Sunday, 1 November 2015

A day late

I had hoped to finish digging over the plot by the end of October. It was very wet so I had to wait until today to finish the main dig. There are still a couple of patched left next to the cabbages and leeks which will make picking them easier and they will get dug over when the respective crops are finished.

There are a few jobs to do still. There's a fence post that needs renewing, one post supporting the raspberries looks rotten and some of the frames I use for covering plants need mending where the joints are broken. I should dig out the compost bins too, but that sounds like a job for a sparkling winter day.

Now I need to draw the plan for the site for next year so I can start looking for seeds and plugs next year.

Friday, 23 October 2015


I spent a half hour this morning digging some more of the plot; there's not much left to dig over now. There is a big pile of stuff to burn and then the ground that is on needs digging.

For the second time in two visits I saw a shrew today. The last time it was in the shed. At first I thought it was a mouse, but it didn't run away and hide, it just pottered around the floor of the shed. When I got a look at it and could see it was longer and thinner than a mouse and it had the long pointed nose of a shrew. It then came to the open door, scampered out and went under the shed. Today there was a shrew next to the fruit bushes. I expect it was the same one, but who knows? This time it ambled under a blackcurrant bush and then I lost sight of it.

I hope it's happy on plot 18.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

What's left

The dig continues, in fact it's not far from complete. Some parts of the plot can't be dug over in the same way, such as under fruit bushes which can only really be weeded. I've just dug up the last beetroot, which looks very good. Other than the permanent stuff like fruit bushes and asparagus, all that will be left in the ground are some cabbages, purple-sprouting broccoli and leeks.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The big dig

Autumn is firmly here and the digging is under way. The warm days of late September and the unusually warm early October have turned into damp and cool autumn days. I've cleared the north end of the plot and dug it over, now I'm steadily working along the rest.

The plot has provided a lot of fruit & veg as always and, like every year, there have been successes and disappointments. Soft fruit was great and my freezer is still bursting with it. Broad beans were very good, French beans not so good. Mangetouts were very good, though the plants were not quite the 2 metres tall the packet promised. Early potatoes were good and they helped clear a bit of overgrown ground. Carrots grown from plugs don't work, cabbage and broccoli do and have been good. I've just taken some late beetroot which is excellent - I hope there will be a bit more yet. Lettuces were really great, spring onions didn't sprout. Spinach went too quickly to flower so I didn't get much of that, but sweetcorn was the best ever with many full cobs and the sweetest taste imaginable. Squashes have completely failed to produce any fruits. Asparagus was a super crop, but the stems that grew through the summer were weedy - I hope it springs up again next year. Onions were a modest size and a few had white mildew around the roots. This afflicted the whole site. They taste fine. The purple sprouting broccoli has already flowered but I'll leave that standing and hopefully it will produce some heads at the end of the winter. The leeks look great, I might take a few this week.

I have a cutting of thornless brambles from Tracy on the plot - it seems to be surviving - and another she gave me I have potted up at home as a split strategy.

I'm happy slowly turning the ground; it's easier than fiddly weeding. The plot looks so much better for being dug over. I hope to have it complete by the end of October, but if some takes until November that's not a problem. I now need to think about next year's plan ...

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Fruit fest

There was loads of fruit to pick today, blackcurrants, raspberries and now gooseberries too. More mangetouts too. There are a few French beans forming and the sweetcorn are beginning to show some tassels for the pollen to fall onto.

All of us plot holders got a letter to remind us to tidy out plots and keep them free from weeds. I would prefer that if a plot holder is not dealing well with their plot that someone from the parish council contacted them to find out if there is a problem. Sending a letter vaguely threatening eviction seems a pompous way to behave, but that's what I would expect from the parish council.

I will put extra effort into weeding, I would be very sad to lose my plot.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Fruit and a bug

The hot spell has been followed by warm weather with some rain at times - ideal for growing. The broad beans have all come on well with loads of swollen pods. I picked loads of pods today, most will now be frozen for later in the year. The raspberries are producing lovely berries while the blackcurrants are better than ever. Gooseberries are just ripening and in a couple of days there will be a glut of them too. I've made some great blackcurrant jam and frozen lots of extra berries too.

I've dug some of the potatoes, and they are really good, but not that many tubers on each plant. The French beans are still behind, with no pods and only a couple of flowers. The sweetcorn is short and stubby, with the start of male flowers showing, but no cobs yet. I hope there is still some pollen when the cobs need it. Onions look good with no flowers, but they are not turning yet, so they seem a bit late to me. The manges touts have already been prolific with much more to come. It looks like the cold May and June has played a big part this year.

On the next plot Louise discovered a bug of some kind on her blackcurrants, I only managed one decent picture of it. I have no real idea what it is. At first glance it looked like a ladybird, but there's no obvious head or legs. I wondered if it is a shield bug, but again the shape is wrong. It could be a scale insect, but it's a bit big and a bit thick. I wonder if it's the young stage of something.  So I'm puzzled. Louise found three on one of her blackcurrant bushes, I hope they're not harmful.

Edit: I'm reliably informed that it is a ladybird pupa, so beneficial not harmful at all (Thanks Jerry).

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Hot stuff

There's the beginning of a heat wave just now. I popped up to see how things are coping and all seems well so far, indeed heat is just what sweetcorn and squashes need, so they are picking up nicely.

The peas are looking good too. The plants are big and strong and flowers are appearing all over the stems. A few have developed into pods.

The flowers are colourful and the pods are very pale green. They taste great.