Six on Saturday – October 6th

The weather doesn’t seem to know if it should be late summer or early autumn – one minute it’s warm and sunny, the next it’s chilly & wet. But at least the wet means the allotment will benefit – I hope! Welcome to my Six on Saturday!

1. The newest raised bed might not have enough soil in it (the level is a good 2 or 3 inches down from the top), but the strawberry plants are thriving! I’ve got loads (and I mean loads) of runners from these too, so I’ll have to take some pots down to the allotment to get them rooted. They can then overwinter in the garden so I have some spares just in case of bad weather.

2.  I’m not convinced the celery will come to much this year – it’s still really short, and the leaves are starting to look yellow…. but considering this is a self-blanching variety, the stems are still too green to be ready to pick yet.

3. In contrast, the cucamelon plants in the garden and this one on the allotment have been a real success…. until the strong winds meant the allotment one blew over – the soil isn’t as deep as you might think, so the bamboo canes clearly weren’t in deep enough to hold it all upright! But I think that’s a plant to grow next year, for certain.

4. Onto Raspberry Jungle next, and that’s been a bit hit and miss this year. A lot of the leaves have darkened and browned, but I’ve cut back some of the most discoloured foliage and there’s quite a bit of new green growth showing through, so it’ll be interesting to see if that leads to more raspberries before the frosts.

5. Another one I’m not convinced will be fantastic, is the Florence Fennel…. which is ironic considering how the herb fennel seeds itself quite happily all across the site. We planted 10 seeds, and these are the only two plants which grew. 

Earth up (mound soil) round the bulbs as they start to swell, from mid-summer until mid autumn, until the bulb is mature and about 7-10cm (3-4in across) to blanch the bulbs and to exclude autumn frosts.

RHS website

If the bulbs are meant to swell from mid-summer, I think ours are a good few weeks (or months!) behind, so I really don’t think we’ll get anything from these.

6. Proof that my compost bins don’t get hot enough to kill off any weeds – this tomato plant wasn’t meant to be on the allotment (it self seeded in the compost), but we decided to leave it to see if the tomatoes ripen.

And a little bonus picture just to add some brightness to a grey wet day, we had enough Nasturtium flowers to pick a little posy to go with the mint we were bringing home… plus some lavender just for fun.

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Six on Saturday – August 11th

What happened to last week? I’m sure the weeks are flying past quicker than I can count at the moment! Anyhow, welcome to my Six on Saturday.

  1. First we have the allotment Cucamelon plant.
    My ‘gardening assistant’ (dad) had told me there weren’t any Cucamelons growing yet… I think he must have missed all of these!
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  2. On to the strawberries in three different raised beds now, and first we have the top raised bed which has a few of my original Strawberry Something-or-other (there’s two or three left after the majority died), plus this year’s additions of Sweet Collossus, Florence and Beltran.
    Moving on to the third raised bed, the Snow White plants are looking really healthy (and sending out runners)…

    Just Add Cream shares this raised bed, and I’m going to have to sort out these runners, otherwise I’ll get in a muddle with which plant is which!

    Moving on to the second raised bed, and Strawberry Something-or-other really isn’t happy – using the square foot gardening idea, I had 36 plants in here last year, and now I have about 5 or 6 plants…

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  3. Runner Beans tend to work really well on our allotment, providing we net the base to stop the Roe Deer nibbling the young plants. The bean plants don’t seem quite so leafy this year though, but maybe that’ll be a positive, as it should mean they aren’t heavy enough to bring the bamboo supports down!
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  4. Moving on to Raspberry Jungle, I did some thorough weeding in here this week. The grass might not have grown with all the blazing hot sunshine we’ve had, but the bindweed is proving to be even more of a pain than usual.

    Wondering why I call it Raspberry Jungle? This is the “weeding view” of the raspberry patch…

    They’re Autumn raspberries, but they grow semi-wild across part of the allotment site, so I’ve no idea what variety they are.
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  5. Something a little less wild-looking is my mini celery patch. It seems to have taken a little while to get going (I bought the plug-sized plants from Homebase earlier in the year), but hopefully now we’ve had some less-hot weather, they’ll grow quicker!

    And if my Mum is reading this, yes I will try and get a better (straighter) edge to this bit before the grass grows too much!
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  6. And finally the blackberries have finished, but it proved that our new blackberry support was worth making – we had loads more fruit than in all the previous years combined!
    I know this is a crazy angled photo – it’s the only way I could get all the blackberry plant in one shot!

    I just need to check when to prune the branches back, and also get the new growth tied into the supports ready for next year!

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Six on Saturday – July 28th

Ok, I will admit this is kind of bending the Six on Saturday rules – rather than 6 things in the garden at the moment, I’ve gone for 6 stages of cucamelons seeing as it’s the first year I’ve tried growing them.

  1. We started off buying some Cucamelon seeds from Chiltern Seeds

    Unknown to us, the seedlings will go through periods of growth, then stop for a while.
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  2. Frustrated with the lack of growth from the seedlings, we decided to ‘cheat’ and buy a Cucamelon plant.

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  3. The ‘cheating Cucamelon’ was split – one plant from the pot went down to the allotment, and the other was put in a pot in the garden. The 6′ canes seemed excessive given the size of the plant initially, but it’s now taller than the canes!

