Saturday 29 May 2021

Second SFG Bed Dug & Weeded

22 degrees C and Sunny from 7:30am - 1pm today. I decanting a blue barrel of grass from My daughters dropped off early this morning at 7am and many buckets of shredded paper and cut cardboard into the Dalek I emptied a few weeks ago filling to the brim and still some to top up two other Daleks in Army I on plot 1A. Comfrey and coffee grounds added and a little coir for good measure.

Square Foot Gardening Bed 2 dug to size and a trug load of Mares tail and bramble roots extracted. Temporary weed membrane path covered in rubber matting added.

Frame to SFG Bed 2 assembled and placed more or less in position, the path between SFG Beds 2 & 3 needs digging and weeding before SFG2 is finally bedded in place.
Weed membrane and Rubber Matting on path that needs further mares tail and Bramble roots removed. Tug of weeds from todays digging.

SFG Bed 1 covered with boards to be used for SFG3
Frame to SFG Bed 2 assembled and placed more or less in position, the path between SFG Beds 2 & 3 needs digging and weeding before SFG2 is finally bedded in.

Boards covering the bags of compost in SFG Bed 1. What the eye does not see the heart can not greave over, as my old Dad used to say. The now empty Blue Barrel that held the grass from my daughters house turned upside down with a couple of bricks to stop it flying away until it can be picked up by my son-in-law. 

My eldest daughter has promised to help me with a few hours weeding on Thursday afternoon so hopefully I will get some runner beans in after the bed is cleared.

Having bought new blades for the cheap strimmer I used the rest of the charge in the battery to trim along the edge of the plot.

I also formed a cut path off the main path to my entrance before the battery gave up. It's been brought home to be recharged.

New Sprinkler put in between the onions and watered during the visit.

Onions doing well

First Early spuds in Buckets looking healthy.

Raspberries looking good and with more growth since last week when they were all weeded. I must think about putting some wires in shortly.

Main Crop in Buckets and extra First Early spuds in smaller potato Pots uncovered as vegetation now showing. Let just hope Mr Fox continues to ignore.

Friday 28 May 2021

Thursday 27 May 2021

WIN A Waltons Wooden Arbour Seat Worth £269.99

I've just entered this competition as one of Waltons Wooden Arbour seats would be fantastic on my plot as I no longer have the shade of the trees that were removed last year at the top end of Plot 1A. I've also had to get rid of the garden furniture that came from my Mums place when she passed away as it had weathered so badly and had become dangerous to sit on.  

All you have to do for a chances of winning is to go to the Competition Page and click on the links provided. 

Triple your chances of winning by completing all three entry methods. 

Wednesday 26 May 2021

HD Plastic 15 Cell (3 x 5) Modules

Patch Seed Potatoes are selling a box of 20 number 15 Cell (3 x 5) Containerwise Second hand heavy duty modules for £30 and £8.0 Delivery to the UK which brings the cost of the £4.25 trays down to just below £1.50 each.

Actually although there web site says 20 they have been shipping 21 trays as it fills the box better but that one additional tray is likely to have a defect of some description.  

I tend to use the flimsy15 cell trays like the one on the left in the photo above to hold vending machine cups that I grow in which makes watering from the bottom and transportation easier.  

As you can see the Heavy Duty Plastic module fits into a standard tray easily and actually offers more support to the vending machine cups than it's flimsy neighbour. 

Yes they are second hand and are a little bit dusty and dirty, but they have been used once for potato breeding are are structurally still perfect, they only need a wash over before using, and you are getting them at less than half price. 

I'm on no commission just happy to share a bargain with fellow growers. 

Tuesday 25 May 2021

Happy Towel Day

Towel Day
 is celebrated every year on 25 May as a tribute to the author Douglas Adams by his fans. On this day, fans openly carry a towel with them, as described in Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author.

