Friday, 17 September 2021

Tomato Crimson Plum F1

I have to agree with the Dobie web site, in that the new member of the Crimson family Crimson Plum F1 launched this year is delicious and I have to say when all the tomatoes out on plots on our little allotment site turned their toes up at the beginning of last month due to blight, the Crimson Plum F1 just kept growing and so far has not shown any indication of blight.  I've had a few harvests of red tomatoes from it in the last couple of weeks. 

I did have to remove the Crimson Crush and the new Crimson Cherry because of Blight out on the plot. I still have all three however in my plot 1 greenhouse in Quadgrows. 

Note to self Take the photo before harvesting all the red tomatoes next time!

This remarkable fruit is ideal for pots, baskets or any containers, reaching heights of 150-200cm (59-79"); spread 40-50cm (16-20"). On my plot I only had 1.2m bamboo but have bought some longer poles for next year as I will be growing these outside again. In fact they have done better outside on the plot than they have in the greenhouse so far. 

The Crimson Plum will harvest from July through to October, a 'Roma' style plum with a rich, deep flavour. It has solid, meaty flesh with few seeds and is good for cooking and using in sauces, but with tomatoes at a shortage this year because of the blight on the allotment and home I have been eating these with my lunch for the last week. 435194

Dobies - Tomato Crimson Plum F1 -  Code 435194 - 10 Seeds - £3.99 

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

In My Seed Box For 2022 - Beans


Since 2013 I have grown a number of types & varieties of Beans, but this is what I have in my seed box for 2022

Self Saved & Seed Circle - Bean Seeds last 5-8 years with good storage 

Blue Beans
Cara La Virgen de la Baneza Leon (Climbing French Bean)

Cherokee Trail of Tears (Climbing French Bean)
Crimson Flowered (Broad Bean)
Kew Blue
Major Cook's (Climbing French Bean)
Nun's Belly Button (Bush Bean)
Ryder's Blue CoCo (Climbing French Bean)
Scarlet Emperor (Runner Bean)
Vermont Cranberry (Bush Bean)

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets

Scarlet (Runner Bean)                 - 50 Seeds - Free with GYO Mag - Mr Fothergill's
Stardust (Runner Bean)               - 45 Seeds - Free Trial - Marshalls - Sow By 9/2020

Growing Selection for 2022

My annual runner is normally Scarlet Emperor as they normally provide a good yield and a single panel in the wall at Mill Green Allotment provides me with ample runners for my needs but also for passing on to my sister, eldest daughter and our neighbour.

In 2018 I trialled Marshalls new Runner bean Stardust. Due to my leg injury in 2019 I never actually started off any Runner beans, however nature being nature and the fact that I didn't get around to clearing the bean bed beans self seeded and I ended up with a small crop anyway

Now I have additional beds in on Plot 1 in 2022 I will try some of the French climbing beans as well as Nun's Belly Button,  Vermont Cranberry & Pickwick on the French or Bush Bean front.

New in 2021
 French Bean (Climbing) Lazy Housewife - 50 seeds - An exciting and well named introduction to the range! Originally introduced in 1885 Lazy Housewife is a delicious heritage climbing bean variety that has outstanding flavour. Introduced as the first bean that didn’t require destringing, this variety was quick to be given the name ‘Lazy Housewife’. The young stringless pods can be cooked whole, requiring little or no effort in preparation, or delicious shelled beans can be dried and stored when mature. Young pods have a delicious buttery taste whilst the dried beans have a creamier and heavier flavour.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

In My Seed Box for 2022 - Aubergine


In July 2021 I posted this on the Mind Your Peas and Cues Facebook Group 

I’ve never grown Aubergines before but I want to grow them next year for a friend who makes Chutney and sells it for charity. I’m in the South East of England and I’m looking for varieties that I can grow outside in a 2.4m x 1.2m bed and NOT in a greenhouse.

I’m looking for variety recommendations that will work well outside in the open.

There are many varieties out there being sold by UK seed companies and so far from my limited research on prices we are looking at prices ranges like 8 seeds for £4.99 to 300 seeds for 99p.

The other thing I have not seen on any web site yet is what spacing and row spacing you would put these in when planting in the ground or a bed and not in a greenhouse or polytunnel.

I did manage to find a useful UK based YouTube video about them, below. 

