Posted by: flat_bob | July 24, 2008

Raspberries Recover from Transplant

Keen readers will know that I shifted some raspberry canes back in March this year. They were in the way of the fence we were building. I didn’t expect to get any fruit from them this year as I thought they were tricky to grow and wouldn’t have liked the manhandling.

Well, apart from weeding around them I’ve done nothing to the raspberries since planing them, but to my surprise I’m getting quite a bit of fruit off them.

I’ve not put a cage around them so the birds have been nibbling, I wont be getting a big harvest. But there are enough there to pick one or two every time I go past.

The question is what to do with them now? Do I cut them back so they fruit again next year, do I only cut back the fruiting canes, or do I not cut at all? I’ll have to get the book out…

Posted by: flat_bob | July 23, 2008

Carrots, Straight and True

I’ve managed to grow carrots!

So OK, carrots are really cheap to buy in the supermarket, and they are much bigger and fatter than these. That’s not the point. Growing your own carrots which are straight, long, orange and devoid of any root-fly damage is harder than it seems. Last year we failed. So to be pulling these beauties out of the soil fills my heart with joy!

The raised bed with sieved soils and coffee groundings has been a success, thanks to the wet summer we have had so far. I haven’t been to the allotment as much as would have been necessary to water it had it been dry, so the regular rain has really helped. Time will tell if the root-fly does any damage before the carrots get big enough for a proper harvest, but so far so good.

These chaps are small. Success should not be measure against the produce in the supermarket but against the standards you set yourself. By my criteria, these carrots are first class!

Posted by: flat_bob | July 22, 2008

Forgotten Onions

I’d forgotten I’d planted these spring onions. They went in a few months ago and took a while to get going; during that time my mind moved onto other plants. But as I was glancing at the shallots I spied these bulging Alliums. It was a very pleasant surprise.

So into salads and stir-fry’s they go. Now that I’ve grown some spring onions I want to grow more. I’m putting little rows of spring onion seed into gaps vacated by other harvested veg. Anything that grows succesfully without any input by me is very welcome.

Posted by: flat_bob | July 21, 2008

That Shallot

It is with great joy that I have dug up the shallots. The joy is because I doubted they would ever grow, but grow they did, and they grew well. For some reason that I cannot recall we planted the shallot sets far too deep in the soil. Subsequently they did not show for well over a month. We also worried that they were planted too early – they had to put up with the late frosts. Being so deep probably saved them from the frost but also kept them cooler for longer as the soil at depth takes longer to heat up. Anyway, they eventually popped their heads above the soil and have been growing happily ever since.

They’ve grown in the bed that we spread manure on in the spring. That seemed to have worked as they have pretty large bulbs. I dug them out at the weekend and have left them to dry out before taking them home.

The main onions are coming on well and will need pulling before too long. But for now these little chaps will do.

Posted by: flat_bob | July 20, 2008

The Season of Plenty

It seems that at this time of year all of the veg bloggers out there publish photos of their vegetable harvests and writing about the successes or otherwise of the growing season. Not wanting to miss out, I thought I would start to write a few posts like this myself.

So to start off, the potatoes. Its been a fantastic year for my potatoes. I’ve written a number of posts about the fantastic growth my plants have put on, but green growth on potatoes count for nothing unless it is being converted into white growth beneath the soil. And so it has been…

This is the haul from one row, enough to fill a small paper sack. I’ve got eight rows like this, so I guess I’ll be eating a few potatoes over the coming weeks.

Posted by: flat_bob | July 8, 2008

We Win!

OK. This is my last post onĀ  the strawberries. We’ve been picking stawberries for about the week now and apart for the odd one which has got a bit too damp, its been a huge success. Unlike most of what I grow, I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of eating strawberries.

Strawberry success

Strawberry success

Posted by: flat_bob | July 6, 2008

British Red Cross Open Garden Scheme

My mum and dad’s garden was the location of a BBC Newcastle show this afternoon. You can listen again to it here (click on ‘Garden Mania with Marian Foster’). If I was better organised I would have told you beforehand that the garden was open this afternoon as part of the British Red Cross Open Garden Scheme. So unfortunately you’ve missed the chance of visiting this garden, but you could find another garden to visit, perhaps on a slightly drier day, whilst also raising money for the British Red Cross.

Posted by: flat_bob | July 2, 2008

Courgette Reluctance

Courgette Flower

Courgette flowers sure look pretty and according to the likes of Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fernley Wittingstall they taste pretty good too. But Miss M says we will have to wait until we try deep frying them (phew!) as she wants the fruit. Apparently she is on a courgette fast in preparation for the feast of fruit we’ll be getting in a couple of weeks. We’ve got about five courgette plants on the plot just on the verge of producing a glut. Now in all honesty I’m not a huge fan of courgette, so I’ve been on a courgette fast since about this time last year and I’m not looking forward to breaking it. But break it I will, at least for one meal. After that friends of mine will most likely be getting a bag full of courgettes every time they see me, as I doubt even Miss M could eat all of the produce these plants are about to spew out!

Posted by: flat_bob | June 30, 2008

Potato Forest

I’m really impressed with the potato plants this year.

28th June

28th June

I’m not going to dig any up for another two weeks just to let the little beauties beneath the soil put on a touch more girth. These are all earlies, which take a bit longer to come to fruition here up north compared with some of you in the south. It was a slow start…

3rd April

3rd April

..but we got there in the end. I’ll post a photo of the first crop as soon as I dig it. I can’t wait!

Posted by: flat_bob | June 28, 2008

Insects

Thanks to Simon at The Plot Thickens for keeping us entertained all week with his images for National Insect Week (23rd to 29th June). It’s hard to take photos of insects, especially when your camera is rubbish at macro shots, but I made it my mission today. Here are the results…

moth

This chap was hiding on the plastic which covers up the tools (no shed yet!). I wasn’t sure what type of moth it was until I got my book out at home – it looks worryingly like the Cabbage Moth (Mamestra brassicae). Not good to see, especially as we have just put some cabbages in! It soon flew from my hand onto someone else plot. Not sure if I would have killed it had I known what it was, but I certainly feel guilty of letting it fly onto someone elses patch!

Spider

OK, I know spiders aren’t insects, although they are arthropods just like insects are; but seeing as I took this photo today, and I’m pretty happy with it, I’m going to include it! This is a wolf spider, possible of the Pardosa genus, although I’m not certain. It’s carrying its egg sac from where we disturbed it.

Ant

Hard to see the insects on this one, but this is an ants nest. The white bean-like objects are the eggs which the ants are frantically moving away deeper into the compost bin, where this photo was taken. The compost has a plastic sheet over the top which I had removed, much to the ants displeasure. Not sure if these guys do any harm on the allotment, but as long as they stay in the compost bin I don’t mind.

Our friendly blackbird seemed to be liking national insect week too, gobbling up it’s fair share of critters. I love bug hunting at any time, so thanks to national insect week for giving me a special reason to look out for the mini beasts.

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