Saturday, 4 December 2021

D.T.Brown - Rhubarb Livingstone

 Do you enjoy those bright red stems in early summer, but wish the season for sweet, young rhubarb could be longer?  If so, you will want to grow Livingstone which produces its succulent, delicious, stringless sticks from March to October. This outstanding, British-bred strain was achieved by eliminating the summer dormancy which causes rhubarb to stop cropping by the middle of summer. By the way, this breakthrough came about by conventional means and not by any form of genetic modification.

Livingstone really does yield a fine crop of high quality, red-skinned stems through the autumn months, extending the season for this much-loved fruit (well, vegetable actually!).
The disease-free plants will crop heavily once established.  Whether your favourite is rhubarb crumble, rhubarb pie or simply stewed and served with compulsory custard, Livingstone is the variety we have been waiting for.  Supplied in 9cm pots.

'Livingstone' is a compact variety to about 50cm with bright red stems. Unlike other rhubarb varieties, it does not have a dormant period in summer. The main cropping period is early to late autumn, though it can be cropped in summer if required

Sow Indoors
Sow / Plant Outdoors
Flowers / Harvest

How to grow

CultivationPlant crowns in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, from late autumn to early spring. Crowns can be cropped for ten or more years, though division may be necessary after about five years. Mulch in spring with a 7cm layer of well-rotted organic matter without burying the crowns, and apply a general fertiliser at 70g/sq m in spring or summer. Water during prolonged dry periods in summer. See rhubarb cultivation

PropagationLift crowns between autumn and early spring (usually in November). Use a spade to divide the crown into sections each retaining a portion of the rhizome (thickened root) and at least one growing point. Sections from the outer part are better than the centres of old plants. Discard any old or decayed parts of the crown. Replant straight away or wrap in damp sacking until ready to plant

Suggested planting locations and garden typesLow Maintenance Patio & Container Plants

How to care

PruningAllow the foliage to die back naturally in winter then cut away the old leaves to expose the growing points to winter cold

PestsAphidsslugs and snails may be problematic

DiseasesHoney fungus and a virus may be troublesome

OK not quite in my seed box but ordered for the plot 1 allotment 

The growth during the first year 2021, has been really great. I do have to relocate one of the Rhubarb into it's own bed over winter and in 2022 I can take a few stalks and make a crumble. 

Friday, 3 December 2021

Thursday, 2 December 2021

In My Seed Box For 2022 - Radish


I see these as not really needing a bed of their own but as squatters/ row markers at the end of other vegetables like Parsnips that take a time to germinate and show where they have been planted. Now that I'm having 3 square foot gardening beds there feature surrounding the solitary items at the back that are vertical growers see posting here re square foot garden beds layouts

New variety For 2022 - Felicia - Dobies - 43 83 64 -  300 Seeds - £ 1.99 or 900 Seeds - £3.00

A fantastic new colour in French Breakfast types…PURPLE!

Long, slender roots which graduate to white at the tip, perfect to grow their red cousins. Crisp fleshed with a good, peppery flavour, easier to slice than round varieties. 

Can be used for snacking or garnish; even added to stir fry. 

Sow       March - Sept 
Harvest  April - Oct.

With good storage conditions Radish seeds can last between 5 - 8 years 

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets 

Breakfast Mix          –   300 Seeds -           - Marshalls - Sow By 09/2021   
 - Lidl – Sow By 12/2016
Felicia                     –   300 Seeds - £1.00 - Dobies - Packed year ending 2022                
Flamboyant 3          –   400 Seeds - £1.99 - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2019
French Breakfast 3 – 1000 Seeds - £1.89 - Unwins - Sow By 07/2020
French Breakfast 3 – 1000 Seeds - £1.35 - Mr Fothergill - Sow By 07/2017
French Breakfast 3 –   450 Seeds - £1.55 - Suttons - Sow By 07/2024 Packed year ending 2021
French Breakfast 2 –   100 Seeds -    20p - Carters Pound Stretcher - Sow By 07/2020        
Icicle                       –   300 Seeds -    40p – Wilko - Sow By 2015
Scarlet Globe          – 1000 Seeds - £1,99 - Thompson & Morgan Sow By 12/2019
Sparkler 3               – 1000 Seeds – GYO Mag - Mr Fothergill - Sow By 2020
Radish Mixed - 475 Seeds -    £1.99 - Organic Gardening Seeds - Packed year Ending 2021