Based on information I got from that posting and other Facebook Groups and from the video above plus the RHS Advice Page for Aubergine and some desk study, I decided to go for Black Beauty and to grow them in a Superdome Tunnel on Plot 1 and also trial some out in the open, perhaps in the square foot gardening beds that I have planned for 2021. 

That was the plan the reality was that I only managed to get the Square Foot Gardening beds half installed during 2021 and I didn't manage to get the area for the Superdome dug over and weed free.  I did sow three varieties of Aubergine, but I learnt that it was way too late and that I need to get them going much earlier in 2022.    

Black Beauty from Seed Parade average 200 seeds for 99p plus P&P 

In addition to Black Beauty, I got a free pack of Kings Seeds Aubergine Long Purple with a copy of Kitchen Garden

I would have ordered Clara and I can see now why the Americans call them egg plants 

I had to order the 
New! variety Aubergine Green Knight F1 - from Mr Fothergill's as it slender, smooth and is a "jade green" variety that just looked so interesting and I'm hoping will surprise my friend Arif who is going to show me how to cook with them. 

Monday, 13 September 2021

In My Seed Box For 2022 - Index


To find the information for a particular variety of vegetable being grown for 2022 use the index below as it's gradually completed over the next few months. Due to Covid-19 not many seeds packs actually got used in 2020, so basically my seed holding is increasing and some of the use by, and best before dates are expiring. 

However with an additional eight beds in place and three square foot gardening beds to be created for 2022 as I didn't manage to get the infrastructure in place in 2021 plus an additional greenhouse I'm planning for a much more productive 2022. 

During the next three months the pages for the Vegetables In my Seed Boxes below will be updated and hyperlinks added. I will also update these pages as I purchase or I'm sent new varieties to trial for 2022. Dobies have kindly sent me 14 new varieties of seeds to trial and I'm hoping that Suttons, D.T.Brown, Mr Fothergill's, Thompson & Morgan and Marshalls will also send some new Varieties to trial during 2022.   


Aubergine Beans Beetroot Broccoli Cabbage & Spring Greens Carrots Cauliflower Celery Chard Courgette Cucumber Gherkin Green Manure Herbs Kale Leeks Lettuce Luffa Marrow Okra Onion Onion Sets Pak Choi Parsnips Potatoes Radish Rhubarb Salsify Spring Onions Sprouts Squash Sweetcorn Tomatoes Turnips Water Melon


To read about my New Seed Storage Method 

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Trimming Paths etc.


Above is a view of Plots 1 & 1A (Avalon) from the water standpipe looking at the corner formed by the main path going left and the path between plots 1 & 2 going right. The bind weed has taken itself up the corner post and will be treated with weed killer next visit. 

Above is the same view after strimming and exposing the kerb stones that idverde  caught with their mowing machine and dragged along the plot. It's one of the reasons that so far I have not stood them up.  I'm thinking I may have to make a mound perhaps using some of the timber and lay the edgings on top to make them a little more visible. 

One can see how far the kerb edgings were shunted along the main path during the last main path cutting by idverde early last month.

I have exposed the kerb stones and trimmed the main path and in the background you can see the strimmed area off the main pathway into my plot 1 entrance and paved pathway as now we will be getting dew on the grass and I will be able to carry on wearing trainers and not have to put boots on. I also strimmed a pathway from the corner of the plot to the stand pipe and water dip tank. 

I have bought 100 tete a tete Daffodils' that were on offer from Suttons and the ultimate plan is to place them along the path for an early flash of colour and food for the bees.  

When I removed the Nutrient Access cover to the Quadgrow along the gable end of the greenhouse I found that the Smart Reservoir was empty but the bottom was not quite dry. We have had a few very hot days this last week during the Indian Summer which is obviously the reason the reservoir only lasted 7 days and not the usual 10. 

Note to self:- Make sure you check every 5 days during summer and hot weather. 

The shed was hit next as too much had just been stacked in there following bringing the bookcase down to sort things out. It was nice to clear the bench and have the little cooker available once again to make warm drinks, I'm going to need that facility over the Autumn and Winter months as I work on the infrastructure and get primed for next years growing season. 

I found an empty tin for the Green Manure seed to live in away from any mice that may want a feed during the winter. I harvested so many cucumbers, tied back wayward Raspberries harvesting some for the wife to eat. Had a chat with Wally and John as they arrived on the Plot. Shared some Cucumbers with Michelle, exchanged greetings with other plot holders as they came and went during the morning and before I knew it my five hours on the plot were at an end and I needed to make my way home for my Sunday dinner.

