Wednesday, 2 December 2020

In My Seed Box For 2021 - Tomatoes

This collection of tomato seeds is thanks to the  Grow Your Own Grapevine Tomato Seed Circle and from the Virtual Seed Parcel from 2018, and two years of a seed circle I ran on Mind Your Peas and Cues, currently there are 127 varieties of Tomatoes in my Seed bank

I need to inspect the list below and decide on the 22 varieties that are to be grown in the back garden in 2020. Those that will be grown out on the allotment and those that will be grown in the greenhouses. That will be a subject of a separate post after due consideration of the list below.   

Alisa Craig - Mr Fothergills - Sow by 2019 
Alicante - Sow by 2017
Arielle F1 - Marshalls - Sow by 2019
Amish Mayberry - Saved 2013 - Self Saved 2016
Angelle - Grapevine 2018
Arnyalma - Grapevine 2016
Arrat Flamed - MYP&Q 2019
Attraction - Marshalls - best by 2017 
Bajaja - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 
Balconi Red - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2020  - Self Saved 2018

Berkeley Tie-Dye - Grapevine 2016
Big Yellow Zebra - Grapevine 2016 
Blaby Special - Saved 2014
Black Cherry Tomato - Grapevine 2018
Black Icicle - Grapevine 2016
Black Russian - Grapevine 2018
Black Sea Man - Grapevine 2016
Black Trifele - Grapevine 2018
Black Vemissage - Grapevine 2018
Blush - Grapevine 2016

Blush Yellow Plum - MYP&Q 2018
Brown Sugar - Grapevine 2016
Camp Joy - No Date
Carotina (Big Orange) - Grapevine 2018
Chiapis Wild - Grapevine 2016 
Cherry Cascade Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019
Cherry Falls F1- Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2020
Cherry Kisses Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019
Cream Sausage - Grapevine 2016
Crimson Crush F4

Cuban Flower - Grapevine 2016 
Cuor Di Bue Off Magazine 
Dark Galaxy - Grapevine 2016
Delicious - No Date
Early Door Sandpoint - MYP&Q 2019
Ferline F1 Hybrid
Gardeners Delight - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2016
Gardeners Delight - Kings Seeds Kitchen Garden - Sow By 2022
Garden Pearl - Sow By 2014
German Lunchbox - No Date
German Queen - Grapevine 2016

German Red Strawberry - Grapevine 2018
Giallo D'Inveino - Grapevine 2018
Gigantomo F1 - Premier Seeds Direct - Sow by 2021
Green Zebra - Grapevine 2016
Gold Nugget Gelbei - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2024  <<<< NEW
Gold Rush Currant - Grapevine 2016
Halum Gelbei - Grapevine 2018
Harbinger - Sow By 2015 - Grapevine 2016
Heinz Soup - Saved 2011
Homosa - Grapevine 2018
Indian Bush - No Date

Indigo Blue - MYP&Q Saved 2018 
Jack Hawkins - Grapevine 2016
Kenilworth King George - No Date
Kibitz - Saved 2016
Latah Bush - Saved 2015
Legend - Grapevine 2016
Livingston's Favourite - Grapevine 2018
Lizzano F1 - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021
Lukullus - Grapevine 2018
Marmande - Magazine 2018 

Marvel Stripes - Saved 2015
Maskotka -  Mr Fothergills - Sow by 2021  
Matina -  Thompson & Morgan Sow by 2016 
Micro Tom -  Jungle Seeds bought 2018 and Self Saved 2018 
Mini Plum - TESCO  - Saved 2014 - get new seed
Minibel - Sow By 2014
Minibel - Wilko - Sow By 2021
Money Maker
Moskow's Ultra Skorospelyi - Grapevine 2018
Mrs Rucks - Grapevine 2016

Mountain Princess - Grapevine 2016
Nector Rose - Grapevine 2018 
Nimbus - MYP&Q Saved 2018
Oleron Yellow Cherry - Grapevine 2018 
One Hundreds and Thousands - Saved 2014 - Saved 2016
Otto's Papa - Grapevine 2016
Outdoor Girl - Saved 2015 - Saved 2016
Patio Plum - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021
Peace Vine - Grapevine 2018
Piccolo - Saved 2011
Pink Charmer - Marshalls - Sow By 2022  <<<< NEW

Plum Roma - Saved 2015
Polish Linguisa - Grapevine 2018
Pomodore Ciliegla - Sow By 2015
Principe Borghese - Grapevine 2018
Principe Borghese - Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2023  <<<< NEW
Purple Russian Plum - Sow By 2014
Rainbow Blend F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015
Rapunzel F1 Saved 2018 
Red Alert Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2019
Red Buffalo Horn - Grapevine 2016
Red Cherry - Sow By 2015

