Spuds galore in 10″ pots…….

I am an avid YouTuber, preferring to watch the videos rather than star in them and I recently came across a gardening channel called Home Grown Veg.  Now as far as I can gather, he grows his fruit and veg in his back garden as I have yet to hear him mention or see him on an allotment plot.  One of the things that inspired me to continue watching and inevitably subscribe to his future videos, was growing veg in 10inch pots on his patio.

imageMost of these pots that he uses are in fact recycled flower buckets that he purchased from Morrisons, roughly 10p per pot!  I do, in fact have some of these pots around my garden as I use them for growing my chillies and tomatoes in the greenhouse, so I was halfway there to following along.

He occasionally uses recycled compost from his plants that have already provided him with a crop and would have otherwise been destined for the compost heap.  The veg that inspired me the most was growing salad potatoes in 10″ pots.  I was very sceptical at the yield that these relatively small pots would produce until I saw his returns from the one seed potato that he had sown in each pot. Roughly around 1.5 – 2lbs per pot.  Not a bad return for one potato and recycled compost.

He had also experimented with growing potatoes that he has purchased at his local supermarkets for consumption rather than buying specific certified seed potatoes.   He simply keeps a few specimens back and keeps them dry and cool in the bottom of his fridge until he is ready to use them, by that time they would have started to imagedevelop chits ready to start growing.  So my afternoon today was spent potting up 25 pots of Charlotte salad potatoes. Not all in 10″ (10 litre) pots, but also in 35 litre pots too.  One seed  in the smaller 10″ pots and 3 seed potatoes in the larger pots.  Guess I won’t run out of spuds later in the year.

Home Grown Veg YouTube channel is definitely worth a look and stay tuned for my details on the carrots in 10″ pots too!!!!!

Happy diggin’

Debb

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Sweet strawberries in mind……

20140320-132504.jpgSo my Easter Monday was really busy doing my seedlings and transplants in the greenhouse due to the ever changing weather, but today was a whole new ball game! The weather at least was on my side, but for how long, I wasn’t sure. Today’s itinerary mainly consisted of getting my strawberries in check.

At my allotment plot I have 3 beds of equal size at the front of the site. One of these has my established strawberry bed that was set up last year. These have only produced fruit for one year so far.  The runners from these plants last season were transplanted temporarily into my enamel bath on site just to give them a head start with establishing the roots until the new bed 2 was ready for them.

imageBed 1 was looking very shabby and needed a facelift while bed 2image needed to be prepared and planted up with the runners from last year. I left bed 1 in a mess last year so that the added leaves would provide some sort of winter protection for the crowns and it seems to have done the trick. Most of the plants looked really healthy, albeit a little sorry for themselves after the clear up. I must admit the plants look so much better after a quick haircut and a tidy up. I also gave them a very quick liquid fertiliser feed that consisted of a little bit of liquid manure added to a watering can just to give them a quick boost.

My next job was to prepare bed 2 for the new plants and staple the membrane that covers imagethe ground and cut new holes for the plants. My plan is to only keep original strawberry plants for a maximum of 3 years then replace with the runners from the younger, more healthy plants.

I also have lots of strawberries at home. Can you tell that they are one of our favourite fruits! This warm break in the weather encouraged me to tidy up my pots and troughs at home as well.

As I was leaving the allotment I noticed that there were two old metal shelving units that had been imagediscarded. I had a quick glance around an quickly whipped them away in the boot of my car! Once safely at home, I laid the shelves with coir matting that was surplus for my hanging baskets and added a layer of black plastic to help retain the water. I then replanted the strawberry plants that I had in some pots at home and I must admit that they look pretty good. I had to convince my Hubbie that they would look so much better in the next few months when the plants start to cascade down.

imageThe womble in me lives on!

Now though, I’m all strawberried out. Just need to start saving some jars ready for my jam making escapades 😊

Happy diggin’
Debb

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Ready, Set, Sow……..

This Easter Monday bank holiday weather was very unpredictable; one minute blowing gales and wind then into calm blue and white skies thereafter. Then next the dark clouds descended upon bringing with them torrential downpours giving me the oppourtune moment to change my gardening plans. So today I wasn’t going to let the weather get the better of me.  I was going to continue on with my gardening escapades regardless of what the weather decided to throw at me.  I decided to spend the time in the greenhouse catching up with my seed planting.

I had a very productive afternoon. I transplanted my lettuce seedlings and my beetroot seedlings, planted many varieties of pumpkins and squashes along with outdoor cucumbers and gherkins. I sowed some more pea seeds in my guttering in my greenhouse and transplanted my tomato seedlings that were looking a little bit worse for wear. I’m hoping that they will all catch up over the next few weeks if we get some decent sunshine.

I also planted various types of basil, to be used as companion planting along with my tomatoes. I planted sweet basil, Greek basil and lemon basil. I’m not holding out much hope for my thyme and mint seeds as these were seeds that I had in my seed pack for quite a few years, but as I had a little spare soil and a few extra pots, I thought what was the harm. If they grow, then that’s great I will find a place for them. If they don’t grow, over the next 3-4 weeks then I will just repurpose the soil and the pot for something else.

I also made use of my root trainers that I bought a few months ago. I potted these up with two varieties of sweetcorn. I know that if all of them grow this should be 100 plants!!!. I know yes you’re thinking what is she going to do with 100 plants of sweetcorn if they all do decide to germinate? However I like to grow seeds and I get so much satisfaction from giving them away to others.  So here’s hoping to great germination with all my newly planted seedlings and speedy growth with all my transplants so that others may also benefit from my labours.

