October 2008

                                                                    

  

Oct 1st

Another month and not much going on.

 My cucumbers and courgettes have finally finished so it's time to dig over the final bed in the polytunnel and add some more muck for my big onions that'll be in there next year.

                                    

                                    

 I mix it in as much as possible and then give it a really good flooding to try to remove as many salts that do tend to build up in polytunnel soil as they don't get flushed out by the rain in winter.

Ideally you would remove the cover and let the winter wet wash out any salts but this isn't practical for me.

                                   

 Well that's almost the last of the spuds and courgettes and the flowers outside are getting a real battering in the wind at the moment.

                                    

The guttering I bought that you stick to the polytunnel is amazing,this is the 1st time it's rained since I bought it and It half  filled a 200 litre water butt over night.

                

Got a bit bored today and decided to extend 2 small beds I had and make them into one big one.

I had a bit of a problem with a rare soil borne disease which makes onions "Shank" this year and there is no successfull way of eradicating it other than not growing any onions in the same spot for a few years.

So I'll grow them in this bed next year and see if it helps.

                                   

 Managed to buy some of these new fangled low energy grow lights this week.

I'm going to grow some of my show onions under them so I'll be able to start them off really early in January.

As they are a new technology and nearly all the energy is turned into light,they don't get hot and you can place them really close to the plants without fear of burning or scorching them unlike some other lights which get very hot and cost a fortune to run as a consequence.

These are only 125 watts so are reasonable inexpensive to run.

                          

Well what do you reckon,looks like Luke Skywalkers light sabre when it's lit up.

I'll give 'em a go and see if they are as good as they're made out to be.

Oct 8th

Well even given how late in the year it is now I'm still getting a few peppers.

                                   

Unfortunately I must have sown the wrong chilli seeds as the small ones on the right are in fact Habaneros,which, believe me, are unbelievably HOT !!.

                                   

With my cabbages having been almost ruined by catterpillars this year I decided to build myself a portable netted cloche type thingy.

It's about 10 ft long and 2ft 6" wide by 2ft 6" high.

I have made one before ,but stupidly put too wide a mesh on and the little sods just landed on it,folded their wings back and squeezed through,but this time I've used 10mm wide mesh.

This should keep all those butterflies out next year and It can be easily removed to do any weeding.

I'll knock up another one so I can protect about 2 , 10ft rows next year.

                                  

Down to my last few pounds of spuds next to the leek bed which have been just sitting in wet soil now for almost 3 months.

Unbelievably they are absolutely fine,I'm definately growing them again next year.Nicola was the variety,they are a second early and really should be rubbish by now,or have been dug up well before now but they have been fine just left in the ground.

                                                    

Well as you can see by the shadow at midday the days are really getting short and the sun is hardly reaching all of my main beds.

I've dug most of the soil over and added the horse manure to it but I'm going to resist putting any on the two smaller beds just in case it is contaminated with that awful pesticide Aminopyralid which many innocent allotment holders have been affected by this year.

It's a new phenomenon that has just surfaced this year.

It appears to persist even in the manure of animals that have been fed on either pasture or hay that has been sprayed with the selective herbicide concerned,which is widely sprayed onto pasture to control broad leaved weeds in pasture land in this country.

So what on earth must the meat or milk of the animals have in it if the manure that comes out of it's back end has enough residues to affect plants that are growing in it ????.

So on that happy note I'll leave you.

Oct 15th

Well,I'm struggling a bit to find anything to new post but here goes anyway.

My onions have dried out as much as they were going to in the polytunnel so I trimmed the tops and brought them home to store,there were about 50lbs in total so they should see me through 'till Spring. 

                                     

This year's been the best year I've had for peppers and I've still got loads on the plants and some giant ones at that.I'm putting the great Toms and Peppers this year down to the compost as there's been no sunshine whatsoever.

Westland multipurpose with added John Innes from Homebase,that was the stuff.

 Now that the polytunnel is almost empty It's time to try to clean the cover.

It's absolutely covered in algae this year so I cleaned the outside with some dilute Armillatox and the inside with just plain water as I hate the smell of Armillatox  inside.

                                    

But it doesn't take long to clean it up a bit.

                  

It's important to clean any algae off the inside of the cover as not only does it block the light but apparently Red Spider Mites also feed off it along with all the other plants they attack.

So any over wintering ones won't have any to eat before the plants grow and will hopefully starve to death.

Managed to cobble up a bit of a light chamber to grow the Big Onions in early next year.

                          

It's unbelievably bright and surprisingly cool so the onion plants shouldn't get too leggy as they can in excessive warmth.

                           

Well that's about it for this week !!!.

OH NO.... Wait...

Got a bit bored so I've tried to show my plot from ground level up to 5 miles above with some aerial photos.

Jesus !! I should get out more !!

So I did..... in a Hot Air Balloon...not!.

Anyway it will just show you how remote it is

 

aaaaaaaaarrrggghhhhhh!!! get me down!!

Not a tree in sight.

But no neighbours either................

Windswept solitude.

Nice.

 

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