Tuesday, 31 August 2021

Wildflower Meadow 2021

 Here's how the wildflower meadow looks now.  

It has got a bit of height with teasel, thistle, wild carrot and yarrow all standing out.

Tracking through the season, dandelions looked like they had taken over and then buttercups as you can see here:

But both flowers receded in turn.  Here is the same end on view now.

For comparison here is the wildflower meadow last year.  There were more poppies and corncockles than this year and lots of wild radish. 

And going back another year this is how it all started:

As  it is now the end of August it is time to start clearing the meadow "progressively",  that is bit by bit.  The grass and other plants have become a matted thatch so I remove them to a sacrificial pile at the end.  There is ample opportunity for wildlife to move on as progress is slow - I use a pair of hand shears!

Here is a gallery of some of the current occupants:

Hope you enjoyed a mosey around the wildflower meadow!

Friday, 20 August 2021

Allotment Tour Summer 2021

It is a sure sign of summer progressing when your fennel is ready for harvest.  After a summer where my focus has been elsewhere I realise it is time to do my "warts and all" tour of the plot. 

The parsnips are progressing steadily regardless of the stop start weather.  Alongside I have some second sowing of  autumn crops where the elephant garlic was.

The fruit cage is looking very green where the gooseberries and redcurrants are, A really good redcurrant crop but only a few gooseberries. I might have been a bit vigorous with my winter pruning?  The blackberries and autumn raspberries behind are yet to come. The two summer varieties are finished

Spring planted Onion from sets are flopping over of their own accord.  The early leeks behind show no such tendancy. 

For the first time I have tried to grow onions from seed too.  They are behind the celery and celeriac in this bed.  (It is also the first time I have tried to grow celery)

Moving along to the brassica patch there are three distinct phases as indicated by the height of the plants. The early cabbages and cauliflower are all gone but the Brussels remain tall and now suitably distanced. 

Further along the beans are hitting their peak.  Both Runners.

and Dwarf French

The winter squashes are the sea of green next door to the beans - although there are some flowers.  Fruits?  So far three marrow sized courgettes.

The foreground bare patch here is where the peas were and are now sown with winter leaves (Land Cress , Claytonia and Lamb's Lettuce.

Bringing up the rear I have hedged my bets trying to establish an asparagus bed but growing strawberries in between - at least until the asparagus gets going. It was grown from seed. (The rhubarb blueberries and globe artichoke just get on with their business year after year.)    

The final area is not very pretty,  It is the potato patch with nearly all of the tops cut off.  It looked like this in the middle of June.

But now it looks like this.

Hope you enjoyed the tour around my patch.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Meet My New Friends...

Kitchen Compost, Coir and Perlite:

I am determined to make my own seed growing medium and potting compost after my recent bad experience with commercial peat free products.

The coir comes in a dry brick which is easy to rehydrate.

The kitchen compost  just needs to be sieved.

Then it is a simple mixing job.  After searching the internet I went for 2 scoops compost, 2 parts coir and 1 part perlite.

Now I am ready for my end of season sowings. At least I am confident that there are only healthy ingredients in my mix.  I feel sure that I won't be buying any proprietary mix next year, which is admittedly a leap of faith at this early stage.


Monday, 2 August 2021

The Perils of "Peat Free"

The sickly crew

Much as I hate reporting failures, I feel obliged to record the abysmal failure of  my tomatoes and cucumbers this year.  Yellow, at best, to purple leaves,  lack of growth, prone to attack by pests or simply rotting: it has been an abject failure.  I tried several new tomato varieties, but also my failsafe Sungold, so I know it is not my growing methods.    The culprit has to be the peat free compost.  New Horizon Vegetable Compost by the normally reliable Westland.  I had noted that New Horizon "All Plant Compost" claims to have "No Green Waste" but on closer examination the Vegetable Compost misses this phrase out from the blurb.  It does claim to be suitable for growing tomatoes.  Both products have a real stink about them even before you break open the bag, reminiscent of pig slurry.  I now have a dilemma: Do I try to isolate and dispose of these products or let the contaminants dissipate/dilute on the allotment, once in contact with real soil?  It may be only by association but I went down with food poisoning for two weeks after working with this material intensively.  In the small print they do advise you to wear gloves when handling - advice I now take very seriously! 

Cucumber - giving up the ghost (There were 3)

Sungold - Single fruit on a spindly plant.


Sunday, 1 August 2021

Carrots are King

I have started harvesting carrots.

They don't look very pretty under their mesh tent, but without it the crop would be devoured by root fly larvae.

The reveal:

The tent is only lifted for harvesting.  This crop should see us through to Christmas and beyond .

Friday, 23 July 2021

Currant News


Busy weeding, being sick and a week away, I see I haven't posted for weeks.  Yesterday's harvest will have to suffice.

Monday, 5 July 2021

First pickings


First visit for over a week, owing to a debilitating tummy bug.  The flash flooding in Edinburgh over the last 24 hrs meant I HAD to survey the scene. 

Broad beans podding up.

Fortunately no plots had been inundated. Phew!
The plot is meanwhile entering the harvesting phase. 

First blueberry to ripen

The salads definitely needing some thinning out

Salads bulking up.

So I went home with some lettuce, leaf beet and fennel.

The early cabbages (Greyhound) have shown signs of splitting so it is harvest time for them.

Brassica Patch

Time for me to get my digestion back in order!