Happy diggin’

Debb

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Potato chitting time….

So now it’s potato chitting time and I just had a quick query as to how others start their potatoes off and if so, where do they do it?

image I always sneak some in egg trays on top of the boiler in my kitchen. It’s out of the way, warm and light and hidden from my hubbies eyes! I also place a couple in egg boxes on my windowsill in the kitchen. One year, I had so many chitting that I didn’t have the space for them all in the kitchen so I placed them in my unheated greenhouse. Even though they were covered with fleece the frost still managed to get to a few of them so I thought it was better to be safe than sorry and position them inside.  Where do you place yours to chit?

Happy diggin’

Debb

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Return of digginwivdebb…….

I’ve been off the blogging scene for quite a while, well to be honest round about a year. Life and all other commitments tended to take priority over my blogging. Recently, I realised that I had missed the blogging scene even though I was still keeping up with my writing of my growing adventures by providing monthly newsletters to my allotment site. These were gratefully received by the plot holders, but I missed the blogging community. Although in previous years I shared many posts, I also got a great deal of information and pleasure from reading other people’s posts, so I have decided to return to my blogging and continue to share my growing escapades with you all. 

The posts may not be as detailed and as lengthy as they have previously been, just short sharp words of wisdom or just things that I would like to share as and when they arise. I hope that you find them of use and I hope that you will continue to follow me on my allotment growing journey.

Happy diggin’

Debb

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Tomato seeds at the ready!

So the varieties of tomatoes that I’m growing this year are as follows;

* Sweet Aperitif (cherry)

* Alicante (medium cordon)

* Shirley (medium cordon)

* Oxheart (beefsteak)

* Red pear (cherry)

I have also sown a few unknown varieties. These were tomatoes that were donated to me after seeing a great specimen that had grown. They are collectively named after the people who provided them to me.

* Momma Love (beefsteak)

* Richard (cherry)

* Mini Mej (bush cherry)

Seeds at Day 2 germination

Seeds at Day 2 germination

The first seeds off the block in the heated propagator are the unknown variety courtesy of an allotment friend named Richard. He mentioned that these varieties produced an abundance of tomatoes on his plot, outside his greenhouse.

Seeds at Day 7 germination

Seeds at Day 7 germination

He allowed me to help myself to a few of the stray tomatoes still left on the plant which I then soaked in water for a few days to remove the outer jelly like membrane, then dried on a plate ( no kitchen paper added as I had learned from experience that the seeds, when dried, tended to stick to the paper making it difficult to remove them) and then stored in a paper envelope ready for planting this year. I was very surprised that these were the first tomatoes from all of the varieties that I had grown to first rear their heads. I have grown many more seeds than I need, yet again, but this is so I can pass them on and share with others fellow allotmenteers.

Happy diggin’

Debb

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What to do in March 2015

The month of March seems to have sprung up on me from nowhere.  Don’t misunderstand me, it is a welcome surprise but it reminds me that now the gardening season really starts  No time for dilly dallying now.  Time to get stuck in and motivated,  To help you all along, here are a few jobs to keep you motivated and organised

Jobs to do………in March

  • Continue to plan what you intend to grow this year and order seeds before your favourites become unavailable
  • Harden off and transplant autumn sown cauliflowers and cabbages
  • Finish digging all of the vegetable beds, cultivating the soil weekly to produce a fine tilth in the soil
  • Finish any construction work that you may have left to do as your time will be needed more for the plants in the coming months
  • Lift the remaining leeks and parsnips that have been left in the ground
  • Continue to chit your potatoes in a frost free place to encourage strong shoots
  • Warm areas of your soil with clear polythene, carpet, cardboard or black plastic
  • Check that shallots in the ground are still firmly in place and not been pulled up by the birds.
  • Continue to save the cardboard tubes from toilet and kitchen rolls and newspapers to make your own biodegradable pots for seed sowing next month
  • Harden off vegetables that were sown in January or February in the cold frame
  • Make sure pots and seed trays are cleaned ready for sowing
  • Prune fruit trees while still dormant such as apple, pear, currant and gooseberry

What to sow………Indoors (Heated or Unheated)

  • Aubergines
  • Broad Beans
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Chillies
  • Parsley
  • Melons
  • Celery
  • Onions and shallot seeds
  • Kohl Rabi
  • Kale
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Winter salads
  • Summer Cabbages
  • Summer Cauliflowers
  • Calabrese
  • Early variety peas
  • Parsley (curly leafed)
  • French beans
  • Leeks
  • Spinach
  • Radish

What to sow………Outdoors (Under Protection)

  • Spinach
  • Salad Leaves
  • Lettuce
  • Rocket
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Sprouting Broccoli
  • Red Cabbage
  • Summer Cabbage
  • Autumn Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Early Cauliflower
  • Leeks
  • Calabrese
  • Spring Onions
  • Herbs
  • Radish
  • Mangetout
  • Calabrese
  • Early Peas
  • Early Carrots
  • Early Beetroot
  • Broccoli (Summer variety)
  • Broad beans
  • Onions
  • Parsnips

What to plant………in March

  • Plant rhubarb sets
  • Fruit bushes
  • Jerusalem artichokes
  • Asparagus crowns
  • Bare root container-grown trees
  • Horseradish
  • Strawberries
  • Early potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onion sets
  • Shallots

Crops in season now

  • Broccoli (Sprouting)
  • Spring onions
  • Spring Cabbage
  • Spring Cauliflower
  • Chicory
  • Endive
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Parsnips
  • Spinach

Happy diggin’

Debb

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