Red Fox Cherry - Saved 2015
Red Pear - Mr Fothergill  Sow By 2019 
Red Robin - Saved 2015, Self Saved 2018
Red Zebra - Grapevine - Saved 2014, Self Saved 2016, 
Roma VF - Multipack 2018
Roma VF - Johnsons - Sow By 2021
Red Fox Cherry - Saved 2015
Rosella - Grapevine 2016
Sandpipe - Saved 2016 - Saved 2015
Santonio F1 Hybrid - Thompon & Morgan - Sow by 2020

Schwarse Weinreich - Grapevine 2016 
Speckled Roman - Grapevine 2016
Stupicke Poini Rane - Saved 2016 - Sow By 2017
Sub Artic Plenty - No Dates
Summer Cider - Grapevine 2016
Summerlast F1 - Marshalls - Sow By 9/2021
Suncherry Premium F1 -Thompson & Morgan Sow By 12/2020
Sungold F1 - - Mr Fothergill  Sow By 2019
Sunset Red Horizon - Saved 2014
Super Marmande - Thompson & Morgan Sow By 2017

Super Roma - No Dates
Sweet Aperitif - Sow By 2017
Sweet Million F1 - Mr Fothergills - Sow By 9/2022
Sweet Pea Currant - Sow By 2014
Terenzo F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2017
Tigerella  Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020
Tiny Tim - Grapevine 2018
Tomatoberry Garden F1
True Black Brandywine - Grapevine 2018
Tumbler - Sow By 2014

Totem F1 - Jungle Seeds - Jungle Seeds Sow By ?  
Tumbling Cherry  - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020 
Tumbling Tom Red  Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020 
Vesennij Mieurinsky - Grapevine 2016
Yellow Perfection - Grapevine 2016
Venus Balcony 
Violet Jasper - Grapevine 2018
Vitorino - Tesco Self Saved 2018 

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Raspberry Bed Infrastructure III

Here is the blank canvas that I started with this morning after arriving at 8:00, one bed in and the second bed frame stood on its side. This didn't stop the foxes from doing the tango up and down the bed that has been nicely dressed with acidic compost from the Apple Daleks. 

I have to say the Kikka Digga did a wonderful job of reducing the stress on my back, I still felt it and stiffened up in the afternoon but I would not have been able to have dug the amount I did at the speed I did this morning without it, and I would have been in a lot more pain than I am. 

The bed frame that was cut yesterday was turned legs upwards and the cuts and the visible surfaces were given a coat of paint so that it had time to dry in the sunshine, yep we had a few hours of that this morning. 

At 9:00 the Raspberry Malling Juno Fruit (early Floricane) were placed in a bucket of water with the assumption that it was going to be at least an hour until I had dug the next bed and the Raspberries could be planted. 

At around 10:15 the second bed had been dug and weeded, and the frame put into position and it was time to retrieve the Raspberry Malling Juno Fruit (early Floricane) from the bucket of water and put the Raspberry Tulameen (mid Floicane) in the water for its hour dip.

Last night I worked out the spacing for the six canes in the bed allowing for a post to go in at the narrow end of the bed.   

The mound of acidic compost has bindweed in it so I had to carefully reduce the pile into trugs and remove the bindweed before topping up the second bed with the compost topping. Once  that was done I recovered the canes from the water bucket and planted the Raspberry Tulameen (mid Floicane) in the second bed. 

Next job was laying the weed membrane between the two raspberry beds and then barrowing wood chip from the drop off and pick up area and laying and compacting the path with a rake. 

I used a couple of tubes from an old blow-away frame to mark where the edges of the next bed are located and then saw that the remainder of the compost pile needs to be relocated so that I can dig the third bed. 

I set about breaking up the compacted compost and extracting the bindweed into one trug whilst filling up other trugs with the good stuff that will ultimately be dressing the third raspberry bed. 

Before I knew it, it was 1pm and time to make my way home for lunch and an afternoon of catching up with work. These visits over the last week have been so rewarding and I feel like I'm finally making headway. 

In some respects I wish I had got the beds in place before the Raspberry collection arrived but it gave me the push I needed to get on with it, and I'm itching to get the third bed in and then get on with the square foot gardening beds, however I've just seen that snow is likely Friday so I may have to pot the last remaining six Raspberry Polka (late Primocane) temporarily into buckets until the bed is ready.     

