Tuesday 31 October 2017

Plot 1 The Way Ahead

Here are my thoughts on the way ahead for Plot 1

The plan above is an approximation of the layout as I have not been able to measure the walls or the boundaries as there is a mass of hawthorne and brambles along the walls. Once cleared I will update the drawing and bed layout.

Clearance has commenced


Spring     22nd March - 21st June - Planting, Growing and Harvesting
Summer  21st June - 22nd Sept - Harvesting
Autumn   22nd Sept - 21 December - Infrastructure works
Winter     21st December - 20th March - Infrastructure works


Having cleared the vegetation for most of the plot, the next area to concentrate on is the Hawthorn and Brambles along the wall, There was a huge spoil heap of weeds in the internal corner formed by the boundary wall, which I have a vague recollection of the last tenant spreading as compost over the plot two years ago so it may not be as bad as I'm anticipating but until I clear that area and get into it I will not know.

Strim all the vegetation down as short as possible and then hire a tri flame roofing burner and burn the whole of the plot and then cover with weed membrane, and hold it down with a mixture of plastic pegs, paving slabs, lumps of timber and other dross currently piled along the boundary of Plots 1 & 1A

Next Area 1 which is the internal corner formed by the wall, where the shed and greenhouse is going. The objective is to get this done and the shed and greenhouse transported over from Spencer Road to their new homes before or during March

Area 2 will be next as I'm hoping to have 4 - 6 beds ready in the first year, I may work from the South Eastern boundary as I will want to get the Daleks over from Spencer Road and into production as soon as possible. We are arranging a drop off Manure which will initially go into the South West corner of the plot in a heap and into as many Daleks on Plot 1 as I can fill.

Area 3 as I intend to grow fruit trees along the wall and it will link up with the main path on plot 1A and give me access to the new Shed and Greenhouse on Plot 1 

Areas 2 & 3 may get reversed in order, as it may be faster to deal with area 3 first. 


The first two beds that are created on Plot 1 will be earmarked for potatoes. In addition I intend to grow more first early spuds in buckets as the buckets will help keep the weed membrane down and wind resistant.

Monday 30 October 2017

Kerb Stones

<------- Future Path

I had to pick up the pumpkins from Spencer Road so for my wife and daughter to carve. I also took the opportunity and transported six 900mm concrete kerb stones (one broken) and laid them along the boundary with a gap in where the path from the boundary into my allotments will extend from.

These kerb stones will hold down the edges of the weed membrane against the wind over winter after I have completed clearing and burning the existing vegetation and weeds.

There are more than enough kerb edges to get me around the corner and up towards Plot 1A

Sunday 29 October 2017

Clearing Plot 1 - Day 2

Thanks to the clocks going back I had a nice early start and was on the plot at 8:15

last week I started cutting the weeds down in the North East corner of the plot and along the boundary between Plot 1 & Plot 1A 

This morning Keith (my brother-in-law) and I cleared quite an area and stacked it in the middle of the plot ready for burning, the idea was to cover and let it dry, but the pile was a little to large to cover

So In the Afternoon after lunch we set fire to our mornings work.

First thing this morning

Last thing this evening just as it started to get dark.

So now just the Hawthorne, bramble and nettles along the wall to contend with, the plan is to strim a burn the vegetation and cover with weed membrane. The area where the shed and greenhouse will be sorted first, then the land will be expose in strips and hand dug and weeded and beds and paths installed.

I may need to make this chap and his chums a habitat on the allotment and perhaps a pond somewhere

Friday 27 October 2017

In My Seed Box 2018 - 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 feel that space needs to be found to grow this vegetable in 2018 and that I should learn how to cook it !

I have a vague recollection of her 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

Thursday 26 October 2017

In My Seed Box 2018 - Spring Onions

I have Eiffel, Evergreen Bunching and White Lisbon (Winter Hardy) Over Wintering in the greenhouse as part of the Soil Fixer SF60 Spring Onion Experiment.

