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Friday, November 03, 2006

I have been trying my new battery powered strimmer on the grass paths between the plots. I'd love to report that I have trimmed them all beautifully....but it isn't that good a result. I have done about a sixth of what needs doing. That took 15 minutes which was all the power pack did on its first go. I am hoping the battery gets better with subsequent charges.

So....all in wasn't nearly as good as I was hoping. But it wasn't as bad as I'd feared it might be.

Whilst we have had visitors it hasn't been possible to get to the plot to finish my Autumn tidy up. But I have been a bit busy in the kitchen garden in snatched moments. Today I cleared one bed completely of all the residue from sweetcorn and courgettes and squashes this summer, and weeded it thoroughly. This bed will be sown with garlic, onion sets and broad beans for the spring in the next few days.

I went to the Isle of Wight Garlic Farm this morning with my guests and got 5 seed garlic bulbs. They were £1.50 each or 5 for £6. I used their bulbs last year for my stunning garlic crop, and am anxious for similar success next year. Last year I bought one of their special gardener's packs of a head of each of the varieties they sell. Unfortunately the dog got hold of them and wrecked the bags they were in as well as eating half of the bulbs so I have no idea which variety was which, so have no idea which was the most successful. So I chose Albigensian Wight as I was seduced by the blurb! Apparently this is a soft necked, large, juicy, early white garlic, suitable for autumn planting, which will be ready in June. It is the garlic of the heretic Cathars from the Languedoc. It has touches of purple on the skin.
To find out more about The Garlic Farm visit their website at

Whilst my German friends were here they helped me to sort out some big jobs in the kitchen garden. There was a big hibiscus bush and some other shrubs right where I want one of the two raised beds still to be built. We chopped it down and pulled out the root. They helped fix the shredder, then we shredded the lot and laid the shreddings on the paths between the raised beds. I now have a tidy spot for the new long bed. We just have to get the planks and build it now.

I am delighted to report that each day I can pick a super salad-leaves salad from my back garden and polytunnel. It consists of cut and come again lettuce, rocket, mizuna, baby spinach, baby chard, beetroot leaves, basil, fennel, dill, mint leaves, parsley, parcell, nasturtium flowers and leaves and lambs lettuce. I still have cucumbers and peppers. Very satisfactory!!
I am also harvesting chard, red and yellow; beetroot; carrots; spinach; spring onions and leeks. The Brussels sprouts and broccoli are not ready yet but coming. The cabbages at the allotment are growing fast on the south facing slope.

Now that our visitors are over til the end of the month I can get back to the plot and continue the tidy up. I have a lot of work re-siting the compost heaps and then laying out the future no-dig beds. The manure needs carting to the new beds and spreading (although I am not convinced that that is a good idea unless I cover the whole lot afterwards with plastic to stop the rain leaching out all the goodness). And I need to transfer the rhubarb to another spot.

I also need to get some more salads started in the tunnel for winter use. I have ordered some Winter lettuce seeds from the Organic Gardening catalogue...together with the Bio-dynamic Gardening Calendar for 2007. I am hoping to use their dates for planting next year and get even better results than I did this year.

I hope to be a more faithful blogger now that DH is recovered from his op and is doing half of the dog walking again, and now that the summer influx of visitors has abated.


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