Alphabetical Listing of varieties previously grown 

                                            Sowing            Harvest
Breakfast Mix                     Jan – Oct         Mar - Nov 
Bright and Spicy Mix          Mar – Sept       April -  Oct
Cherry Belle                       Mar – July        May - Oct
Eiszapfen                           Mar – Sept       April -  Oct
Felicia                                Mar – Sept       April -  Oct     
Flamboyant 3                     May – July         July – Sept
French Breakfast 3            Mar – Sept       April -  Oct - Unwins
French Breakfast 3            Feb – Sept       April – Oct - Mr Fothergill
Icicle (Long White)             Feb – Sept       April – Oct
Scarlet Globe                     May – July         July – Sept
Sparkler 3                          Feb – Sept        April – Oct

Typical Notes about Radish 
Suitable for indoor and outdoor growing
Sow at 4 Week intervals
Prefers a moist well drained soil in full sun

Sowing Instructions

Sow thinly, 10mm (1/2” deep) deep in drills 300mm (12inch) apart in soil which has been raked to a fine tilth. Water the ground regularly especially during dry periods.

Growing Instructions

When large enough to handle, thin out seedlings to 25mm or 1 inch apart. Keep plants cool and moist to prevent running to seed.

Monday, 29 November 2021

Storm Arwen

Days after Storm Arwen first caused major disruption across the UK, the impacts of the severe  weather continued to be keenly felt today, as around 66,000 homes remained without power and the bodies of dead seal pups continued to wash up on Scottish shores.

With parts of the country experiencing the coldest night of the season so far — including in Cumbria, which saw a temperature of -8.7C — charities and health authorities urged people to look out for neighbours and elderly relatives.

Meanwhile, thousands of engineers toiled – in some cases hampered by snow – to repair what the Energy Networks Association (ENA) described as the worst destruction of electricity lines seen in Britain for 16 years.

Some 870,000 homes have had their power restored so far. But the ENA said engineers were still uncovering “snapped electricity poles, downed wires and other complex faults” this afternoon, at which point 155,000 properties across the UK were still said to be without power.

All but two of 61 customers who became trapped at a North Yorkshire pub cut off by snow were finally able to leave on today after being stranded for three nights by snowdrifts. Temperatures at the Tan Hill Inn dropped to -7.6C as the group became trapped late on Friday.

Boris Johnson issued an apparent offer of help to people in northeast Scotland, where thousands faced a fourth night without electricity despite Holyrood’s deputy first minister John Swinney chairing an emergency meeting to oversee efforts to restore power, reconnect water supplies and re-establish telecommunications across the country.

And further down the coast in Tynemouth, it emerged that lifeboat crews had been battling 6m waves for 18 hours to rescue six fishermen whose vessel suffered an engine failure 70 miles out to sea.

Several RNLI lifeboats faced “some of the worst conditions” they have ever encountered over the weekend, the charity said.

Meanwhile, Transport for Wales warned that rail services would be affected this week as trains that ran over debris-littered tracks are repaired.

The north of England also saw continued rail disruption today, as London North Eastern Railway closed its East Coast mainline between Newcastle and Edinburgh throughout the day.

It came after Bridlington in East Yorkshire recorded high levels of rainfall, with 14.6mm of rain overnight on Sunday.

“The whole of the UK will turn milder. The places that will hold on to the cold air the longest will be in the southeast of the UK,” Mr Claydon said.

Another dip in temperatures would follow on Wednesday night, but likely not as low as over the weekend, he said, adding: “It will still be below zero, but more like -4C or -5C.”

Allotment Facebook groups have had the usual photos of blown away polytunnels and greenhouses utterly destroyed. Tony C Smith who is based on the North East Coast of the UK and one of my favourite YouTubers went up to his plot to check on his polytunnel recording those greenhouses that had lost glass panels and those that had been completely destroyed.

In the South East we got away thing very lightly, I had anticipated a frost covered car and very cold temperatures Sunday morning, and told Emma not to bother coming over, but as it happened it was sunny in the morning and there was no frost. 

Sunday night and Monday morning locally however was a completely different story, with a heavy frost on the cars and the roofs of the surrounding houses, and a real bitterness in the temperatures.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

I Wonder....?

I wonder if Dr Organic would like to come and collect all my snails on the plot?

They could also take the homeless snails (i.e. Slugs) as well if they like!

Sunday, 21 November 2021

New Plot Holders

A good morning on the plot, a little cooler than last week with warnings of sub zero temperatures next weekend. I was up bright and early and down on the plot by about 8:14. Today I originally had two prospective plot holders coming to view the two now vacant plots on the site. I sent a message to the first couple that I had arrived and then got on with the task of gathering leaves from the drop off and pick up area (aka the car park, but we are not allowed to call it that) and filling the leaf cage to the brim.

I watered and damped down as I gradually emptied each wheel barrow load and then finally placed the metal mesh trays on top to stop them from blowing out of the cage.

Magda and her husband arrived a little after 9:00 and we proceeded to look at both of the vacant plots 14 & 7, both have their pro and cons and they quickly decided on taking over plot 7&7A as they were looking for a full plot and one half is already an established orchard with trees and fruit.

