Day for 2010. Bought 100 seed potatoes (well, we were going to get 98 but my son wanted to make it a nice number so he chose a further 2 seed potatoes). Also took some seeds for the seed swap.

Today’s haul:

First Earlies – Accent, Foremost, Rubis, Sharpes Express, Ulster Sceptre, Winston

Second Earlies – Bintje, British Queen, Catriona, Edzell Blue, Kestrel, Yukon Gold

Maincrop – Dunbar Rover, Mayan Gold, Picasso, Rudolph

Late Maincrop – Arran Victory, Blue Danube, Fortyfold

Peas – Feltham First, Progress, Stephens’, Salmon Flowered

Broad Beans – Bunyards Exhibition, Witkiem Manita

Climbing French Beans – Selma Zelma

Shallots – Minogue, Mr. Stiff’s, Onion White, Yellow Moon

Onion – Batun, Rossa Savonese, and Red Baron (sets)

Garlic – Thermidrome

Lettuce – Bronze Arrow

Squash – Zapallito

Beetroot – Bull’s Blood

Achocha

I also met some people from Allotments 4 All community, which was nice.

Earlier this week, I was able to visit the allotment. I wanted to take a few pictures at the start of the year! Unfortunately, most of the leeks that weren’t already harvested were soft (frozen and then defrosted?) – perhaps they were an early or autumn variety.
Better news, I harvested the central head of purple sprouting broccoli, and a small romanesco cauliflower, plus a few leeks that survived the freeze.
Autumn planted onions, shallots and garlic have sprouted.

Weather here has been cold, and snow settled for a couple of weeks. Then, it thawed. Now, there has been a small sprinkling. I am looking forward to spring! Though perhaps the cold weather will kill off a number of pests & diseases.

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