Planning and Reviewing December in Previous Years

There is not a whole lot of growing that happens in December, its normally blustery, cold, rainy, and overcast. It's the only time of the year with no sowing programme, though some enthusiasts and trophy hunters will ignore convention. I can't shut my plot down completely because there is too much tidying and maintenance to do on plot 1A and I have infrastructure works to undertake on plot 1. I also need to go there for some Allotment Therapy and get out of the house. 

2012 - My First December and third month of owning an allotment was mainly spent cutting down the weeds and exposing what lay underneath and discovering all manor or debris to dispose off. There was a lot of burning of weeds in the two incinerators 

2013 - Mainly clearing up the plot, Growing and cut and drop green manure, installing an infrastructure of paths and beds. Harvesting Sprouts 

2014 - Mainly clearing up the plot, Growing and cut and drop green manure, installing an infrastructure of paths and beds. Harvesting Sprouts 

2015 - Mainly clearing up the 2nd plot on Spencer Road, Growing and cut and drop green manure, installing an infrastructure of paths and beds. Harvesting Sprouts, carrots and parsnips  

2016 - Two plots on two different allotment sites Mill Green and Spencer Road, Installing infrastructure, collecting leafs, Walking Onions in greenhouse, harvesting sprouts, manure and leafs on beds, making planting membrane sheets, High winds blow over Keith's shed. Shed Break-ins and meeting the police on Spencer Road.
2017 - Family health matters mean very little achieved on the plot. Leaf collection and sprout harvest.

2018 - Lots of rain and not a great deal of work possible this month. Grow Your Own Tomato Seed Circle package arrives. 30th December and I was clearing the sweetcorn from the beds and putting to sleep for winter.  

2019 - Lots of rain, but I did manage to audit and catalogue What's In My Seed Box 

Jools Holland in Brighton with Kelly and John Barrowman A Fabulous Christmas and weekend away with my good lady wife meant I lost two weekend of working on the plots.

Christmas Eve my good lady wife and I were in the Royal Brompton Hospital as she was undergoing a night study to recalibrate her BiPAP  (Bilevel Positive Airways Pressure) machine that she has to go on each night.

Below is the to do list in no particular order and catching up with what actually happened in November and what has slipped. The plan is now to get as much infrastructure on Plot 1 in place as possible, and get both plots and greenhouses ready for next season. 

Coronavirus UPDATE

Early into March I ended up self isolating because my wife is very high risk and from the looks we were in isolation for a lot longer than the 12 weeks.  My first visit to the plot was on July 21st Fathers Day.

My daughter and son in law kept a lot of the weeds at bay, but the bind weed beat them and now I'm in allotment rescue mode as well as putting in some new infrastructure and removing some so that remedial works can happen to a boundary wall. 

The second wave is here and this time I will be taking the opportunity of exercising on the allotment and looking after my well being to get everything ready for next years growing season.  

To Do List  

Below is the to do list in no particular order of what needs to be done and what has slipped 

Mill Green - Plot 1A
  • Clear Bed 2 of Cabbages and cover - TBD
  • Progress on the wall rebuild behind Shed - Contractor Finally after much drum banging and chasing the Councils Contractor is due to carefully deconstruct the wall and replace it with a timber fence.
  • Remove and dispose of Corex on the roof - TBD once a couple of dry days.
  • Re felt the roof of the shed - Awaiting a couple of dry days 
  • Fix the potting Bench - TBD after the bindweed is removed. 
  • Clear the Wasp Nest in greenhouse 1A - Completed 
  • Rhubarb Bed to be created - I have now cleared the weeds in the bed and covered in cardboard in current location and will move the Rhubarb when I expose it again on plot 1, or perhaps buy some new.
  • Tidy Up the Allotment  - Ongoing 
  • Weeding - Ongoing   
  • Butternut Squash - Harvested and Foliage Composted.

Mill Green - Plot 1
  • As much infrastructure works as the weather wilallow - Raised Beds, Paths etc.
  • Clear the weeds and install a 600mm margin around the perimeter of the plot - Ongoing
  • Install the kerb edging along the bottom of Plot 1 - TBD
  • Trench for hose from corner of plot 1 to the tap and water butt - TBD
  • Prep the next Dalek area  - TBD
  • Empty Last years Apple Dalek and relocate to Dalek Army 2  - TBD
  • Cut and paint timber for the Square Foot Gardening raised beds - When dry and able  
  • Cut and paint timber for the Raspberries raised beds - When dry and able  
  • Beds and Paths -  Dig and weed the remaining square foot gardening beds and fruit beds. 
  • Erect the greenhouse - New Timbers have been cut and treated Need to find brackets   
  • Tidy Up the Allotment - Ongoing over the Autumn/ Winter to be completed by March 2021
  • Stockpile Timber ready for burning  - Most burnt by John for me 

  • Planning - Ongoing
  • Catalogue Seeds - Vegetables for 2021 
  • Cut Path Weed Membrane -  Ongoing when dry   
  • Cut Bed Weed Membrane - Ongoing when dry
  • Cut Planting Membrane - Make some narrow bed tomato planting sheets

  • None at the moment.- Add when remembered.