Saturday, 11 September 2021

Pickling Beetroots

Pickling the beetroot using the microwave again. It's not much faster but it's cheaper and less stream is produced and less energy used to cook them.

Get one Pyrex dish with a lid that just fits in the microwave
Prick the Beetroot so they don't explode!
Add 13mm or 1/2" of water and place the beets in the dish, put lid on.
Microwave on FULL power for 3 minutes 
Rest for 10 minutes

Turn beets over 180 degrees, put lid on
Microwave on FULL power for 3 minutes
Rest for 10 minutes

Turn beets over 180 degrees, put lid on
Microwave on FULL power for 3 minutes
Rest for 20 minutes

Test to see how easy the skins come off and if necessary
Turn beets over 180 degrees, put lid on 
Microwave on FULL power for 3 minutes 
Rest for 10 minutes

Peel off the skin, slice and dice as required

Monday, 6 September 2021

Marshalls Autumn Catalogue


Marshalls Autumn Catalogue dropped into my letterbox today. In the inside cover there is a notification

Coming Soon! 

At Marshalls we've been passionate about seeds for over 75 years, and this year we are proud our first ever ........

This is the catalogue that I received and reviewed in December 2020

I think Marshalls should have updated the image or at least the year to 2022 for next year or have edited out the Coming Soon! as its been available since December 2020.

The good news is that there is information about New Varieties of Onions, Garlic Potatoes, Organic Potatoes, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Leeks, Spring Cabbage, peas, spinach in the Autumn Catalogue.

I will be keeping a look out for the Marshalls 2022 Little Book of Seeds and I'm hoping it will arrive in December again as I will be looking at the new varieties and deciding what I will be having a bash at in 2022.

Sunday, 5 September 2021

Sunday Harvesting


Daughters on Mum watching allowing me to get down to the allotment early at around 8am. I watered the tomatoes and trimmed up the foliage again and then it was time to start harvesting the potatoes in buckets. 

New! Home Guard - First Early - Dobies 

Second New! Home Guard - First Early - Dobies after a rinse off weigh in at 860g from the 30 litre flower bucket

Third New! McCain Shepody - Early Main Crop - Dobies largest spud 150g total harvest from the bucket 896g

Forth bucket 
New! McCain Shepody - Early Main Crop - Dobies total harvest from the bucket 520g

Fifth Bucket 
New! McCain Shepody - Early Main Crop - Dobies largest spud 230g total harvest from the bucket 1020g

Sixth bucket New! Stemster - Main Crop - Do

Sixth bucket New! Stemster - Main Crop - Dobies largest spud 255g total harvest from the bucket 2255g

Stemster weigh in 

Seventh Bucket of the day New! Home Guard - First Early - Dobies total harvest from the bucket 

Harvest for the Day included:- 


Home Guard Potatoes

Stemster Potatoes 

Stepody Potatoes 



Tomatoes from the Crimson Plum that is still holding on out on the plot and a selection of tomatoes from inside the greenhouse on Plot 1 

White and Red Onions from the drying racks.

Raspberries were watered with the sprinkler and then the beetroots were watered after I had harvest them and the apples up on plot 1A

All the spent compost is back in the buckets ready to spread onto one of the new plot one beds as soil conditioner. There are still six large buckets of Potatoes and a beds worth of potatoes yet to harvest. I think I know what I will be doing next weekend on my visit to the plot, and it may have something to do with potatoes!

There has not been and looks to be little time for more weed control during the next couple of weeks. 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

September Sowing Guide

 Use the links I have in the left margin and visit seed suppliers, they just love to tell you what you can buy and grow each month.

Here is a prime example from MoreVeg 


September Sowing Guide


Some vegetables will need to be sown under cover or with the protection of cloches or fleece as the temperatures dip, other varieties can still be sown in the open.  Full details can be found on every packet. 


