Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Trees Are In Their Buckets


So a dash to the allotment this afternoon and although the photo looks bright it was getting dark as I finished potting up the trees into the buckets.

The name of the tree is on one side of the rim and the type of fruit is on the other.

This is not their permanent home just somewhere for me to place them and give them a drink of water before I find a temporary home for them whist I continue clearing plot 1.

I have managed to empty out over half of a Dalek of compost filling these and the Auger I bought off ebay more than earned its money today as I had let the compost dry out a little too much.


Rockworth multi purpose drill attachments bought in 3 piece and can be used for tasks such as mixing paint and cement, weeding, cultivating and digging holes for the princely sum of  £7.95 free delivery from ebay

Auger 1 length 29cm diameter 10cm
Auger 2 length 29cm diameter 8cm
31cm extension bar

Ideal for mixing and breaking up compost in a Dalek with the battery drill  

Lucky Dip Tree Offer Arrives


The  Lucky Dip Offer on a  selection of 6 Fruit Trees in 9cm pots, from Jersey Plants Direct - Normal Price £59.97 for £19.99 with free delivery arrived today and I'm really happy with the condition of the trees and packaging. The Lucky dip was from  


Cherry Sylvia,
Plum Black Amber
Apple Golden Delicious
Apple Braeburn
Pear Conference
Pear Doyenne du Comice


The Selection is made at random and they cannot guarantee which varieties you will receive 


I've ended up with

1 x Cherry Sylvia,
1 x Plum Black Amber
1 x Apple Golden Delicious
2 x Apple Braeburn
1 x Pear Doyenne du Comice

So the missing one from those available was the Pear Conference

I'm not too upset about not having a Conference Pear. So I feel a visit to the allotment to plant these little beauties into 30 litre buckets is in order this afternoon.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Clearing Plot 1 - Day 4

An early Sunday morning start around 8:15 as last week and today the target was still to remove as much Hawthorn and Bramble from against the wall as possible

Day 1
Day 4

Wally gave me a hand to expose what now appears to have been a foxes den, after I exposed more ground and found another entrance into a cavernous hole in the ground which was under the Hawthorn and Brambles  

Day 1
Day 4

There was lots of rotting wood in the corner which has been laid out on top of a pallet and covered with the cold frame skin to stop it getting saturated. Once dry it will get burnt along with the remainder of the Hawthorn from along the first wall once it has been removed


View into the internal corner formed by the wall, which I now know is a mound of weeds that the previous tenant used to pile there supposedly as a compost heap! with the holes from the Hawthorn that was dug out and relocated and the foxes den, plus the difference in levels between plots 1 and 1A I should be able to spread out the heap and level off the area when the shed and green house are going.


View from what will be the entrance to Plot 1 directly off the main path just inside the entrance to the allotment. The mound of cuttings from last week were added to and the whole lot burnt

So it looks like a couple more visits of cutting stacking drying and burning to go, then I can strim and cover the whole plot and start sorting out the shed and greenhouse area. Lets hope the weather holds and I manage to get those couple of days in before Christmas. 

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Tomatoes By Growth Habit


If I can get the second greenhouse on Plot 1 and extension to the shed and two other extensions for short bush type tomatoes in place for next year, then I really need to sort out which ones in my tomato collection they are.

In addition with all that wall it may be worth having a few varieties in hanging baskets or those upside down hanging baskets, the only trouble would be the squirrels that run back and forth along the wall would likely eat them.  

Using the back of packs, Google and The Tomato Variety List  I have sorted by Growth Habit for my current tomato collection 

Cordon/Indeterminate tomatoes - these varieties of tomato plant are the most common and are grown as cordons (single stemmed plants with side shoots removed). They will grow very tall - sometimes taller than 2.5m in very warm conditions.

