Friday 31 December 2021

The Stars Align...

And I get to visit Avalon!

It's been wet for way too long, I have wanted to get out of the house and down to the allotment for so long. Kelly helped by prizing me out of my little broom cupboard office as the sun was trying to shine and I had a couple of hours of sunlight left today. 

I arrived to find the new family on plot 14 beavering away, and doing so well clearing the plot of weeds and debris, Michelle the Bee lady had been very busy and had moved a vast amount of woodchips from the drop off and pick up area (car park) to bottom of her plot where her fruit trees live. 

He who is not often seen, popped out from one of his two half plot camps, as there are new people on the site.

I was looking for the box of 100 mini daffs that I had bought from Suttons when they were on offer, and finally after a bit of a tidy in the shed I found them and proceeded to use the Ryobi drill and Power Planter to place then either side of the four Raspberry beds as a little bit of early colour and food for the bees at the front of the plot 1 entrance. 

I have other bulbs to plant, but they will have to wait until the next time I can get down to the plot.     

What's The Difference Between Turnips and Swedes

Swede is a Swedish turnip, hence the name “swede”. They are bigger, tougher skinned, yellow fleshed and much hardier than a turnip. Turnips are the smaller ones, with smoother skin and white flesh.  

In Scotland, a turnip might be called a swede or a turnip, and a swede might be called a neep.

Thursday 30 December 2021

In My Seed Box for 2022 - Squash


Historically I was really not a huge squash fan, until converted by the Squash Queen Beryl Randall over at Mud & Gluts, so for the last six years I have been growing and eating Butternut Squash. If kept in ideal conditions Squash seeds can last 6 - 10 years.

In 2020 I had a bash at the two New Varieties of Winter Squash from Thompson & Morgan, one a Mash and the other an alternative to baked potatoes. 

Other Squash seeds I have in my seed box include:-

Crown Prince - Seed Circle 2013
Black Futsu - Seed Circle 2014
Flat White Boer - Seed Circle 2015
Blue Ubbard - Seed Circle 2016 
Chetunao Organic Butternut Squash - Seed Circle 2017

Mr Fothergill's Butternut Squash 5 Seeds left - Sow By 2021
Johnsons Squash (Winter) 5 seeds left - Seeds Early Butternut - Sow By 2022

Waltham Butternut - 50 Seeds - Premier Seeds - Sow By Oct 2021
Butternut Winter Early Organic - Thompson & Morgan - Sow By 2022
Butterfly Butternut

I love the soup my Daughter Emma makes from my Butternuts and will likely find somewhere to squeeze them in for 2022.  

Butternut Squash Generally 

Sow Indoors - March to May
Sow Outdoors - May
Sow 3 of each variety into a pot edgeways into the compost, cover with 15mm of compost firm gently and keep moist 
Keep at approx. 15C - 20C 
Germination - Seedlings appear in 7-14 days  
Potting On at 5-6 leaf stage, stand outside for a few days in late May (avoid frost)  Transplant 600mm apart in growing position. 
Harvest July to October, Pick Regularly to encourage cropping

Tip When fruits start to swell give liquid feed every 7-10 days.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

In My Seed Box For 2022 - Turnip


Turnip is something that I didn't eat as a kid and have not really tasted as an adult ! but I do now know it is related to a swede 

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 2022 and that I should learn how to cook it !

Review Of Seed Stocks in Packets

Purple Top Milan - 1750 Seeds - Magazine 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.


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.

Turnips and other cruciferous vegetables that are high in fiber help make people feel fuller for longer, and they are low in calories. Eating high fiber meals also helps keep blood sugar levels stable. The fiber content in turnips may also prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

How Do You Cut and Cook Turnips 

Just scrub them under cold water, cut into chunks, toss with a little olive oil, season and roast at 450 F until tender and slightly browned. Turnips can also be mashed like potatoes, sliced to add to a salad, or diced for adding to stews or soups.

Use turnips any way you would use a potato, and then some. Try them baked or boiled in stews, soups and stir-fries, or lightly steamed with some butter, salt or lemon juice for flavor. homemade coleslaw. Julienne Them.

