Six on Saturday – June 30th

Back to the allotment this week for my Six on Saturday, with some successes and some utter failures!

  1. First up is a semi-success – I replanted a lot of my original strawberry plants, and unfortunately most haven’t survived. However, the new strawberry plants seem to be making up for it (Sweet Collossus and Just Add Cream have several runners).

    If only I could stop whatever’s eating a hole in the net getting in and pinching the strawberries before I can pick them!
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  2. Next we have an annual semi-disaster, which resolves itself by the time these autumn fruiting raspberries are meant to bear fruit…
    Yes, that’s raspberry beetle grubs yet again 
    But looking at the raspberry jungle, I’m hopeful that once we get past summer fruiting season, the autumn fruits will be grub-free!

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  3. Remember that mystery plant in my wild flower patch? I’m taking an educated guess that it’s some form of thistle!

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  4. The celery’s been planted out, and looks like it’ll grow well – maybe it’s a bit hot for that to grow too much this week

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  5. A complete disaster next, the Broad Beans had blackfly (Black Bean Aphid), Pea and Bean Weevil, Rust and Chocolate Spot… but that did give me a chance to write a blog post on it

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  6. And to finish on a success, this is just part of the blackberry bush.

    I think I can safely say it approves of the support we made for it this year, as there’s shed loads of fruit forming!

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday  and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – May 19th

While everyone else seems to be watching the build up to the Royal Wedding, I’m planning what’s heading onto the allotment next, trying to work out a way of ‘bulking up’ the soil in a raised bed (the multi purpose compost I put in is just like dust!) and hoping that the runner beans will get on and grow faster! Welcome to my  Six on Saturday!

  1. We finally got the new blackcurrant in the ground – I treated it to a lot of homemade compost, so hopefully it’ll be more successful than the failed redcurrants were!

    And here’s the original blackcurrant, in the hope the new one will thrive in the same way.

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  2. And speaking of fruit, the gooseberries are looking really good. Anyone know an idiot’s guide(!) of when they’d be ready to pick if they’re going to be cooked rather than eaten raw?

    no idea what variety this one is, as it was a gift from a fellow allotmenteer!
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  3. The lemon thyme & oregano have been let loose in the flower section (mainly because my original herb section is now shaded by a neighbour’s shed)….

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  4. ….but the rosemary seemed to like the shaded part of the garden, so that’s gone into the shady herb section in the hope it’ll approve.

    ….all I need is parsley, and I’ll be growing parsley sage, rosemary and thyme (and I bet you’re all humming Scarborough Fair now!)
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  5. Thanks to Granny’s Garden for the tips on how to resolve my dead-looking penstemon after the snow in early spring – it obviously approved of its severe ‘haircut’ as it’s growing new leaves like crazy.

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  6. And you couldn’t have a Six on Saturday without the customary strawberry flower photo….

    Some of the new plants were flagging a little, so I think the soil in that raised bed is a little too free-draining compared to the others. These are in a different brand of multi-purpose compost (with some homemade compost, topsoil and grit sand mixed in as well), and we’re a bit more sorted with just how much water they need.

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday  and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – May 12th

It’s a strange combination for my  Six on Saturday this week – a mixture of harvest, flowers, tiny seedlings and a giant unknown “something-or-other”!

  1. First up, cabbages! A relative assured us they were ready for picking….

    but before you look at that photo and think “cor, that cabbage is huge!” that’s actually three together….

    that is one single cabbage!
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  2. Next up is another mystery plant / weed…. I scattered wild flower seeds in this patch a few years ago, and that’s how we got the Teasel. But what on earth is the large bushy “thing” to the right of it?!
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  3. Despite our lack of confidence in these seeds germinating, the Cucamelons are starting to peek through the soil…. maybe it’s not warm enough for them to be growing quickly (they’re in an unheated plastic covered grow house thing), so I might bring one into a heated area just to see what happens….

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  4. The mint is taking over the universe…. well, the plot at least.