Alicante - Sow by 2017
Arnyalma - Grapevine 2016

Beefsteak
Berkeley Tie-Dye - Grapevine 2016
Blaby Special - Saved 2014
Black Cherry Tomato - Grapevine 2016
Black Russian - Grapevine 2016
Brown Sugar - Grapevine 2016

Blush - Grapevine 2016
Camp Joy - No Date
Chiapis Wild - Grapevine 2016

Crimson Crush F3
Dark Galaxy - Grapevine 2016
Delicious - No Date
Ferline F1 Hybrid
Gardeners Delight - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2016
German Lunchbox - No Date
German Queen - Grapevine 2016

Green Zebra - Grapevine 2016
Gold Rush Currant - Grapevine 2016
Harbinger - Sow By 2015 - Grapevine 2016
Jack Hawkins - Grapevine 2016
Kenilworth King George - No Date
Legend - Grapevine 2016
Marvel Stripes - Saved 2015
Money Maker
Nector Rose - Saved 2014
Outdoor Girl - Saved 2015 - Saved 2016
Peace Vine - Saved 2015
Piccolo - Saved 2011
Pomodore Ciliegla - Sow By 2015
Purple Russian Plum - Sow By 2014
Rainbow Blend F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015
Rapunzel F1
Red Buffalo Horn - Grapevine 2016
Red Cherry - Sow By 2015
Red Fox Cherry - Saved 2015

Red Zebra - Grapevine 2016  - Saved 2014
Speckled Roman - Grapevine 2016
Stupicke Poini Rane - Saved 2016 - Sow By 2017

Summer Cider - Grapevine 2016
Sunset Red Horizon - Saved 2014

Sweet Aperitif - Sow By 2017
Sweet Pea Currant - Sow By 2014
Tigerella Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020 <<<< NEW
Tomatoberry Garden F1
Vesennij Mieurinsky - Grapevine 2016
Yellow Perfection - Grapevine 2016


Semi-determinate - these are similar to indeterminate varieties (grown as cordons) only they produce shorter plants.

Amish Mayberry - Saved 2013 - Saved 2016
Attraction - Marshalls - best by 2017 <<<< NEW
Black Icicle - Grapevine 2017

Bush/Determinate - these varieties stop growing sooner than indeterminate varieties with the stem ending in a fruit truss. They are referred to as ‘bush’ and ‘dwarf’ types (suitable as hanging basket tomatoes) and don’t require any pruning.

Container / Pot

Bajaja - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 <<<< NEW
Balconi Red - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2020 <<<< NEW

Minibel - Sow By 2014
Red Robin - Saved 2015
Rosella - Grapevine 2016
Sub Artic Plenty - No Dates
Super Roma - No Dates
Tiny Tim - Sow By 2013


Container / Hanging Basket

Cherry Cascade Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 <<<< NEW
Cherry Falls F1- Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2020 <<<< NEW
Cherry Kisses - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 <<<< NEW
One Hundreds and Thousands - Saved 2014 - Saved 2016
Terenzo F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2017
Tumbler - Sow By 2014
Tumbling Cherry  - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020 <<<< NEW
Tumbling Tom Red  Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020 <<<< NEW

Out Door Bush

Red Alert Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2019 <<<< NEW
Black Sea Man - Grapevine 2016
Cream Sausage - Grapevine 2016
Heinz Soup - Saved 2011
Indian Bush - No Date
Kibitz - Saved 2016
Latah Bush - Saved 2015
Mountain Princess - Grapevine 2016
Mrs Rucks - Grapevine 2016
Plum Roma - Saved 2015
Rio Grande - Grapevine 2016
Sandpipe/ Sandpoint - Saved 2016 - Saved 2015
Sweet Pea Currant - Sow By 2014

Variety Yet To Be Determined ?

Otto's Papa - Grapevine 2016

Seed Saving

The aim is to save as many different varieties as possible to freshen up my stock of seeds and to use for exchanging on various seed circles in 2018.



Monday, 13 November 2017

In My Seed Box - Tomatoes


I went through the pain of selecting 28 out of 75 varieties that I have in my seed boxes to grow in 2017, and planning what to grow in 2018 & 2019 last year  

To confuse matters I could not resist re stocking some F1 varieties and buying new varieties in the Wyevale 50p seed sale so I have 9 more varieties to add to the mix 

Now that I have Mill Green Plot 1 the paperwork has been competed and I'm clearing the plot.  I need to ensure the second greenhouse goes on Plot 1 before the tomatoes need potting on and outgrow a single allotment greenhouse. I also will have the extension to the shed and two other extensions for short bush type tomatoes hopefully.

So for the moment this is what I have in my Seed Box and exactly what I will be growing will be decided and blogged about over the Winter months. 