Looking at my Sowing & Planting Plan I see that I should have started sowing Spring Onions in March Week 1. Looking at my seed collection Mr Fothergills (Spring) North Holland Blood Red on the back of the pack states, germination is 14-21 days, it also informs me that they can be sown from February to July and harvested from April to October. For Bulb Onions sow no later than April and thin to 75mm apart. 

So a note has been added to my  Sowing & Planting Plan for next year so I can get them going a month earlier than this year. I had not planned to leave any North Holland Blood Red to bulb, but perhaps of grown in containers to prevent white rot, I will leave a few to see how they get on for future reference.

Review of Onion Seed Stocks in Zippy Bags 

Apache (Deep Purple) - T&M - Sow By 12/2015
Long Red Florence - Chase Garden - Sow By 12/2016
North Holland Blood Red - Mr Fothergills - Sow By 2017
Pompeii x 2 packs - T&M Kew Collection
Purplette - T&M Kew Collection - Sow By 2017
Ramrod x 2 packs - Suttons - Sow By 2017
Shimonita - Suttons  Sow By 06/2016
White Lisbon x 3 packs- Suttons/ Wilko/ Goodlands - Sow By 2016 / 2017 / 2017

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets

Arrow                                 - 300 Seeds - £2.19     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017
Arrow                                 - 300 Seeds - £2.19     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017

Ishikura                              - 500 Seeds - £2.29     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2017
North Holland Blood Red   - 500 Seeds - £2.09     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2017
Pompeii                              - 300 Seeds - £2.19    - Thompson & Morgan Kew Collection - Sow By 12/2017
Purplette                            - 300 Seeds - £1.99    - Thompson & Morgan Kew Collection - Sow By 12/2017

Feast F1 Hybrid                 - 500 Seeds - £1.49     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2018
White Lisbon                      - 650 Seeds - £1.89     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2018

Ishikura                              - 375 Seeds - £2.99      - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2019

Ishikura                              - 375 Seeds - £2.99     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2019

Purplette                            - 375 Seeds - £2.99     - Thompson & Morgan Kew Collection  - Sow By 2019

Long White Ishikura           - 500 Seeds - £2.40       - Johnsons - Sow By 2020
Long White Ishikura           - 500 Seeds - £2.40       - Johnsons - Sow By 2020
White Lisbon (Winter Hardy)  - 500 Seeds - £1.00      - wilko - Sow By 2020
White Lisbon (Winter Hardy)  - 500 Seeds - £1.00      - wilko - Sow By 2020
White Lisbon (Winter Hardy)  - 500 Seeds - £1.00      - wilko - Sow By 2020

Alphabetical Listing

                                                Sowing            Harvest

Arrow                                     Mar - Apr          Aug - Nov
Feast F                                         Mar - Jul          Jun - Onwards ( Winter hardy) 
Ishikura                                         Mar - May        Jun - Sep - Thompson & Morgan
Ishikura                                         Mar - Jul          May - Oct - Mr Fothergill's
Long White Ishikura               Mar - Jul           May - Oct - Johnsons
North Holland Blood Red       Feb - Jul           Apr - Oct
Pompeii                                  Mar - Jul          Jun - Oct
Purplette                                 Mar - Jul          Jun - Oct
White Lisbon (Winter Hardy)       Mar - Sep         Mar - Nov  
White Lisbon                            Mar - Sep         May - Oct - Thompson & Morgan
White Lisbon                            Mar - Jul           May - Oct - Mr Fothergill's

Sowing Plan for 2018

Last year spring onions were grown in vending machine cups in tray modules and transplanted into the onion beds plant membrane, but white rot got a few and the rest had to be harvested early or disposed off.

So now knowing there is White rot on both Spencer Road and Mill Green, I have decided to not grow as many Spring Onions and onions in one place. As with the over wintering SF60 Experiment I intend to grow spring onions in compost filled cut down flower buckets and use the Jig that I have made.

For the SF60 experiment I used all 110 locations in the jig but on seeing just how dense it looks I may use a 55 seed configuration. Looking at greater spacing's using the Jig there is a 30 & 16 plants per flower bucket.   

