Subscribe with Bloglines At last I've got my plot!: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Onion bed.

My cold/sore throat is somewhat better today, and whilst DH had his back turned I snuck out and weeded this bed in the back garden. These are my Autumn sown onions, shallots and garlic.

The garlic (nearest the camera) didn't show for months but is away now. I think only two corms have failed....and I did put in everything, even the tiny ones. I seem to remember they were "Solent Wight", from the local Garlic Farm.

The onion sets...50 of "Senshyu Yellow", are also doing well; as are the Shallots "Jermor" (10 of them) at the far end of the bed.

Having pulled out all the chickweed and other weeds I tickled up the surface with the trowel and loosened all tha hardpan skin caused by all the rain we have had this winter.

I'm feeling a bit happier now that I've done some weeding.

It was sunny whilst I was working but the sun went in when I got the camera out.....!
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Friday, February 27, 2009

Seed sowing at last!

The weather is milder and sunny and I am very very fed up with not being able to do the garden or the plot because I have been laid up with a cold/sore throat thingy. Today though DH "allowed" me to go into the polytunnel as it was very warm in there. So I took the opportunity to sow my February seeds.....!

It was beautifully warm in the tunnel and a pleasure to be out there....except that it still stinks of Jeyes Fluid.

(Top picture from right to left) I have now sowed

a whole rootrainer's worth of Sweet Peas (Spencer Mixed),

one of Broad Beans (Witkiem Manita, I have some already 1 ft high at the plot but these can be a following crop), and

one of Peas (Meteor).

Two small flats of onions....Walla Walla and Rjinsberger.

6 seeds of Sweet Pea "Knee High" (left over from last year)

3 modules of Dill

and I have potted on some plugs of Pulsatilla that came free with my spud order.

In the propagator which I will install indoors on the wndowsill are

Tomatoes (Auntie Madge from the Heritage Seed Library, Red Alert, Costuluto Fiorintino and randywine)

Aubergines (Calliope Hybrid, and Melanzana Violetta di Firenze.)


Luffas (loofahs)



So I don't feel so bad about my new season now as I am not too far behind.

I still need to finish re-organising the beds in the tunnel, and setting up the irrigation system. And I am desperate to get to the plot with some pallets to make my bed edges. Next week perhaps.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Polytunnel clean-up

As it was foggy and damp first thing I decided it would be a good day to organise the inside of the tunnel ready for the new season. I continued with re-arranging the bed layout in the tunnel and worked myself to a standstill with more earth shifting, but still haven't finished it.

With a very sore back I decided I didn't really want to sit about, so a standing up job would be in order. I started washing down all the staging with a Jeyes Fluid solution....and one thing led to another and I ended up washing all the walls inside and out, and the roof (with a broom, up the step-ladder). I ended up soaked to the skin (good thing it was mild today) and stinking of Jeyes Fluid. But it is done.
So....tomorrow I will go and finish re-arranging the inside....!

I didn't take any photos as it was very very dull. (I heard the fog horns of the shipping in the Solent all day...)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Forgot to take my camera

I forgot to take my camera to the plot today so I can't show you that half the plot is now ready for planting up. There are still 7 beds which need a lot of attention. I started digging the (this year's) brassica bed, but given that I had trodden it down well when I planted out the little cabbages etc, and the amount of rain we had in January, it was much too sticky for proper weeding. I like to dig and weed when the soil crumbles and can be shaken off the weed roots...and it was far from that today.
So I did some grass cutting along the edge of the communal path, finger weeded the rest of the beetroot bed, and spread the muck on bed 1 which has had a pile of manure on it since November. When I'd loosened the soil and spread the muck I took the covering off the next bed up and transferred it to bed 1. The next bed had a huge amount of manure spread on it in November and it looks to be in really good heart now.
Beds 1 to 4 are for the spuds this year. Bed 4 still has leeks in...which I will move soon. (I will heel them in in an unwanted (til courgette time) bed as recommended here

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More bed cleaning

Before and after pictures of today's efforts. I took the top photo yesterday afternoon, the bottom one this afternoon. I managed to clear two beds completely, and to do 2/3 of another and to finish the beetroot bed I started yesterday. The soil was quite easy to work with my long-handled weeding fork, but when I used the proper fork it was a bit too heavy underground.