Alicante - Sow by 2017
Amish Mayberry - Saved 2013 - Saved 2016
Arnyalma - Grapevine 2016
Attraction - Marshalls - best by 2017 <<<< NEW
Bajaja - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 <<<< NEW
Balconi Red - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2020 <<<< NEW
Beefsteak
Berkeley Tie-Dye - Grapevine 2016
Blaby Special - Saved 2014
Black Cherry Tomato - Grapevine 2016
Black Icicle - Grapevine 2016
Black Russian - Grapevine 2016
Black Sea Man - Grapevine 2016
Blush - Grapevine 2016
Brown Sugar - Grapevine 2016
Camp Joy - No Date
Cherry Cascade Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 <<<< NEW
Cherry Falls F1- Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2020 <<<< NEW
Cherry Kisses - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 <<<< NEW
Cream Sausage - Grapevine 2016
Crimson Crush F3
Chiapis Wild - Grapevine 2016
Dark Galaxy - Grapevine 2016
Delicious - No Date
Ferline F1 Hybrid
Gardeners Delight - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2016
German Lunchbox - No Date
German Queen - Grapevine 2016
Green Zebra - Grapevine 2016
Gold Rush Currant - Grapevine 2016
Harbinger - Sow By 2015 - Grapevine 2016
Heinz Soup - Saved 2011
Indian Bush - No Date
Jack Hawkins - Grapevine 2016
Kenilworth King George - No Date
Kibitz - Saved 2016
Latah Bush - Saved 2015
Legend - Grapevine 2016
Marvel Stripes - Saved 2015
Mini Plum - TESCO  - Saved 2014 - get new seed
Minibel - Sow By 2014
Money Maker
Mrs Rucks - Grapevine 2016
Mountain Princess - Grapevine 2016
Nector Rose - Saved 2014
One Hundreds and Thousands - Saved 2014 - Saved 2016
Otto's Papa - Grapevine 2016
Outdoor Girl - Saved 2015 - Saved 2016
Peace Vine - Saved 2015
Piccolo - Saved 2011
Plum Roma - Saved 2015
Pomodore Ciliegla - Sow By 2015
Purple Russian Plum - Sow By 2014
Rainbow Blend F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015
Red Alert Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2019 <<<< NEW
Red Buffalo Horn - Grapevine 2016
Red Cherry - Sow By 2015
Red Fox Cherry - Saved 2015
Red Robin - Saved 2015
Red Zebra - Grapevine 2016  - Saved 2014
Rapunzel F1
Rio Grande - Grapevine 2016
Rosella - Grapevine 2016
Sandpipe - Saved 2016 - Saved 2015
Speckled Roman - Grapevine 2016
Stupicke Poini Rane - Saved 2016 - Sow By 2017
Sub Artic Plenty - No Dates
Summer Cider - Grapevine 2016
Sunset Red Horizon - Saved 2014
Super Roma - No Dates
Sweet Aperitif - Sow By 2017
Sweet Pea Currant - Sow By 2014
Terenzo F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2017
Tigerella Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020 <<<< NEW
Tiny Tim - Sow By 2013  
Tomatoberry Garden F1
Tumbler - Sow By 2014
Tumbling Cherry  - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020 <<<< NEW
Tumbling Tom Red  Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020 <<<< NEW
Tumbling Tom Red  Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020 <<<< NEW
Vesennij Mieurinsky - Grapevine 2016
Yellow Perfection - Grapevine 2016

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Clearing Plot 1 - Day 3

An early Sunday morning start around 8:15 and today the target was to remove as much Hawthorn and Bramble from against the wall as possible.




Photo above end of play last Sunday (top) and this Sunday (bottom)

14th October 2017
12th November 2017

Two pallets around the tree with the foliage stacked for drying and covered with the skin of an old cold frame /cloche to keep it dry and ready for burning once I have the rest cut back.



View into the internal corner formed by the wall. I found a couple of rat runs had burrows into the mound of earth in the corner, and the ground collapsed as my foot dropped about a 300mm into the ground,  so I will have to be careful working my way into that corner of the plot as there could be a whole excavated complex in that area.

Friday, 10 November 2017

In My Seed Box - Parsnips



My parsnips were allowed to go to seed on plot 1A two years ago. They were given to me by Edita another plot holder and after three sowings of bought seed that did nothing, the ones from the allotment seed took and I ended up with a wonderful bed of Parsnips.

I will try the saved seed again this year but I also have a packet of seed that came free with a gardening Magazine to use

I'm going to try chitting and growing in kitchen towel & loo rolls as well as direct sowing this year.