I saw the lonely green Dalek offered on Freecycle Saturday night and asked the poster if I could have it, and he said come and get it. Turned out he was in Wallington where my daughter and son-in-law live, so I messaged Andy and asked him if he could collect in his van on his way to the plot this morning.

So I now have two additional Daleks standing behind Dalek Army 1, waiting to get in line with the rest of the other Green Daleks. One will replace the rotating Dalek and the other a black one that has gone brittle and seen better days.

Andy and I sawed a broken Water butt down that is going to be filled with sand and used to grow bugs bunny type long carrots. Its standing under the lighter Dalek which will be it's home once the Dalek is moved into its final location.

The second person on the waiting list Rachael could not come as she has caught Covid, but have said they will just take the plot as they have been on the list a long time. They asked me to take photos which I did and sent them over to her.

Andy worked on weeding and putting beds 8-11 to sleep for Winter. The planting membrane has been folded up and stored but as we have no running water at the moment to clean them, I may take the Worx hydroshot down and connect it to a water butt and jetwash the planting membrane.

I attacked the comfrey bed and cut up a number of plastic trug loads that went into three Daleks on plot 1A and two Daleks on Plot 1. I also brought down a 10 litre bucket of shredded paper with me this morning that was deposited in a Dalek on plot 1. 

Over the Winter I will be gathering as much brown material as possible so that when the green starts flowing again I have browns to add as well.

I took the Ryobi strimmer with a 4Ah battery to the path between plots 1&2 which should now be it's last cut until spring. I managed to cut the full length of the plot and the battery lasted about 20 - 25minutes.

Now the grass has been cut, it will allow me to transplant the Tulips and Daffs from the bed on the plot and put in the 100 Daffs I bought a little while ago when they were on offer down the path for some spring colour and some early food for the bees should the venture out on a warm Spring day next year.

View from the top of Plot 1A looking down to the main path and Dalek Army 1A

Andy and I moved the the mesh panels from on top of the timber up against the scaffold tubes on the Raspberries, so that I can now get at the section of ground between the Square Foot Gardening Beds and the stacked timber, to weed, membrane and lay the paving slabs behind.

We moved the two greenhouse frames from beside bed 11 and placed them just behind the Dalek Army on plot 1. I started cutting down the self seeder, tall tree down that was growing in front of my first apple tree on plot 1A.

John as always was looking for materials for his oil drum fire and told me to stack any timber I want to dispose off at the end of my plot.

In the photograph above the items stacked on the beds on the right of the path need to be sorted, thrown or repurposed so that the beds are clear ready for next year. The bed that has all the buckets and milk bottles of sand on will go to the cut down water butt once I have melted or drilled a few drainage hole in it. I did remove the tap so I know that along with the crack in the bottom of the water butt there is a way out for the water.

I want to make up some cold frames over the Winter months to fit the secondary glazing panels I have to use on the beds and help warm up the soil and get a faster start sowing and growing next year.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Snow Fear Of Snow On The Plot


My newsfeed has been warning me for some time about an artic wind and the possibility of snow over the UK, first it was anticipated and reported to take place on the weekend of the 13th & 14th of November, which didn’t happen and in fact, I was on the plot on Sunday the 14th November in a tee shirt with a fleece tied around my waist to keep my back warm as we worked, it was quite sunny and warmish for the time of year.

Now the warnings to Brits of freezing temperatures and heavy snow to fall across swathes of the country from next week keep popping up but they are other news media just regurgitating the Express post.

The Met Office has updated its forecast for next week and warned “snow likely across higher ground and possibly falling to low levels at times"., telling the Express newspaper that temperatures could fall by 10 degrees after 7C-10C highs at the weekend.

This information is based on WXCharts maps are showing snow first hitting the north of the UK and then moving south over the following couple of days.

After a largely mild November, the cold weather is set to come from Arctic winds which will bring freezing temperatures and has slashed odds on it becoming the coldest November on record and the betting odds have been slashed.

Temperatures could be around zero or 1C in parts of the country Monday 1st December, WXCharts maps suggest. 

I had not heard of WXCharts but have heard of and my go to app is Ventusky so I've taken a look at the snow possibility on that, and this is what I have found. 

Looks like snow is going to hit Scotland on Sunday 28th November 

Getting thick in the highlands of Scotland, moving into Ireland and Mid West UK on Monday.

 Sweeping down into Wales Tuesday 30th November 

1st Dec looking like the worst of the snow may be over and receding in England. 

Looking at the Weather based on the Allotment Postcode looks like coldest days will be Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th November. Ventusky is showing some really cold weather in Scotland and the rest of the UK 

The Perceived Temperatures with the wind chill factor don't look good at all !

At the end of the day we will just have to wait and see, and use Dads Weather Stone.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

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