March 2012

 

                                                                            


March 1st...ok feb 28th

Well,the first harvest of the year !!

                         

The purple sprouting brocolli that I've been growing in the pots that my onions were in last year in the tunnel is finally ready for picking.

Ive only got 4 plants but managed a decent 1st picking,and should be able to pick more smaller spears for the next few weeks.

                         

I decided to have a go at some shallots from seed this year,the way all commercial crops are grown.

You just get a single shallot from each seed but apparently it cuts down on mould and botrytis problems as there's no splitting if the bulbs which can let the mould in.

The normal shallots from bulbs are sprouting in their pots and will be planted out at the end of the month.

                         

Over on the overwintering onions outside,I've removed the protective cloches and they have survived the Winter weather for the first time ever.

The garlic that I did the same thing with as a trial has really taken off an is pretty huge for this time of the year up here.

I also planted my main crop of garlic today as normal at the start of March for me,as planting in Autumn isn't really suitable for me as the soil is just too wet and it's too windy unless protected like the crop above.

Anyway I did a video just to show what an idiot proof crop garlic is to grow.

March 3rd.

At last,I've started to sow a few seeds.

                         

I sowed the same Leek variety as last year "Autumn Giant Rami III " strange name but a good long mid season variety which was ready in September.

I also sowed the same Calabrese "Aquiles" which is a wonderful variety which is really compact and doesn't get much above 18" in height,but produces an enormous central head and then numerous secondary smaller spears.

I sowed some Kale which was new to me last year but I really liked to eat it,It was like a cross between spring cabbage and spinach and kept producing for about 4 months,the variety was Nero di Tos...something or other,cant remember as I ripped the name off the packet.

And finally a couple more prarie fire chilli plants and a new variety of Sweet Pepper.

The variety is "Gourmet" and is supposed to produce dozens of orange peppers.

I gave this variety a go because I haven't had any joy with my Californian Wonder the last 2 cold wet summers so I hope these will be better.

                         

I sow my Leeks in a big polystyrene veg box as the added depth produces much stronger,larger plants than simply sowing in a seed tray.

So everythings been put in the propagator and as soon as the brassicas germinate they'll just go into the unheated polytunnel and the peppers on the windowsill.

I did another mindnumbing video about the fertilizers I use.

Click to view.

March 10th.

The Brocolli and Kale I sowed last week has all germinated so I've bunged it in the polytunnel to grow on a bit.

                         

And all the Shallots from seed have come through too,Ill grow these until they are about 2-3" tall with about 3 leaves on then plant outside in early April time.

Should be interesting to see how they grow.

                         

The Shallots that I started off in pots are growing well and these will go out at the end of the month.

The Rhubarb that I divided last Autumn and replanted in a big pot seems to have survived and is just starting to shoot again.

                         

Still getting loads of pickings from the purple brocolli and outside things are starting to spring into growth at last and all my self seeded chives that are growing all over the place are starting to grow.

                   

And over in my small pond I've had a breeding frenzy with the frogs and I've got another load of frogspawn deposited.

Took this pic and was pretty pleased with the result.

Anyway as usual I did a quick vid of what's going on.

Click to play.

 

March 17th.

Well,amazingly we almost managed a full week without rain.

I know this will sound strange to all of you south of me who are suffering from drought,but It's never stopped raining here all year.

                         

So with the soil finally starting to dry,I managed to work it a little and get all my shallots planted.

These are all the show variety Hative de niort but I'll eat all the rejects which will be about 95% as usual.

50 planted in total.

I started these off in pots in January in the tunnel and planted them out about a foot apart by 9".

                         

With this rare window of good weather I decided to plant all my onion sets too,although a week or two earlier than normal they'll be fine.

I planted them closer than last year at 5" spacings and a foot between the rows,the thinking being that last year they grew far too big and restricting the spacings should produce a normal sized bulb rather than the enormous ones that don't keep well.

I planted Centurion and Heat Treated Red Baron.

                         

The Leeks have all started to germinate along with the Kale and Brocolli.

                         

Likewise most of my Tomatoes,peppers and chillies are now germinated and these are on a windowledge at home with some supplementary lighting above them.

If I hadn't used the lights then they would all be as leggy as the couple of pots of cut and come again lettuce I planted and put in my porch.

And now onto this years stupid mission.Giant Pumpkins !!!

                         

I've temporarrily fenced of even more of the field and dug myself 3 monster Pumpkin holes.

                         

After digging out the soil to a depth of 18" I then added a shit load of horse muck,then broke all the soil up and riddled all 200 litres+ through a 10mm sieve.

Then mixed another full bag of compost and a full jar of slow release fertilizer pellets together and refilled the holes.

                                          

So I now have 3x2ft6 wide 2ft deep planting holes and about 600 square feet of space for them to trail about in.I'm going to put a giant weed membrane over the whole plot to keep the grass down.

So we'll see how they get on later,I'm sowing seeds from pumpkins ranging in weight from 1581 to 1351 pounds.

A 150 pounder would do me !.

                   

And finally over on the Exhibition Onion front ,the plants are storming along and are outgrowing my grow chamber.

So they'll need to be planted out in the Tunnel in about 10 days regardless of the weather.

Stop Press.

After recently being contacted by at TV company about a programme they are wanting to produce about Allotments,and then finding out that they only seem interested in the negative parts of allotment life,I have to share with you a video of a friend of mine and his daughter.

This is what they should be concentrating on,getting young kids involved and interested in being outdoors and not being stuck infront of the telly,not stories about negative aspects of allotmenteering.This is priceless.

Enjoy,Click below to view.

March 24th.

Can't believe this weather,It's fantastic !

2 weeks without rain and finally 3 days of solid sunshine.....brilliant.

                  

So with the good,dry weather,the soil has finally been worked down to a fine tilth ready for sowing the majority of seed outside next weekend.

I don't go mad and make it like dust because if it's too fine and it rains it tends to form a crust on top when it dries again and hinders seed germination.

                         

Everything seems to be springing into life with the warmth,I sowed some spring onions in big pots in the tunnel to try to get a few a little early.

Is it just me or do spring onions take an eternity to get to harvest size outside ?

                         

The first shoots of the early potatoes I planted into pots in the tunnel are just emerging so I'll need to keep an eye out for frost and just cover with compost if its forecast.

The main batch of spuds that I set away chitting a while ago are sprouting nicely with dark green stubby shoots appearing,these will be planted in a week or two.

                         

The Rhubarb's starting to grow now and I started to force another plant outside just as an experiment.

Anyway that was the sunset this evening over the plot,great stuff.

I've done a few more mindnumbing videos of what's been going on over the last week.

Click below to play or see them all over on Youtube....here's the link.  AllotmentDiaryYoutube

 

I've got myself a Facebook Page click the link if you're interested,Cheers.

 


 

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