Lucky Dip Tree Offer


I've just taken advantage of the  Lucky Dip Offer on a  selection of 6 Fruit Trees in 9cm pots, from Jersey Plants Direct - Normal Price £59.97 for £19.99 with free delivery 



The Selection is made at random and they cannot guarantee which varieties you will receive from the following popular varieties:

Cherry Sylvia,
Plum Black Amber
Apple Golden Delicious
Apple Braeburn
Pear Conference
Pear Doyenne du Comice

All supplied in a 90mm pot


Cherry Sylvia -- Height 1.5m - 2.5m - Spread 30cm - 35cm  - Harvest Summer

Plum Black AmberHeight 1.5m - 2.5m - Spread 30cm - 35cm  - Harvest Summer

Apple Golden Delicious - Height 1.5m - 2.5m - Spread 30cm - 50cm  - Harvest late Sept - Oct
Apple BraeburnHeight 1.5m - 2.5m - Spread 30cm - 35cm  - Harvest late Sept - Oct

Pear Conference - Height 1.5m - 2.5m - Spread 30cm - 50cm  - Harvest late Sept - Oct
Pear Doyenne du Comice - Height 1.5m - 2.5m - Spread 30cm - 35cm - Harvest late Sept - Oct

My new plot is going to love me for buying these  

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Kikka Digga New Toy To Play With

I happened upon this piece of equipment when looking at the Grow Your Own magazine competition page for the December Issue.

Historically I purchased a Backsaver Spade and Free Fork which costs around £120 all but a penny, however the Kikka Digga is a simple yet clever attachment for all standard forks and spades, which also allows you to gain extra leverage and force whilst digging and it only costs a penny under £30 that's quarter of the price of the Backsaver Spade and Free Fork.


I got in contact with Kikka Digga via their web site and asked if I could have one to trial and review and Nick Skaliotis Founder and inventor of the Kikka Digga drop the latest version off to me to have a play with, and we had a nice chat about engineering and the design of the current model and how it has changed and got lighter as a result.

I'm now looking forward to playing with it on my existing plot and my new overgrown plot. I will also take the opportunity of getting the Backsaver out of mothballs and comparing the two products side by side.  


The Kikka Digga adds a levered foot-plate to your existing fork or spade to act as the fulcrum, whereas traditional digging makes your lower back take the strain.

By placing your foot on the Kikka Digga foot-plate, you simply pull back on the tool handle to lift the load without the need for bending. The marketing info suggests that you save time and your back with this product, I'm looking forward to finding out.

Here are the instructions from the Kicker Digga website  


And there is a nice retro narrated Public Broadcasting video from YouTube for those that don't like instructions



The Kikka Digga can be purchased via Amazon

All Images courtesy of Kikka Digga

Nine Notable Seed Bloggers

The Thompson and Morgan Blog has linked to my blog and included me in their list of Nine Notable Seed Bloggers and ponder the question "What happens when you cross an allotment with a structural engineer?"

Looking at their list I'm in good company along with other bloggers some that I have had the pleasure of knowing for some time, and others that I met at the Gardening Press Day event in London earlier this year and look forward to meeting up with again next year.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

In My Seed Box - Turnip

Turnip is something that I didn't eat as a kid and have not really tasted as an adult !

But now as I am taking on more of the cooking duties and the fact that I have a packet "Purple Top Milan"  seeds that came with the Grow Your Own magazine, I feel that space needs to be found to grow this vegetable in 2018 and that I should learn how to cook it !

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets

Purple Top Milan - 1750 Seeds - FREE - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2021
Snowball             -      50 Seeds - Some multipack in the past - Sow by Christ knows!      

Purple Top Milan Sow Mar - Jul   Harvest  Jun - Oct
Snowball              Sow Mar - Jun Harvest  May - Oct

Purple Top Milan

Quick to mature and good for early sowings. The white, flat roots with purple tops have an excellent flavour.

Outdoors, sow thinly, March-July, where they are to crop, 1.5cm (½") deep, directly into finely-prepared, fertile soil, which has already been watered. Allow 30cm (1') between rows. Seedlings usually appear in 14-21 days. Thin out to 10cm (4”) apart. Water well until plants are established. Regular sowings, made every two to three weeks, will ensure a continuous supply. Harvest: June-October.