Monday, 30 November 2020

Raspberry Bed Infrastructure II

Todays visit to the allotment started with using the circular saw to cut the top of the stack 2.4m x 1.2m bed frame in half and then painting the cuts and touching up the paintwork to the frames.

The 2.5m long sides were painted as they have weathered whilst waiting to be used and they were drilled with 3 pilot holes each end and then screwed into place with 75mm long screws 

The lone Dalek that was in the middle of the 2.4m length of the raspberry beds was emptied with a small shovel and the contents of acidic compost was placed in the first bed. The Lone Dalek was added to the end of the line of the lot 1 Dalek Army. 

The second half frame was removed from the stack and placed on its side on top of the first Raspberry bed and again a 2.4m long side was painted and drilled, then screwed into place. 

View of the Raspberry just before leaving at 1pm to go home for lunch and just as the rain started. 

The second 2.4m x 1.2m frame was lifted off the frame below and cut to form two 0.6m wide frames. I ended up using the hand saw on the last half of the second cut as the circular saw is really difficult to use vertically downwards and it kept binding in the slot.

First job next visit will be to turn the frames up like the first photo in this post and paint the timbers ready for the 3rd and 4th beads to be installed.   

In My Seed Box for 2021 - Swede


OK I admit when I think of swede it takes me back to my childhood as my Mum used to cook roast dinners all the time and swede was part of our staple diet, however since growing up and getting married it's not something that the wife is particularly fond off, but now as I am taking on more of the cooking duties and the fact that I have a packet "Best of All"  seed that came with the Grow Your Own magazine. I also picked up a couple of Carters Tested Seeds packs from Poundland in the sale. 

Due to my leg injury in 2019 and Shielding my wife during the first wave of the pandemic in 2020 I didn't get around to sowing Swede, and in chatting with my sister-in-law Pauline who also has a plot on the same allotment site, she has not had much luck growing swede in the past, so with the additional half plot I feel that space needs to be found to grow this vegetable in 2021 and that I should learn how to cook it !

I have a vague recollection of my old Mum boiling it, mashing it and adding butter, but I may be wrong !

Best of All  - 750 Seeds - FREE - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2021

Sow        May - Jun
Harvest  Oct - Mar

Invitation - 100 Seeds - 25p - Carters (Poundland) - Sow by 7/2021

Sow                Mid April - Mid Jun
Harvest          Nov - Feb
Germination  6 - 10 days 

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Raspberry Bed Infrastructure

The access road that is about to become adopted and links to the development beside the allotment site has gone in during the last week. Again access was via the development to the side of my plots. It appears the pull in we were promised will happen, but I assume our access into our drop off and pick area (we are not allowed to call it a car park) may be compromised for a couple of weeks whilst they finish it off.   

View from the outside of the plot and one can see the area where we will be able to pull up in front of the gate and once the road is open we will no longer block and traffic when coming and going. The roundabout is not a physical entity it looks like they will put one of those white painted roundabout in front of the junction to the access roads, our access and Parchment Close 

The Raspberry collection came Saturday and so the pressure is now on to get the infrastructure of beds in place and the raspberries in the ground as quickly as possible. 

Before Picture ~ at 8:40 and the start of the day on the allotment. A great deal of digging weeding, removing woodchip and clearing was done in order to get the path in from the main path and link into the installed path system so far. And then pulling back the temporary membrane that was covered in woodchip to expose the soil so that it can be dug and weeded. As normal I will dig and weed the paths as well as the beds. 

After Photo ~ 1:15pm as I was about to leave for Sunday lunch. Temporary timbers put into the corner of the paths to hold the woodchip path in place, and provide something to better define what's coming.   

View of the main path into Plot 1 timbers laid on the path at the entrance to indicate the line of the path and where the ends beds need too go.  

