Saturday, 20 December 2014

Oh Rats

I went up to Plot 18 today to gather some leeks and parsnips. There were little holes here and there and all the parsnips had been dug up and eaten. There was a hole dug under the fence where the culprit got into the plot.

If I were to mention this to the parish council they might point the finger at rabbits as that is the only pest they seem to consider. In 2012 when lots of stuff got eaten, the fact that dead rats were found on the site, including on the parish council chairman's plot, was ignored as they blamed rabbits. The chairman then put out rat poison but claimed the problem was down to rabbits.

The parish council then dug up one of the four hedges surrounding the site, without the appropriate permission from the local authority and at the beginning of the bird nesting season, and, eventually, installed a fence. They have broken their promise and not reinstated the hedge. None of this has stopped root veg across the site, including my parsnips, from being eaten.

Rabbits did not dig under my fence as the hole is far too small for any rabbit to squeeze through, however rats would fit through nicely. The culprits didn't eat my leeks, the onion family make rats ill so they avoid them, but rabbits will eat the green tops of leeks.

What I want to know is that now the money has been spent, the 1997 Hedgerow Regulations broken, the Wildlife and Countryside Act ignored, the undertaking to reinstate the hedge forgotten and still the fence has not stopped my crops being eaten as most people on the site said, who's head will roll at the parish council?

Friday, 16 May 2014


Looks like I have asparagus beetles which are a serious pest. Not sure of the best way to deal with them.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


It has been very wet over the last couple of weeks, with very wet days and nights and very heavy showers too. The forecast is for higher pressure which might suppress the showers now, though the ground is so wet that any hint of sun rapidly raises more shower clouds.

I sowed purple sprouting broccoli and autumn broccoli. Both have suffered damping off - a fungal disease that kills the young plants. I have managed to rescue some autumn broccoli and potted it on but the purple is all dead. I've resown some more purple, but this time in separate pots. Cabbage is doing well, so not all brassicas were affected.

Sweet corn is doing well - I've just taken it up to the allotment green house to harden off alongside the leeks, which are also doing well. I have some so-called dwarf French beans that are already pretty big. The sugar snap peas are planted out and looking good.

I have got behind with weeding but the ground is so wet it is hard to work it. I hope a couple of dry days will sort that out and I can then catch up. Everything else will go out soon too. The self-sown parsnips are very strong and will need thinning when I can get on the land.

Not bad so far.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Spuds, leeks and cabbage

I put in a row of new potatoes today. The soil was warm. The surface is drying out, but lower down it was moist and crumbly. I dug a trench a spade-spit deep and planted the tubers into the soil at the bottom. A quick fill in and dragged some surrounding soil up over the row to start the banking up process.

At home I potted 60 leeks into pots. That may be a few more than I want, but few might not make it. I looked at both the autumn and purple-sprouting broccoli and both are not yet ready to pot on as they still only have their seed leaves.

I sowed some savoy cabbage seeds. I'm expecting more than I want, but that's the way it needs to be.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Every year there are firsts that mark the passage of the year. First rhubarb, first buds opening, first flowers on the gooseberries, in the early summer there are the first broad beans ready to eat, later in the year the first sweet corn to take home, and at this time of year it is the asparagus spears. I have taken my first asparagus of the year today and look forward to eating it later.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Onion sets

A couple of days ago I planted the onion sets at the prescribed spacing. I know Gary likes to increase the spacing which makes for bigger onions but I like smaller onions as they are more useful to me. I was just about to go when the rain started, so when it had stopped and the ground had dried a bit I pushed the sets into the freshly dug ground with the very top of their little bulbs just showing. I didn't cover them. That evening, and since, there has been spells of rain, sometimes heavy. That should hopefully kick them off into growing. A warmer, drier spell is forecast later this week which should help the onions and help me do some more tidying and digging.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Early progress

More digging and weeding to get things ready for planting, but still more to do. The murky air that has created air-quality warnings has spread to the plot today. The cool east wind did nothing to clear the murk.

At home the leeks are through and the hairpins are all straightening out. Autumn broccoli and purple-sprouting broccoli are both through and looking good. All of these will need potting up soon. The next round of seed-sowing should start next week.

The seed potatoes are chitting and I'm thinking of planting them in the next few days - their spot has been dug over.