Sunday, 27 February 2011

More potatoes.....

....I went to the allotment today to pick up some seed trays so that I could get some more seedlings started off in the utility room.  I went down to the trading hut to say hello when Nigel asked me what potatoes I picked up yesterday, so I told him 3kg of Cara and 1kg of Pentland Javelins.

He then informs me that I have 3kg of Disiree!!  Oh do I?? I can't remembered what I ordered way back then.

So they are now home and they have joined the chitting area in the corner of my room.

3kg Desiree

Desiree is the most popular red potato – it’s a main crop, dependable and a good all rounder. This red skinned, yellow-fleshed potato produces heavy crops, even in dry seasons. These have a waxy texture, excellent flavour and are great for baking and lovely mashed, it also stores well too.

Main Crop potatoes such as these can be planted in the south ( UK) during the first half of April; further north by late April - the actual time will depend on weather conditions. These potatoes should be planted in rows allowing about 30cm between tubers, and 75cm between rows.These potatoes can also be grown in a potato barrel or a patio potato planter. Remember, these give a heavier crop than the Earlies.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Chit & Shed

Yes that was Chit as a title and not any other word!!

YESTERDAY: Firstly let me mention my shed - basically, due to the roof felt not having been pinned back properly when it was first put up in March 2009, my fault entirely, the rain fell off the roof felt, went against the wood and rotted the floor. My very kind friend from the plot next door - Brian 144a - offered to change it for me and that he did!! I supplied the chipboard and he did the work! When I went down there yesterday it had all been done, so whilst I spent a few hours giving the contents of the shed a good sort out, Junior weeded his broad beans and we spent 2 hours happily doing what needed to be done!

TODAY: I braved the rain and made it to the allotment shop with my son in toe. I needed to get down there for my potatoes but he didn't have a choice. Then again neither did I when I was 8 - where my parents went so did I and I can tell you, I never went to anywhere as exciting as an allotment - I think the most exciting place I ever got to go was the church or something to do with it!! Anyway I whiter on .....

It was a slippy road once we went through the allotment gates - but we made it in the lashing rain to the shop and I bought some Cucino seeds (little cucumbers) Runner Bean seeds (Lady Di - Junior says he doesn't like runner beans but he's never tasted allotment ones) and some compost which will be very kindly delivered to my allotment greenhouse!

Then I picked up my Potatoes:

1kg of Pentland Javelin

These first early Pentland Javelin seed potatoes have white, waxy flesh and a creamy texture making them an ideal potato for boiling or in salads. These are slightly later than other first earlies, but grow well in all soil types and have good all-round disease resistance, especially golden eelworm.

Earlies are less likely to encounter pest problems as they are lifted so much earlier in the year. These can be planted in the south ( UK) mid March; further north by late March / early April.The actual time will depend on weather conditions. First early potatoes should be planted in rows allowing about 30cm between tubers, and 60cm between rows.

3kg Cara

Late Maincrop.

Round/oval pinkish-red eyed tubers with soft moist flesh. Particularly good baker. Withstands drought. Very disease resistant, including golden eelworm and blight. The allotment favourite.

I haven't gone as mad this year as I did last year - see as I really don't know what time scales I have on my hands this year with an 8 year old to entertain during the school holidays, so I am downsizing everything including the potatoes, although I may pick up a kilo of Roosters as they are good roasters.

My one dilemma this year is where to chit! Yes, last year, I chitted in the bathroom but this year Junior uses this bathroom including the bath on a daily basis, so I have to find another room. The guest bedroom will be too cold as the heating is off in there, so the only other place is here in my hobbies room, yes I have potatoes all over the floor!!!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Now I am never far from my allotment!

First I have to share my excitement, yes, it's my first seedling spotting!!

 Its one of the sweet peas, planted on the 15th, so only just over a week old

And here are a few more in the pot next door

And finally, saving the best till last, my lovely Mother in Law made me this mini allotment in a cigar box, yes a cigar box, that I can keep on my windowsill by my computer, so when I can't get to the allotment, I can look at my mini lotty and daydream!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sowing the seeds of 2011......

...Yes its that time of year again - Hooray!!  I was very excited that the weather had clouded over and it had been forecast to rain for most of the day today - the reason for this joy of the news of bad weather you ask?  Simples - it means that I have a jolly good reason to stay indoors and sow some seeds to get the Allotment 2011 season off to a good start.

So in preparation, I make sure that I have all that I need

and organise the space I have to work in - which isn't very big!

Here there are 6 varieties of Sweet Peas, 3 Tomato (Cherry, Moneymaker & Roma) and some Sweet peppers

I need to get some Pea, Broadbean & herb seeds in.  I did sow some Coriander and some Basil Minette, but I was surprised that I didn't have more herb seeds from last year.  One herb that I do not need to grow is Chives, as I have noticed that it's popping up in the pot that it was growing in last year.

I planted 4 seeds to a pot.  If the all come up then I am a lucky girl, if only one or two work out then I will still have plenty.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

More Digging, weeding, tea drinking.....

....tidying up, chatting, raking and planning!

It is a beautifully sunny day today.  After this morning's frost, I put layers on before braving the allotment this morning, but they soon came off and got hung up on my shed door.  After a few minutes digging I was down to a long sleeved tea shirt!  It was lovely in the sun, just lovely!

I dug and weeded the old swede and beetroot bed and tidied up all the leaves that had accumulated there over the winter and I re dug and raked last years onion bed too.  Both these pictures show a little of the work done today, as I did continue to dig just to the other side of the leeks that you can see. 

It was hard to take pictures in the bright sunshine!  I also had a go at weeding the back area where the scarecrows are but it's full of brambles and needs some heavy duty work there.  Derek our Allotment Angel has kindly offered to come along with his mattock and give it a good "seeing too" for me this year which will be great as that will really tidy up the plot for good.

So another good 2 hours spent there this morning.  My only problem today was changing the gas cylinder on the camping stove.  You need massive hands and some brut force to extract the old cylinder and then put the new one back in place, but I got there in the end!! (I have small hands and the strength of a sparrow)

Monday, 7 February 2011

My First Day on the Allotment 2011

I made it to the allotment this morning, despite the raging wind!  I was surprised to see Mavis digging away, and further down Derek, so as that was my plan, I thought I best get on with it.

First I removed the old brassica stems, chopped them up with the spade and composted them.  Then I dug over & weeded that area....

...gosh that was hard work but very enjoyable.  You forget what a good hard dig is like don't you, especially as my last dig was around October 2010.  So after a good hour of digging over & weeding the old Brassica bed, I then moved on to something a little easier.....

Bed one - currently empty apart from a few welsh onions at the far end was weeded....

 Bed two - some strawberries to the front and some spring onions to the rear was weeded.....

And finally the Onions and Garlic were weeded using the good old Onion hoe.

So not a bad hour and a half spent there today in the wind!