Baby Leaf – Astra, Barese, Catalogna Cerbiatta, Deronda, Italiko Rosso, Red Carpet, Red Wizard, Rubino, Sangrai and the mixes too

Beetroot – Early Wonder

Broccoli Raab

Cabbages – Wheelers Imperial

Cauliflower – All Year Round & Orkney

Chicory – Brussels Witloof & Pain de Sucre

Chinese Broccoli – Kaibroc & Rafiki

Choy Sum – Fuubi, Gunsho, Red Hon Tsai-Tai & Purple

Collards – Champion, Flash, Morris Heading & Vates

Corn Salad – D’Orlanda, Dutch Broad Leaf, Elan, Verte de Cambrai & Vit

Cress – all 6 choices

Endive – Catalogna Garnet Stem, Cornet de Bordeaux & Paniclieri

Kale – Premier & Scarlet

Kohl Rabi – Korfu

Komatsuna – Malachai & Samurai

Leaf Beet – lots of choices including Perpetual Spinach

Lettuce –Black Seeded Simpson, Bountiful Blend, Cantarix, Crispino, Freckles, Gilaad, Lobjoits, Marvel of Four Seasons, Prizehead, Red Grenoble, Rouge de Hiver, Trocadero & Waldman’s Dark Green

Mibuna, Minutina, Mitsuba & Mizuna

Mustard Leaves – 8 choices


Onion - Hi Keeper F1, Kosma & Musona White Italian

Orach – Scarlet Emperor

Pak Choi – Golden Yellow, Green Revolution, Hanakan, Joi Choi, Summer Breeze,Tatsoi Rosette & Yuushou


Parsley – Bravour, Extra Triple Curled, French Plain Leaf & Laura

Pea – Avola

Purslane – summer and winter

Radish – Crimson Giant, French Breakfast, Malaga Violet, Miyashige (mooli type), Saxa & Sparkler

Rhubarb – Champagne

Rocket – Esmee, Give, Napoli, Rucola & Wild Rocket

Spinach – Amazon, Avon, Banjo, Gazelle, Giant Winter, Harp, Matador, Medania, Renegade & Trombone

Spring Onions – Eiffel, Entita, Parade, Summer Island, Tipika, White Lisbon & Winter Hardy White Lisbon

Strawberries – Alexandria, Alpine Yellow & Wild Strawberry

Texel Greens

Turkish Rocket

Turnips – Goldana & Snowball

Flowers –Agrostemma, Ammi Majus, Foxglove, Honessty, Larkspur, Limnanthes, Malva, Ox-Eye Daisy and Poppies (Papaver Shirley Doubles will flower for months in any sunny space you can spare)

Herbs – British Basil (inside), Caraway, Celery Leaf, Chervil, Coriander Filtro, Lavender, Marsh Mallow, Stridolo & Sweet Cicely

Green Manure –  Crimson Clover, Field Mustard & Phacelia

Friday, 3 September 2021

Dobies New Varieties for 2022

Dobies have 28 new vegetable seed varieties for 2022 and here are those 14 that I’m going to have a bash at growing next year:-

Broccoli (Sprouting) Santee F1

Broccoli (Stem) Hiraia F1

Cabbage (Red) Romanov F1

Carrot Ibiza F1

Carrot Mercurio F1

Courgette British Summertime F1

Cucumber Hopeline F1

Onions (Spring) Lilia 

Radish Felicia

Swede Gowrie

Tomato Honeycomb F1

Tomato Y Ddraig Goch F1 (Red Dragon F1)

Rob Smith Range

Cauliflower Andromeda F1

Onion (Salad/Bulb) White Star

I need to add these to my Seed Box list for 2022 and I will be explaining what made me want to trial them when I do.   

Click Here to see all the New Varieties of Vegetables for 2022 on the Dobies web site 

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Indian Summer ?

Next Mondays temperatures based on the current model outputs. It's looking likely that we'll see warmer temperatures initially on Sunday across southern England, then warmer temperatures moving further north through Monday and Tuesday.

The big uncertainty comes after Tuesday, whether or not the Atlantic is knocking on our door and how quick the warmer air breaks down.
At least we have a chance of some sunshine and warmer temperatures before Autumn really does make an appearance?

Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Composting Corner

Thanking my sister Elaine 
for a giant rubber trug load of grass clipping for adding with layers of browns and comfrey topped off with cardboard squares into one of my plot 1 Dalek Army soldiers.

That's four Daleks topped up and producing compost for me for next year.

The Sweetcorn will go into the bottom of an empty Dalek and the other Daleks hold my brown material ready for when I have greens to compost.  