The importance of the towel was introduced in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy original radio series in 1978. The follow-up book explained the importance of towels in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy universe in Chapter 3, using much of the same wording as the original radio series:

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have "lost." What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in "Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There's a frood who really knows where his towel is." (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Saturday 22 May 2021

Swift Greenhouse Maintenance Visit

With the rain and high winds that we had Thursday and Friday, I wanted to pop to Wickes and get some self tapping screws as I suspected and I was right that the temporary fix of the plot 1A greenhouse panel had failed again and the panel was flapping in the wind again.

So I took my two Titan drills one to use as a drill and the other as a screwdriver and fixed the polycarbonate panel back in place with the mechanical fixings.

I have silicon and will also silicon when it's dry and not windy.

There was also a panel coming loose on the plot 1 greenhouse so I put a couple of mechanical fixings in there as well.

Polycarbonate panel and aluminium greenhouse frame drilled with pilot hole then domed head self tapping screw installed.

With this rain the weeds have gone bonkers, I only cleared this bed of weeds two weeks ago. There was also mares-tail coming up in the path between Raspberry beds 1 & 2.

I managed to weed the raspberry beds and really can't believe the amount of mares tail that had come up in the bed and one of the paths, especially as I weeded it so intensely when I put the paths and beds in place.

It was good to see that the spuds in the ground have have also put a spirt on

First Early spuds in buckets have also responded well to the vast amount of rain we have had so far in May.

Main crop in 30 litre buckets just showing and excess Early Spuds planted in square flower buckets later to increase the harvest time not showing just yet.

The onions have responded well to the large amount of rain that we have had. A few weeds will need to be dealt with in a future visit.

The 2nd SFG Bed I weeded with the hoe last week is full again. No chance of a visit until mid next week weather permitting and at the moment it looks sunny from Wednesday, so hopefully some early morning visits for 2 - 3 hours. I need to get this bed sorted and both beds covered with Mels mix.

The Comfrey bed is really trucking now, so within the next two weeks I need to clear the comfrey pipes and get those making some new comfrey concentrate. Any additional comfrey will be added to the Daleks.

Mares Tail and Bindweed coming up on the main path. I will grow the bindweed up a bamboo and treat with dab on weed killer to take the roots out. The mares tail needs pulling out by hand or burnt with a weed burner.

The Rhubarb appears to be happy in the first Rhubarb bed, I will have to get the paths and the other two beds in place ASAP weather and my wives health permitting.

Thursday 20 May 2021

Poached Egg Plant

I've sown the last of my Limnanthes douglasii or Poached Egg Plant seeds so that I have some small plants to transplant into the Runner Bean bed. 

Note to self: Get some Runner Beans in loo Rolls going ready to go in the ground at the end of the month after the last frost.

It's only between 17.4C  -  18.0C in the green house at midday today and this morning when I popped out, there was a bitter cold wind.   

I will need some more seeds for next year so I'm going to have a punt around and see where I can get them from the cheapest. I will update this post and add the information I gather below: 

Mr Fothergill's - 100 Seeds - £2.40
Nicky's Nursery - 180 Seeds - £1.85
Seedaholic - 250 Seeds - £1.45  
Premier Seeds Direct - 5grms - 99p

Tomatoes 14 Day Germination Rates

On the 5th May I sowed my Tomatoes for this year.  I recorded the germination rates per variety at 5 days

They were taken these out of the kitchen and placed in the unheated greenhouse to get some sun and continue germination and the 7 day germination rates can be found here

The results at 10 Days can be found here and the results below are for 14 Days. 

There have been two varieties that have achieved 100% Germination between 10 & 15 Days and only one Variety that has achieved zero Germination. 