First raspberry bed dug over and weeded, however the bed timber work needs cutting in half as they were built 1.2m x 2.4m and they will now be 0.6m x 2.4m

Once the 1,2m timbers are cut in half then 2.5m long member will be added to make the 0.6m x 2.4m internal dimensioned beds. I de-nailed and painted three 2.5m long timbers all round face by face during the morning and they are on top of the stacked bed frames in the photo below.     

View up the main path into Plot 1, the woodchip path is level and compacted as much as possible at the moment until the bed frames are installed. The two Agapanthus plants in flower buckets have been placed approximately where they will ultimately be planted in the plot each side of the entrance.    

Clip Glove Review


Coming Soon 

Saturday, 28 November 2020

Waltons Garden Storage Chest Assembled

Cold frame removed and area ready for the  4 x 3 ft wooden garden storage chest arriving Monday 

Laid out the panels to allow them to breath as we have had rain over the last week and some of the panels were very wet.

Over the next two days the panels once dry were painted inside and out and the floor given two coats of paint apart from the front folding panel and with the weather changing and forecast for rain the store was screwed together and assembled. 

The pack of screws supplied is a generic pack and there are sizes that are supplied and not actually required for this model. I will never complain about too many fitting being supplied, and I've ended up increasing my screw stock so that's an additional win.   

The roofing felt roll had been compressed and was oval with a seam formed each side of the roll. it's always advisable to lay felt out ideally in the sun to flatten before fixing so I took the decision to lay the felt on the roof to keep the rain off the timber and from getting into the store and used the window frames from the cold frame to hold it in place and apply a little flattening force, there isn't a lot of sun about at the moment.    

Friday the felt was fixed to the roof and trimmed. Saturday the store had another coat of paint with the corners getting double attention and the trims have been painted all round and will need another couple of coats before I fix them and the Hasp to the front completing the build.

The store is however already full to the brim and has made a significant difference in the amount of available space for access else where. It's been nice being able to actually get into my shed to find the tools and materials I need without having to decant stuff for access. 

Winning the Waltons competition has been a little God send, and I'm very grateful that it happened.

Saving Loo Rolls

How many of you are now saving Loo Roll Tubes to use as root trainers for Parsnips etc. next year?

Between June and the end of October I tend to shred the loo rolls for browns for the compost bin along with envelopes, junk mail and paper waste, But loo rolls are a valuable resource come seed sowing time. My sister saved hers for me and I know of many other allotmenteers who rope in family and friends in the saving process.

I put the Parsnips in the Takeaway Containers in 2020 on the 7th March 2020 and I had not looked at them for a couple of days, and I think I really should have.  Above is the Johnsons Organic Tender & True and I moved 10 that have chitted into loo rolls full of compost

You can see the root just forming on the one in the top left corner in the photo above and the roots on the three on the bottom row must be a day or two old.

Above is the Thompson & Morgan White Gem and they had also started to sprout and I potted on 10 from this container into loo rolls as well

The roots on these are shorter and I suspect are a day behind the Tender & True 

I've drilled the bottle cap with 6 number 1mm holes to turn the small 500ml Coke Bottle into a mini watering can which is so useful for watering seed trays in the grow stations and the Space Saver Greenhouse  

last year in March I had only managed to save 20 loo roll tubes, which is why I'm saving them earlier for 2021 season. The 20 loo rolls were filled with MPC and the top 5mm with seedling compost and the seeds were pricked out and dropped with root downwards into the centre of the roll.

I try and take the loo rolls with germinated seeds down to the allotment as place in the planting membrane within a week so that the roots don't have chance to get to the bottom of the loo roll. 

I use my funky bulb planter whos bore is just right for vending machine cups and loo rolls, place the loo roll in the bore and fill any gap with fine compost and water in well. In march 2020 I only managed to get in these 20 loo rolls before we went into lockdown. 

In 2020 I have 6 different varieties of parsnips and I'm looking at filling a whole 2.4m x 1.4m bed with a 105 hole 7 per row and 15 rows planting membrane with parsnips. 

2 rows (14) x Student Parsnip   - 200 Seeds - Mag    - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2021 
2 rows (14) x Palace F1             - 200 Seeds - £2.45 - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2021
2 rows (14) x Tender and True   - 350 Seeds - £2.09 - Johnsons        - Sow By 2022
3 rows (21) x White Gem           - 300 Seeds - £1.00 - Wilko               - Sow By 2022 
3 rows (21) x New! Picador F1  - 200 Seeds - £2.10 - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By Dec 2023
3 rows (21) x New! TZ 9045 F1 - 200 Seeds - £1.99 - D.T.Brown       - Sow By Dec 2022

I will be offering my excess Student Parsnip & Palace F1 seeds to other plot holders.