Planning and Reviewing September in Previous Years

 Reviewing the diary over the last Eight years for September

2013 - My First September having obtained the allotment in October 2012 - At the first of September 9 of the 16 beds were complete and had been used for growing during 2013 the central path of 600 x 600mm heavy duty ex council road slabs was finished. My first corn on the cobs were harvested and a major hit with my daughter Kelly, A second visit to the Wyevale 50p seed sale was made. I was still harvesting red tomatoes and Blight hit on the 14th September. Last runner beans harvested last week of September.  

2014 - Dorking Wyevale 50p seed sale 2nd September, two £5 Space saving water butts picked up for the greenhouse from TESCO due to a marketing error they had to honour. First discussion with Redrow regarding them helping us form a drop off and pick up arear, I didn't know then that it would take another four years to actually make this happen. Harvested carrots and obtained more composting bins off Freecycle. Repairing Planting membrane and making new planting membrane using the trusty soldering iron. Making a Pop Bottle Greenhouse, if only I had known then what a pain in the arse getting rid of it was going to be! Harvesting.   

2015 - Took on additional plot on Spencer Road as I thought there would not be anywhere to drop off and pick up at Mill Green once the development was completed and negotiations re it's formation were not very good with the Council and Redrow at that time. Harvested sweetcorn mid September   

2016 - Tomatoes finally turn red and are harvested. We found a source for woodchips, 2nd Visit to the Wyevale Seed Sale, 72 Senshyu Yellow Japanise Onions from seed to overwinter, Seed Sorting and Labels, 2nd week of September harvesting Sweetcorn. Crimson Crush, Butternut Squash, meeting with council and Redrow as mound of excavation behind access gate.     

2017 -  Allotment work party arranged to clear the area for the drop off and pick up area on Mill Green, Sarpo Spuds, Pumpkin, Marrow, Sweetcorn, Walking Onions, Wilkinson's Sale, SoilFixer SF60 Overwintering Onions Experiment, Timber Bench taken to site and made into a Potting Bench. Still harvesting Cucumbers at the end of the month.

2018 -  3rd Sept harvesting sweetcorn, 7th September Wilko seed sale, Second week harvesting tomatoes, followed by harvesting Beetroots and pickling, carrots and cucumbers & weeding .Power Planter trial and review. Infrastructure cutting up timber joists and painting them ready to make bed frames up for plot 1 
2019 -  Seed saving Cucumbers and harvesting Marshalls Alliance Sweetcorn.12th Sept Carrot harvest. Making a beach hut for a wedding! Using the Power Planter to install kerbstones around the allotment. Harvesting Butternut Squash. Bonfires on Allotments are a contentious issue.

2020 -  Marshalls Autumn Catalogue arrived,  Ken Muir's fruit & Suttons Catalogues arrive. Pre Blight Tomato Harvest. New Potatoes from the last 3 buckets harvested. Green Toms in Greenhouse Turn Red. Thompson & Morgan's Autumn Catalogue arrived. Mr Fothergills Autumn Catalogue arrived. Green manure grown.  Spent Compost from tomatoes and potatoes added to beds. My videos were shown on Sean James Cameron podcast. D.T.Browns Autumn Catalogue arrived. Clearing around the shed ready for demolition of wall. Planning the Square Foot Gardening beds. Another temporary roof covering on the plot 1A shed. Decanting contents of the shed to a tarp covered palleted bed with blue water pipe hoops as demolition of wall expected . Mentioned in dispatches on Thompson & Morgan's blog.
To Do List  

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in August and what has slipped. 

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Re Add additional supporting timbers to the roof of the shed - TBD
  • Fix the potting Bench - TBD. 
  • Tidy Up the Allotment  - Ongoing 
  • Weeding - Ongoing
  • Greenhouse -  Clear and install shading internally. 

Mill Green - Plot 1

  • Potatoes - Complete harvesting the first early spuds 
  • Square Foot Gardening Beds - Two beds formed but were too late for planting up this year. Over winter get the 3rd bed in and get ready for next years season  
  • Beds and Paths - Two Rhubarb beds are dug and installed, need to get the third bed done and transplant the Rhubarb from bed 1 into bed 3    
  • Install the kerb edging along the bottom of Plot 1 - TBD
  • Clear the weeds and install a 600mm margin around the perimeter of the plot - TBD
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing 
  • Planning - Ongoing
  • Cut Planting Membrane - Make square foot gardening bed blanks
  • Space Saver Greenhouse - Clear and get ready for Over Wintering.