October 2011




October 1st.

Well,into Autumn proper now but the weather over the last few days has been crazy,hitting 80f at the end of September and into October.

Anyway,now that all my shows are over It's time to get on with the important stuff of growing veg to eat.


I'm really happy with the second batch of Hispi Cabbage I grew to replace the 1st lot and they're now hearting up really well and the same with the 4th batch of Little Gem Lettuce.

One problem has been the explosion of Slugs this summer with the constant wet weather which have done quite a bit of damage to the outer leaves,but the inner ones seem unaffected.

Oh yeah ! and after just 6 months !! my spring onions are now ready....in Autumn.

It's the last time I ever use seed tapes to grow them again.


The Leeks are still growing well and I've been eating these for over a month now and the Brussel Sprout plants that I thought I'd set out a bit late seem like they may be ok after all.


One success this year was to grow this new variety of pea to me "Dorian"

I mainly grew it for the shows even though I never really entered any.

It was recommended by one of the top pea growers in the country Ian Simpson at one of his talks as a pea that he found not to suffer from mildew late in the season

And true to form there's not a speck on any of the plants and they're really big pods of really sweet peas to boot.

So I'll definately be growing these again next year because my favourite early to mid season pea Hurst Greenshaft always get ruined by mildew after the end of Autumn.


The polytunnel is now mainly being used as an onion drying shed but I do have a few bits and pieces still growing.

Given the weather over the last 3-4 years,If I didn't have a tunnel to ripen and dry off my onions then I'd never be able to store a single one.


Still in the tunnel I planted some late potatoes about 4-5 weeks ago with the thought of getting some new potatoes in November onwards,and judging by the growth I should manag it.

I decided to grow some early purple sprouting brocolli in large 60 litre pots too to give it some protection from the Winter weather.

It looks good so far so we'll see how that fares.


And finally the giant Marrow that was planted late on is still growing and is enormous and the giant sunflower I tried at home in a pot finally flowered at a height of 11ft 6"

Anyway that's about it for the start of October,I did a quick vid of the plot.

Click below to watch,cheers.



October 7th.

Not much happening this week,but I decided to cut the giant marrow tonight and see how much she weighed.


Needless to say I was well chuffed at the size considering I only sowed it late and only got a fruit to set well into August.


And the weight was........amazingly 51 lb 12 ounces !!

So if I can get some seeds again next year I'll be having a go at a 100 pounder.

The weigh in Video below......

October 15th.

Decided,to dig over the somewhat neglected pumpkin bed really thoroughly and try to remove all traces of the dreaded couch grass.


I sprayed the couch grass with Glyphosate around a month ago and the grass died down apart from the patch where the Marrow was,and hopefully got into the roots and killed them too.

I tried to remove as many of the spaghetti like roots as possible when I dug it over and there's just a small patch that needs doing now.

I also made a couple of smaller raised bed sections and raised the soil level by a good 6" by adding a load of grit and a load of my spent potato growing compost.

These have been planted with some overwintering onion sets which I have never had sucess with up here due to the cold and wet,but hopefully due to the raised soil there should be sufficient drainage this Winter.


I also planted some Garlic,another thing I never do at this time of year but I decided to give it a trial run.

I managed to get hold of some Solent Wight bulbs which were trully enormous,so I've planted one of these and the other two will go in at my normal planting time of March.

And I did manage to get a couple of butternut squash from the plants grown in bags of compost,but they are pitiful.

I need to try a new variety next year.


Over in the tunnel I've trimmed up the onions a bit and I can honestly say that this has been the best year ever for onions personally,they were all huge this year but that unfortunately isn't too helpful when it comes to storage potential.

And the trial run of early sprouting broccoli is going well and the plants are getting huge in the 65 litre pots.


And the potatoes in the tunnel are massive with the tops almost 3 ft tall,so If I can keep the frosts off them I should have some new potatoes from November onwards.


And finally on the exhibition carrot bit I've started to empty out the barrels and boxes into builders tonne bags and disinfected it as I've gone to kill off any nasties lurking in there.

I've made a few new containers for next year including the giant 2ft6" square x 4 ft tall box at the back.

This is so I can grow some more Parsnips in a deeper container.

The only trouble is that it'll take almost a tonne of sand to fill it costing me 40+ and I'll only get 9 parsnips from it....oh well !


October 22nd.

Well,the first frost of the year.

I had been growing some Charlotte Spuds in the polytunnel for the last 8 weeks or so to try to get some very late 1st earlies.

But even with the doors closed the temperature got down to -1.6 so they suffered.


They weren't properly blackened and ruined but no doubt they will suffer.

Anyway we'll see.


Started to flood the Onion beds in the polytunnel to try to remove any excess unused fertilizer from the soil which can build up over the years,simply because they don't get the Winter rains to wash it away.

Anyway I have put almost 1200 litres of water on just 4 square metres of beds over the last 2 weeks which is the equivalent of a foot of rain.

To put this in context it was nearly 200 watering cans full....but it needs to be done.


I also made myself a couple of mini portable Polytunnels 8 ft long and 3ft6" wide.

These were mainly made for next years 100lb Marrow attempt to give them some warmth in Spring,but they'll be stuck over the overwintering Onions and Garlic that were planted earlier to give them a bit of extra protection.

And as I need to sieve around 250 Litres of compost through a 6mm sieve I decided to make a full on man sifter !

It's on wheels and is dead easy to use.

But then the Heath Robinson in me kicked into action and tried to make it a n automated powered one.

Video below.

See what you think.




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