Snowball

A first-class white, globe turnip. Turnip Snowball is early, juicy and sweet flavoured, will yield a good supply from early summer to early winter, and the tops make most nutritious and tasty 'greens'.

Turnips grow best on rich well manured soil but will grow on ordinary fertile soil to which has been added plenty of well rotted compost. Sow seeds in succession from spring to mid summer, 1cm (0.5in) deep in drills 30cm (12in) apart. Thin out the seedlings to 10-15cm(4-6in) apart

Turnips Generally

Turnips should be grown quickly and kept well watered. Harvest them before they get too large for the best flavour. For greens follow above instructions but don't thin out. The season can be extended by sowing under cloches in early spring and again in late summer.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

In My Seed Box - Gherkin


GHERKIN - Piccolo Di Parigi - Second year growing Gherkins and only because my sister loves them so I'm waiting to see how she liked the ones I pickled for her in 2017 but have bought some new seed anyway.

A traditional French Cornichon pickler / gherkin seen in every French market. Huge quantities of tiny crisp spiny skinned cukes are produced from early in the season. Ideal whole / sliced or for pickling. 61 days from germination. Best sown under cover (protected / heated) from Mid spring, 3-4 seeds 1in deep in a 3in pot in good compost, and thin later to the best one or two plants per clump. (These will not germinate in cold / damp conditions, use a propagator or warm draft free windowsill). Cucumbers germinate and grow best when summer really gets going, and will not appreciate being planted out too early unless protected with fleece.


  • Transplant no later than 3 weeks after seeding as cucumbers have a tap root that can be easily damaged.
  • To avoid bitterness, keep plants evenly moist at all times. Can be trained on a trellis to save space or left to roam.
  • Cut fruits regularly to encourage long continuous production.

I've purchased a new supply of seeds for Premier Seed Direct for 99p for 50 Seeds including Free delivery

Friday, 3 November 2017

In My Seed Box - Radish

During the summer I do like a radish, and I have grown them along lines of parsnips in the past and around the edges of beds. I need to ensure that these are grown in 2018 as I just didn't get around to growing any in 2017and actually bought them from the supermarket! What was I thinking?

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 2016

Cherry Belle              - 300 Seeds -    90p  - Wilko - Sow By 12/2016

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 

Icicle (long White)    - 300 Seeds -    40p  - Wilko - Sow By 12/2015

Eiszapfen                 - 400 Seeds -    34p -  Lidl - Sow By 12/2017
French Breakfast 3 - 1000 Seeds - £1.89 - Unwins- Sow By 07/2017
French Breakfast 3 - Seed Tape  - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017 (210 Seeds)

French Breakfast 3 - Seed Tape  - £2.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2018 (267 Seeds)

Bright & Spicy Mix   -  400 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 9/2019
Flamboyant 3          -  400 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2019
Scarlet Globe          -1000 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2019

Sparkler 3                -1000 Seeds - Magazine - Mr Fothergill's- Sow By 12/2020

Interesting that there is a £1 difference in the Thompson & Morgan seed tapes between 2017 & 2018 for 57 extra seeds, only other difference I can see that the 2018 has black back with a weed suppressing technology! I can see an experiment taking place of the two types of tape side by side and see if there is any real difference coming in March 2018

Alphabetical Listing

                                       Sowing            Harvest

Action F1                      Mar - Oct           Jun - Dec     
Bright & Spicy Mix        Mar - Sep          Apr - Oct
Cherry Belle                 Feb - Sep          Apr - Oct
Eiszapfen                     Mar - Sep          May - Oct
Flamboyant 3                May - July          Jul - Sep     
French Breakfast 3       Mar - Sep          Apr - Oct
Icicle                             Feb - Sep          Apr - Oct
Scarlet Globe                Mar - Jul            Jul - Sep  
Sparkler 3                     Feb - Sep          Apr - Oct

Germination  4 - 15 days  

Radishes come in many shapes and sizes—from small classically red round radishes with leafy green tops to the gnarled brown root of horseradish, from the increasingly available watermelon radish (green on the outside, bright pink inside), to black Spanish radishes, and fairly common large and mellow-flavored, cream-colored daikon radishes

Radish germinate and crop quickly, so the rule is to sow short rows every few weeks! Growing Radishes is very easy but you will need to grow them fast and harvest them fast. Radishes are best grown as a catch crop for slower growing plants such as potatoes or parsnips.