    All this is mint that I dug out from the flower patch (I haven’t tackled the herb patch yet) – I think I need to replace the pots it was growing in, as it’s obviously managed to break through them!
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  5. My potato plants have browned on the ends – is this down to a lack of water, do you think?

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  6. And finally, strawberries!
     
    We came across these at Homebase – the Snow White ones look really healthy & much more established than bare root runners I bought last autumn, so I decided to take the plunge to replace some of the ones that didn’t survive.

    Most of those are now in my new plastic raised bed (Snow White is in a different raised bed, along with my other ‘unusual’ strawberries), complete with a new framework & net to keep the deer off the berries. And of course a rogue chive plant which I obviously missed when I moved it to a different raised bed a couple of months ago.

    And the Just Add Cream are flowering like crazy, so I’m hopeful for a decent crop of strawberries from them!

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – April 21st

They forecast dry sunny weather today, and rain from about 9pm…. well they weren’t overly accurate, it started raining at lunchtime. But now it’s  mid afternoon and the sun’s back out again, so we’re making the most of the dry warm day. Anyhow, welcome to my  Six on Saturday!

  1. I don’t understand why women’s gardening gloves aren’t made to withstand “proper” work in the garden (or on the allotment). This is the only pair I’ve found which are short enough for me to wear (I can get children’s gardening gloves on, but I can’t bend my hand while wearing them!), and still can protect against most things…. but stinging nettles can still get to me through the padded fingers, and these are so filthy the mud now comes through!

    I think these desperately need a clean…. but I want to get a spare pair first, in case they don’t hold up to washing (the last time I tried washing a different style of gardening gloves, the fingers fused together as they dried (out of sunlight, left flat) & were utterly useless!
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  2. You know those broad beans we thought weren’t ever going to grow? They went down to the allotment this week – considering the weather, we had a surprisingly good success rate in them germinating and growing!
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  3. The “compost mystery plant” is a mystery no more – I brought this one home in a pot this week, and it’s definitely a mint plant… it must have broken through into the base of the compost bin, as I’ve been careful to not put any mint into the bin at all!

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  4. A relic from last year (or maybe the year before), these strawberries have been neglected, and left outside the front door. But they look quite healthy (or will do once I give them a bit of water), so they might go back onto the allotment next week.
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  5. And from the healthy, to the …. dead. The Snow White strawberries in the garden were looking quite wet, so we brought two into the porch to try and give them some dry warm weather. Unfortunately, they just didn’t seem to have any inspiration to keep growing – these look pretty dead to me, and the remaining ones in the garden aren’t looking any better.

    I’m hoping the 4 on the allotment will survive, but if not, this was an expensive failed experiment!
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  6. And last but not least, is the Rhino Runna that has made hundreds of trips to the allotment and back… and is suffering as a result! This is what it looked like new (courtesy of Amazon):

    and this is the state of our Rhino Runna

    The rust is taking over, and I’m thinking it’s about time I tried doing something about it, before it just disintegrates into a pile of rusty dust!

So here’s my question for you – how on earth do I tackle this?!
Is it just a case of a wire brush and lots of patience to rub off the remaining paint and rust, then using some kind of primer paint that will stop the rust coming back, before painting it with a top coat?
(as you can guess, we’ve never done any maintenance on it other than pumping up the tyre!)

 

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – April 7th

What’s that strange glowing blob in the sky? And more to the point, why is the sky blue instead of that murky grey colour? It must mean the sunshine is out, so we could finally get some more work done on the allotment! Welcome to my  Six on Saturday!

