Monday, 30 January 2017

To Start at the Start

The gardening year should be digging in manure  in the Autumn.

First Cut

Here's me starting last week!

A bit of a trough
In fact the plot looks rather scruffy - but at least this is the beginning of this year

The Task at Hand
 and the end of last year's production:

End of Last Year's Brassicas
Some things are still in full production:

Swedes Holding Out

 Others are dormant:

Soft Fruit Cage
And others are lying fallow

This Year's Potato Patch (Last Year's Alliums)

The View from the End (Last Year's Curcubits and Sweetcorn)

I add manure to the "Other"  (Leaf and Legumes) and Brassica patches only, and plenty of it. The Weed Suppressant Fabric over last years alliums will be the new cover for the Brassicas and will be in place for three seasons (Brassicas/ Curcubits/ Alliums) so the fertility has to last!

The First Cut

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Love in the Mist - A Game of Cat and Rabbit?

I was taking a photo of our solitary neighbourhood rabbit through the mist when the following encounter happened:

Sadly the rabbit is in love with the cat and the cat has no idea of how to deal with a friendly rabbit!

Suspicious Minds

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tapping The Roots

Today I dug up the last of the carrots:

Another crop that was problematic in 2016.  These were from the late second sowing and not much of the crop made it to a size worth picking.  Hoping for better results this year with all new seed sown not too early or too late. Hmmm that makes it late April by my reckoning. (and perhaps a second sowing in early June to be on the safe side)

The roots and brassicas are ruling the roost just now with Jerusalem Artechoke and Parsnip in full flow too. Cabbages and Kale still cropping.  Given that they are both root and brassicas the Swede and Daikon Radish are also plentiful!

Rootin Tootin

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

BREXIT Harvest

Meagre pickings on the Brussels this year. By a process of protracted negotiation the position is this: Despite my dislike for them I agree to grow enough Brussels for Christmas dinner.  This year's crop was laughable so we had to buy some in. (It must be said that the purchased brussels were pretty small and a bit holy too, which I found encouraging).  Today I picked the lot from the plot and tonight it's Meera Sodha's "Shredded Brussels Sprout Thoran" - and that's it with Brussels - for this year.  Negotiations for next year start here.

Also picked today a selection of trusty cabbages. Now you know what you're dealing with with your cabbage...

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Chelsea Top The Table Again

Much as I hate to admit it these spirals are winners. 


After Baking

Crumby Shot - Penalty? - No it's a Corner
It's the sort of weather for staying indoors and baking something sweet and warming.

You Spin Me Round

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Out of Time?

Yesterday I visited the plot and planted some garlic:

The garlic arrived too for autumn sowing and too early for spring sowing.  My reasoning for planting it now was a. I was going to the plot (to drop off compost pick parsnips) b. there would be a real danger that these would end up in the cooking. These, by the way, are bulbs grown in Northumbria for a couple of generations. c. Once delayed things have a habit of being forgotten. Carpe Diem!

Some sources suggest that a cold spell is required in order remind the seed cloves of garlic that they have to split into multiple cloves. My elephant garlic has come up more like onions in shape rather than garlic. On the other hand there are several varieties of garlic described as suitable for spring sowing. I don't know if this is one of those so in the face of uncertainty the best policy is to blunder on - and keep a record of what you have done. We are due a cold snap very soon according to the forecaster.  I could be luck or I could be Out of Time

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

January Icicles

Something new this January. Not the January King or the Swede but the Daikon Radish/Mooli variety Icicles.  I've never grown these before (although I have bought and eaten them). So I gave them a punt and sowed them in the brassica patch late last summer. Today, to celebrate my first allotment visit of the year I dug up the first  to see what had grown underground and was well pleased with the result,

OK I understand they are just long radishes -  that quick growing fill in hardly given a thought by most gardeners - but these radishes have volume.  Also given the pathetic results for my French Breakfast Radishes earlier in the growing year I am decidedly more impressed by well grown radishes than I was previously!

Another root untouched until the new year is Jerusalem Artichoke.  Last year they were all knobbly so my expectations were not high.  These come from two plants only weighing in at about 2lbs per plant (1lb after trimming and peeling) and are fabulously not knobbly.  Converted to soup already they are a seasonal delight.

After all that I forgot to dig up any parsnips so I will be going back to the plot tomorrow.  

Other tasks to be undertaken provided there are no real icicles:

Pick Brussels 
Cut back autumn fruiting raspberry canes.
Prune Gooseberries, Currants and Blueberry bushes
Dig up last carrots 
Transplant rhubarb from one end of plot to the other.
Transport compost from home - ready for the potato planting in spring.

All in all it is a hectic time of year when the weather permits.