Couch Grass Control 

If wish to clear Couch Grass from your plot completely, plant the troubled area with turnip seed. The two will not mix and the couch will wither back and die. Even if you have cleared the grass it may come back if you have not removed every single root. So to keep it at bay give this a try.

Sunday 26 December 2021

Organicme Natural Cotton Bags

I received a box of these from my sister for Christmas who informed me she bought them from a market, but a quick web search based on the Organicme label found the company that produces them and other environmentally friendly products.   

Reusable, recyclable, washable, zero waste and easy to carry

  • The Reusable Produce Bags are made from durable 100% cotton mesh biodegradable material, and are free from synthetic plastic-based materials such as polyester or nylon. 
  • The strong double-stitched seam work on these bags is of the highest quality, and they have a stainless steel cord lock instead of plastic.
  • The labels are color-coordinated with a rainbow theme so you can quickly grab the size you need. (Green are Small, Blue are Medium, and Orange are Large.)
  • Their packaging is plastic-free, and recyclable.

Package Including:

  •  3 Large Natural Cotton Bags (11 x 17 inches)
  •  4 Medium Natural Cotton Bags (12 x 12 inches)
  •  3 Small Natural Cotton Bags (10 x 11 inches)

I'm looking forward to bringing vegetables home from the allotment in these in 2022

Thursday 23 December 2021

In My Seed Box For 2022 - Water Melon

In 2019 two plot holders on our site Wally and John grew water melons out on the allotment and not under glass. Looking at the RHS Web site re Melons it states that there are three groups of sweet melons. Canteloupe melons, with their orange flesh are the best ones for us to grow in the UK. You can also grow honeydew types, which have firm yellow flesh, and musk melons, which must be grown in a greenhouse.

For best results in our cooler climate grow your melons in a greenhouse or coldframe, or against a sunny sheltered wall with a cloche covering them.

Now I’m not sure how a wall can be sunny and sheltered at the same time.

I have been sent a New variety from Suttons called F1 Mangomel - 4 Seeds - £3.99 to trial

Melon 'Mangomel' is a new type of melon that has undertones of mango when ripe! Large, creamy-yellow fruit is bursting with flavour and juice, plus they are delightfully aromatic. This is a ‘Western Shipper type’ x Early Charentais. And guess what? The fruit colour visibly changes from grey/green to a creamy yellow to tell you it's ripe and ready to enjoy! It tastes delicious eaten fresh or is an exotic addition with natural yoghurt.

Developed in the UK specifically for home gardeners, this is perhaps the first melon ever to be bred for this market. It will reliably produce 5 fruits per plant in an unheated greenhouse, 2-3 fruits in a sunny spot outdoors. If planted outdoors, the spread will be about 1.5 metres so will appreciate some trimming to encourage it. Fruit weight average 1kg.

Sow in a propagator on a windowsill or in pots or trays using a good quality, moist compost in a greenhouse at approximately 15°C (60°F). Cover seed with 1cm (½") compost. 

Germination 7-14 days. 

Transfer to 7.5cm (3") pots, grow on and plant on into grow bags or large pots. Train up strings and support fruits with nets. Water and feed regularly. If growing outside it is best to cover the soil with black membrane to keep the soil warm and use a cloche to cover the plant. Pollinate by inserting a male flower into female flower which has tiny fruit at the base.

In 2022 I’m going to have a go at growing Melons, some in the greenhouse and some out on the allotment perhaps under a coldframe. I will try the Suttons F1 Mangomel as well as a couple of packs of seeds that I bought last year and didn't get around to sowing as both greenhouses were not operational at the beginning of the season, something I intend to correct for 2022. 


Melon Amarillo Oro produces a yellow skinned cantaloupe melon with superb sweet juicy refreshing flesh. Each of these delicious fruits weighs up to 5- 6 Ib (2 - 3 kg). Open pollinated. A pre-1870 heirloom variety from Spain.

Melons require high temperatures and humidity. In all but the very warmest areas cultivation is most successful in a greenhouse, or under cover of a cold frame.