I think I will try the 55 configuration for the leeks as well this year

Looking at the back of the seed packets, yes I do read them! What I find interesting is the different guidance provided by different seed companies for the same variety of plant. for example, looking at Ishikura Spring Onions from Wilko, Thompson & Morgan & Mr Fothergill

Sowing Outdoors

Mar - May ~ Thompson & Morgan
Mar - Jun ~ Wilko
Mar - July ~ Mr Fothergills

Frequency of Sowing

Wilko &  Mr Fothergills both suggest every 2 - 3 weeks for a continuous supply throughout the summer, interestingly Thompson & Morgan advice is that "The long harvest period means one sowing lasts the whole season!" which is kind of mad as there harvest period is shorter than both Wilko & Mr Fothergills ! Thompson & Morgan also states "Can be harvested pencil-thin or thinner, or left to mature to carrot size" although they don't state what kind of carrot.  


Wilko & Mr Fothergills both suggest no thinning is required whereas Thompson & Morgan state it is!


May - Oct ~ Wilko
Jun -  Sep ~ Thompson & Morgan
May - Oct ~ Mr Fothergills


Wilko &  Mr Fothergills both state 14 - 21 days and Thompson & Morgan provides no information on germination, I have seen this missing on quite a lot of their packs and it's something I'm and I guess most other gardeners are actually quite interested in.

I know that like Structural Engineers, if you get four or five gardeners together and ask them a question you are likely to get three different answers but until I see what other suppliers of Ishikura Spring Onions have to say, I think I will ignore T&M and go with the guidance from Wilko & Mr Fothergill.  

Wednesday 25 October 2017

In My Seed Box 2018 - Lettuce

Lettuce is something we eat a lot of and something that I have not been particularly good at growing. Correction I can grow it but it gets eaten by slugs and snails and I tend to see very little in the way of harvest. 2018 I'm going to blitz the slug and snail population and hopefully have some success. I shall also be over wintering lettuce in the SpaceSaver Greenhouse.

Review Of Seed Stocks in Zippy Bags

I have made the decision to throw anything that was in the zippy bag collection and Sow by 2016 away or use it in pots as cut and come again

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets

Elyburg                              -   200 Seeds -     99p   - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2017
Little Gem                          -  500 Seeds - £1.49     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2017
Little Gen (Seed Tape)      -    Unknown  - £2.99    - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2017
Sweetheart                        -    200 Seeds - £1.89   - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2017
Winter Density                   - 1250 Seeds - £1.89    - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2017
Winter Gem                       -   150 Seeds - £2.69    - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 12/2017

Maureen                           -   175 Seeds - £2.99     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2018
Mixed (200mm dia mats)        Unknown  - £2.99     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2018
Salad Bowl Red & Green -       ?   Free off Mag      - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2018
Tom Thumb (Butterhead) - 1500 Seeds - £1.30     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2018

Valmaine (C&CA)             -   800 Seeds - £2.99     - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2019

Cos                                    - 200 Seeds  - £2.29     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020
Cos                                    - 200 Seeds  - £2.29     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020Little Gem                         -  750 Seeds - On Mag  - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020
Tantan (Cos Lettuce)        -   200 Seeds - £2.29     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020
Tantan (Cos Lettuce)        -   200 Seeds - £2.29     - Mr Fothergill's - Sow By 2020

 Alphabetical Listing

                                       Sowing            Harvest

Cos                              Mar - Jul           May - Oct
Elyburg                        Mar - Jul           Jun - Oct
Little Gem                    Mar - Jul           May - Oct  Mr Fothergill's
Little Gem                    Mar - Jul           May - Sep Thompson & Morgan
Maureen                      Mar - Jul           Jun - Oct
Sweetheart                  Mar - Jul            May - Oct
Tom Thumb                  Mar - Jul           May - Oct
Valmaine                       Mar - Jul           Jun - Sep
Winter Density              Sept- Jan          Jan - May  Greenhouse / Coldframe 
Winter Gem                  Aug - April         Mar - Jul              Outdoors