Wednesday 25 August 2010

It Was Worth It

It was very late to be planting my onion and shallot sets in May, and although I haven't got a huge crop, and they haven't grown quite as well as they would have done if they were planted earlier, it was worth getting them out. Admittedly, the onions are very small but still useable, but the shallots divided nicely and I have quite a few to be going on with. Next year I will make sure that I plant them out much earlier, but this just goes to show that you will still be rewarded with late crops.

I'm extremely pleased with my potato harvest so far this year. I planted some of my first early potatoes, Sharpes Express, and my second early potatoes, International Kidney, in containers and also some in the allotment. I had great yields from the containers and have only just finished the first earlies which were planted in the allotment. The varieties I chose last year suffered a lot of slug damage in the allotment, but the Sharpes Express suffered none. This may be due to the fact that we've had a dry season this year, or it may be down to the variety. I will grow Sharpes Express again next year. I had never heard of the variety before I chose them this year, but they have been around for about a hundred years, and I've had a great harvest from them. The container grown ones produced a good harvest and the ones at the allotment came out without any damage. The International Kidneys were quite disappointing. They produced a good amount both in containers and in the ground, but they broke up on cooking and the flavour was rather bland. I won't bother growing these again. My maincrop potatoes were just planted at the allotment and haven't yet been dug, but there are two varieties so I will let you know how I've done with those at a later date.

I didn't have much luck with my brassicas last year. This year I've just bunged stuff in and hoped for the best, really leaving things to get on with it. I'm enjoying lots of kale and cavolo de nero at the moment, and there's kohl rabi and swede waiting to be pulled. I think we can overthink things or pander to things too much sometimes.

Thursday 19 August 2010

A New Garden Pest

After years of listening to my daughter's nagging I have finally given in and allowed a little bundle of fluff to enter our lives. This is Archie. He's a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and he is fourteen weeks old today. We got him last Thursday and he's settled in really quickly. What a pest he is in the garden though, pulling the heads off my flowers and picking up stones and eating them, as well as chasing the rabbits when they're out in their runs. I'm intending to show him the virtues of having a nice garden rather than a garden full of headless plants, and I'm looking forward to having him down at the allotment with me. I think he's going to need a lot of training before he's at that stage though.

We're picking more and more beans now. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm really impressed with the Sonesta dwarf French beans. They're a waxy yellow bean and are full of flavour, as well as being a heavy cropper. I will definitely grow these again next year. I'm enjoying seeing the splash of yellow on my plate.

I harvested the first of my cavolo de nero this week. I've never grown this vegetable before but this is another that will be a regular on my allotment from now on. I really enjoy green leafy vegetables and this one has a delicious flavour. It's actually a winter vegetable so I'm hoping that I'll get many more pickings over the coming months.

Tuesday 17 August 2010

A New Site For Gardeners

A new site for UK gardeners has been launched this week by Gillian Carson of My Tiny Plot. UK Veg Gardeners is a community site and basically does what it says on the tin, it's a site for veg gardeners here in the UK. There's a forum, links to news items, photos of people's veg and groups among other things. Although there are other gardening sites, these tend to be huge covering the whole world, or not specialised enough covering a huge spectrum. Gillian wanted to create a smaller, more intimate site for veg gardeners in the UK. The site has only been launched this week but already is proving to be very popular with many people signing up to become members and lots of content being added. I wish Gillian every success with it, I'm sure that it's popularity will continue to grow. Why not pop over and check it out?

I was thrilled to bits at the back end of last week to receive an email letting me know that I am Dobbies blog of the week. They've given my blog a lovely write-up too. It means a lot to me to know that people find my blog interesting and that they enjoy reading it. I'm so grateful for all the lovely comments my readers leave too, they make my day, so thank you all.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Turn Your Back For Five Minutes...

...well, a fortnight actually, and this is what happens, overgrown courgettes which have turned in to marrows. We returned from our holiday to find that everything is doing well. As I suspected before I left, the tomatoes have started to ripen, as have the peppers which are also turning red.

We had a lovely holiday. It only drizzled one morning and one afternoon out of the whole fortnight so we did really well with the weather. I understand that there was a little more rain than that here in Yorkshire which is probably why everything at the allotment has grown so well, including the weeds!

My French beans are just starting to produce. I've picked the first few which have been eaten over three meals. This year I have grown Sonesta which is a yellow dwarf bean and Blauhilde which is a purple climbing bean, as well as Safari, a dwarf bean and Blue Lake, a climbing bean which I have grown before. I'm very impressed with Sonesta which have produced a good crop from the few plants I have and taste delicious. They also stay yellow when cooked which adds a little colour to the plate. My runner beans have romped up their wigwam whilst I've been away and are now covered in red flowers, so it won't be long before I'm harvesting those too.

Holidays over, it's now time that I tackled those weeds. They're so bad that once I stride in to the thick of them you may never see me again. Wish me luck.
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