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  4. A relative offered to tie the cucamelon to the canes, but with these long tendrils there’s no real need – I nudged the stem towards the cane and it just seemed to latch on easily.

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  5. We have flowers!

    (followed by a “quick take a picture before they fall off” comment from a sceptical friend!)
    ….and quite a few cucamelons forming now as well!  They’re not big enough to harvest yet, but it’ll be interesting to see what they’re like.

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  6. And of course now the ‘cheating Cucamelon’ is getting on so well, the seedling is growing strongly (although it’s got a long way to go before it reached the height of the ‘cheating Cucamelon’. This one will be put into a larger pot this week hopefully.(it had actually wrapped itself around the watering can…. that’ll teach me to not get the plant supports sorted out!)

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Six on Saturday – July 21st

Now the extra-hot weather has died down a little, it’s back to the allotment again for my Six on Saturday!

  1. I don’t know if it’s just down to the weather, or that we’ve got the blackberry on a support this year so it’s not trailing the ground…. but whatever the reason, we have loads of fruit this year!

    And so far, it looks like the deer have left it alone, so there’s no need to net it 🙂
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  2. This is the first year I’ve tried growing cucamelons – the seeds germinated, but seemed to stop growing so we invested in a plant from the garden centre….

    We split that plant into two, so one piece is on the allotment and the other is in a pot in the garden. In the end, the seed-grown plants started growing again too (apparently that’s normal for them to pause growth if they’ve not got quite the right temperature or moisture).
    One of the plants grown from seed has died, but we still have one seed-grown plant left too,so that will be heading to the allotment tomorrow to join this one!
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  3. I don’t know what happened with my “original” strawberry plants this year – I started out with about 40 plants across two raised beds….

    ….and now have about 10 left as the others have all died off. These were runners saved from previous years, so I wouldn’t have thought they would be ‘tired’ and in need of replacing just yet.
    In contrast, my “fancy strawberry bed” is proving more successful – Just Add Cream (which is meant to produce more fruit and less runners) is sending out runners, and Snow White has runners which have already rooted!  I’m hoping this will bode well for next summer!

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  4. The gooseberry bush is a great success this year – whatever ate the berries from it last year seems to have left it alone, as we’ve had plenty to pick.

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  5. Onto the peas and beans, and I think the peas have definitely gone over now….

    ….we did get plenty of peas from them though, so compared to other years I’d class that as a definite success!
    The runner beans have taken off like rockets – I think I need to take a stool with me to the allotment next, to reach the tops of the canes in order to nip the growing tips off!

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  6. And to finish, how about a mini game of “spot the creature in the compost bin”? This Slow Worm was pretending to be a stick, so I’ve added in an arrow to make it easier to spot!

    They seem to like that particular compost bin – I’ve never spotted one in either of ourother bins.

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Six on Saturday – April 14th

So much for sunshine, it’s all foggy and murky out there this morning. But they’re teasing us with forecasts of 21C for parts of next week, so maybe Spring really has sprung! Welcome to my  Soggy Six on Saturday!

  1. We’ve been talking about getting the Blackberry bush onto some kind of support for ages, and finally found some suitable stakes this week. I thought it was going to be challenging to get the stakes in the ground, but it was surprisingly easy – a couple of old socks on the end of the stake padded the top, while a large pebble-like stone worked as a makeshift hammer.

    All we need now are some suitably short vine eyes to screw into the wood, and we can get the wires attached.
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  2. Rhubarb! It’s grown a lot in the last week, so this week we brought home the first few pieces – not enough to make a crumble(!), in fact it could be described as a “taste” of rhubarb rather than a sensible sized helping, but looking at the plants, I think there’s plenty more to come.

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  3. We decided it was time to tidy the Raspberry patch before the autumn-fruiting raspberries grow too much. The grass sneaks into the patch every year, making the patch feel more like a jungle at times, but I want to try and keep it more under control this year. As you can see, it’s not the easiest ground to dig grass out from, but the lumps of grassy soil we removed, have been ‘recycled’ into steps at the side of the plot.

    There’s still a lot of work to be done before this is grass-free (or at least has a straight edge!), but I think the soil needs to dry out a bit more before we can get more digging done.
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  4. Digging out the Cucamelon patch was a bit easier, although there’s a lot of huge stones lurking just under the soil. We’ve not planted anything in this section on a regular basis, and a couple of inches below the surface there’s pure clay…. I think this calls for a load of compost before we can plant anything!

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  5. Several years ago, I bought this Penstamon and up to now it’s been looking great… unfortunately the green leaves it had last month, have all browned off. I’m guessing it didn’t approve of the cold and snow in March. A relative tells me I should “cut it back”, but didn’t tell me if it’s like Lavender where you don’t cut it back too much, or if it should be cut back as hard as possible. I’m reliably informed by Granny’s Garden that nothing should be cut until the risk of frost is over, and she cuts back to one green leaf on each stalk. Given that I have zero green leaves on the stalks, that might prove challenging, but I’ll give it another week or so just to check the chance of frost, given that the allotment site is so exposed.

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  6. Finally, we have a Morrison’s Supermarket bargain buy… these Geraniums aren’t heading to my allotment, but we’re potting them up to grow on for a relative’s garden.

 

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