With the deep beds it is relatively easy to get the weeds out by just loosening them a little with the long-handled weeding fork, then bend and pick them out. For this reason I am thinking of changing my mind and not doing a complete Gertrude Frank Companion planting method, but to use the same system within the beds. But I think I need to edge the beds with timber first.

The plot slopes almost imperceptibly towards the north; and I don't get any sun 'til after lunch. I think this makes the small slope on the back of each bed rather chilly....the plants don't seem to thrive and seem to stay damp. So I am considering partial terracing. I will make plank surrounds (from pallets) to the back 3 sides of the beds and leave the front (south) open. As I dig or weed I will rake the soil towards the north "wall" of each bed. This should level the soil, or even tilt the slope slightly towards the south in each bed. This should help it warm up quicker. Any stones that get raked to the back will be dropped onto the pat behind the wall. The paths will be kept weed free by hoeing as I endeavoured to do this year...mostly successfully.

The potatoes I am chitting are Charlotte and Desiree. I think that the quantity I have of each (30 tubers) would make for 4 rows right across the 4 of my beds will do for spuds this year. I will take some tubers for using in potato bags starting them off in the polytunnel....for an early crop. The rest will go in the plot as described but I must hunt up some info on how to companion plant them as monoculture doesn't seem to work on my plot. I feel that mixing plants in each bed will be better for the plants.

I hope to spend two hours at the plot again tomorrow....and later in the week will go pallet hunting...

Monday, February 16, 2009


A good opportunity presented itself for an extended period at the plot today....the time available coincided with settled weather, and the ground had dried enough to be off I went. Two and a half hours later I could see where I'd been.

Firstly I cut down the raspberry canes (waving at us in the background on the first picture), weeded round them and spread manure. I also weeded towards the fence and cleared the area where I grow the comfrey for the compost heap . So the second photo shows the state this corner now.
You can see some leafy canes in the foreground part of the photo. These are canes that were escaping towards the fence. I have re-sited them to continue the row. I was going to buy more canes but this "frugal" way of increasing the crop will produce more fruit as early as next year....I hope....without any expense!

The beetroot bed (foreground first photo) seemed to have grown as much as it was going to so I pulled all of them up and weeded that out. I also harvested a load of leeks (right bed disappearing out of shot in first picture) to bring home. I think I am going to have to move the leeks that are left to a holding bed further up the plot as I want the first 10 feet for the spuds under the new Gertrud Frank Companion planting system that I am intending to implement this year. I hope to start at the shed end of the plot and convert that half of it to the new system this year. My husband has started looking at the Mantis Tiller ready for rotovating the parts that have been paths for the last two years.....they are somewhat compacted. The beds don't need rotovating as they are now so perfectly cultivated having not been walked on for two years. (I am beginning to wonder if I am daft considering conversion to the new system as the beds are so soft now. Perhaps I should try companion planting in the existing beds. If I keep them as they are I want to add restraining edges...which means I need pallets to pull apart...etc...etc. Decisions! Perhaps I'll sleep on it....!)

I hope that tomorrow I can go back and do some more....plenty needs doing.
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I've been tagged

I've been tagged to produce a photo....4th photo in my 4th archive.....

Here it is!

Looking across the Solent towards Portsmouth, from Appley Park, Ryde, Isle of Wight

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It has started!

At last!! The veg growing year starts all over again. My seed potatoes arrived yesterday from J. Parker's (best price by miles!) and I have set them to chit in the shady end of the sun room.
So we are in business. Now I am waiting for the weather to improve before I set foot on the plot or go near the back garden beds. It has been phenomenally wet the past week, and now is not a good time to be out in the garden, and it isn't good to mess about with soil when it is that cold.
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