Direct sow: February - April
Harvest: 100 days
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Temperature: 23 - 30 C
Depth: 1 inch (2.5 cm)
Plant spacing: 36 inches (90cm)


Sweet tasting and smaller fruited "Ice Box" type watermelon. Early and very productive with sweet, juicy, fine-textured, medium-red flesh and thin hard rind.

The round, 8 to 12 lb, dark green skinned melons grow 8 inches across. Ideal variety if space is limited, as this can be trailed on trellises and faster to ripen in short summers.

Drought Resistant

Ready to harvest about 75 days after seeding in favourable conditions. Can be grown outside in a warm, sheltered and sunny location, but for the most reliable crops under glass is best.

Days to Germination: 5-7
Days To Harvest: 75 in warm conditions
Planting Depth:12 – 25mm 1/2 to 1 inch
Spacing: 600mm 2 feet
Light: Sunny, Warm, Sheltered Location

Prepare soil by digging and incorporating liberal amounts of well-rotted compost or farmyard manure over-winter. Watermelons thrive in a sunny, warm location

Sow April to May 1cm (½in) deep, in 7cm (3.5in) pots of free-draining seed sowing mix. Place in a (propagator, airing cupboard) and keep at a temperature of around 20-25C (68-77F) until after germination, usually 5-7 days.

When first true leaves develop, transplant into 13cm (5in) pots for a few weeks.

Plant out 24 inches apart after carefully hardening off after all risk of frost in a warm sheltered position in full sun or for a more reliable crop under glass.

Water regularly and feed with liquid fertilizer every 14 days.

Pinch out growing point at the 4 leaf stage and train the laterals (side-shoots) along the row. Hand pollinate if required.

At harvest time, tap the watermelon with your knuckles, and if it sounds hollow, it's ripe.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Plot Layout for 2022

Playing Around with the Bed arrangements and updating the layout of the allotment based on what I think I'm going to end up building in 2022. The entrance and left side of Avalon is Plot 1 and the right side is Plot 1A

This is what it looked like before I took it on. 

Taken by Plot neighbour in January 2021 

Plot 1 layout for 2022

Superdome Tunnel and SFG Beds 1 - 3 to be installed over Winter and if possible the 6' x6' or 1.8m x 1.8m Greenhouse Frame to be erected in the corner once the ground has been dug and weeded.  

Plot 1A Layout 2022

Google map measure

In My Seed Box For 2022 - Tomatoes


This collection of tomato seeds has been built over the last 10 years is thanks to a number of seed circles, one that I ran for two years and virtual seed parcels. 

I'm waiting for a few new varieties for 2022 to arrive after Christmas, but currently there are 145 varieties of Tomatoes in my Seed Box of which 19 are F1 and 4 new varieties that have been added this year. 

I need to inspect the list below and decide on the 22 varieties that are to be grown in the back garden in 2022. Those that will be grown out on the allotment 3 or 6 varieties and those that will be grown in the greenhouses, 4 in Quadgrows and Mini & Micro's at home and the Allotments. 

That selection process will be a subject of a separate post after due consideration of the list below. Tomato seeds if kept in ideal conditions can last between 5 - 10 years, so I need to see which varieties are getting old and sow them to replenish the seed bank.   

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 
Aztek - Joe Mills Grow With Me 2022 -  Sow By 2024 
Bajaja - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019 
Balconi Red - Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2020  - Self Saved 2018

Balconi Yellow F1 - Seed Megastore - Packed 2019 - Sow By 2021 
Berkeley Tie-Dye - Grapevine 2016
Big Yellow Zebra - Grapevine 2016 
Blaby Special - Saved 2014
Black Cherry Tomato - Grapevine 2018
Black Krim - S.Bassett MYP&Q Seed Circle 2018
Black Icicle - Grapevine 2016
Black Russian - Grapevine 2018
Black Sea Man - Grapevine 2016
Black Trifele - Grapevine 2018

