Monday, 15 January 2018

Elusive Butterflies

Fritillary feeding

With imminent snow forecast I am in need of some summer cheer, so today I have collected together some of my butterfly snaps 

A well camouflaged Speckled Wood Butterfly 

The ever popular Painted Lady

A Meadow Brown?

Another Meadow Brown

Peacock giving the eyes

It's white and it has a spot. The dreaded Cabbage White?

More spots yes that's a Cabbage White!

There's only one contender for this post:

Friday, 12 January 2018

Reflections - Spotlight on Brassicas

It is just about the end of the brassicas.  They have been a mixed bunch this last year.  I planted 3 sorts of kale and 2 sorts of broccoli which was fairly adventurous.   Not surprisingly the cabbages ran out rather sooner than I would have hoped. For some years now I have deployed weed suppressant fabric (WSF) on the brassica section although I left a bare strip for those brassicas that hate to be transplanted (turnips , swedes, pak choi, mooli). This has confirmed me in my opinion of the benefit of using WSF.  The weeds grew away happily in the bare strip and as the bird netting is in place it was no joke removing them - a back aching hands and knees balancing act.  

Brassica patch with bare strip to left at planting time

A few weeks on - weeds on the rampage to the left, WSF doing the hard work to the right!
The kale was great with the Dwarf Curled being the star performer for volume and hardiness.  The Cavelo Nero is excellent too but not as hardy.  The purple veined variety lost out although it was a great novelty before it got a bit tough and tasteless.  I did grow some Brussels (Evesham Special) but they were too small to grace the Christmas table. I grew two crops on the bare strip - early cabbages (Greyhound) and Caulis (All The Year Round) and then successional sowings of Turnip Swede, Mooli and Pak Choi.  These sowings either failed or faired poorly for size.  I think I should have fed the soil more before the successional sowing.  Pak Choi just gets wiped out by pests (from flea beetle to slugs) whenever I try to grow it on the allotment. Probably will not try growing it here again. 

  As always I have managed to put the latest crop (purple sprouting broccoli) in the most inconvenient of places - right where I want to plant my new strawberry patch.  The net has been raised, but not before the pigeons had a go at the PSB pecking through it when the snow weighed it down!  All will be forgiven - provided it still comes good.

Bedraggled brassicas PSB nearest

Next year I will have a smaller brassica patch as I am adjusting my rotation.  More over wintering cabbages, less Pak Choi and Mooli, some kale.  Lime in advance and a good feed for any successional sowings. And even the Swedes will be sown through WSF this year!

Look - No Carrots!

I have started clearing up the brassica patch. Here is today's crop.   Those aren't white carrots they are (small) mooli!

I said no carrots - I lied!  Here's One:

Thursday, 4 January 2018

January Harvest

Carrots and Jerusalem Artichokes

A quick trip to the plot for a seasonal harvest today.  This will be our first batch of artichoke soup this winter.  We pulled these leeks too:

Someone was very pleased to see a bit of earth turning:

While we were at it we cut back the autumn raspberry canes.  Then the rain came on.

Friday, 29 December 2017

White Out

View from the window today:

It snowed on Christmas Day evening and the temperature has fluctuated around zero C since then so we still have that snow before this lot arrived this morning.

Just outside Edinburgh the Pentland Hills are transformed:

OK White Out /Wipe Out   - It's an easy mistake!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

A Short Post for the Shortest Day

To mark the winter equinox I went to the plot and dug up our first parsnip.  A single row at the edge of the bed overshadowed by a high grassy path they had been rather overlooked this year, but I have got some return for the very little effort I lavished on them.   Roast parsnips are on for Christmas dinner!
While the parsnips have developed multiple side shoots the carrots growing next door remain nice and cylindrical.  This reverses our tradition of "good parsnips, rubbish carrots"  !

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Now You See Them...

I have decided to plant out my broad beans, even though the onset of winter is nigh. Planted in cells on 24 October the intention was to plant them out in spring.  But they prospered in the cold greenhouse and developed roots which were bursting out of their cells. Following the guide that plants shout be transplanted once the roots appear through the holes at the bottom I accepted that they were too far advanced to be kept in their cells.  Fortunately I have been experimenting with a fleece tunnel at the plot and so have constructed a sheltered home for them:

Broad beans planted out

Now You Don't!

and covered