Disappointing that the New Crimson Plum from Suttons has only achieved 50% Germination, and even worse that the White Cherry from D.T.Brown didn't germinate at all  

Sown 4 seeds of the following varieties

4 x Black Krim  100%
4 x Cherry Honeycomb 100% Less than 5 Days - Well done Mr Fothergill's !
4 x Crimson Cherry F1 100%
3 x Crimson Crush 75%
2 x Crimson Plum F1 50% - A disappointing result from Suttons at 14 Days 
3 x Gigantomo 75%
4 x Hundreds and Thousands 100%
4 x Principe Borghese 100%
4 x Rapunzel 100% 
4 x Reisetomate 100% @ Less than 5 Days Well done Suttons !
4 x Rotkappchen 100%

Sown 3 seeds of the following varieties

3 x Bloody Butcher 100%
3 x Gold Nugget Gelbei 100%
3Losetto 100% - Last seed germinated between 10 & 14 Days
3 x Micro Tom 100% - Last seed germinated between 10 & 14 Days 
2 x Mountain Magic 67%
3 x Raspberry Oxheart 100%
0 x White Cherry -  Complete failure to germinate - D.T.Brown 
3 x Yellow Mimi 100%
3 x Veranda Red 100%

The tomatoes will be looked at again at 21 days to see if there are any late developers 

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Parsnip Germination Race

Let the 2nd Parsnip Germination Race begin:-

 The objective is to fill a 2.4m x 1.2m bed with 105 parsnips!

Tuesday 18 May 2021

Sowing Courgettes & Gherkin

Seeds placed equally as far as possible at 12, 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 o'clock as indicated in the photo before the seeds were helped into the compost, watered in and then the reservoir filled with water and the Pop Bottle Propagator lids were placed on top of the handles.     

Hit and miss on the sunshine and rain front today, plus after over a year of not being able to work I have three enquiries to process today.  

Early morning I made another four Pop Bottle Propagators and have sown the following between showers:

5 x Courgettes Thompson & Morgan Midnight F1 Hybrid as there are 10 seeds in the pack and the sow by was 2020 so I've sown half of them

6 x Courgettes Romenesco - Johnsons Sarah Raven Collection These have been in the seed box for some time and were sow by 2017 so it will be interesting to see if they germinate or not!. If not I have the Midnight F1 as back up. 

6 x Gherkin National from Seedmegastore bought to grow in 2020. Sowing Time Feb to April so a little late but I'm sure they will catch up and perform.

Vermicomposting 100-Day TIME-LAPSE - FAST

Each chamber was filled with a different type of bedding material: Chamber #1 had leaves, #2 had cardboard, and #3 had paper. Then in went the red wiggler composting worms. Periodically water and grit (pulverized eggshell) were added. Also, as needed, additional material was loaded in when the levels dropped low. ENJOY!

Monday 17 May 2021

Sowing Cucumbers & Gherkins


In between rain showers in a sunny interval I have sown 6 of the following in self watering pop bottle propagators today:

Cucumber - Miniature White - Self saved 

Rain stopped play and Marrows and Courgettes will follow at the next sunny or dry period. 

Sunday 16 May 2021

Rhubarb Rain God!

The Rhubarb Livingstone from D.T.Brown arrived a little earlier than expected, it's supposed to be dispatched week commencing this Monday, but it arrived Friday, in super condition and very well packed. The problem was I don't have the beds ready for the 3 plants!

So this morning between rain showers I visited the allotment dug and weeded the area where the first bed is going and got the first bed in place.

My sacks of manure still have not arrived, so Blood Fish and Bone, and a layer of freshly cut Comfrey before adding 60 litres of Clover compost to bring the level up in the 600x600mm square bed.

There are going to be 3 beds in a row but for now the other two plants have gone in the first bed and mini hoops and some debris netting has been added to protect the plants from the foxes. I just managed the one bed and three plants in before getting drenched in a heavy shower.
As I drove home I could see that it had not rained half way up the road from the allotment. I was dripping wet inside the car and the thought went through my head maybe I'm a Rain God!
It appears that after a very dry April, that May appears to think it's the new April and as much as I love the rain, I wish it would only happen over night.
All I know was that these last few days were miserable. All the clouds knew was that they loved me and wanted to be near me, to cherish me, and to water me.