 

  1.  Several weeks ago, I ordered a new raised bed – I thought the plastic corners would help make it more sturdy. After a couple of phone calls to chase the company, it finally arrived this week, so I was looking forward to getting it all set up on the allotment. There was a slight problem though… the plastic corners were all smashed to pieces.So we’ve now arranged to take this piece of rubbish back to the store for a refund, and I’m still needing to find a decent, sturdy metre-square raised bed! Anyone got any suggestions, given that my DIY skills are lacking at being able to make my own?
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  2. I finally got around to weeding the second strawberry raised bed yesterday. It looks like the March snow killed off a few of the strawberry plants in this bed as well as the main one (no photos until I get a replacement frame for that!), so either I will use some of the spare strawberry plants from the garden or I might actually be reckless and buy some fresh plants to fill the gaps. Anyone have a favourite variety they would recommend? (My original 9 plants came from a newspaper promotion and I haven’t a clue what variety they are!)
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    The strawberry plants on the right are the Just Add Cream ones, and I planted out four Snow White on the left of that raised bed yesterday – they look absolutely minuscule, but these are the biggest four so far!

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  3. According to my half-written allotment diary from last year, we were already picking rhubarb by this point. It’s way too small to pick right now, but it’s all growing really well so hopefully it won’t be long before Rhubarb Crumble season starts!

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  4. No photo of the main potato patch, but this is the overflow patch! I have read that you can put black polythene down on the soil surface to save the need for earthing up the potatoes, so if I can find some I might give that a go once these sprout through the soil.

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  5. The peas were looking a lot healthier than the spring onions, and I decided it was time they were planted out. The label on the pot just said “plant out as soon as possible” which was really informative! I’m hoping that the way I put the netting in a zigzag will mean it’s not too challenging to pick the peas (assuming they grow!).

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  6. And finally, I have no idea whether it was a deer, badger, the wind, or just the cabbages wanting to escape, but I think we need to work on replacing the fleece covers!

Here’s hoping for some more dry weather, so the plants can recover from all that cold and snow last month.  Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!

Six on Saturday – March 24th

The weather improved after the snowy Sunday, which meant we had a chance to finally get some work done on the allotment. So here’s my Six on Saturday with no snow in sight!

  1.  First up are the Broad Beans…. earlier in the week we had none, now we have 9! Just a few (!) more needed for 100% success rate, but hopefully the warmer weather will encourage them to get growing.
    ….on the allotment, the ones I planted under fleece last year are looking great!
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  2. A quick chitting update on the potatoes – the first earlies are still looking like they’re hardly doing anything (egg box to the top left in particular), while the second earlies look almost ready to plant out!

    I put my weather station sensor on the rack next to the spuds to see what the temperature was – it’s been about 6C during the cold snap this week, but on Thursday was more like 13C. Hopefully that extra warmth will encourage those first earlies to get a move on!
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  3. On to the strawberries now, and the ones that were partly covered with snow from earlier in the month. These are white-fruiting strawberries, and most look like they have fresh growth – next month they’ll be planted out in the raised bed (once I’ve laced some twine through the net to close up the holes – these nets rip far too easily!).

    And the new addition (last year) on the allotment, pink-flowered “Just Add Cream” which is actually looking better than some of my older ‘regular’ strawberry plants!
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  4. I thought I’d better plant out those new Spring Onions from last week (the packaging says “plant out as soon as possible”), so I spent a while carefully separating each plant. Not only did it fill my newest half-sized raised bed (avoiding where I planted the chives of course), but I had three left over, which went into the raised bed with the Just Add Cream strawberries.

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  5. I dug up the oldest lavender plants, and tried digging over the soil in preparation for the pea plants. About 3 inches below the surface, I kept hitting stones so I think this bit is in need of a thick layer of fresh compost before anything gets planted in it.

    The two pots house two mint plants – the one on the left was so compacted, I couldn’t loosen any of the soil to try and get the weeds out.
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  6. And finally, a “mystery compost plant”…. yes, you read that right. I needed to get some compost out of the bin and discovered a lot of these little plants growing in the top. But I haven’t a clue what they are!
    We did bin these, as we didn’t want to find it was a weed we didn’t want to keep, but does anyone have any idea what they could be? I think there’s possibly more growing in the compost bin still!

 

Don’t forget to check out the Propagator’s Six on Saturday and read through the comments section for more blogs to check out!