Category Archives: The Big Sunflower Project 2013

#NaBloPoMo: Blooms in the gloom

It’s all very gloom and doom outside as the rain comes down in sheets. At this time of the year, the plot is probably at it’s greyest and gloomiest.The abundance of summer seems such a long time ago. As the plot rests, we can cast our mind back to the splashes of colour that have filled the plot.

There are lots of roses on the plot. some established others less so. The lost label roses were new last year, and need another year or so to get going. Previous to that there were the posher roses, and these have really come into their own this year. Newcomer William Shakespeare 2000 sits slap bang in the middle of the plot, a sprawling mess of fuzzy red roses with lots of petals.

With the Big Sunflower Project sunflowers are planted on the plot. Some do not survive the slimers, but those that do, are a beautiful drop of sunshine. Are huge great big hyrdas in some cases, and you always end up with slighty dopey bumble bees floating around.

 

Squelching through the sludge

Over the last two weeks, it has been rather difficult to walk down to the plot. Mainly as the weather has been atrocious, but also as I start a new post. The sum of any visits has been to wander down there in the red wellingtons and see if the puddles have got any deeper. One takes one’s life into one’s hands just getting down the path. Sadly, there is no money in the site budget to fix it. I grumbled about that a fair bit at the plot meeting. It is turning into a health and safety hazard. The plot itself, is a maze of puddles; as you will see from the videos. Which is why there are so many raised beds. The benefit of the rain, is that I can see where I need to build things up. The plot is actually lower than the path that runs alongside.

The plot cuts something of a post-apocalyptic scene in the desolate dire winter. A stark contrast to the flourishing flowering scene in the summer gone. I must remember to sow the sunflowers for the Sunflower project 2014. I encourage to think about that, a good cause and it makes the plot look oh so pretty!

I know that the for the last few weeks, all the updates have been somewhat miserable. Sadly, I cannot control the weather! The growing season is still in it’s infancy.

Took a walk down to plot 2 today. Wanted to update you all on just what was happening. Very cold, but very bright. Just not very playable though.

Bit of sunshine, lots of puddles. So much to clear up.

I have battled with the topography of the plot. It is lower in the middle, than everywhere else. Water forms puddles, that then just stand and stay there stagnating. The key has been raised beds. I can safely say, that they have been very useful. Allowed me to get growing, and be successful with it. last year, three beds were full of potatoes. The spuds worked reasonably well, I got potatoes, that was good enough for me. However, there was a lot slug damage to them. The beds were filled with assorted organic matter. Grass cuttings, horse poop, and leaf mold. This year, the beds have sunk; as they do. So will need to have more material added to them.

There are onions, shallots and garlic in there somewhere. These were all planted through cardboard. I would have expected to see a bit more top growth by now, but these were planted a whole month later than expected. In addition, there has been a lot of rain. I can only hypothesis that the roots are being set down, at least by those sets that have survived the wet and inclement weather.

Leaf mold! This was all collected last year, and is cooking in the cold. There are two aims for this stuff. To first use in the raised beds, and there are quite a few raised beds. Then to put what remains where I can, to improve the soil and help raise the open ground areas. Last year, one entire builders bag was used to fill a 1mx2m bed. This bed was then used to cultivate two courgettes and marrows. I can safely say, that the decaying matter did them wonders. Prolific anyway, the squashes somewhat thrived with all that leaf mold.

Sunfloo’ers 2012

There have been episodes this week of mama nature having a bit of wind and throwing a few gusts around. That had meant that a few sunflowers were a bit askew, and had to be righted. Sadly, one batch found themselves keeled over and the stem had split in two. It seemed kinder to take it down. Mama H harvested a few of the blooms and it’s sat on her window sill.

Sunk: classroom cabbages

Finally! I became bored of seeing them sat on the pathway.

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These are the sole survivors of the classroom experiment; and they were looking decidedly sorry for themselves. Have sunk them today and netted them. Must make a return visit however, to attach cabbage collars to them. Have never had any successful cabbages, so would like to have some. There is netting and also the blue pellets of doom. Though a few of them have been filligreed by slimers all ready.

And to cheer you up:

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Yours in anticipation,

Horticultural Hobbit

Triffid Tomatoes and Sunflowers

Another lovely day, so off to the plot I went. Managed to do a bit of newspapering and black plastic-ing, before the newspaper ran out.  Dandelion leaves were also chopped down. I realise that it is better to dig them out, or attack with weedkiller. This may well happen, in the not so distant future.  Further to the previous crop, in the efforts to tidy up; a few more bulbs of garlic were forked out.

There was also some trussing up of tomatoes to be done:

Who would have thought, that after the tomato tantrums of earlier this year; they would actually take off. The one variety that I am aware of is Ukrainian Purple that was kindly given to me. There are quite a few flowers forming, indicating that some form of crop will occur. I can confess that I haven’t taken off any side shoots. Which is why, the raised beds resemble something of a jungle. There is a mixture, therefore, of bush and vine tomatoes.  Nestled around the edges, are smaller let spread out varieties.

Something else that has somewhat taken flight, are the sunflowers.

I must confess, that I couldn’t tell you whether they are little ones or big ones. Yet, these seem pretty huge to me! I had been expecting them to be about ankle height. These are now very hobbit sized, and at a various positions on the plot and enjoying the sunshine.

Jack be little is one of the many squashes dotted around. Below is a image of a flower thrown up  by Jack. I will be keeping a close eye on the other squashes such as sweet dumpling, patty pan and yellow scallop. Whilst they have started to form huge great big habits, there are not many flowers of either female or male persuasion.

jack_flower  Jack has sent out a singular vine, attached to which is one very small jack be little pumpkin. All very newly formed in the last few days. Jack’s colleague Hooligan, resides on the other side of the plot, and is very diminutive in comparison. Much smaller sprawl and much smaller leaves. A reflection perhaps of early child trauma as it did have to be moved when first planted out. The one squash that still resides in open ground is the cobnut, and this is only just starting to get bigger.

Ghost rider

bruno_babies_2013 These are very, very tiny, and were easily missed. Previously, we have seen up to five babies form. All bar one being taken off. It will be interesting to see how these develop over the coming months. The leaves are certainly getting bigger and the vine is starting to sprawl out over the side of the raised bed.

Purple Rainbow Chilli

PRC

A few of the berries are starting to expand. I’m not quite sure as to how big they actually get, or how potent they might be. In the wendy house, the chillies and bells continue to be fed and watered. It is sad that to say that some of them have been a bit scorched by the sun. The Purple Beauty in particular. However, there are a few walnut sized sweet peppers being formed, and a singular, solitary thin chilli that may well be a cayenne or a long thai.

Yours in anticipation,

 

Horticultural Hobbit