Care and Cultivation of Rhubarb
(Guidance supplied with the plants by D.T.Brown)

What to do first

After unpacking, inspect your plants and crowns and water them if dry.

Plant as soon as possible but, if ground is not ready or is too wet or frosty, delay planting until the conditions are more suitable. Potted plants can be retained in their pots in a sheltered place for a while but check them regularly to ensure they do not dry out. Crowns can be temporarily `heeled' into a shallow trench on a spare patch of ground , covered entirely with moist soil,


Choose an open site in full sun or where there is no more than very light or partial shade .

Rhubarb will grow in almost any soil, provided it does nor become waterlogged in Winter, but best results will be obtained on fertile soils, so dig in plenty of well-rotted organic matter, like farmyard manure or green compost. Just before planting, rake in a dressing of balanced fertiliser, such as growmore, to help plants establish.

Set plants 900mm (3ft) apart each way and with the growing point 25mm (1 inch) below the soil surface. After refilling with moist soil, firm on each plant.

Rhubarb can also be grown in a large pot or container, splitting and repotting after several years. You will need to ensure the plants are kept well watered and feed more often than if grown in the garden.

Aftercare Tips

Keep plants free of weeds and water well in dry spells. Remove any flowering stems that may appear. Do Not pull any sticks in the first season and pull only lightly in the second year to allow the plants to establish and build up strong crowns.

harvest between April and early July, holding each stalk close to the ground and pulling upwards with a twisting motion. Never remove all the stalks; always leave at least four strong ones on each plant.

Rhubarb is a heavy feeder so apply a balanced fertiliser at the end of the harvesting period and mulch generously with rotted manure or compost during the winter.

For an early spring crop, strong plants ate easily forced by covering them in january with suitable containers, such as buckets, bins or large pots. Cover these, in turn with a thick layer of straw. Forcing has a weakening effect on crowns so do not force the same plants again for at least two years.

After several years of cropping, stems will tend to get thinner and yields will start to decline. When this happens, its best to lift plants, to divide crowns into pieces, each with at least one strong bud, and to replant these divisions, if possible, on a fresh site.

N.B. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous and must be removed completely from the stalks before they are cooked.

Saturday 15 May 2021

Pollarding The Trees


With the showers Saturday I really did not think that the trees would be completed or that we would have cleared and bagged up the smaller diameter branches for the dump. 

My Daughters and Son-in-law have done this and saved me £400 in the process.  

My climbing trees days are well behind me being stout and having dodgy legs. I would have loved to be in that tree with the chain saw, when I saw how much Andy was enjoying himself.

I did cut up a lot of the larger branches into lengths that could be stacked in square flower buckets, and then a neighbour with a wood burner came and removed the larger logs and branches for their wood burner which saved up taking way too much to the dump. 

Tomatoes 10 Day Germination Rates

On the 5th May I sowed my Tomatoes for this year.  I recorded the germination rates per variety at 5 days. They tomatoes were taken these out of the kitchen and placed in the unheated greenhouse to get some sun and continue germination and the 7 day germination rates can be found here. The results below are the results at 10 Days and if better than 7 are shown in Blue. I will review germination rates again at 14 days. 

Sown 4 seeds of the following varieties

4 x Black Krim  100%
4 x Cherry Honeycomb 100% Less than 5 Days - Well done Mr Fothergill's !
3 x Crimson Crush 75%
2 x Crimson Plum F1 50%
3Gigantomo 75%
4 x Hundreds and Thousands 100%
4 x Principe Borghese 100%
4 x Rapunzel 100% 
4 x Reisetomate 100% @ Less than 5 Days Well done Suttons !
4 x Rotkappchen 100%

Sown 3 seeds of the following varieties

3 x Bloody Butcher 100%
3 x Gold Nugget Gelbei 100%
2 x Losetto 67%
2Micro Tom 67%
2 x Mountain Magic 67%
3 x Raspberry Oxheart 100%
3 x Veranda Red 100%

The tomatoes will be looked at again at 14 & 21 days and the germination rates updated.