Black Vemissage - Grapevine 2018
Bloody Butcher - D.T.Brown 2020 
Blush - Grapevine 2016
Blush Yellow Plum - MYP&Q 2018
Brown Sugar - Grapevine 2016
Burlesque F1 - Suttons - Packed 2022 - Sow By 7/2024 <<<< NEW
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 Honeycomb F1 - Mr Fothergills 2021 
Cherry Kisses Thompson & Morgan Sow by 12/2019
Cream Sausage - Grapevine 2016
Crimson Cherry F1 - 10 Seeds - Dobies - Saved 2021 - Cost £3.99 
Crimson Cherry F1 - 10 Seeds - Suttons - Saved 2021 - Cost £4.49  
Crimson Crush F4
Crimson Plum F1 (Nagina)  - 10 Seeds - Dobies - Saved 2021 - Cost £3.99 
Crimson Plum F1                 - 10 Seeds -  Suttons - Saved 2021 -  Cost £4.49 
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 - Kings Seeds Kitchen Garden - Sow By 2022
Gardeners Delight - Suttons - Sow By 2024  Packed 2021 <<<< NEW
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 - 2020 Sow By 2024  
Gold Nugget  - Mr Fothergill's  2020 
Gold Rush Currant - Grapevine 2016
Halum Gelbei - Grapevine 2018
Harbinger - Sow By 2015 - Grapevine 2016
Heinz Soup - Saved 2011
Homosa - Grapevine 2018
Honeycomb F1 - Dobies Packed year ending 2022 <<<< NEW
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
Losetto F1 - D.T.Brown 2020 
Lukullus - Grapevine 2018
Marmande - Magazine 2018 

Marvel Stripes - Saved 2015
Maskotka -  Mr Fothergills - Sow by 2021  
Matina -  Thompson & Morgan Sow by 2016 
Merrygold F1 -  Mr Fothergill's - Packed Jan 2022 - Sow by 2025 <<<< NEW
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 
Speedy Seeds - Sow by 2024
Moskow's Ultra Skorospelyi - Grapevine 2018
Mountain Magic - D.T.Brown 2020 
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 - 2019
Peace Vine - Grapevine 2018
Piccolo - Saved 2011

Pink Charmer - Marshalls - 2020 Sow By 2022  
Plum Roma - Saved 2015
Polish Linguisa - Grapevine 2018
Pomodore Ciliegla - Sow By 2015
Principe Borghese - Grapevine 2018
Principe Borghese - Mr Fothergills - 2020  
Purple Russian Plum - Sow By 2014
Rainbow Blend F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015
Rapunzel F1 Saved 2018 
Raspberry Oxheart - Seed Parade 2020 
Red Alert Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2019

Red Buffalo Horn - Grapevine 2016
Red Cherry - Sow By 2015
(Red Dragon F1) Y Ddraig Goch F1 - Dobies - packed year ending 2022 <<<< NEW
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, 
Reisetomate - 15 Seeds - Organic Gardening Seeds - £2.99
Roma VF - Multipack 2018
Roma VF - Johnsons - 2018
Rosella - Grapevine 2016
Rosella- Kings Seeds - Kitchen Garden - packed year end July 2021 

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 - 2019 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
F1 - Mr Fothergill - Packed Aug 2022 - Sow By 2025
Sweet Aperitif - Sow By 2017
Sweet Million F1 - Mr Fothergills - Sow By 9/2022
Sweet Pea Currant - Sow By 2014
Sweet'n'Neat Lemon Sherbert  F1 - Seed Megastore 2019 
Terenzo F1 Hybrid - Sow By 2015 - Sow By 2017
Tigerella  Thompson & Morgan - Sow by 2020
Tigerella  Speedy Seeds - Sow by 2024
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
White Cherry - D.T.Brown 2020 
Yellow Mimi F1 - Marshalls 2019 
Yellow Perfection - Grapevine 2016

Venus Balcony - Russian Seed Company 2018 
Veranda Red - 6 Seeds - Suttons -  £4.49
Violet Jasper - Grapevine 2018
Veranda Red - D.T.Brown 2020 
Violet Jasper - Grapevine 2018
Vilmer - Joe Mills - Grow With Me 2022 - Sow by 2024